Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Busy Day

Today was a good day, one in which I got a lot done. I feel accomplished.
Our busy day started with a ride crosstown to First Avenue to drop Y off at his Friendship Circle camp. Anyone who lives in this part of town will tell you that going to First Avenue, is like going to Siberia....Y has been going all week. Aside from the logistics of getting him there and back, he has been having fun although I think he worries that he is missing out on the fun things we are doing at home. He is not altogether wrong as I am trying to spend some quality time with M and A. while he is out.
After he was dropped off, we took another cab downtown to my college to change a class for my upcoming semester. I had attempted to do it over the phone but they insisted that I need to come in. So I brought my crew and thankfully, it only took 10 minutes, in which M and A kept themselves busy watching videos on the iPad.
The next step of our journey was to Brooklyn- A. really wanted to go to a playspace there and I had promised her we would go at some point over vacation.
The train was right next to my college, so we hopped on and arrived at Kids N Action about 45 minutes later. The kids had a blast- AY had fun too. He slept on the ride there so he was in a great mood when we arrived. We stayed about 2.5 hours and then took 3 subways home. The kids were good sports about it and it only took a little over an hour.
Once we got home, I started cooking for shabbos. And then after putting the kids to bed, I also cleaned the apartment because my cleaning lady/housekeeper of six years has decided to disappear on me and stop answering my phone calls.
Now I am relaxing a bit even though I should be studying for the GRE which I am taking less than two weeks from now.
At this point I am pretty much counting down the days till school starts. We are ready- we have our clothing, our shoes, haircuts, backpacks, school supplies, etc. Now all we need to do is actually drop them off....still have another week to go!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My new knitting stash

I have not really had much time or enthusiasm for knitting  recently. I was finishing up some projects here and there, but nothing too exciting. Then I decided to finally go redeem my $50 gift certificate at the Lion Brand Studio on 15th Street. I had gotten the gift certificate when AY was born but never seemed to make it to that  part of town. Did I mention that he is already 9 months old?
But I finally got my act together and ta-da, here are my new knitting projects for the next few months:
I have 10 skeins of yarn and have my patterns all picked out. I already started on a hat, which you can see at the top of the pile. Of course, I am not quite sure when I will be knitting all this, being that I am busy with studying for the GRE, filling out applications, getting the kids ready for school, life, etc. Somehow it will all get done. I hope to be posting pictures of finished projects soon!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

9 Months

Baby AY is turning 9 months tomorrow. That means he has been around as long as he was gestating in my belly...petty cool!

At 9 months, we are finally getting into a schedule (which, ironically happened while we were on vacation in Israel, because of course your child decides to put himself on a schedule when it would be easier if he wasnt!) which in an ideal world is
7 am wake up
9 30- 11 30 nap
2- 3 30 nap
7 pm bedtime (usually wakes up once in the middle of the night to nurse)
In reality, AY is the lightest sleeper on the planet and he is constantly being woken up from his naps because his siblings are screaming, walking and sometimes just breathing near his room. I am hoping this will get better once the kids are in school. For now I walk around begging everyone to be quiet and use their indoor voices. My husband thinks I am obsessive and that we can't all walk on eggshells because the baby is sleeping. This might be true but he does not have to deal with a cranky baby who has not napped enough because his brothers decided to come say "hi" while he was sleeping...

Some other cool things AY does:
- He eats pretty much anything. He loves food and has gotten the hang of chewing and swallowing without gagging which means no more mushing up vegetables. Because he is my fourth, wants to eat everything he sees us eat and I don't want to deal with him crying, he has sampled  cookies, french fries and pizza. But I am not a terribly neglectful mom. Most days, he eats yogurt, bananas (and other fruit) and pretzels.
-He still gets around by creeping on his tummy. He goes up on all fours but does not like to crawl that way
-He picks himself up to stand and loves to stand like that by the couch
-He smiles and laughs a lot. He loves playing with his big brother Y.
-He is already getting into cabinets and drawers which means it is time yet again to baby proof
-He takes a pacifier for sleeping but is not attached to it like some of our other kids

He is however attached to me. He is in a full-on Mommy stage, which means every time he is near me, he wants to be held and play with me. Sometimes he will play next to me on the floor but mostly he will cry to be picked up. He does not want Abba or the babysitter, he just wants me.
This is very cute and flattering, but also very annoying because Mommys have things to do other than hold babies. Such as make dinner, fold laundry, sweep the floor, etc. I could try and wear him while I do these things but he has not been a fan of babywearing recently and my back is still giving me problems when I carry him for long periods. Plus some of these activities (ie cooking) are not safe to do while holding a baby.
Sometimes I try to hide so I can do stuff but my cover is usually blown when he hears my voice and starts crying because he wants to be with me. Like everything, this is a stage, so I will try not to get too bent out of shape by it. Though I will confess to having put him in his crib one morning where he cried while I sat and drank my coffee in (relative) peace and quiet
- AY is also a big talker. He babbles and coos a lot and sounds like he is trying to tell us important things.

I cannot believe we are slowly heading to the 1 year mark. Check out this yummy boy!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School

And once again it's late Frriday.
It has been a busy week of getting everything into order, mailing in health forms, and other administrative stuff. We were also busy getting ready for school (only 2 weeks left, but who is counting?) otherwise known as "credit card please".
Getting four kids outfitted and ready for school/fall is not cheap- there is clothing, socks, shoes, school supplies, hair cuts, backpacks...even with passing clothing down from kid to kid it still adds up. But thank G'd for these kind of problems- 3 healthy kids eager to go back to school and one yummy baby who will be mostly  hanging out with me.
Good Shabbos to all

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Israeli Kids Stay Up Late

One thing that I noticed when we were in Israel was that all the kids were out late. I know it was vacation so no one had to get up for school but people bring their children everywhere- to restaurants, to the kotel late at night and even to wine tastings.
It does not really bother me personally what other people do with their kids with although I did witness quite a few meltdowns from little two year olds who were crying that they could not walk/stand anymore at 11 pm at night. It must just be a cultural thing, possibly weather related- it is definitely cooler at night in Jerusalem, or maybe they just really cannot afford a babysitter.
I, however, am not going to be catching on to this trend anytime soon. Here is why. I have a limited amount of energy and patience. My kids are early risers, they seem to wake up with the sun, some days even before the sun comes up. After getting up early and spending most of the day with them (remember, summer vacation- all day every day), I am usually reaching my limit by around 7 pm.
So we read books, brush our tooth and call it a night. Most of the time, they are also exhausted by the activities of the day so they fall asleep pretty quickly. Even AY seems to finally be on a schedule (yay!) and goes to bed around 7.
And then, when they are all sleeping, it is QUIET. At which point I can relax- blog, read and sometimes even go out on a date with my husband. We found a wonderful babysitter in Israel and took advantage, going out about twice a week. I could not imagine dragging my kids along. It would not be fun- for them or me. They need their sleep. When they do not sleep enough they are cranky and even crazier than usual. And if you think because they go to sleep late they will wake up late in the morning, you are mistaken. Less sleep and more time chasing after them, would make for one cranky Mommy.
Additionally, I cannot imagine my children actually behaving themselves- eating nicely in a restaurant, sitting quietly at the kotel, watching us sample wines at the Wine festival. Our children are always in movement and therefor always need someone supervising them.
So while I do love all things Israel, taking kids out late at night is not a trend I will be following anytime soon. Instead, I will continue to savor the quiet and take advantage of the time off to sit and enjoy myself, without anyone tugging at me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Pics

My mother likes to have  professional pictures of the family taken each year. She says it's a nice way to see how everyone has grown. For the past two years we had the opportunity to take pictures with most, if not all of my siblings. This year, the timing did not work out but we still had a photo session in Jerusalem for just our family.
The photographer came to us which made getting ready much easier. He also did a wonderful job and we have many many great shots. I won't share all of them, just a few to show off my cute kids. You can also see how big they have all gotten. Enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

out of time

The kids woke me at 5 am so I was sure I would get it all done today, including a blog post.  Now it's 5 minutes to candle lighting so my update will have to wait.
We arrived Wednesday night, everyone is jet lagged but doing well and happy to be home. I am looking forward to a hopefully restful shabbos.
Good Shabbos to all-more updates and great pictures next week!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Still here

I know I have been awfully quiet. It's partially laziness, partially being busy, partially sharing one computer with my husband and partially because I do not really have much to say other than- "We are having fun, time is going too fast, we are getting on the plane on Wednesday already!!"
Being in Israel always does bring up a lot of feelings for me, but nothing I can really put into a coherent blog post :) So bear with me and stay tuned...more to come soon

Monday, August 6, 2012

Full Days

We are continuing to have a great time here in the Holy Land. Still no pictures to prove it unfortunately.
This morning I had the opportunity to meet an old friend for brunch. She has my dream job- she works as a midwife in a busy Jerusalem hospital. She told me on her last shift, she delivered 3 babies. Pretty cool. We talked shop for a while about birth, doulas (how she feels about them when they question her as a caregiver), doctors, my nursing school aspirations, etc. We also just caught up about life in general. It was really nice but I made the mistake of walking home around 12 30 in the heat of the day- uphill. By the time I had picked the older kids up from the sitter (AY was with me) I was pretty wiped.
After rehydrating, we ventured back out to our playspace we had discovered last week with my sister and her cute kids. Unfortunately, others had discovered it too. It was mobbed and not as peaceful as last time. It was harder to keep tabs on the kids and they were complaining about having to wait on line. They still had a nice time though.
We have full days here, that start early (Y is usually up by 6 or so) and keep on going. By 7 or so, the kids fall into bed and I want to do the same. No complaints though...the trip is going way too fast and before we know it, we will be back on a plane. So we are trying to make the most of it, before it is over!
For some comic relief, check out Amber's post at Crappy Pictures about leaving the house with kids. I can totally relate.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The 100$ mosquito bite

Sometimes as a veteran mom, I think I already know all there is to know. People often tell me that I am a calm, relaxed mom, and most of the time I think that is true. I do not usually get freaked out by a runny nose or a nasty fall.
But recently my Mommy intuition has failed me. About two months ago, a few hours before shabbos, M. was acting weird and lying in bed. When I asked him if he was feeling sick, he burst out crying. Having recently gone through a shabbos with a screaming child who had strep and needed antibiotics, I wanted to take care of it right away. So I ran out to a walk-in medical clinic. We had to wait a bit and while we were waiting, it became clear to me that M. was not sick, rather wanted to be special and have antibiotics. So I came home an hour before Shabbos with a perfectly healthy child feeling kind of stupid.
Fast forward to our trip in Israel and little AY is covered in what looks like a rash or possibly bites. They are different sizes and some of them are red and swollen. For a few days I dismiss them as mosquito bites, especially because he does not seem particularly bothered by them. Today for some reason, though, I decided that there are so many of them, I want someone to take a look at them. So I walk down to the nearby clinic and ask how much it would cost to be seen. They tell me 500 shekel (about 120$), so I swallow and say okay. I send the older kids to lunch with my husband and spend about a half hour waiting. Apparently there are others with Erev Shabbos emergencies. When we finally get to see the doctor, he is English speaking and very nice. He confirms that indeed, AY has a bad case of mosquito bites. He is nice enough to validate my concerns and say that I was right to check it out. He recommends calamine lotion and sent us on our way.
I guess you win some, you lose some. There was also a time I took Y to the doctor on a whim, even though he did not seem that sick, and he did have strep. I would rather be safe than sorry, but I also don't want to be running to the doctor every 5 minutes. It's a balance I guess.I am sure over time I will learn to be more discerning- and to identify mosquito bites on a baby.
Wishing everyone a beautiful Shabbos

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Trip down Memory Lane

Now that we have gotten through Tisha B-Av and jet lag, we are having a lot of fun here. Unfortunately we do not have a camera to document any of it. Our digital camera is as old as Y (7) and has finally died. We usually use our phones but they do not work in this country. It's a shame, but the truth is memories are being made, even if I do not have the pictures to prove it.
We spent some more time with cousins who were (ironically enough) going to NY for vacation. Today we found a great play space for the kids, that is not overcrowded with the "bein hamzanim" throngs. It was not cheap but the kids played for at least two hours and would have stayed longer had we not decided it was time to get going.
This place was near Har Nof (I won't say where, this place is staying our seceret), our old neighborhood, so we decided to swing by and show the kids our old apartment and visit the neighbors. It was kind of surreal. In certain ways, things had changed- the lobby of our old apartment building looked different, some stores had closed while others had opened, etc. In other ways, it was like we never left. We visited our neighbors, who lived right next door. They were so happy to see us and meet our younger kids. They are so sweet. I took the kids into our old apartment and was expecting to feel a lot of nostalgia, but really it felt foreign. Kind of familiar but with other people's stuff and furniture in it, it did not feel like ours at all. The kids really do not remember it, as Y was about 16 months  old when we moved and A was pretty much a newborn.
It really felt like a different life time. There was also a big gaping hole, where a mountain used to be. In an effort to use any build-able space, someone seems to be building apartment buildings into the mountain between Shaulzon and Agassi. Where the 200 steps used to be, there is just a hole and lots of debris. It's pretty crazy to think that if we come back two years from now, there will be new apartment buildings in that space.
But I am learning that life goes on without you...just because we have not been to Har Nof in four years does not meant that things are not constantly evolving. When we visited last summer, my sister's daughter was a little baby, This year she is a real toddler.
At the risk of sounding like an old lady, I will try to enjoy my time here while it lasts. Before we know it, we will be back on a plane and getting ready for a new school year.

Also apropos nothing, here is a great article about disabilities, "having it all" and having enough- Enjoy.