Monday, September 26, 2011

Rosh hashana thoughts and menus

Well the cooking marathon has definitely begun. It's funny because I remember being a lot more stressed about the cooking last year. Maybe it is because we had more guests or maybe because I know I have a bit more time to prepare now that all three are out of the house for part of the day.
It also helps to have a good list and schedule and my trusty friend the freezer. Someone asked about my menu but to be honest, I am not being particularly creative this year. Am making the standard roasted chicken and chicken soup, also roast beef, turkey and London broil, obviously not all for the same meal. Sides include potato kugel, carrot muffins, roasted vegetables and butternut squash kugel. You can email me for recipes if you would like.
I have been trying to use the extra time in the kitchen to listen to some shiurim online. I recommend which has a multitude of classes given by various teachers. For those fluent in Hebrew, Yemim Mizrachi's class is available at
Yemima mentioned that we should view all our cooking and prep as part of our spiritual preparation for Rosh Hashana, as we are trying to elevate the physical. This is something I will try to keep in mind, because there are still many hours to come, both before and on yomtov.
I am still trying to find a babysitter for Thursday so I can go to shul for a bit. I used to feel guilty for leaving the kids on yomtov to daven, wondering if this I really what Gd wants from me. But I have since decided that I do really need some time in shul to truly daven and reconnect. Not all day but a good two hours or so. Besides, if I would get a babysitter to go to yoga class or have a coffee break, why not use this resource for spiritual pursuits as well? Of course if I cannot find somebody in the next day or so, I will have to conclude that for this year, I need to be home for whatever reason on the first day and make do with the opportunity to go to shul on Friday.
Not sure if I will have a chance to post before yomtov so wishing everyone a Shana Tova and Ksiva Vchasima Tova!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bits and Pieces and Links

I'm feeling a bit run down now at the end of this week. I am still getting used to early wake up (6 30 or 6 45), all the bus drama (which is still going on and only becoming more aggravating) and the three hours it takes to get everyone where they need to be.
I have also been thinking a lot about safety and keeping children safe, as Y has been up to some of his usual shenanigans this past week.
Lastly, I am starting to cook for Rosh Hashana and also attempting to get into the spirit of the day more. Aside from the food, I would like to actually reflect on this past year, make amends as well as make some positive changes. But that requires some forethought and sometimes it is hard amidst all the distractions and business of everyday life to just stop and think...
So until I have formed some more coherent thoughts, I'll share with you some interesting/entertaining links

-Mama Birth, my new favorite birth blog has a great non-birth related post on solo parenting, meaning shouldering the majority of childcare. It's aptly titled Mom:Alone (ignore the quotes from the Mormon church and insert some Jewish ones instead)

-Chana Jenny Weisberg has a touching story on Jewishmom- The Orphan's Ponytail

-Lastly, the Maccabeats are back with a Rosh Hashana song. It's cute and the video is shticky as usual.

Have a wonderful restful shabbos!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The photo edition

A's birthday party in school on Friday
Proud parents with the birthday girl

Y's first day of soccer league...the uniform was too big. We have since gotten a smaller size :)

Anaelle was messing around with the camera and snapped this cute shot

Bus update- yesterday both busses came at 8 am, meaning we all stood out in the cold for half an hour. As of this morning, A's bus is coming at 7 36 and Y's bus is coming at 8 20 which is a bit too close for him to get to school by 8 30, even if he is the last stop. So basically there will be more reshuffling coming in the next few days. Maybe by October we will have our morning routine ironed out.
But I really can't complain. Once everyone finally is where they need to be, I get a few hours of quiet and a chance to get stuff done. The apartment is clean and mostly in order and I am keeping up with the laundry and with all the errands, phone calls and appointments that are necessary to keep this family afloat...for now :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shabbos marathon

Today was one of those days, where I felt I was running non-stop from the moment I woke up until 1 pm! Thankfully things slowed down after that.
6 45 wake up and the rush to make A's 7: 21 bus....which we missed by about a minute. I saw it pulling away across the street but it was too late.
Back upstairs to get my challah in the oven and then down again for Y's bus at 7 40. Then up to throw in some laundry and back down to bring A to school in time via cab. Home to do more laundry and more kitchen stuff. Then off to drop M at school. He has seperated really easily, but they are still on a short schedule, so I left there at 9 45 knowing I needed to be back by 11 30.
I went to pick up some food and toiletries on the way home, then made a cake for shabbos and checked on the laundry yet again. Ran out at 10 45 to buy a class gift for A's class in honor of her birthday party. Got the game and then took the bus to M's school and got there just in time for pick-up at 11 30.
We went home to pick up my husband and then headed back to A's school for her school birthday party at 12 15. The party was really delightful and it was nice to get an inside look at her classroom, friends and teachers. My in-laws surprised A and came to the party too, which she was really excited about. We sang songs, ate cupcakes and presented the class with a gift. It was really sweet. Photos to come.
After 1 pm, things slowed down a bit. My husband took A to a class and I went to use a gift certificate my husband had gotten me for my birthday. Finally a minute to relax and breathe! Then it was back to picking up A. and running some more last minute shabbos errands. Came home to put up the cholent and get Y from the bus. Now we are up to baths and pre-shabbos dinner for the kids.
Somehow it all gets done...and thankfully I just got an email informing me that A's bustime is being moved to 7 36. Those 15 minutes will make a huge difference to our morning. And Y's busdriver told me that his route is being changed and Y will have a new driver as of Tuesday. Sooner or later we will get into a schedule though. Until then, we will just get through one day at a time. Wishing everyone a peaceful and relaxing shabbos

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


So after almost three months of summer vacation, school is finally upon us. We have been phasing in slowly. Y started on Thursday, A on Monday, and M went today for a half hour. In a way it was nice to be able to give everyone individual attention for their first day.
Y is in the same school as last year with the same therapists, classmates and most of his teachers have stayed the same as well. He really has the least transitioning to do and he seems to have adjusted well. We are trying to work out kinks with the bus as it is coming very late in the morning and he also spends almost an hour on it on the way home. It does not seem to bother him, but I think his school day is long enough and would prefer if we could cut out some travel time. Especially because his school is only about a 5-10 minute drive from our apartment, depending on traffic.
A has started a new school for kindergarten. Thankfully, she knows some girls in her class already and we have had a chance to meet some nice families at the Parent Orientation too. She was a bit nervous on Monday and did not want to separate but once I left, she had a wonderful day and came bounding out of the classroom to tell me how much fun she had. Today was her first time taking the bus. There were some tears and drama involved, but ultimately she did get on this morning and also came off pretty enthusiastically in the afternoon. Her morning bus time is 7 21 and I am still adjusting to the early morning rush. Trying to get 3 kids dressed, out the door and across the street by 7 21 is going to be a bit of a challenge, that will probably require my going to bed at a decent hour.
M was very excited to go to his preschool this morning. He knows it well from when his siblings attended and I think he is happy to be a big boy and have his own classroom and Morahs (teachers). Tomorrow we go for two hours and start the "seperation process" which can be a bit prolonged. I am planning on bringing my knitting and also to start planning my Rosh Hashana menus.
It is hard for me to imagine what life will be like when they are all finally settled in their respective programs...the one adjective that comes to mind is "quiet". I am hoping to be productive and to utilize my time in the mornings till M comes home to really get things done, whether it is house work/maintenance, writing, errands or otherwise. I have a feeling though, that for the first few weeks the High Holidays will be keeping me plenty busy...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting Help

I guess the most exciting news of the weekend is that my back feels significantly better. The massage therapist was able to really zone in on the spots that hurt. She said she could feel the knots and tension there and I could feel that she was really hitting the right places. I have been painfree since the massage and hope that is stays that way.
Sometimes I feel guilty about treating myself to things like massages or some babysitting time but I am also aware that it does not really help anyone when women set themselves up to be martyrs. You cannot keep giving to others if you do not take care of yourself. While most women would agree on this idea in principle, we are often very good at making excuses as to why we don't really need the extra help/sleep/etc... Obviously everyone needs to take their financial situation into account but some basic needs we often neglect are sleep, adequate nutrition and breaks from childcare.
While I was nervous about the busy weekend we had planned, everything ran really smoothly because of the network of help we had set up. First of all, I got my back fixed. Next I made sure to get a good night's sleep Friday night (kudos to my husband for getting up with the kids on Shabbos mornings). Finally, we had a babysitter accompany us to shul to make sure the kids would be supervised and safe. She also stayed for lunch so that my husband could focus on the guests, I could focus on hosting/serving and know the kids were taken care of as well. Basically, everyone was happy and everyone's needs were met. And I wasn't a total exhausted wreck by the end of shabbos.
The moral of the story- take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Shavua Tov

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beware the cranky pregnant woman

Settling back into our normal routine has been more difficult than expected. I knew the trip home would be a long haul, but I was not prepared for how physically taxing it would be on my body, now entering its third trimester of pregnancy.
Aside for being exhausted, I have had all kinds of aches and pains over the course of this past week. My belly ached, I had a stitch in my side when I walked, and when that finally ironed itself out my back started hurting. I spoke to my care provider about my concerns but they feel I just need some more time to rest and recover from all the travel and shlepping. Easier said than done with the kids not having started school yet and needing to be entertained. And being woken up at 5 am every morning due to jet lag...although today was the first morning Y actually slept late and did not wake his siblings at 4 45 so I am hoping we are finally done with that!
So for now I am the proverbial kvetchy pregnant woman who complains about everything. It is funny to me because I usually have fairly easy pregnancies. I carry relatively small so I am usually not one to waddle around whining about her aching back. But this pregnancy has been a bit harder on me physically. Maybe it's because I am older (relatively speaking), or because I have more kids to take care of or maybe it really is just all the travel and running around.
Either way- relaxing is not on the agenda this weekend, since we are expecting 13 adults plus 5 kids for Shabbos lunch, so I have decided to book myself a prenatal massage for Friday. I am hoping the masseuse will be able to work out some of the kinks in my back and help me feel better physically. It's a bit pricey but will be totally worth it if she can magically put me back together. Should not set my expectations too high though...even if she cannot cure all my problems, I can at least go into a hectic shabbos with a more peaceful state of mind.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back in NYC

We arrived back in NY on Thursday afternoon after almost 20 hours of travel. There is nothing much to say about the flights except that they were long and exhausting. The kids had their moments but were pretty well behaved considering what a long haul it was. The iPad is a great tool to have on plane trips, it definitely kept the kids entertained for long stretches.
We are working on getting back on  a normal sleeping schedule. At the moment they have been going to bed earlier and waking up early. But that is to be expected. A few more days and slowly pushing their bedtime back should do the trick.
We had a quiet and uneventful shabbos back in NYC. The kids are happy to be back in their space and after unpacking and cleaning up on Friday, I also feel more settled. This week will be about getting the kids ready for school. There is not that much to do, just buying some school supplies and taking A for a haircut. And maybe getting some clothing for the upcoming fall weather.
I also wanted to share some pictures from our family photo shoot. We took pictures with all my siblings who were in Israel at the time and their children, but I am only posting some of the ones of my kids. This has definitely been the summer of photos for us, we have gotten some great shots of the kids in Israel.

We took the pictures in Yemin Moshe, which was beautiful. It was great to be outdoors because the kids were not restricted to a studio. Unfortunately that also meant we had to chase them and run after them at certain points. There were several brides there as well taking wedding pictures, so it seems this is a popular spot for photos.