Friday, December 30, 2011

Knitting- Mismatched or Funky?

One thing I haven't had a chance to do much since AY has been born is knitting. My hands are literally and figuratively always full- holding the baby, helping the other kids, catching up on chores, etc.
But I do miss it. There is something very calming about knitting and we all know I could use some more calm and sanity in our chaotic loving home. So I am slowly trying to get back to it,
A few days before AY was born, I had finished one glove out of a set of finger-less gloves. I thought it looked really cool and was looking forward to starting on the second one. I thought they were useful too because they could keep me warm and I would be able to help out the kids- wipe noses, button coats, etc. without constantly taking my gloves on and off.

Then AY was born and my knitting obviously got put on the back burner. But this past week, I really got the knitting itch and in between the baby's naps and other gaps in time, I managed to finish the other one.

Except they don't match. This was all knit from the same skein of yarn. The yarn is self-striping and the colors keep changing.  I noticed this as I was knitting but I was hoping there was enough commonality in them for it to look like a set.

 Um not so much. So now I am not sure...knit another one and hope it matches better? Or maybe just wear them like that and hope people think it's cool and funky rather than mismatched and weird. It's all a matter of perspective I guess. What do you think? Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This is How I Do It- Expanded Version

Here are my secrets to keeping it all (or most of it) together. For more suggestions, check out Ellen's guest bloggers at Love That Max.

1) Sleep/Self-Care
Here is a fact about me: I need a lot of sleep to function. Some people I know (including my husband) can run on 6 or less hours but I have found that I need at least 7 or 8 in order to feel like a human being. If I do not sleep enough, I am cranky, impatient and everybody suffers.
My children are lively and full of energy and in order to keep up with them, I need to sleep. A lot. So I do. Now with a newborn, getting sleep is obviously a bit trickier but I am trying to go to sleep early and also to take naps when I can.
For me, making sure I sleep is part of taking care of myself and making sure my needs get met. Because if I am running on empty, I can't give to all the members of my family, special needs or not, who need something for me. Along the same lines, I try to carve out time for myself (ie yoga/knitting/blogging),to have date nights with my husband, etc but my number one necessity is sleep.

2) Help-
When Y was first born, I felt like I had to do it all by myself or I was not a "good" mother. And for a while I did. Then A. was born 15 months later and I still thought I had to do it all. After all, as a stay-at-home mom this was my "job" so I was responsible to do it. A few mini-breakdowns later, I learned my lesson. I may be the mom, but it's okay to delegate or outsource some tasks. I started having some cleaning help, then a few hours of babysitting and I have not looked back.
 Well that is not entirely true. Every once in a while I feel badly that I need to rely on the help of others so much, whether volunteer or paid. Then I remind myself that I have four kids aged 6.5 and under, one of whom has special needs and little to no safety awareness, one of whom is a preschooler with no impulse control or safety awareness, one of whom is an infant and one of whom is fairly typical while still a stubborn drama queen. So if I  cannot take all of them to the park or supermarket by myself for the next few weeks or months, that is okay.
My husband is busy with his job, my parents and siblings are across the ocean and my in-laws travel a lot, which often means if I need help, I need to hire someone (or every once in a while find some good-hearted volunteers). We are fortunate to qualify for some funding to pay for care for Y., so that alleviates some of the financial burden, but I strongly believe that at certain times, hiring a babysitter is a necessity and not a luxury.
Here are some times I enlist help for the sake of my sanity:
- The 4 to 6 pm afternoon rush- pick-ups from school, Hebrew school, After-school activities, homework, dinner, baths, etc. Need I say more?
- Doctors or therapy appointments: I only take the child that has the appointment, the rest stay home with a sitter. I have a hard enough time keeping one kid entertained in a waiting room, I am not about to show up with my whole crew. Plus the appointment can double as some alone-time with that child.
- Going to shul: Y is prone to wandering off, so I need someone solely focused on him.
- Hosting large quantities of guests for Shabbos meals: I cannot serve food and take care of my kids' needs at the same time, not to mention the possibility of actually sitting down, eating and talking to our guests.

3) I don't do it all-
There are only so many hours in a day, especially if you are sleeping for 7 or 8 of them! Sometimes things don't get done, sometimes they are forgotten or pushed off. Sometimes I am just plain lazy and do not want to do whatever it is that needs to get done. Sometimes my children and I need a break from working on goals/play skills or whatever else is on the agenda. Calls are not made or appointments are missed.  Children are still not toilet-trained. But that is okay. I am trying to do the best that I can with the tools that I have. Tomorrow is another day. And the day after that is too.

So this is how I do it. I sleep, I ask for help and sometimes I take a break and just don't do it. Caffeine and chocolate also play a large part. What are your tips and tricks for getting it all done and staying sane?

Monday, December 26, 2011

This Is How I Do It

Ellen at Love that Max is having a guest-post series this week called "This is how I do it"- Parents of children with special needs share their tricks on how they manage to juggle it all and stay sane. The first one was interesting and I am looking forward to reading them all. Go check it out!
Even though, no one asked me to contribute, I thought I would share my own top three:
1) Sleep/Self-Care
2) Help
3) I don't do it all

Explanations and more details to follow tomorrow. Right now I am going to follow tip number 1- sleep!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Celebrating Milestones

Eight years ago, on the sixth night of Channukah, my husband and I got engaged. Eight years later, there we were, trying to install four carseats and wrangle four children into the mini-van we had rented for the afternoon to go visit cousins in New Jersey. 15 minutes later, as we were finally ready to drive off, my husband and I looked at each other, not quite believing that we have officially outgrown a sedan and are now a mini-van family.
A lot has happened and changed over the last eight years. We now have an entourage- a carload full of spunky kids. I am happy to report that we still argue about the same things...kidding! And we still celebrate all the big and little milestones, including Baby AY's 4 week birthday! So Happy Engagement Anniversary to us!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Channukah

We are almost ready for Shabbos Channukah. Highlights include my inlaws coming, yet more gifts/toys four our kids and Baby AY turning 4 weeks old. I can't believe how big he got. At his well visit last Tuesday, he was already 8lbs 15 so I am assuming we have cleared the 9 lb mark by now. And he is much more alert these days, which is nice to see. Although whenever he is awake, he wants to be held, so I am getting a lot of use out of my baby carriers.
Saturday night we have a family party and then Sunday afternoon we are going to, you guessed it, yet another Channukah party. It's nice to spend tuime with all this family we usually don't  see so often, but it gets a bit overwhelming especially with our kids overdosing on sugar and going to bed too late.
But I am going to try and stay positive and enjoy the craziness. In that spirit, I will share with you, Y's new favorite Channukah video. Chag Urim Sameach!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Channukah Parties Galore

Channukah has arrived and with it lots of latkes, donuts, chocolate and gifts.
Last night was the first night and after candle lighting, we gave the kids some gifts and played dreidel.
Today, M had a Channukah party at school. He was so excited that I came and he participated beautifully, singing all the songs with his Morahs.
M is super happy to be having a Channukah party

M "reading" the song sheet that has all the lyrics

M enjoying donuts. His baby brother slept through the party!

This evening we also had a party at our shul. There was pizza and latkes as well as art projects and a magician.

The highlight of the evening was when the magician made balloon shapes for all the kids there. Of course my kids were the last in line and we had to wait forever...the magician made Y. a little dog and hearts for both A. and M. On the way home, M. dropped his balloon and it popped. He then dramatically exclaimed, "Mommy, my heart is broken!" It was a classic moment.
 The boys still need quite a few reminders about fire safety and staying away from matches and candles, but otherwise the kids are all really enjoying the holiday and overdosing on chocolate "gelt".
Tomorrow I am going to Y's school to tell the students a bit about Channukah, and then my inlaws are coming to spend the weekend with us with yet more gifts for the kids. What's not to love?
Wishing you all a "lichtige" Channukah!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Out on the Town

Had to share this great picture of me and our whole crew out and about. We went to the Children's Museum today. I was not brave/crazy enough to attempt going by myself. My husband came along and took this picture as we were trying to hail a cab home. In the end, we could not find a taxi (maybe they got scared off when they saw us) and decided to take a bus instead because it was getting late and it was too cold to walk.
I think the people on the bus were entertained by our crew. Y was trying to move to the back of the bus while my husband was holding  him to make sure he did not escape. M was standing on his chair to get a better view out the window, while I was holding on to him to make sure he did not fall. A. was behaving herself (as usual) and AY was nice enough to stay asleep in the sling and not want to be fed until we all made it home. Just a typical day in the life ....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homebirth- Part 1

Before writing about homebirth, I want to stress that I am not trying to convince anyone to have a homebirth or that homebirth is the only/optimal way. I strongly believe every woman needs to educate herself and make the choices that work for her and her family. My aim is just  to show that homebirth is a viable and safe option for most low-risk women.
When discussing homebirth and its safety, I am referring to planned homebirths attended by certified and licensed midwives, whether they be CNM (certified nurse midwives) or CPM (direct-entry midwives). I do not mean accidental homebirth, where the woman did not make it to the hospital in time, or unassisted childbirth, which is a whole topic onto itself .
A certified nurse midwife has undergone rigorous training and can provide pretty much the same care as doctors- she can monitor the baby's heart rate, give IVs of fluid or antibiotics if necessary, repair any tears, administer pitocin to help postpartum bleeding, do newborn assessment as well as neonatal resuscitation. What a midwife cannot do is administer an epidural or perform a C-section.
Study after study has shown that homebirth is as safe, if not safer than birth in hospitals. The neonatal and maternal mortality rates at home are the same to those in hospitals. If you would like to see a study that backs this claim up, click here. Another study done in the Netherlands can be found here. You can find links to other studies in this post.  Intervention rates of home births, as you can imagine are much lower- To quote one above mentioned study
Individual rates of medical intervention for home births were consistently less than half those in hospital, whether compared with a relatively low risk group (singleton, vertex, 37 weeks or more gestation) that will have a small percentage of higher risk births or the general population having hospital births (table 3). Compared with the relatively low risk hospital group, intended home births were associated with lower rates of electronic fetal monitoring (9.6% versus 84.3%), episiotomy (2.1% versus 33.0%), caesarean section (3.7% versus 19.0%), and vacuum extraction (0.6% versus 5.5%). The caesarean rate for intended home births was 8.3% among primiparous women and 1.6% among multiparous women."
Additionally, here is a study that finds the midwifery model of care to be superior to the other models, in terms of outcomes for mothers and babies.
In case you are wondering what the Midwifery model of care is, here is an excerpt from the website of the Midwives Alliance of North America:

Midwives Model of Care™
The Midwives Model of Care™ is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwives Model of Care includes:
  • monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • minimizing technological interventions and;
  • identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
The application of this model has been proven to reduce to incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
The Midwives Model of Care definition above is Copyright © 1996-2001, Midwifery Task Force, All Rights Reserved.

I don't want to bore everyone here with statistics, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are many excellent websites that have great information about homebirths, you just have to find them. Here are just a few:

Choices in Childbirth
NY Homebirth Midwives
Bring Birth Home
Why Homebirth- an article in midwifery today

Coming up in Part 2- "What if something goes wrong/Thoughts about Risk" and "How exactly does this work?"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Busy Day

Today was going to be the day when I finally post some info on homebirth...but it has been a busy day and my bed is calling. In my quest to get back to a normal schedule, here are some of the things I accomplished:
-buy Channukah presents for the kids, although I still need something for Y.
-buy a pretty sweater for myself (thanks Mom!)
-pick M up from school. This is totally worth it because he is so excited to see me. He says, " My Mommy's here with my new baby brother!"
-cook food for shabbos AND dinner
- pick up A from school as a surprise and have her proudly introduce Baby AY to her Morahs and friends
- the regular homework/dinner/bath/bedtime craziness
-finally order thank you cards on snapfish with this cute picture on them. Plus I had a 50 percent off coupon.
- hold this cute baby for about two hours straight because 8 30 to 10 30 seems to be his cranky time.
Now that he has finally fallen asleep, I am going to take this as my cue to try and get to bed too.
But to get things started a little bit, I'll share one great article about homebirth.- Why women should not fear homebirth  by Mayim Bialik. I hope some of you read it and share your thoughts

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Life with Four

As my parents' departure looms closer, I am starting to think about what life will be like when I am on my own with my crew. I think my biggest challenge will be the morning- getting all of us dressed, bundled up and and out of the house in time to catch A's bus across the street at 7 36. If I can manage that, the rest should be a cinch. The other crazy time in our home is 4 to 6 pm but I usually have help at that time to make sure everyone gets fed, bathed and their homework done before going to bed.
Two interesting developments that could make the next few weeks challenging: One of our longtime babysitters is going to Italy for a semester abroad at the beginning of January, so next week is her last week helping out. Finding a good caregiver is hard. This particular young woman has been working with our kids on and off for two years now on different days and in different ways. She really loves our kids and knows them well. She will be sorely missed...and I need to find someone to replace her. If anyone reading this knows any students who may be available to help out Mondays and Wednesday afternoons after 3 45, send them my way...I am totally serious!
Secondly, Y and M will be off from school for a week at the end of December for a holiday break. Friendship Circle is running a winter camp for children with special needs so I think I will sign Y up. Having him home all week needing to be entertained could prove to be a bit overwhelming.
Speaking of overwhelming, two of my favorite bloggers wrote posts this week about the insanity that is life with four young children (excuse some of the language...they have had a rough day!). I had to laugh at Mama Birth's and Melissa's descriptions of their kids' antics...but not too much, because I know that that may be me in a few weeks. Something to look forward to :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ready to Leave Hibernation

AY is officially two weeks old and I am ready to rejoin the world. When M was born, my midwife at the time suggested to me that I not leave the house for the first two weeks so I would not overdo it. At the time, it seemed a little crazy to me, but I decided to give it a try.
I thought I would go stir-crazy not going out for so long but the truth was, it was really relaxing to just be home. And it definitely was a good safeguard to not overexert myself. So when AY was born, I decided to do the same thing. For the first week of his life, I left the house only two times- for a pediatrician's visit and to take A to buy shoes at a store around the corner (this was not really planned but I felt that she needed a little extra attention)
The second week, I only left the house on Sunday to go to the bris. This past Friday, I decided that I was feeling well enough and was ready to get some air. I picked M up from school and it felt nice to be outdoors again, and to see some people other than my lovely family. Last night I went out for some frozen yogurt and today, my mom and I took the older kids to the playground, which was my longest outing yet.
So I guess I am now officially leaving the house again. As nice as it was to have this time to rest. I am looking forward to getting out a bit, taking AY for some walks, doing some of my own errands rather than relying on others and taking M to school. And I am definitely ready to rejoin civilization.

And now for some Channukah fun- presenting the Maccabeats singing Matisahu's "Miracle"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baby update

AY is almost two weeks old! Time really  has flown by, it's mostly been a blur of nursing, changing and holding the baby, along with lots of time spent in bed sleeping or at least attempting to sleep.
AY will sleep nice stretches, but when he is up, he wants to be held most of the time. I have been trying out the sling I got and he seems to like it. It's pretty comfortable and I have my hands free. I can see myself using it a lot, especially once I start taking the kids down to the bus again. I also want to find my Moby wrap which I seemed to have stored away somewhere.
I am definitely feeling much stronger this week. I don't collapse into bed by 8 pm anymore and I have gotten some projects done, including putting away my maternity clothes and swapping it for my winter stuff. The next step is organizing all the baby clothes we got as gifts. And if I am really ambitious I might even start working on thank-you cards...but that can probably wait another week or two.
My parents are still here for another week, which will give me some time to ease into my regular routine. Next week I want to start doing some of the pick-up and drop offs for school again and also cook a bit. People have been really generous with sending us dinners, but I think I am ready to start choosing my own menu, rather than being surprised every evening and hoping the kids will like the offerings.
I know it is too soon to expect a routine and a schedule but I do hope we will get there in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, I want to try and enjoy this time, rather than just trying to get through it. The little man has already graduated from Newborn diapers to size 1...before we blink, he won't be so little anymore!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AY's birth story

My doula Leda came for a postpartum visit today and presented me with a lovely birth story. This inspired me to finally write down my own version. Note- if you do not like birth stories and do not want to read about mucous plugs, contractions and amniotic fluid, stop reading right now. Otherwise, consider yourself warned and read  on:
During this pregnancy, I started having Braxton Hicks/ pre-labor contractions pretty early on, around 34 weeks. I was surprised, but my midwife Miriam reassured me that it was normal for symptoms to appear earlier in subsequent pregnancies. On November 7th, in my 36th week, I had a day of more intense contractions and all around weird sensations and I thought I may be in labor and that my water had broken (it had not). The sensations went away in the evening though and for the next few weeks, I went about my regular business, having some days with more contractions, others with less. I tried to rest up more, especially at nights. I always knew the contractions were not real labor because they did not hurt that much and because they stopped when I was lying down.
I saw my midwife Wednesday before Thanksgiving and she said everything looked great. We scheduled our next visit for Thursday, December 1st, my due date. My husband laughed and said there was no way we were still going to be seeing her pregnant that day.
Friday November 25th started out as a pretty regular day. The kids were all home so we spent time at the park in the morning and then the afternoon getting ready for shabbos. A little bit after candle-lighting, I noticed that I was having a lot of discharge, more than usual. This continued on for most of the evening so I asked my husband if I could call the midwife just to check in and see if it might be amniotic fluid. I told her what was going on and she told me she thought it was my mucous plug and not amniotic fluid. She also told me how to check to be sure, to go to bed early and call her if anything changes.
I went to bed early and had a pretty good night's sleep although I just felt something was going on. I was not having a lot of contractions, but something felt different. I also remember having a few contractions lying down and thinking it was weird, because I had never had contractions in bed.
Shabbos morning I woke up and soon after started having real contractions. They felt different than the Braxton- Hicks because they were stronger, although still not very painful. They were coming about every 15 to 20 minutes. I told my husband to go to shul but to make sure the janitor would pick up the phone in case I needed him. I was not sure if I should go to shul, but once I saw that the contractions were still irregular and not hard to deal with, I decided to take the kids. I figured it would distract me and also keep them busy. It is hard for them to be home all day so I wanted to take them out.
Shul was pretty uneventful. We only went around 10 45 and left about 12  so we were not there for that long. I was able to daven and interact with people at the kiddush after, while every 20 minutes or so taking 45 seconds to surreptitiously breathe through a contraction. Around 12 I decided it was probably best to head home. We then had a pretty normal shabbos lunch. I wanted to go about with my routine as much as possible until I felt like I could not anymore. So I served everyone lunch and I ate a good meal to make sure I was well nourished and hydrated for labor. We sang songs and talked about the parsha with the kids.
The contractions started feeling stronger and coming closer together. At some point my husband walked into the kitchen while I was leaning into the counter and breathing/swaying. He shook his head and said something like, "It's a good thing you know about this stuff and are calm."
By now I knew this baby was coming that day, it was just a question of when. We discussed dropping the kids off by friends but there were some teenage girls coming over to play with them around 3, so we decided to wait and see what was going on once the girls left. Maybe we could stall till bedtime or at least till shabbos was over when we could distract the kids with the iPad.
We finished lunch around 1 45 and I told my husband to go rest because I could not sleep with contractions anyway. I decided to read on the couch while the kids played. The contractions were closer together when I was actively moving around so I was trying to stall a bit by staying lying down. The contractions were more uncomfortable that way. The kids still had no idea anything was going on. They did not really notice me breathing through contractions and I wasn't doing anything else at this point.
When the girls arrived to watch the kids around 3, I excused myself to go lie down. I called Miriam to tell her what was going on. Because the contractions were still spaced out when resting, she thought I probably still had some time but told me she would be close by, awaiting my call. I was a bit disappointed because I thought she would come right over, but decided Miriam was probably right and there was still more time.
I tried to lie down and rest a bit, but I was too excited by all the happenings. Plus I could not stay lying down during the contractions which were now 7-8 minutes apart and getting stronger.
The turning point came at 3 45 when I went to the bathroom and all of a sudden, started having contractions every 2-3 minutes. I stayed in the bathroom for a bit because I felt more comfortable there but when I saw that they were not slowing down and also thought my water might have broken, I realized I needed to call Miriam back.
I called Miriam around 4 10 and told her I was ready for her to come ASAP. I also called my doula Leda who happened  to be on her way to the West Side anyway. She said if I was calling her on Shabbos, something must really be going on. It was a little strange making all these calls on Shabbos, but I knew it was the right thing to do. If anything I probably should have called earlier!
From here, everything went really fast. My husband asked the girls to stay so he could daven mincha. He would watch the kids till the end of shabbos and then put on a video for them. There was only 45 minutes left till the end of Shabbos so that seemed to make sense.
He also brought me some water. Meanwhile I decided to get in the shower to cope with the contractions. By now they were really intense but thankfully they were very short, maybe 30 seconds or so. Maybe 45. I wasn't timing anything at this point, just trying to get through one at a time. The shower was incredibly helpful. I let the water run down my back while leaning into the wall and moaning.
I could have just stayed there. I did not really want to move but I realized I was close to pushing and decided to call Miriam again to make sure she was really coming! Just as I came out of the bathroom, Miriam walked in. It was 4 45 and I was so relieved to see her. I told her I thought I was almost ready to push and she took one look at me and agreed. She checked the baby's heartbeat and said it sounded great.
About two contractions later, Leda walked in and I started to feel a real urge to push. At 4 57, with one of my first pushes, my water broke. At first I was pushing standing up but then I decided to move onto my bed. This was my first time pushing self-directed rather than the counting way they do in the hospital. It felt better this way to push when I felt the need to, rather than when the doctor tells you to. I could feel the baby moving down, although I could not see anything because of the position I was in.
At this point, Leda asked if she should go get my husband and take over the kids. I was very much in the moment and did not want her to leave my side. I also was not sure how he could be in the room for modesty reasons. Looking back, I regret that decision. I did not realize how soon the baby was going to be born and I wish he could have been there. I was also just really focused on getting the baby OUT. Throughout my labor I had been pretty calm and in control, even through what must have been transition while I was in the shower. But now I was starting to lose it and just wanted it to be over. With every push I kept asking if the head was crowning yet. I actually only pushed for 10 minutes but it felt like forever at the time. Finally I felt the baby crowning and the head emerged. I was assuming that from that point on, he would slide right out like the others did, but instead I felt incredible pain as his shoulders and the rest of his body came out. It was the only time in my labor when I actually screamed really loud. I remember saying, "What's going on?" because I thought something was wrong.
But then the baby was here! Miriam and Leda helped me turn from my knees onto my back and handed me the baby. They covered us in towels so we would be warm and I got my first look at the baby. I checked the gender and announced "It's a boy". He was covered in vernix and cried right away. In fact, Miriam said he started  making sounds before his whole body was even out. She also told me that the pain I had felt was him coming out straight with both shoulders, as opposed to rotating one shoulder at a time, so she had helped him along a bit. Even so, I only had a minor tear that did not need any repairs. The baby looked great. His APGARS were 9 and 10.

As soon as the baby was born and I was covered, Leda went to get my husband so he could meet our new baby. It was a very special moment. We were waiting to cut the cord until the placenta was out so I just lay there with the baby on me, getting to know him. I felt the cord pulsating, which was pretty cool. The baby cried a bit and at first he was not so interested in nursing but after 20-30 minutes, he latched on like a pro.
Soon after,I delivered the placenta and we cut the cord. The kids came in at some point to meet their new baby brother. They were very excited.

After about an hour, Miriam examined me to make sure my bleeding was normal (it was) and did a newborn exam on the baby. He measured 21 inches and weighed in at 8lbs 6 oz, although I think Miriam's scale might have been a bit off and he was probably more like 8 lbs 2 oz. He passed his newborn exam with flying colors- his color was good, all his reflexes were in order and, as a bonus,  he was beautiful!
I could not believe how normal everything had felt. I also was feeling very good for just having given birth. When I told Miriam that my perineum felt a bit sore, she laughed and said, "Well you did just have a baby come out of there!"  I got up to take a shower, while Leda and Miriam changed the sheets and cleaned up the room. The mess was pretty contained and it was easily done. I also got dressed so we could take some pictures with the baby.
Miriam left around 6 45 after making sure we were all settled and okay. She told me to call her anytime if I had any questions and that she was available to come back if I needed her. Leda stayed for a bit longer. She got some laundry started and brought me dinner- orange juice and cereal.
My husband put the kids to bed and called our parents to share the news. By 8 pm, everyone had left, the kids were sleeping and I was lying in bed with the baby. I marveled at him and at how smoothly things had gone. It's truly a miracle how one moment you are pregnant and then all of a sudden there is this little person. We felt incredibly blessed.

PS: I know a lot of you are curious about the logistics of home birth. I plan to do a more comprehensive post about it in the next few weeks, including frequently asked questions, the safety of homebirth, etc. so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

And his name is....

Aharon Yochanan, from hereon to be referred to as Baby AY. The bris was really beautiful, although I spent too much time on my feet and was exhausted afterwards. My husband gave an amazing speech, which I have yet to hear, explaining the significance of the name and praising me :) I am waiting on the audio recording. It was also nice to see so many people make an effort and come out to share in our celebration.
I had originally scheduled a babysitter to come watch the boys during the bris and bring them to shul a bit later. I did not think they could sit quietly and did want to have to worry about them running around the shul. As luck would have it, her alarm was set to vibrate and she overslept. This meant I had to reorient myself and get to shul with all four kids by by myself. Luckily we don't live too far and everyone cooperated. Once we got there though, I quickly lost both boys and could only hope someone was with them.
As the bris was going on, I was trying to focus and pray while Y was running back and forth from the men's to the women's section and M was attempting to swing himself over the banister. I thought to myself- I am not going to be upset. G'd clearly had a reason He wanted my boys to be at the bris...even though I myself did not want them there.
It worked out in the end. My mother pitched in and then a close friend saved the day by distracting M with her iPhone and making sure Y was accounted for and safe. My babysitter came at 9 30. She felt terrible and made up for it by taking all three of the kids and keeping them busy through the entire meal so I could eat and greet others :)
Baby AY is doing okay. He slept a lot and does not like having his diaper changed but he is a trooper. He and I are getting ready for another early night. I feel a little silly going to bed every night at 9 pm but I also know that that is what I need right now in order to regain my strength. Tomorrow the kids go back to school and I am planning on spending another morning in bed, snuggling with my little one.

Me and AY all ready for shabbos

Saturday, December 3, 2011

First Shabbos

I can't believe our little man is already a week old. On Friday night, I was very emotional. First at candle-lighting, when I added another candle for the baby, I started to cry. Then at the meal- my husband giving him a bracha and making kiddush for all of us made me tear up again. It just felt like the baby was now officially part of our family. It was very overwhelming- in a good way.
Today I kept thinking about last week, when I was in labor. All afternoon I had been timing contractions, wondering if this baby was still going to be born on shabbos. Then at 5 05 I thought about how he had just been born and how the midwife placed him in my arms  and I discovered that he was a was really a wonderful experience.
I do want to write up the story of his birth, before I forget anything. But tonight, I need to get a good night's sleep. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow- the Bris and Naming!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bonding with Baby

I took my own advice and got into bed around 8 45 last night and stayed there till 7 30 the next morning. Obviously I was up quite a bit with feedings but the baby also slept some longer stretches so I woke up feeling much better. I also spent most of the morning in bed, partially napping and partially reading. It was just what I needed and I was able to enjoy it, feeling I was doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing...resting and bonding with my baby.
I realized that after birth, you need to slow down to recover. But this act of slowing down and resting also sets the perfect stage for you to spend a lot of time with your baby- nursing, holding, sleeping together. All this is really what facilitates optimal bonding with your baby. There is the natural motherly bond/love that kicks in right away but it's the act of nurturing and giving that really deepens that connection.  My midwife calls it a period of "falling in love" and after 4 days of cuddling and feeding this yummy boy, I am definitely feeling it.
PS: Today marks the end of NaBloPoMo! I made it through, although I did miss one day towards the beginning.  I am definitely taking the day off tomorrow, possibly through the weekend. While it was a nice challenge to post every day, I need a break. But I will be back soon...stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 3- I am not Superwoman

I think I might be overdoing it. In fact, I know I am. I got a decent night's sleep last night with the baby had good intentions to rest in the afternoon but somehow it just never happened.
We went on our first outing to the pediatrician, which was tiring. Then the mohel came over to check the baby just as I was planning to take a nap. Then the baby woke up. Then M came home from school. Then my midwife came to do a post-partum check. Then a grocery delivery came. Then Y came home from school...and so it went.
Couple that with the typical Day 3 issues of hormones crashing and milk coming in and you have one cranky Mama. A cranky mommy who is shutting down at 8 30 pm and dealing with everything else tomorrow. Let's just hope the baby cooperates with this plan.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our family

I am determined to post daily through the end of November. I don't know if anyone aside from my family reads this, but just to prove to myself that I can. And since I am currently holding a cute little bundle in my hands, I have all the time in the world :)
I have to link to this cute list- 18 phrases this mom uses every day. It really made me laugh and I probably use most of them too, as I am assuming do most moms of young children. It is also apropos because it kind of just dawned on me, that I am now the proud mother of four (!!) amazing children. I know this should be fairly obvious to me, just doing basic math, but how crazy is that?
Not quite sure where the time went. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and awed by the responsibility of being in charge of all these little people. But tonight, as we read bedtime books with the baby in my arms and the kids sitting around me (well, almost all of them, Y was off in the corner, pretending to play football and tackle someone), it just felt right and doable. This is my little posse. I just pray that G'd give me the strength and wisdom to give my children all the love, care and education that they need.
And that I don't forget to say Nr. 18 on the list multiple times a day: "I love you!"

Brotherly love

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 1

I cannot believe our little addition has been with us for over 24 hours! So far we have had a smooth transition. He slept a decent amount between feedings both last night and today, although a lot of it was in my arms. Am going to have to get used to sharing my bed with a baby again.
To those who noticed- yes, that is not a hospital bed in the picture. Our little man was born at home with a midwife. I am hoping to post my birth story at some point, but for now I will just say that it was the right decision for us and that it just felt so normal. And it's nice to be home in my own bed
We had family friends come over in the morning to help out and then my in-laws in the afternoon, so I have really been able to rest. My friend came by with a supply of cookies, always a necessity to have around. I am so grateful for all the support and offers of help. I am sure I will need it. I have learned the hard way that if you overdo it in the beginning, it will only come back to bite you later. Resting now will hold me in good stead later on.
Speaking of rest, the baby is sleeping so I will try to get some sleep too!
I'll just leave you with another picture of our cutie

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's a Boy!

Probably my best blog post ever ;)
Baby  Boy- born 5: 05 pm, 21 inches, 8 lbs 6 oz
Mom and Baby are doing great and going to sleep now!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good shabbos

Running super late...I love living in the city because when you realize you are out of tissues 20 minutes before shabbos, you can just run out to CVS at the corner!
Wishing everyone a restful and relaxing shabbos- I could use it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Toilet-Saga

I don't know if anyone wants to hear about our toilet trouble but I will tell you anyway.
For almost a month now, our toilet in our main bathroom has been out of commission on and off.This toilet has always been a bit temperamental but at least it worked. Now, nada!
 It started on a shabbos about a month ago when one of our shabbos guests put baby wipes in the toilet and caused it to back up. Because it was the weekend, we had to wait till Monday to have it fixed...only to have it break again the following shabbos. The super came up again on Monday and fixed it. He also said it was the kid's fault and that if it happens again, he would not come back to fix it. And that we should not put any toilet paper in the toilet. Excuse me?
I should mention that because we live in New York City we pay an arm and a leg for this apartment. I am  embarrassed to say how much. And they just raised our rent. So you would think that for all that money we would be entitled to a working toilet that actually flushes toilet paper.
We do have two other bathrooms, but one is in our bedroom, the other in my husband's office. These are rooms we usually try to keep the kids out of. So now every time someone needs to use the bathroom they need to come get me so I can unlock the door. As for trying to toilet train Y- guess who is not going to the bathroom every half hour because it is just too complicated.
Here is where it gets tricky. The toilet worked for about five days until the following Shabbos when the boys in a moment of mischief thought it was hilarious to flush plastic spoons down the toilet while I was not paying attention. Surprisingly, they went down without a problem. The problem is, after the spoons, nothing else did anymore. So we had a broken toilet all weekend once again. And this time it was our fault. But still...
Despite his threats, the super did come up again. He was able to fix it temporarily but three days later it stopped working again...thankfully not on a Shabbos! It still took till Friday to get someone to come take a look at it. The super came up last Friday and declared it fixed.  He also told me if it happens again, he would have to replace the toilet. I said "please do!!" About half hour after he left, the water was backing up again.
Which brings me to today. We had spent almost the whole week trying to get him to come upstairs and finally today, on Thanksgiving, the super came back, toting some big machine. He found one more plastic spoon backed up in the toilet and gave me another lecture about keeping the kids away from the toilet.
Can you guess what happened about an hour after he left? Exactly!
The whole thing is so absurd, I am not exactly sure if I should cry or laugh. I am dreading calling him back tomorrow. He will be really annoyed even though we have not doing anything wrong. At this point, I want a new toilet. Whatever the issue is, it is obviously not being resolved with a plunger or even some newfangled machine.
I do not know a lot about the cost or labor involved in replacing a toilet but what I do know is that I am about to have a baby in the next week or so and will have a lot of people in my home- babysitters, parents, etc. So a functioning toilet that is easily accessible and not behind locked doors would be very helpful. And again, given the rent we pay, not such an unreasonable request, don't you think?
Any tips on dealing with the super/management company are highly welcome...oh and Happy Thanksgiving too!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Parade

I have to admit the mini-parade at A's school was actually very cute. A bit chaotic and noisy, but definitely sweet.
Here are some pics of our little pilgrim girl

Here is also a little video clip about the parade. If you look closely, you can see A. at the beginning of the video. 

Someone said they saw my husband in a CBS news segment about the parade as well. I spent a while trying  to find it online but was not successful. If anyone does find it and wants to forward it to me, go right ahead.
I am still not convinced there is a need to make such a big deal out of an American secular holiday in a Jewish school, but maybe that is just the European in me. A good time was had by all and it was definitely sweet to see A's enthusiasm. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Knitting Pics/ Kids Update

My self-imposed resting at night has left me with a lot of time to knit and so I are my latest projects, all obviously baby-related. The booties are supposed to look like mini-uggs and I still have to add some trim to the sides and front to make it look like the seam on Ugg boots.
Here is the link to the pattern if anyone is interested, as well as some pictures of how the booty would look with the finished trim.

On the kids front:
-We went back to the doctor to check on Y's finger today. He did much better this time with the change of bandage. There was much less crying and struggling. It seems he may have a localized infection, so the doctor put him on antibiotics. He did not seem overly concerned about it though, just told us to keep an eye out if we notice any redness or fever.
-A. has a Thanksgiving parade at school tomorrow. They will march around the block. Because of the forecasted rain they may actually just march around their gym, but she is super enthusiastic about it. Growing up in Europe, my family never really celebrated Thanksgiving but it is cute to watch her get excited about it and to listen to her tell the story of the Mayflower and the pilgrims. I should pay attention because I am a bit fuzzy on the historical details myself.
-M. is in the cute phase of trying to figure out who everyone is and if he knows them. He likes to point out his friends at school and will often ask me who people on the street are. It is part of the process of making sense of the world and you can almost see his brain working, trying to process where every person fits in, whether it is a neighbor, a child playing next to him at the park or a substitute doorman he does not know.
It's a good reminder to stop and try to see the world through kid's everything is exciting and new.  Especially on dreary rainy days like today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Other people's Blogs

I know I am constantly linking to articles and other blogs but this one is a must-read. Ellen at Love That Max has a guest post by Jane Schulz, a pioneer in inclusion and an advocate for children with special needs. Her son Billy, who has Down Syndrome, was born in 1956. They brought him home and because there were no services available, became his early intervention team, teachers, etc. Eventually she went back to school for a doctorate in education. She chronicles her experiences in a book called Grown Man Now (which I now want to buy!) and describes just a little bit in this post. Fascinating to see what she achieved and how far special education has come. Go read it and then check out her blog, titled Grown Man Now like her book. Just the fact that this woman is in her 70s (if not 80s) and she has a blog makes her cool in my eyes.
I admit that I spend way too much time reading other people's blogs but I do think some of it is worthwhile. I get lots of useful information that way about special needs, parenting and birth. I get to read perspectives and ideas I may not have been exposed to otherwise. Most importantly, I get to read about others going through similar things as I am. A few people commented to me how they loved the post I linked to about taking your kids to the park. They said they had not laughed so hard in a while and also "those are your kids!" I said: "I know!" That is exactly the point, to feel that you are not alone, that everyone's kids are a little nutty sometimes, everyone has good days and bad days and that it's good to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously.
In that vein, I'll share with you a funny quote from little M. that proves that I probably do spend too much time on the computer. We were at the library today and M sat himself down at a computer terminal and proceeded to bang around on the keys. I told him it was time to go and he said, "Wait, I'm checking my email. Just two more minutes!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences times three

Part of the fun of having three kids in three schools is that they all have different vacation schedules and you often have three times the events to attend. Today was the last of three parent-teacher conferences my husband and I attended in the past two weeks.
It was nice to hear all the positive feedback and wonderful things the their teachers had to say about them. Obviously, there are always challenges and weaknesses and that is part of the process too, hearing where there can be improvement, what can be done at home and ensuring that there is consistency between expectations at home and at school.
What is apparent is that all the teachers truly like (if not love) our children, care for them and want them to succeed. What more can you ask for?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baby Blanket

Tonight, after a fairly quiet and restful Shabbos I finally had a chance to weave in some loose ends and finish up the baby blanket I had posted about a few weeks ago.
Now it is bigger, but I am not sure I like it better this way

As you can see, I added four panels but I am wondering if it is just too many colors. Plus I was lazy and used stockinette stitch and now the sides are curling under. I can try steaming or ironing it to even it out but that might be too much of a hassle already. Am seriously considering removing the extra panels.
Would love some feedback/comments on this one.

In other news, there has been a lot of blogging and news online this past week about an ad campaign in Milwaukee that compares co-sleeping with your baby to allowing your baby to sleep next to a knife.
A bit much, no?

For some factual information about safe co-sleeping or bed sharing as well as safe and unsafe practices, here are two good articles. The first is from the Birth without Fear Blog, the second one from the website of Dr. Sears, a trusted pediatrician for over 40 years.
I like to have my babies close by, it facilitates breastfeeding at night. That doesn't necessarily mean in my bed but it does happen on occasion. I think everyone needs to make the decision of what works for them without being unnecessarily influenced by misleading scare tactics such as these ad campaigns

Friday, November 18, 2011

38 weeks and counting...

I started my 38th week of pregnancy this week, either on Tuesday or Thursday, depending on who you ask...Last week was a rough week when I was having a lot of painful contractions, other weird symptoms and fatigue. I thought this baby might be joining us sooner than expected. This past week things have calmed down significantly and I have been able to go about most of my regular activities. I did finally give up my vinyasa yoga class and have started attending the slower and less intensive pre-natal session.
I am trying to give myself more breaks. I am still having contractions regularly but that is normal for this stage. I know they are not "the real thing" because they stop when I rest. I can usually sense when I am overdoing it and need to take a time-out of a half hour or more on the couch. I also try to rest in the evenings and not do any intensive housework after eight.
Which is why, with less than two hours to shabbos, I am finding myself sitting on my bed blogging because I needed a little break. This morning I finished my shabbos cooking, did some laundry, took Y to the doctor to have his bandage changed (it's healing well but will need to stay covered for at least two weeks) , took Y to school, came home to put up the cholent, picked M up from school and brought him home, ran to pick A up from school to take her to a class and then finally came home feeling that I must sit down! I am taking a breather now so that I can start the bathing the kids/last minute prep/heat up the food routine in a little while. I am sure it will all get done.
Wishing everyone a peaceful and restful shabbos!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Links edition

 Not sure if this is cheating, but instead of sharing my own words of wisdom, I thought I would link to some interesting blog posts I have come across in the past week or two that made me think:

Jerusalem Stoned had a great post last week about the difference between guilt and change when it comes to parenting. Today she also has a really funny post about the crazy little people we call children.

Chana at Jewish Mom posted excerpts of an interview with Ayala Nivin that appears in Mishpacha magazine this week. Ayala is a mother of fourteen children and she describes how she learned to take care of herself, in order to be a better mother to her children.

On Aish, Emunah Braverman offers six simple but effective tips for a good marriage.

At the Rebbetzen's Conference, they had a session about postpartum depression. The woman presenting told us about a Jewish organization called SPARKS that works with women working through postpartum depression.  They have information, support groups and a hotline. They also mentioned a great site called Postpartum Progress. I checked it out and was impressed. They have a lot of resources like, checklist of symptoms of Post Partum Depression or Anxiety, as well as many personal accounts and stories of women who have struggled with but overcome PPD. As a doula, I have found that not enough people have awareness about the prevalence of perinatal or postpartum mood disorders. It is important to be educated so that you can identify issues early and treat them as soon as possible.

On a more lighthearted note, check out crappy pictures, an original mommy blog that documents a mother's adventures with her kids in cute pictures/illustrations. I could totally relate to this post about taking kids to the park and having them all take off in opposite directions.

Have you read anything interesting this week that you care to share?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Medical Update

Apparently we were wrong about Y's finger. His cut was pretty bad, according to the surgeon. He had to put in several stitches on the finger, as well as having to remove the finger nail and stitch up a laceration there as well. He wrapped a big bandage around Y's wrist and finger so that he can't bend it. We need to keep it clean and dry and come back on Friday to change the bandage.
It took quite a while and for about 40 minutes an office assistant, my husband, and I had to hold poor Y down so the doctor could properly suture him. We tried to get him to cooperate with the help of an iPad and promises of ice-cream but most of the time he was crying "don't hurt me" and that he wanted to "go home". To say that it was not pleasant is an understatement. Thank goodness for this amazingly talented and patient plastic surgeon. And a shout-out to my supportive husband who took the morning off to help out at the doctor's office. I am not sure how we would have done it without you!
When we  finally finished, we decided to skip school and give Y the rest of the day off, so we came home where he had his promised ice-cream and spent the rest of the day hanging out on the couch, watching too many videos. I felt like I deserved a reward too, or maybe an alcoholic drink. I made do with lunch and some ice-cream later on in the afternoon.
Kids are pretty resilient and Y seems to be doing alright, although he does not want anyone going near his hand. We did have some drama at bedtime though. He did not want to take his shirt off or put on his pajama-top, because it involved pulling the hand in and out of a sleeve. Eventually it got done.
He will also be going back to school tomorrow. He uses his right hand for coloring/writing so I am hoping the bandage won't be too limiting. And that, my friends, was my exciting's hoping tomorrow is calmer.
On a more somber note: Yesterday, the 18th of Cheshvan was also the first Yahrzeit of Jenny Morhaim, Ruchama Shaindel bat Henya Gittel Miriama former roommate and friend who died tragically and suddenly last year at the age of 27, leaving a husband and three children behind. Here are some thoughts I posted about her last year. May her neshama have an aliya and her memory be for a blessing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Conference Day 2

I am too tired to give a really good summary of the sessions I attended today. Most of them were really excellent. Highlights include: planning your next 5 years, children with special needs (I could have given that session!), dealing with divorce in the Jewish community, and how to keep the Rabbinic family thriving and healthy.
My enjoyment was tempered a bit by the news that Y's finger got stuck in a door and was bleeding. The babysitter was able to stop the bleeding and calm him down, so I did not come home early, even though I really wanted to. Part of the reason was that I was depending on someone else for a ride back.
After several attempts to clean and get a better look at the cut, my husband and I determined that it does need to be seen by a doctor. We called the plastic surgeon we know and he told us that it can wait till the morning, assuming the bleeding stops and Y is not in too much pain. He fell asleep pretty quickly, so we will go see him at his office in the morning. Which is a good thing because I don't think I could get off the couch and out the door at this point anyway.
Walking in the door at 6 pm and then having to do books, bath and bedtime, not to mention dinner for the adults in the house is a real challenge for me. I guess if that is your daily routine, you get used to it and figure out ways to make it run more efficiently. It is probably also easier when you don't have a mini medical drama going on at the same time. The babysitter felt terrible and kept apologizing to me. I am not upset, because it was one of those scenarios where M was running in one direction and Y in the other. You cannot be in two places at one time and these things can happen so fast- it just takes a second. It could have happened to me.
I am off to do some dishes and unpack four boxes of my grocery delivery. Hoping to get to sleep at a decent hour so I can regroup for the doctor's appointment in the morning. Never a dull moment here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Conference Day 1

I had a great but tiring day at the Rebbetzen's conference. This is my fourth year attending so I already know many of the women. It's kind of nice to catch up with them and see how their year has been, what big or small changes have occurred. Sometimes they have had a baby, sometimes  they have moved on to another community, but often things kind of stay the same.
As usual, some sessions were informative and interesting, others were less so. I have found that the panel presentations of older Rebbetzens and sessions where women have the opportunity to share and ask questions are the most helpful.You hear others describing their challenges and successes and can relate it to your own issues.
What is annoying is that sometimes there are two or three sessions going on concurrently, that I want to participate in. Alas, I can only be in one place at one time, so I try to gain what I can. Tomorrow there are definitely a few different topics I am interested in.
I do find it draining to spend all day sitting, listening to others talk. It is definitely enjoyable but tiring. Then I come home and have not seen my kids all day and I feel badly that we only have a half hour until they have to go to bed to catch up on the events of their schoolday.  I feel sad that I was not the one to pick them up from school or hear about their day as they have their snack, even if it is only for a day or two. The flipside of that is that I am very fortunate to be able to stay home with them usually and be the one they come to with their boo-boos, stories from school and even their potty language which seems to be a big source of entertainment these days.
Childcare, always a source of anxiety when being out of the house for a significant amount of time, worked out great today. I am a little nervous about tomorrow's arrangement but am hoping everything will go smoothly and everyone's needs will be met! I guess we will see...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My lovely active children

This morning, we took advantage of the beautiful November weather and I took Y to soccer league, while a babysitter took the other two to a nearby playground. Central Park in the fall is so beautiful! When we met up with them an hour and a half later, A and M were still having a blast and Y wanted to play too, so we decided to stay for another 20-30 minutes.
As I was watching them run and jump and laugh, I marveled at their unending energy and enthusiasm and reminded myself that my kids are, thank G'd healthy active children and they need to get out and MOVE.
After lunch, we decided to head out to the park again, because the weather was still gorgeous and hey, why not. And as I watched them run around and kick the ball and swing and do all the crazy things they love to do, I thought again of how happy they are outdoors and how hard it is for them to be confined indoors sometimes. This explains why they sometimes trash their rooms and fight with each other and make me crazy- because they have all this energy and do not know where to put it.
I am not sure how to continue giving them that outlet, now that the cold weather is coming. Most days they come home from school too late to really head out again. But it is something to keep in mind on those days when their restlessness turns to mischief and trouble. Thank G'd they are healthy kids with a lot of energy who need activity in some form. And when they do not get it, they need lots of love and patience from their Mommy instead!
In other news, I had a lovely date night with my husband tonight. We figured it was our last "hurrah" before the baby makes its appearance in the next 2-3 weeks. Good food, good company, and good conversation- a winning combination.
And I am excited for my Rebbetzen's conference that I will be attending over the next two days. It is always nice to connect with other Rabbi's wives and I usually come home having learned some fascinating things. I will report more tomorrow.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

(No) Rest for the Weary

Shavua tov! We are having some serious sleep issues in our home. Which start with Y waking up around 5 am every morning since we changed the clock. I can usually convince him to go back to bed for about half an hour before he is up again and waking his buddy M so they can play- argh. This then results in my husband and I trying to ignore them and continue sleeping while taking turns to go check on them whenever there is a loud crash or other disconcerting noise.
What also happens is that I have a very, very cranky M on hand most days because he is not really supposed to be woken up at 5 30 (!) am. Some days I put him down for a nap, but then he won't go to sleep at night and we have another bad sleep cycle. Today, I decided not to have him nap, especially because he was not interested in napping at all. We had a busy but cranky day and even went to the park. Then around 5 15, while eating dinner, I noticed that he was awfully quiet..he had fallen asleep in the chair!
After shabbos, I could not resist snapping a picture of him before putting him into his bed.
I am a little bit concerned what time he will wake up in the morning, but I am thinking that it cannot really be much earlier than 5 30 anyway. Plus, the poor child obviously needs some rest! His mom could use some sleep too, as well as some advice to how to get Y to wake up later!

Friday, November 11, 2011

One-on-One Time with my Oldest

Today is apparently Veteran's Day which means yet another day off for Y. When I told him he was not going to school today, he looked at me with his cute face and in a hopeful way said "Park?" Like any boy, Y loves running around and misses not being able to go out to play after school, now that he gets home so late and the weather is turning cold.
The playground had not really been on my agenda for this morning but then I realized, that I have a pretty light schedule. We decided not to have company this week and my food was all cooked except for the cholent.
So after folding one load of laundry and washing two more, we headed out to take M to school. Y was excited to see his old preschool and we went to visit his Morah. They actually offered to have him come back for shabbos party and pizza lunch, but I decided the logistics of it would be too complicated.
Then we went to a playground near school that Y likes. It has a basketball court and we spent some time trying to shoot some hoops. Y was insisting that I shoot the ball, because he could not reach. What he did not realize is that he picked the wrong person for basketball :) His Abba or his aunt in Israel are much more likely to score than me.
Then he ran around the playground for a bit more while I watched and cheered him on. Soon enough we were both too cold to stay. We went to the supermarket nearby to pick up some things for shabbos. Y was excited because he got to ride the escalator, plus he wheeled the basket and helped me put the food on the conveyor belt when we were paying.
Our whole outing was only about an hour but it was nice to spend some time alone with Y, something I realize I do not get to do very often. Now we are home and back to our own schedules, but I am glad I was able to fit this in.
Have a wonderful shabbos!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Baby Wearing

After yesterday's heavy post, I figured I would give you something more light-hearted today.
Today, I saw one of my neighbors with her newborn baby, incidentally also her fourth child. She was carrying her 3-week old girl in a wrap and it got me all enthusiastic and excited about babywearing again.
For the uninitiated, babywearing refers to carrying your infant/child in a baby carrier.
The truth is I have been thinking about babywearing for a while already, and every time I see a Mom (or Dad- have to say I think men who are confident enough to use baby-carriers are amazing!) with a baby carrier,  I check to see which brand/type she is using.
We have come a long, long way from the days of Baby Bjorns. I had one of those for Y and A and the truth is, I did not really use it that much because it was not comfortable. I have since learned, that the position of the baby in a Bjorn is considered far from optimal and not recommended.
When I was pregnant with M, I started looking into more options. And there are plenty. If you really want your head to spin, check out a store like Metro Minis or a site like The Babywearer, that has every wrap, sling and carrier under the planet.
The two types that I own, have used a lot and plan to use again this time are:
1) The Ergo Baby- it is a structured carrier with straps that is easy to put on and incredibly comfortable to use. M used to hang out in there for hours, especially when he was a newborn and the other two were both still sitting in the stroller. The baby can be worn in front, back or on the side.

 Similar options would be the Beco Carrier or a Mei Tai.

2) The Moby Wrap- There is a learning curve in figuring out how to wrap all this material snugly and safely, but once you have figured it out, it is another versatile and comfortable option. It is not as quick as snapping on a structured carrier, but it is softer and is great for snuggling the baby in a crade-like hold. There are multiple options for the wrap as well in terms of front, side or back-carrying. There are also many other brands of wraps, but I happen to like the fabric of the Moby. It is stretchy but still supportive.

Couldn't resist posting this- how cute is that?

New addition: Slings- I don't have any real experience using slings yet, but I took advantage of a promotion recenty and received a brand new Sevenslings in the mail for the price of shipping (about 10 dollars, retails at 38). I am excited to try it out.

I think babywearing is great for bonding with your child. Additionally, if you have other chidren to take care of, it is a great way to be able to hold the baby while still having your hands free to help your other kids. I joke around with a friend, that I am planning on sticking the new baby in a wrap and just continuing my schedule the way it is toting him or her around wherever I go...probably wishful thinking.
As always, make sure the baby is secure in the carrier and read up on safe baby-wearing. You can also read about the beefits of babywearing here and here. Happy Babywearing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Loss of a Gadol

Yesterday, the Jewish world sustained another big loss with the sudden death of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Having had no personal connection to him, I cannot possibly do justice to speaking about such a great individual, so please take my words with a grain of salt.
Vos iz neias has a good synopsis of his life and the impact he had on the world of Jewish learning. The Yeshiva World has some amazing pictures and coverage from the funeral that was attended by an estimated 100, 000 people. Someone even created an entry for him on Wikipedia....I wonder if that is the true measure of someone being important- kidding!
When trying to think of any way to make this loss more personal, I realized that my brother and brothers in law learned in the Mir Yeshiva. My husband spent time learning in a kollel that was an off-shoot of the Mir, so we have all been affected by his vision. I also remembered that Rav Finkel had actually officiated at my sister's wedding a few years ago. It was Lag Ba'Omer, a busy day for weddings on the Jewish calendar and we were told that the wedding ceremony had to start on time because Rav Finkel had four other weddings to attend that evening.
When it was time for the chuppah to begin, I have to say I was a bit taken aback. It was my first time seeing someone with severe Parkinson's perform a wedding and it was not an easy thing to watch. His body was shaking uncontrollably and he struggled to say the words. At the time, I felt badly for him. I wondered how someone could ask somebody so obviously ill to inconvenience himself and officiate at a wedding when he was struggling so much. I could not believe that this man was planning to perform this feat four more times that same evening. It seemed like an unfair imposition and request on behalf of the wedding couples.
But the more I read about Rav Finkel over the last day and a half, the more I started to understand. Even though Rabbi Finkel was a sick man, he did not let this define him.  He refused to take pain medication so that his mind would be lucid and he could learn. His door was always open to students of the yeshiva and he made it his business to know as many of them personally as he could. Unbelievably, he traveled all over the world to raise funds for the Yeshiva. And he did all this with a smile on his face, always looking for ways to give to others.
I realize now (two years too late but better late than never) that the discomfort was all mine, that I was projecting my feelings onto him. Though it may be hard for me to comprehend this level of selflessness, there was nothing the Rosh Yeshiva wanted more on that day than to bring joy to all these brides and grooms by giving them the honor of officiating at their weddings (well maybe to learn Torah, but that is a different discussion). He was willing to travel all around Jerusalem and go through this process several times, all for the benefit of others. It is a humbling thought.
In our "Me"-generation we cannot even fathom that someone could be so focused on others. With the loss of so many of our great leaders over the past few months, one cannot help but wonder if this generation is even capable of producing amazing leaders of that same caliber.
If the answer is no, the loss is truly staggering. Yehi Zichro Baruch.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


So I kind of fell off the bandwagon with NaBloPoMo yesterday. I was planning on blogging at night but then was just too tired...I am not exactly sure how this works anyway, is anyone actually checking if you blog, or is it more a challenge for yourself?
I figured I would get an early start, rather than leave it till the evening. The kids are all off from school today because it's Election Day. Is it terrible if I admit that I don't even know what/who they are voting for? Shows you how patriotic I am. Keeping everyone entertained is a bit of a challenge because there were differences of opinion on how to spend our morning. It took forever to get anywhere because A was complaining she was bored and wanted to leave NOW while M refused to even get out of his pajamas.After a half hour of frustrating cajoling and threatening everyone to get their shoes on, I had enough and just opened the door and headed to the elevator. That got their attention pretty fast and soon I had three kids wearing shoes and sweatshirts and ready to go!
We headed to the park where they could run around and I could sit on a bench and watch. For about an hour everything was under control till M discovered a hole in the fence and went charging up a hill. Did I mention that I am 37 weeks pregnant and cannot chase a 3 year old up a grassy hill full of branches....okay. With A's help, I was able to get M back inside. 15 minutes later, Y discovered the same trick. At this point I decided it was time to go home.
Now it is actually fairly calm here. M is taking a nap, A is on a playdate and Y is keeping himself entertained on the iPad. I am trying to decide if I should just take it easy on the couch while I can or get started on dinner and fold some laundry. Will probably try to enjoy the quiet while it lasts. Were your kids off from school today? What did you do?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Does a doula need a doula?

In case you didn't know, the answer to the above question is a resounding "yes". As much as you may know about childbirth, when you are in labor, you need someone to help you focus and apply those tools. Plus, you can't really massage your own back :)
Tonight, I met with my doula Leda for our pre-natal meeting. We spoke about my preferences, comfort measures that have worked for me in the past and just chatted about life, birth and other stuff- like what we will do if I go into labor on shabbos.
I originally met Leda through Birth Focus, when we attended open houses together as doulas. It was funny to now be speaking to her as a "client" but so nice that we already have a rapport and are friends too.
The meeting was productive and yet another step towards getting into the mind frame of- this baby is coming soon, so I better start preparing, both emotionally and physically. The next step is to wash and set aside some of the baby clothing and blankets that I have located in boxes at the top of my closets.
Can't believe we're really getting there....stay tuned.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shifting Perspectives

I have to admit I was not quite sure what I wanted to blog about tonight- our nice but exhausting shabbos, my dilemma as to whether I am still up to hosting guests next week, the kids seeming inability to sleep past 6am these days...but then I checked out some other blogs I follow and found this wonderful video, thanks to rickismom at Beneath the Wings
It is about a photographer who dedicated a whole photographic exhibition to images of individuals with Down Syndrome. The images are amazing and it is a wonderful concept as well, to present people with special needs as individuals with their own interests and character.
I highly recommend watching this, would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Shabbos Now

Posting on short Fridays is going to be a challenge, especially once we turn our clocks back this coming Saturday night. Although today was not such a hectic day. I decided not to make Challah today, which freed up some time in the morning. I spent some time shopping- buying a dress for one niece and the cutest little fake Uggs for another one.

Then I also picked up some yarn to finally finish the baby blanket I have been working on for a while. I thought I was done but then I decided it's too small so I want to add some panels.
This is what it looks like now. I'll post another picture once I have finished the panels. Hopefully I'll finish before the baby comes!

Speaking of, I have now officially entered my 9th month and am feeling it in the form of lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, especially when I do a lot of walking. Yet another reason to take it easy and slow down.
As it says "Ba Shabbos, Ba Menucha"- when shabbos arrives, rest comes with it. Although for Rabbis and Rabbi's wives, that may not be as true. Shabbos may just be the day my husband and I work the hardest.
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and hoping the weather has no nasty surprises in store for us!