And then she was eight…

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Today, Big, my shana madelah (sweet little girl) turns eight. About ten minutes ago, she was born. I remember the night before when the Mrs. felt a little funny. I said there is no way I’m going to work tomorrow, and she laughed it off. After all, it was a full week early, and anyone who knows my Mrs. knows that she does early (honey I say this lovingly, mwah!), well, not so much.

We went to bed that night and were both restless. By 4 am, contractions were coming. By six am, we were on our way to the hospital. I notified the essential mishpocheh (family), and we were on our way. The city was tranquil. I tried my best to dodge every pothole to make the ride as painless as possible, no easy task in Philly in early March.

We checked in and the Mrs. was checked out. One cm. Hmmm. They called our midwife, who was in no rush to make it in. She had the chutzpah (nerve, more like gall) to think this would be normal, like other births. Feh! Our nurse came in and helped us through a major contraction. I held the hand of my love, and wished I could make her pain go away. My kishkas (intestines) were in knots. I could only imagine what she felt. The nurse and I watched what looked like a seismograph for earth quakes—we waited for the line to max out, and then come back down. When it didn’t, the nurse looked at me and mouthed, “WTF?” I mouthed, “WTF” right back, and said, “do something!” We were definitely not in birthing class anymore. This was definitely mishegas (craziness).

We both cried aloud for meds! Bring ‘em on. Epidural! Set me up too! Stat! The anesthesiologist arrived too late to begin. The Mrs. was in full on labor, and they raced us over to delivery. No meds for this ride. Oy vey. To make a long story short, Big came into this world like greased lightning. Less than 3 hours start to finish.

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They placed her little perfect body right on top of the Mrs., skin to skin. A more beautiful scene, I have never witnessed. She was wriggling, cooing, almost dancing. They were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. I witnessed the miracle that is Big, and the Mrs.; she left me awestruck (as she often does).

And today, in just a few hours, she will wake up and be 8. Wow. I am still awestruck by them all, My Mrs., my Big, and my Little. Der kinder (the children). My family.

Big, she may just have the biggest heart on the planet. She is thoughtful, kind, compassionate, creative, sweet, loving, sensitive, smart, strong and beautiful, both inside and out. She is a gutte nushema, a mensch among mensches (a truly good and kind person). Like a little Mrs., she is.

Today, like a tree she is growing tall, her front tooth is all wiggly, and she dances and glides through the air as she walks.

Cheppy Boyzay (Happy Birthday) Big! Mommy loves you so, my shana madelah.

This Yiddisher Mama is so lucky. Tonight, bobka (cake) for everyone! I’m kvelling (gushing with pride and joy)!

 

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Rant, Shmant, as long as I can vent week 5

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Quiet please! Therapist is in session (with a loon!)

Privacy is driving me meshugener (crazy). Who has any? As a mom, or a parent/caregiver, when was the last time you went to the bathroom by yourself? Showered without interruption? Little and Big are always asserting and inserting their presence, no matter what seems to be happening. Last week, the Mrs. And I snuck away in the middle of the Parent Trap just to have a conversation. Nothing secret, sacred, or even sordid! We thought for sure that Lindsay Lohan as a kinder (child) would hold their stare. We were in the bathroom with the door shut, kibitzing (talking). Don’t you know, that not five minutes into our conversation, we hear a geshrei (scream) from Little, “WHERE ARE YOU?” Mittendrinnen (in the middle of) the scene where the parents see each other after all those years, they are banging on the door. Mind you, I’m still kvelling (overjoyed with pride) over how sweet they were, their genuine concern of the Mrs. and me, but c’mon!

After reading the news, I realize we have no privacy anywhere. There are cameras everywhere! One can receive a speeding ticket by mail with a picture of your offending car! There are satellite and surveillance cameras capturing our every move. Is my computer watching me type right now? Probably. What about the cloud? How many snoopers and cyber-yentas (gossips) are sifting through all of that stuff?

Do you read the terms and conditions every time you get a new app or open an online account? Not me! I read bubkas (nothing) and blindly click ‘accept!’ They are all in 8-point font and go on and on, using legalese, forever. They are designed to be unreadable. A shonda (shameful)!

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Somehow Facebook knows when I by something on Amazon. This changes my algorithms (is this what they meant in elementary school when they said we’ll use math our whole life?) that create my timeline feeds, and suddenly I see other things similar to or accessories for what I just bought. Is this kosher (legit)? Google knows more about me than my parents (well, that’s for another posting, I promise).

Which brings me to Tim Cook and the pressure cooker he seems to be schvitzing (sweating) in. Stand your ground Tim! Don’t give up the goods to the Bureau! You have gotta know that I’m all for stopping really bad, bad guys and terrorists. But this very big ask by the Elliot Ness’s of the world is one slippery slope for our freedom and liberty.

How many big corporations and retail locations have already been hacked? How can we feel safe knowing there can might be one piece of magical code out there in the ether that can unlock our iPhones and let everyone know how many friends we have to play Words with Friends with? This code can simply and easily undermine decades of security measures and advancements that have been taken by Apple and every tech company that we interact with, to keep out the uber-erudite hackers and cyber-gonifs (thieves).

Today, phones house everything that our desktops, laptops and tablets used to hold, or more. They are the gateway to our entire lives. I respect law enforcement and I cannot even begin to comprehend the kind of pressure they are under to keep us safe. But please, please, keep the back door locked Tim. This is one pandora of a box, kaynahorah (geeze-louise) we shouldn’t open! Be the alrightnik (successful) mensch (good person) that you are and continue to protect the world for my kids, and everyone else.

 

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Beauty and the Beast: the real deal

Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast

Growing up, my mother told us (Shvesters) we were gorgeous. It was disingenuous. Even back then, at a very young age, I knew her words were for her. She would often fish for compliments with total strangers, coyly at the grocery store baggers, at restaurants with wait staff. To her credit, she was, and still remains a very nice-looking person. She took great pains to stay attractive, now approaching eighty years of life. Motivation for her was to look good on the arm of my father. Not a whole lot more going on, unfortunately.

My sister—her beauty comes au natural and is throughout. She favors my mom and has maintained a statuesque 3+ inches over her since the early teen years. Both were, and still are, very attractive. My shvester, she is truly beautiful, inside and out.

As a kid, I looked, and still highly resemble my father, who looks like his father did. Funny, resemblance was never a thing I could see until I became a mom. Likeness via DNA is powerful. I can stand at the airport or a movie theatre, a bookstore, and spot the packs of gene-poolers as they pass by. (Let the record show, that as a mom, I can also now detect fever and/or illness with my bare hand, nose picking clear from another room, and I have become completely desensitized to vomit and other bodily secretions that spout from the kinder. Prior to the arrival of Little and Big, none of these things were possible. I thought motherhood would also empower me the knowledge of how to fold a fitted sheet, but epic momma-fail there.)

Back to the premise here: The Mrs., she is a pure beauty. She even looks good with a paper hat atop her head during holiday dinners (just ask her mom! It’s no joke–and sorry, she won’t let me post one for proof). The kinder, my shana madelahs—together, I have three stunners from their inside core to the outer shell that is our body.

Me? No eye candy here. No meeskait; no train wreck, mind you, just normal. Well, less than average height and weight; run-of-the-mill graying of hair. My face is ‘a bit too well lined with character’ for my baby boomer ‘end of an era’ birthday. And, I will not for one moment, lose sleep over any of this. Why? Because I know I am a good person with a good core. Not just the ‘six-pack’ kind.

I do not fuss with my hair or even use a comb or brush. I had a fleeting encounter with makeup in my sophomore year in college (Bernice, remember?). I saw cotton balls in my home for the first time when the Mrs. first moved (in 1998!). I still have no clue what their main purpose holds. I want to thank Nature’s Knowledge for letting me know I can add some apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball and use it as toner for my face. (I do this now!) My outfit of choice is jeans, Dansko’s and several layers of shirts, and a hoody to keep warm (Blizzard of 2016 Jonas or not). Yes, I’m happiest in a hoody and sneaks, just like big-Daddy Zuckerberg himself. I despise dressing up and find shopping to dress up even worse. I come to you purely, sans schmaltz. What you see is what you get, always. And when you know me, you can see me inside and out. That’s the emmes truth.

Little and Big
Little and Big

My kinder are the ‘girliest’ of girls. I have learned to spy, with my little eye, a dress that has good twirl (this matters)…shoes and leggings that will enhance with sparkle, dazzle and élan, and what will ultimately make my daughters smile like Cheshire Cats. The fashionista-gene has been passed, along with the wherewithal to shop. I have made the case for pink chucks to no avail. Recently, Big announced she wanted a pair of pants! To my ears, such music! Kvelling!

So, not too long ago, that nice chap with the white beard and jolly red suit, he brought us tickets to see Beauty and the Beast (Feb.)! After studying the picture Mr. Claus left with the tickets, Little said, “Ema is Beauty, and Mommy is the Beast!” Okay!

Not long after, I was told that the same kinder, spry little fox that she is, was discussing Harry Potter and said, “Mommy can be Dumbledore.”

Thankfully I have thick skin, a good sense of humor, and the joy in knowing that my kids find me worthy of a Disney extravaganza! How can that be bad? I remain unscathed and well hooded. I embrace my inner and or outer beast and welcome another delightful day in momma’s house. After all, how many kids think their momma is Broadway Bound? Out of the mouths of these babes, right? Nu? 

 

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Rant, shmant. As long as I can vent…

QUIET: Therapy In Session
QUIET: Therapy In Session

A new weekly feature for you (really, for me. Remember, you are my therapists).

Many months ago something happened that gives me such shpilkes, even today. The Mrs., she takes Big to the doctor for her yearly check in. Little tags along, as she usually does. This is usually not too traumatic of an event. We love our doc and the visit is always followed up with ice cream for all! What’s not to love?

First, let me tell you that Big, she is fine. Our regular pediatrician is out on some emergency, so they ask if it’s okay that Big sees a male doc for this visit. This I think is nice thing. We say of course, no problem. We have no issue here.

Mr. Doc comes in, seems pleasant, engaging—all is good. A little doctoring goes on, looking in the ears, listening to the heart, etc. then he says to Big, “Do all of your friends hate you?” Big, (all of seven years old) looks perplexed and worried. The Mrs., she is mortified.

Mr. Doc continues to spew, “Don’t they hate you because you are so beautiful? If they don’t now, they will soon.” This, he says to the most sensitive little madelah on the planet. On a regular day, she is like a sponge soaking in the pain of the world. Really? We needed this new burden added to this thoughtful kinder like we needed a loch in kop?

The Mrs., she speaks up. She says, NO! THAT IS NOT A PROBLEM HERE. WE DON’T WORRY ABOUT THIS! NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT! With eyes bulging and body language that I’m certain, has this medical macher in need of new boxers.

The rest of the visit is uneventful, thankfully. The Mrs., she has to explain to Big and Little, that the doc, he made a bad mistake. No one will hate her for being beautiful. To be a truly beautiful person means you are filled with kindness, compassion and love for yourself and others. Beauty comes from the inside out.

We have heard about Big’s allure from many, but never put forth in a way so crass, so blissfully ignorant and hopelessly tactless. Of all places, we would have never expected something like this to occur at our children’s medical establishment.

So Mr. Doc and those that surround you and your small thinking, you need to know that both of my girls are gorgeous in my eyes. Both of my girls are so much more than a pretty face. Do not, dear Doctor, ever hold them to such low standing, that you expect them to ride free on their stunning aesthetic qualities. They both will carry with them an appeal that comes from who they are on this planet and how they relate to their fellow human beings. They will utilize their brains in virtuous ways because they are cultivating a love of learning. They will grow up to become whatever it is they want to become, because they will both work hard and know they can. They both will lead and dictate their paths.

Hate is a mighty strong word. Please watch where you use such a term in today’s society; it resonates so freely off the tongues of way too many. Where lives get cut short over senseless violence, racism and bigotry. There are probably countless despicable persons on the planet, yet few deserve such a term as ‘hated’ from another individual, as my Big.

Mr. Doc, you have ticked me off in ways that you will never know or comprehend. And I do not hate you. I do fear and worry that there are more out there that think like you—and, I am one pissed Jewish Mamma.

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Hello, It’s me…Lisa

Little and Big Xmas 2015

So you may wonder why I’m here blogging, sharing my spiel? Truth is, I started blogging because it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy. And that makes you, dear readers, my therapists. By the powers vested in me, please follow, share and leave your comments, good and bad. Let’s kibitz?

I don’t want to kvetch (a lot), but dreck happens, often. And that’s okay. I am here on the planet to learn and grow daily. So what if we share a little growing pains?
Armed with my keypad, camera and some words, hopefully strung together fairly well, I can fill you in on what goes on, while also working on this ‘life in progress’ journey we all seem to be taking. Wouldn’t it be nice, if maybe we could all laugh, cry, see some commonalities, embrace some differences and inspire each other to keep going?
My muses? None other than my crazy, zany, beautiful (inside and out) and lovable family. That includes me, the Mrs.,Family 1-1-2016 BHI Little and Big. Yes, we are two mommas with two little girls. Trials, tribulations, parenting, working, aging and surviving, while food shopping, doing laundry, making meals, cleaning up and trying to save the planet.
Sometimes I’ll offer up little nuggets to nosh on, and sometimes a bit more of a tirade about whatever may have my kishkas in an uproar. I figure, this blog will see me, us, through the ups and downs of the hand(s) we’ve been dealt. Chronic pain, major life changes, moves, losses, gains, wins, ballet recitals, tooth fairies, friends, foes, fears, tsuris, yadda, yadda…
I blog because…
  • my girls may someday look back and want to see who ‘Mommy’ was as a person, through their adult eyes
  • I want to remember every (okay, most) beautiful moment of their childhood that is priceless and filled with such naches
  • every moment isn’t pretty–sometimes it’s messy and fehklempt, and I want those memories too
  • other parents out in the ether must know what to do when…? and share with me
  • for some crazy reason, I am channeling great Aunt Frieda with all of this Yiddish
  • I have funny thoughts, and I write them down, in the hopes that you (my therapists) may smile or chuckle over them tooblogger mommy
  • my family, my little mishpocheh and my extended and chosen peeps, need to know how very much I love them and feel loved by them
  • life with two kids, work, school and all the other mishegas, doesn’t always allow for adequate ‘tawk-time’ with the Mrs., or anyone else for that matter
  • ahhh, the Mrs., whenever I see her, my heart still skips a beat
  • every night, Little cries out during bedtime that she is hungry
  • Canada looks very good in the event of a Trump inauguration, and we will need to know where to send Little and Big to school
  • have I got stories to tell. Oy vey!

So, you’ll join me? What, you have something better to do? Nu?

BTW, I’m the one with the gray hair in the pic.

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Dear Society,

my 4

As you go about your business and relate with people, families, groups, please kindly think before you speak. Do I mean to say this so harshly? Maybe. It occurs to me, that as a culture, there has long been some traditional hardwiring when it comes to the rule of family. Husband, wife, and 2.3 kids have long been the accepted norm. Over time, many of you have even acknowledged the single mom who has one or more kids. Single Dad’s exist too, holding custody of children in a post-Kramer vs. Kramer world.

However my fellow creatures of the good ol’ U.S. of A., please be aware of the ‘rainbow-banner year’ 2015 has been for human rights. (Such naches this year has brought.) Yes, did you notice I didn’t say just LGBT rights? Small thinking must stop. The word ‘family’ is now fascinating and complex. Prejudice and discrimination must stop. It’s time to believe that all lives matter. #HumanityMatters.

You’ve recognized different religions marrying. You’ve accepted bi-racial couples. Let love win.

In June of 2015, Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell braved SCOTUS and won, making same sex marriage a right nationwide, citing the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Talk about a Mensch on a Bench! Our mass shpilkes had ended! In a momentous 5-4 ruling, 5 mensch’s struck down the U.S. ban, stating that this ‘liberty will no longer be denied.’ Surely it is a mitzvah for all humanity when love wins.

my 3

Marriage licenses were issued all over the country to same sex fagele’s. Registries and calls to the caterers rang throughout the land. In this same year, more than 450 elected officials served as openly fagele. The transgendered community became visible as Laverne Cox posed nude for photographer, Norman Jean Roy and Vanity Fair magazine led with “Call me Caitlyn.” Kneidlach or not, #HumanityMatters.

With all of this positive change, hear my spiel. Families in your line of vision may appear different from what you are used to — and this difference is good and beautiful and long overdue.

Two dads and their children may eat in a restaurant, shop in a store, walk in a park, play at the playground or catch the new Star Wars flick. Do not have the chutzpah to think (with your outside voice) that one of the adults is the dad and one is the brother, the uncle, the friend, or the grandfather. Don’t assume alte kocker when one parent looks older than the other.

Two moms and their children may eat in a restaurant, shop in a store, walk in a park, play at the playground or catch the new Star Wars flick. Do not have the chutzpah to think (with your outside voice) that one of the adults is the mom and one is the sister, the aunt, the friend or the grandmother. Don’t assume alte kocker when one parent looks older than the other. (Please read this: I am not the Bubbeh, I am Mommy.) Vai is mir.

my two

Because you know what happens when you assume

And guess what, our families are just like yours. Except maybe, sometimes, we work harder than most to birth our kinder.

So please, I beg of you, open your minds to new things, new ideas, and new families, even a bissel. It’s mashuggeh not to. If you can’t, you can kish’m tuchas. Poo. Poo. Poo.

If you can, l’Chaim.

And remember, #humanitymatters.

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It’s Bedtime, by Santa

bed 2

Dear Big, mostly Little

It’s Santa you see

To talk about something not so great

Can it be?

 

By day you are both so mighty, so strong

I was hoping this nightfall report was all wrong

By watching, I noticed the shtick and the struggles

For Ema and Mommy who only want snuggles

 

bed 1

Those 8 crazy nights flew by without a tussle

But Santa you know, has so much more muscle

My powers cover the actions of naughty and nice

You may just get gornisht; you’re rollin’ the dice

 

By mail I’ve read of the things on your lists

Your chutzpah dear kinder must cease and desist

Something must change when you climb into that bed

A time filled with shpilkes and unneeded dread

 

Please know shaineh maidels, that I’ve got your number

After brushing and flossing and primping for slumber

When the last pages of book is read and completed

Your Mommies, the neighbors, are all quite depleted

 

Kicking and screaming is never okay

It’s a shandeh especially at this time of the day

You must stop the geshrei-ing and crying you see

And drinking so much that you just have to pee

bed 3

I know you’re not hungry; your belly is fine

Your eyes do not hurt; oh jeez, stop that whine!

Even boogers need rest at the end of the day

So leave them alone in your nose, okay?

 

Life in the Manor was quiet, serene

Before you two pishers came on to the scene

From now on kinderlech, no more meshugener making

Or your tchatchkes and presents will be mine for the taking

 

Be little mensches, close your eyes and gey schluffen

Leave the rumpus behind and there’ll be no more noodgin’

Nod off, conk out, cop some z’s, that’s my wish

Bubelah’s please, tuches ahfen tish!

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Frugal Schmugal

from Luka
from Luka

The holidays are headed our way, no bones about it. While I do not care to keep track of how many shopping days are left until Christmas, I do know all too well, how many days left until payday. And that is just an icky, new feeling that I must get used to. We managed through those eight crazy nights of Hanukkah; I suppose the big red-suited man will let us fly by too.

from Neko
from Neko

Please, do not for one moment feel bad about us! We are doing the very best we can right now, and I know we are not alone. Tough times, tough measures surround us all. We are very grateful for what we have, and more importantly, who we have surrounding us with love, joy and support both during the holidays, and year round.

Thankfully, Little and Big don’t really ask for a lot. They never have. We are just in ‘Living Lean’ mode, and with that, will come a special frugality to the season that should not be misconstrued as ‘Grinchism.’ We got through it last year, and I guess that means we should be even better at it by this year? This year, the Mrs. and me have not even argued about a budget. We both know its bubkes.

The boys, with Santa
The boys, with Santa

I love the holidays, as viewed through the eyes of Little and Big. I grew up on latkes and menorahs – a jelly donut was a big deal for my Big and me. Of course, a purple tree, blinking lights, ornaments…it’s a huge WOW!

On Christmas Eve, Toffey will spend the night. We will make egg-free cookies for Santa (sorry big guy, Little is allergic) together – a few for him, a few for us. A ‘nice nosh.’ We will sup together. And we will all wake up early in our jammies, and see the surprises that Santa has left for us after his magnificent voyage across the world.

Here at the Manor, luckily men have been outside working on all the chimneys in our building for the past several weeks. I expounded on all the ‘white lying’ of the season by telling the girls that they are readying them for Santa, his elves and the reindeer. Yes, this haimish’a Yid buys in. I hear the bells ringing on the polar express and love the look on their little joyous faces on Christmas morning.

Here is what I don’t so much love:

  • The lack of sleep – in fact, my sleep bank may very well mirror my…well, you know
  • We have less charitable giving to offer this year
  • We cannot yet get the girls, us, an addition to the family in the form of a new pug. We are so very grief-stricken by the tremendous loss of Atticus and Eli.

Here’s what I do love:

  • My kids get to celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas, so the magic of the white haired man rocks in this house
  • When I asked them what they got last year from Santa, they had no idea – but they did remember the experiences we made together and the joy of the people we shared them with
  • Toffey is making a beautiful tradition with us on Christmas Eve, and he swears up and down, and sideways too, that he never, ever sees or hears Santa come in at night with our haul

So, frugal schmugal. We do the very best we can. We make memories, not bills. We enjoy the time-shared.

Wishing all of you, the very best of the holiday season!

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What a night for a good dream

dream 2
What a night for a good dream
a good night to work out my shit
I’ve been rollin’ in tsuris
I think my subconsciousness can handle it
And even if daytime’s been hard to toll
It’s one of those nights to tuck in and roll
close the lids and let the movie begin
figure it out and try rememberin’
Dream 1
I was havin’ a good dream
dreamt for all four hours of eve
the mishegas was all solved for
Mazel Tov’s were handed out to me
And even if days have had my kishkas in knots
at least at night I don’t have to plotz
I’m less ferklempt and more a yiddisher kop
The dreck is gone, no pain and have a pug pup
(whistling interlude)
And I can be sure that if I dream a bit
this alte kocker can be an alrightnick
My bubela’s won’t be screamin’, “Oy vey!”
we’ll get by yet another day
dream 3
What a night for a good dream
the dreck is one and we’re all okay
our problems are bubkes
we can shmooze and sing and play all day
(whistling interlude)
special thanks to the Lovin’ Spoonfuls and for the ability to somehow
channel my inner Aunt Frieda

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The Post Do-Over Days

The days that follow a ‘do-over’ hold unnecessary stress for all of the family. The pain gonif strikes on its own schedule. Azoy. Time was carved out and stolen. It does not come back easily. We stay cautiously optimistic, not knowing when the thief returns…

Sunday 2

“Mommy, are you better?” Four little words. Oh how to answer these sweet little faces. Super Mommy powers to the rescue. Grab your land legs, “Of course sweeties!”Sunday 3

Little, Big, Ema and me need some fun.

A nice day. Crisp, autumn air.

A babbling brook. Discoveries abound.

Crunching leaves underfoot. Running over bridges.

Peeping in windows. Making believe. Making it real.

Bumping into fellow Miquon tots.

Sunday 1Jumping across the creek rocks. Slipping into the cold water.

Oops! Giggling, then freezing. No fear here.

A time like no other.

Beautifully, fantastically brought to you by mother earth.

Guilt free. Gelt free. Frugally fantastic.

What’s not to love?

Little, Big, Ema and I had fun.

Hey pain, “Gay kocken affin yom!

 

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Quote

This year on Thanksgiving, to quote my Little, we took a do-over. Because chronic pain knows no dates, no holidays, no plans, not even the hopes and joys and dreams of little ones. Grandpa still arrived and swept my Littles and my love off to the theater to see the Peanuts movie. A lovely treat,  complete with lazy-boy recliners and plenty of pretzel nuggets. A good time had by all.

I stayed home to a mixture of brecching, gripping the porcelain pot, mixtures of meds, and an uncomfortableDo-Over ‘sleep.’ It happens. It’s out of my control and it is what it is. It’s a shonda when it affects my children, my family, but we will survive. When it comes, I cannot muster any of my mommy SuperPowers. Chronic pain trumps Super Mommy every time.

I wake the next day, somewhat better and in need electrolytes. Stiff, dehydrated, sad, and rallying. After all, this glass stays half-full. I know that today we can do it all over again today. Little said so, and Big agreed. I should probably wait another day, but I don’t.

That’s family. The kinder, the mishpucha. Love. That’s what I have been and why I am forever thankful, despite my lot.

Love, gratefulness, and thanks, isn’t that what this Holiday is all about anyway?

Wishing you all a happy thanksgiving, whatever day you celebrated.

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‘Twas

image

Twas the night before day
and all through the flat
the creatures were stirring,
we may need a cat

In morn found a mouse
that met with grim reaper
my love is fahrklempt
the Littles falling deeper

I said, call the Manor
to handle this scene!
They schlepped it away,
set another, we’re clean

By day there were challenges
met with delight
surely nothing as dreadful
as in the past night

The narrative went,
Lice or Mice, which is best?
My heart sank so deep
so sullen my chest

We noshed on our supper
we cleaned up the mess
what came next was bedlam
and chaos and stress

At night we don’t wind down
or find peace and calm
Littles dance, play and sing
oy gevalt, like a bomb

Pipe down, we need quiet time
Not shpilkes nor grief
Mommy and Ema require
needed relief

Ema informed me by text
’bout mouse lying in state
in the closet, over yonder,
this can’t be my fate

Drastic measures were needed
for it was after hours
My kishka’s a flutter
I summoned my powers

Super Mommy was needed
to perform the last rite
Dead vermin most certainly
cannot stay the night

As Ema combed heads
in search of the louse,
I tended to dearly departed
dead mouse

With bags two times thick
from elbow to fingers
I must move like a maven
‘fore smell of death lingers

I managed to handle
the worst task yet to date
The kids none the wiser,
pure joy for my mate

Now Santa may wonder why
I write in this verse
This Yid wants a favor
To be rid of this curse

I believe in your magic
I hear your bells ring
Surely Saint Nick can
do us one thing

What we ask costs no money
And it need not be wrapped
Just help with the tsuris
the stress and the crap

We’re tired dear Santa
Our lot has been trying
We lost both our boys,
the house, we’ve been crying

And still we march on
cup half filled with cheer
in hope that the future
is bright and is near

So please Mr. Claus
when you visit our house
please help us loyzem gayne 
this fucking mouse!

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Boo-Boo Power

Isn’t it remarkable that no matter what emotion is lurking inside your child, a boo-boo and some smooches can almost always bring a cure for tears, frowns, feeling scared, moping, disappointment, and yes, an occasional scrape or two. For best results, apply bandage to clean, dry skin and let the magic begin.

Olaf band-aid, need unknownHow old are kids when the charmed spell that comes with the unraveling of the wrapper and placing the boo-boo on any part of the human body, simply stops working? There are many parents who have treaded these waters well before me. Surely you know? I feel like an honest ‘heads-up’ on this topic is in order, especially for those of us who are still stockpiling at CVS.

Currently, my two girls, 5 and 7, can easily be distracted from a klutzy move on the sidewalk, an unwarranted kick on the shin from a sib, a shriek of, “She almost hit me,” or signs of an actual flesh wound, with the careful positioning of an adhesive bandage. Sometimes the cure is not as immediate if we have the wrong princess in supply. But more often than not, Band-Aids are like a silver bullet. I keep these charmed ‘body-stickers’ in my backpack, in their backpacks, in the car, in my partner’s purse, so we are always at the ready for whatever may come our way. This 2-mom family has reason to not be ready.

Earlier this week, Little, was fancifully sharing her latest dance moves in the living room with me when she slipped on the hard wood flooring and hurt her knee. I leapt from the sofa to her rescue while applauding her effort, grace, and now bravery. Kissing her knee repeatedly, we made a beeline to the medicine cabinet (yes, there are boxes in each bathroom too) and chose the right stuff for this particular injury. Apparently, even though it was her knee that was smarting, she led me to top of her left hand, for placement of a character from Inside Out (thankfully, it was Joy!). I realized that she needed to see her boo-boo and be reminded of the earlier painful experience, like some sort of proof that it happened. After all, with leggings on, what if she totally forgot? Perhaps it was even of ‘badge of courage’ to share later when Big gets home from school.

When Little or Big get hurt, even a miniscule one like the unfortunate ballet incident mentioned above, its rough on our 2 momma hearts. Witnessing the pain and suffering, even if only lasting 18 seconds, is still excruciating. Bigger hurts, feelings and emotions are like—lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!

boo boo 3Here’s an open-ended question for you—is pulling off the Band-Aid traumatic for your kids? Little seems to find no issue in this. In fact, I find them all over the house. Nothing much grosser than a spent Elsa and Anna bandage stuck to the dresser or at the bottom of the tub, wedged in the drain. But for Big—it’s as if we are about to amputate a limb. Bandages just need to linger on Big. At an attempt for removal, we will experience piercing cries, screams, squeals, kicks and punches, way worse than those of the original cause, if we get anywhere close to the target. Sometimes those gummy, tacky tchotchkes are just barely holding on for dear life on her twin kneecaps. The adhesive gunk has drawn in many interesting objects. At this point in the scene, this mommy has to inflict the unthinkable and rip.

“There honey, that wasn’t so bad at all? Just like I promised. Let me give those knees a little kissing.” We hug and all is good in the world. Little showed up to make sure Big was smiling, game on in case her comedic charm was needed.

The craziest thing is, given any other scenario, those same piercing cries, screams, kicks and punches of fear and dread, would be cured with a bunch of kisses and a boo-boo application.

Go figure?

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Moms

This is a fave from Big, that makes me, us, so very happy.
Moms
Moms

You are the greatest moms

You are funny

You like to play

You like to cheer us up

I’m kvelling. In the midst of all of the tsuris across the world, I thought it a good idea to share this gem.

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Morning Interuptus

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Since we moved from our house to our new digs at the Manor, I’ve made a new friend. Only this is a very different kind of friendship. You see we’ve never met. Our apartment view looks out over the parking lot and into the senior home next door. Each morning, as I rise at 4:30 am and look out the windows, I see darkness with bits of information brightened by the parking lot security lighting.

I go about my morning routine, as a true creature of habit tinged with OCD, in the extreme quiet (well, silent as apartment living allows—yes, that is clearly directed to those of you who live in T-4, right above us), savoring my one-cup of coffee over a nice nosh and playing Words with Friends with the greatest sister one can imagine. I read some news online, answer some emails, do maybe one or six loads of laundry…partner and children sleeping soundly, with hours to go, and I bask in my new definition of quiet time.

I start my Tai Chi practice around 6:00 am and almost daily, at 6:32, my pal past the pavement, springs to life. I know this because I can see, through my own myopic vision (no binoculars or surveillance tools), the lights dancing across the TV screen through the windows. I imagine the volume at stunning capacity. And, I am so utterly content in knowing that this new friend of mine (who wouldn’t know me, nor I know he or she, if we fell on top of one another) has arisen and began their daily regiment. I mentally nod and say, “Good morning,” smiling between my Tai Chi forms, and finding solace in how we begin another day, together.

And then Ben Franklin, his farmer buddies and U.S. Federal Law steps in from centuries ago, and forces us all with the task of turning back the clocks. Even Cher can’t “Turn Back Time.” Yet we do. Since I am not gleaning any crops for harvest and despise the early loss of daylight, I find this action absurd and downright ludicrous for our modern times. Even more illogical, this changing of time gives me reason to align with the state of Arizona, who says, “Nope, we’re not gonna do it.” Me, aligning with Arizona! Mishegas.

Worse than my now lack of daylight, and perhaps tinged with a touch of SAD, the sun rises earlier (crop-crap) and I can no longer tell how my friend is doing. I can no longer observe good morning TV or any signs of life across the way. With the morning light, I see bubkes and I find myself a little worried about my buddy. Okay, maybe more than a little.

And I guess really, when I think more about it, it is not just my new friend that concerns me. As one of two moms in this family, I’ve watched my two wee ones grow to be 5 and 7 ½, in what feels like thirty seconds. Dare I blink for fear that we will be attending college (can we home-college them)? I know how the first half of the car gas tank goes so slowly, and then, before you know it, you are on ‘E’ with disco lights, warning alarms, and strange dashboard symbols (German engineering at its finest) reminding you of the artist, formerly known as Prince.

I worry when every time I brush my teeth, some older woman appears in the mirror at the exact same time as me to brush her teeth. Every time! Coincidence? I’m ferhklempt. And let the record show, that these two times per day are the only times I ever glance at that shiny reflective image and wonder where the hell my youth went. I worry because of the Yiddish phrase, a bi gezhunt, which translates to, “Vhat? Don’t vorry so much. At least you have your health.” (Please be sure to use a thick Brooklyn Jewish male accent when reading the Yiddish-isms—it adds so much texture.)

I get shpilkes (anxiety) when I think how very precious each and every moment is with my family. And then I get over it and regain presence. You see, have not found a way to be both present and worried at the same time. It just doesn’t work.

And then, as I finish my Tai Chi practice, my youngest will make her way out to the living room. With sleep in her eyes and a smile on her face, she says, “I love you momma.” And I respond with, “Good morning sunshine! Come give mommy a big hug.”

And now, with my family, a new day begins.

And to my pal past the pavement, I do hope to see you when we spring ahead. Until then, know you are in my thoughts, and part of my every day.

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Of Mice and Women

Subtitle: Seeking Higher Ground

View from the sofa
View from the sofa

So, in my last posting, I let out a whole lot of tsuris about a whole lot of what’s been going on. For those of you who don’t know from tsuris, it’s a Yiddish word that describes troubles or woes. Somehow, the Yiddish language makes things sound so much better than they really are.

Well anyway, I spoke about the little vermin that walk in the night–mice. It’s amazing to me how one creature, so seemingly cute when read in Country mouse and City mouse, or anthropomorphized into Mickey and Minnie, can terrorize a household. At least this household of 2 moms and two girls, all screaming, well, like girls!

The cartoons are highly accurate. Seeking higher ground must be some innate, archetypal reaction that us ‘double x’ chromosome folk resort to in times of fight or flight. Last Friday evening, my loving, mouse-phobic, partner, spent twenty minutes screaming while standing atop our sofa. When no one responded (we three were all asleep in a heap on the bed), she finally mustered up courage, like a certain lion after a visit to a certain wizard, to ‘run like hell’ into our bedroom and poke at my ribs with the latest news.

The next morning, one was kind enough to greet me for coffee at 4:30 am. Just three minutes later, another, smaller grey monster poked out.

The last spotting, again, by loving, mouse-phobic partner (LMPP), occurred after a lovely bedtime reading ritual with the girls. After completing the Magic Tree House story, where Jack and Annie meet Abraham Lincoln, LMPP got up to turn off the lights. Don’t you know, a little bugger flies underfoot and heads into our bedroom closet? You may have actually heard the screams. I’m certain the neighbors did. LMPP could have taught Janet Leigh a lesson or two for that famous shower scene. (I bet right now you are wondering why none of us heard her while she was atop the sofa? We’ll get into that in another posting.) I was then ‘asked’ by LMPP to perform acts of heroism and bravery. “Go get that mouse in the closet!”

Well, suffice it to say, that did not happen. Loud, piercing cries were abundant. I quietly, but firmly held my ground atop the bed. Our two girls were now shrieking and screeching, tears flowing. They too were becoming mouse-phobic. Truth is, I readily admit to also ‘strongly disliking’ the little grey beasts. I just do it much more softly. In fact, once a sighting occurs, little dancing shadows become hallucinogenic. What was that? Was that? Oh, it a sock…a Lego friend…a Beanie Boo.

The next morning, two things happened. I took to my laptop and wrote a very lovely letter to the building management team, asking if this was what they meant by ‘pet-friendly building?’ To their defense, they came out quite quickly and solved for what was a robust hole behind the oven. Next, armed with the dust-buster, I took a very deep breath and made my way into that dreaded closet. I removed every item that was on the floor. Shook out blankets. Checked inside shoes and boxes. No mouse. No mice. No residue. Was it their day to be in the country?

To stick with my ‘glass half-full’ approach to life, some good does come after finding new friends in one’s home. LMPP cleans and organizes and re-cleans and re-organizes, aerobically cleans. As a person who tends to err on the side of OCD, this works for me. I almost didn’t recognize our home when I came home from work one day after the first spell. Rules tend to get re-enforced for the young-ins too. “Food only at the table. No eating on the sofa. Why are you walking around with that bowl of gluten-free chocolate puffs?”

Which brings to mind the thing that boggles me the most. Of all of the apartments to choose from, why did these little pests choose us? We are vegetarian, gluten-free, egg free, GMO free and organic food consumers. And due to the economics we talked about last week–we eat a lot of rice and beans, quinoa and beans, and variations from there. Our house, while happily messy (because we spend time making memories, not cleaning, like all good Moms do), is not filthy by any measure. There has to be a lot of other apartments where take-out containers, packaged goods, cookies, cakes, and candy that are riddled with artificial colors, flavors and by-products (tested in labs by mice relatives) line the shelves and counter-tops here at the Manor. I smell bacon on the weekends! I mean c’mon…really. Are we your best choice for cuisine? With our food, we don’t even see droppings. That’s right, we constipate mice here in our home.

Knock wood, we haven’t spotted the little monsters for at least four days now. They must have smelled the bacon too, don’t you think?

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Linky:s

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Linky Live a la agent spitback!

 

 

 

Learning to Live Lean, Lean on and Lean In as two moms and two girls

Subtitle: Not a diet

Maple Acres 2

This has been a tumultuous year (or two) in our family. Loss. Pain. Change. Fear. Panic. Anxiety. Surgery, job loss, death, sweet soul-mate pet losses, friend loss, financial insecurity, personal insecurity, moving out of our home, living week to week, working two jobs, missing my family, start-up sorrows, sleep deprivation…and now, just for fun, lets add mice (of which my partner has the greatest of phobias) in our new humble abode…okay. Bring it on…this is life and we all have our proverbial hand of cards to play.

It’s been messy. It’s been tearful. Well ‘F’ that—we’ve sobbed enough tears this past year; but not enough that they don’t keep flowing. It’s been– the kind of year where you can truly recognize what family means and who your friends are.

Through all of this, there must be some lesson that can help me to redefine what success and failure actually mean. This requires lowering the volume on the often loud, and thunderous narrative that takes place in my head. You know that voice…I am trying with all of my might, wit and Mom-superpowers to fully grasp that feeling like a failure and failing might actually be two different things.

As a family, we’ve had to change a lot about how we live each day and exist in today’s ‘ca-chinging,’ credit card culture. Frugality does not come easy for all. So very hard to do when you have two adorable, loveable and well deserving girls (insert that failure feeling here). So hard to do when it hasn’t always been the way we’ve done our life. When prior salaries have had different places to insert a comma.

Enter the new world of our frugal-foursome, wear we live lean, lean on, and lean in.

Live Lean:

  • Slash the budget and stop the hemorrhage. This requires tremendous discipline in thought and outcome (and the realization that we are still bleeding)
  • Cut the cord—goodbye Comcast, hello Netflix
  • Control has to win over convenience, which is really just a luxurious money suck—Eat home, brown bag lunches, snacks and beverages, avoid quaint coffee culture
  • Sell the house—downsize, move, rent
  • Kill the guilt that fuels spending and brings on a different kind of guilt—make memories, give experiences, learn to live well with less. Discover the joy, contentment and happiness in ourselves and with each other

Lean On:

  • Seek ways to continually course correct our new ‘lean awakening’, leaving senseless squabbles behind
  • Share the burden of stresses that I hold so deep and internal
  • Recognize that ‘thrift maven’ may come in stages for those of us that are more ‘spendy’ and ergo, less frugal

Lean In:

  • Control what I can control
  • Always lead by example
  • Keep my ‘cup half full attitude,’ even when I question the what exactly is in the cup
  • Work hard and make the time to play hard—it’s just as important
  • Set goals together for a purpose, because some may just find the simple act of saving for savings sake boring

Are we better? Are we fixed? No. Are we always on the same page? No. But we are wiser. And with that wisdom, there have been moments, sweet joyous moments of pure bliss.

There’s no going back. Yes, we would like some more financial stability. Yes, we would like less pain, and most certainly (and quickly!) an absence of vermin. But for now, we are where we are and we are constantly becoming who we will be. We are a beautiful work in progress.

We know together that one cannot buy good parenting or good partnering. Frugality and discretion won’t change our love for one another as we walk the path less purchased. We will definitely stop along the way to welcome the happiness in the small moments as they appear.

More to come on this, I am certain.

Out, damned mice.

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Thank You so much Su, from EthanEvelyn.com! #FabFridayPost

 

Bloggers Pit Stop #22 Thanks to You!

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Two Moms. Two Girls.

Our Girls, Luka and Neko
Our Girls, Luka and Neko

Mom. A tiny little word filled with great big feelings. Being a mom, one of two in this relationship, is no easy task. Some may say it’s the toughest job in the world. This is not a news alert or a smoking gun. Any of you out there with the pleasure, and I do mean pleasure, of being a mom know that. (I’m kvelling…)

I’m the working mom and my partner, the love of my life, is the stay at home mom. While together, we are raising our two little awesome human beings to be wonderful people on the planet, Meghan clearly has the harder job (and I am often times filled with insane jealousy). We don’t claim to know everything, and we certainly know that parenting cannot be perfect, ours included. In fact we often strive for imperfect. The ‘P’ word itself is forbidden—invoking low self-esteem, eating disorders, $0.76 on the dollar, lack of interest in math and science, and probably even global warming and middle-eastern unrest.

We live in the age of ‘Leaning In,’ yet Barbie is still poorly proportioned. Pink prevails. It is not the new black. Our ‘Mighty-Girls’ choose twirly-swirly dresses over sensible clothes every time; and please, don’t get me started on their shoes. I’m becoming quite accustomed to the fact that a hike ‘over the river and through the woods’ will elicit the exact same wardrobe choice as a fancy party for my ‘little women.’ Cool. No sense arguing. Pooh says, “Be who you are.”

Well, they sure are who they are. And I love every minute of it. And Meghan and I will continue down our path to raise smart, brave, courageous, kind, grateful, empathic loving girls who will one day, hopefully a very long time from today, become women with those same traits.

 

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My First Tai Chi Cam: Papal Visit Readiness in Philadelphia

Live from atop the art museum steps, where Rocky’s feet are forever memorialized, I set up my first Tai Chi Cam as the city sets up for the 2015 Papal visit.

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Priceless.

Luka: “Neko, let’s put on a show before dinner.”

Neko: “Luuuuuuuuu-kaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Luka: “C’mon Neko, it will be fun. Let’s go in our room and practice.”

Neko: “But I want Mommy to be in it too!”

Luka: “Ok, fine. C’mon. Hurry Up.”

Neko: “Mommy, we are going to practice in our room for our show. You’re in it too. Here are your lines.”

my lines

Priceless.

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Don’t Stop me. I’m on a roll

Do you or don’t you? Do you leave the next person high and dry? Er, well, you know without? Apparently I am the only one to change the darn thing in my home, and just about everywhere I, well, go!

That includes, work, restaurants, other people’s homes, malls, grocery stores, planes, parks and even hotels…the list goes on. Just who raised all of you who are leaving all of us without proper papers? And I’m not talking the over/under debate. Don’t get me started on that (everyone knows that over the top is the proper way-it’s in the original patent).

To my misfortune, I do have to go often. And I’m a mom with two kids who have a bad case of ‘potty envy,’ bringing me face to face with commode conundrum exponentially more than most.

I’ve now reached the point where it’s become the first thing I check when headed to the loo. Could it be that everyone else is so thoroughly thoughtless when it comes to others? Is it too farfetched to fathom that if you needed it since you were old enough to go it alone, that someone else may feel the same way?

Nope. You either do or you don’t, and there is no shade of gray in this area.

If as a human being, living and sharing on the planet, you are looking to grow, simply follow these easy steps.

You will need some basics.
1 new roll of (whatever ply suits your system) toilet paper
A free hand (so put down the smart phone)
Recycling bin (YES! It’s recyclable. It’s cardboard and it should not be sent to the landfill)

Simple really.
Remove empty roll.
Replace with new roll, paper coming over top.
Place empty roll in recycling bin, or use as beautiful junk in a craft project with your kids.

I think Helen Hunt did it best in this genius clip from, Mad about You. Take :25 and let me know if you agree.
Voila!

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Fitted sheets and other things

I can fold laundry really, really well. If it were an olympic event, I would definitely medal. But the fitted sheet has baffled me since my first encounter. For the entire portion of my adult life, I have solved for this dilemma simply by owning only one fitted sheet at a time. That way, as soon as this one sheet was washed, dried and fluffed, it made it’s way back safely to the bed, still warm.

My perfect scenario quickly became the perfect storm a few months ago when my in-laws purchased a new bed. Suddenly, their luxuriously high cotton count sheets-sets no longer fit on their brand new, high-tech adjustable, sleep number, side-by-side king. Beautiful, nearly new, solid colors of satiny, silky splendor were waiting in the wings to replace our one, sad gray fitted sheet. They did feel so nice.

It was exciting and frightening all at once. I thought maybe, just maybe that I was going to be able to manage the necessary ‘sheet-Origami’ that must take place in order to arrange this giant king size beauty into the small rectangular shape that would fit in a drawer-because now, I’m a mom. I have a 6 ½ year old and a nearly 4-year-old.

I have realized other superhero like talents with this title. Like knowing when my girls have a fever with the touch of my hand on their forehead. I can bring tears and screams to halting silence with the kiss of a boo-boo (and a Barbie band-aid chaser). I can find the missing item in the refrigerator, every time. And yes, I can even change the roll of toilet paper when its empty, while seated on said toilet and on my cell (mute). Surely my mommy-hood brilliance will shine in the sheet department too.

Nope. And the other mommy, my loving partner, can’t do it either. Thanks Martha Stewart from 2011.

Video credit: YouTube via Martha Stewart

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