Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Turns out we live in a pretty safe neighborhood, when it comes to hurricanes. Sandy came and went and we barely felt her. There was a lot of wind and some downed trees, but other than that, our part of town escaped pretty much unscathed. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the metro area. Large parts of NJ are without power, as is Manhattan below 34th Street. 
I almost feel badly to be going about business as usual, when others are really suffering. A and M are back in school already, but Y will be home for the rest of the week. Bus service was reinstated today, subway service is coming back partially tomorrow. It's pretty amazing how quick NYC bounces back. 
While all this is going on, I am still thinking about the terrible murder of those two little children at the hand of their nanny. There is really nothing to say about is terrifying for anyone who ever leaves their kids to think about. I don't have a nanny, but I do have several babysitters who watch my children when I go to school, go to meetings, appointments or even to yoga class. You can only know a person so well and there has to be a certain trust in someone else to care for your children. I kept thinking about the fact that the mother just left the house for an hour or two, to take her daughter to a swim class. The little girl was still seen in the elevator at 5...and was dead by 5 30. How does one even begin to fathom??

This time of year is also when I remember my friend Jenny, z"L. Jenny was a roommate of mine in seminary in Israel and died very suddenly due to a brain hemorrhage two years ago, leaving behind a husband and three young children. 
Her family has started a facebook event in her memory, called  Lashon Hatov. This is what they write:

  • Jenny was an extraordinary individual, with a rightly famous smile that would lift friend and stranger alike, and an immensely sweet and loving nature. November 3rd will be the second anniversary of Jenny’s sudden passing, and we are inviting you to be a part of helping fill the world with a little more love in her beautiful memory.

    The name for this project is Lashon HaTov (literally The Language of Good) and is inspired by the Jewish prohibit
    ion against slander Lashon HaRah (literally The Language of Evil.) Let’s go beyond merely desisting from negative speech and in Jenny’s memory spend one day making an extra effort to speak positively about friends and family.

    You can do Lashon HaTov anywhere, and there is no right or wrong way to be a part of this, but we suggest on November 3rd:

    1. Make a conscious effort to be aware of the power of what we say to others, and what other say to us.
    2. Try to say or do three specific kind words or acts to your best friend/relative/stranger on the street – whoever – that will make them walk taller as a result.
    3. Share your stories and memories of Jenny on the wall below and her shining example of Lashon HaTov.
    4. Invite as many people as possible – let’s make this big people!

    So I am inviting you all to join and bring a smile to someone's face, speak nicely and do good in Jenny's memory. With natural disasters and human made tragedies abounding, we could definitely use a little more light in this world.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting for Sandy

So, the internet is abuzz with news of Hurricane Sandy. We too are home, waiting to see how this unfolds.
I think the media hyping everything up and reporting every 15 minutes definitely adds to a sense of unnecessary panic. This storm is something to be taken seriously but hysteria never helped anyone.
I happen to be lucky and live in an area of NYC that is expected to be hit very minimally by the storm. I am grateful for that and very happy that I am not in Atlantic City or other parts of New Jersey.
The MTA shut down their transit last night and school is closed today and will remain closed tomorrow. There are concerns about losing power but there is no way to know if and when that will happen. We just feel like we are in limbo here, waiting and waiting for the storm to finally come so it can be over. It has been over 24 hours of waiting with no rain and some wind, but nothing to write home about.
The storm is supposed to hit tonight and then I guess we will see. For now we are just hanging around at home. The kids are mostly entertaining themselves. I had planned to be productive, cleaning up, organizing closets, etc but in the end I opted for the lazy option of reading, knitting and just hanging around. I think I may regret not having spent the day doing more "useful" days, but I am just viewing it as a "mental health day" where there are no obligations- other than keeping my kids entertained and well fed.
In other news, this little man just turned 11 months and is as delicious as always.

He is really a big boy, crawling all around the apartment, getting into stuff and playing with toys. He definitely likes to explore- the toilet and my kitchen cabinets are his favorite places.
He is pretty steady cruising around while holding on, sometimes just with one hand. He also loves the playground, going down slides and just being able to climb all over. When he is well fed and slept, he is delightful, always smiling and laughing and in a great mood. When he is tired or hungry, he gets cranky and clingy, but then, so do some adults I know.
AY is also a voracious eater- he has been having regular dinner with us these past few nights. One night it was pasta and meat sauce, another night chicken, couscous and carrots. He will eat it all. My friends tell me it is a blessing to have a baby who eats and I totally agree..even if it means I am now cooking dinner for 2 adults and 4 hungry kids :)

Also wanted to share my favorite new blog. She is so funny and spot on. It's called Five kids is a lot of kids- fyi, four is a lot of kids too :) Check it out, but just warning there is some talk about bodily functions...something that happens when you have a lot of kids.

Stay safe and dry!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Caffeine Update

I have been meaning to update how my little caffeine-free experiment is going. It has been ten days now and I really do feel better without it. No more headaches. I am still tired, which is to be expected with four little ones, including  a baby who still wakes up in the middle of the night and a seven year old who starts  his day at the crack of dawn. But it is manageable fatigue, not the crazy, wake up every-two-hour exhaustion of having a newborn.
I have also taken some time these last two weeks for some self-care, including going back to yoga and going for my birthday massage three months late...
School and life are more manageable now that I have my Mondays and Tuesdays back, although there is always something going on- a toilet-training seminar for kids with special needs, an open house for a nursing program I want to apply to, doctor's appointments for the kids, etc
So my plan is to
a) be organized
b) get sleep
c) stay off caffeine and eat well
d) take some time-outs every once in a while.
Who is joining me with my new routine?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Coffee Habit

I have been a coffee drinker for as long as I can remember...I can probably trace it back to high school, when I started with ice coffee with lots of sugar and worked my way up from there. Over the years I have vacillated the amounts and types of coffee I was drinking- instant, filtered, lattes,... but my coffee habit remained pretty steady. I managed to switch to decaf for some of my pregnancies, yet my coffee mug was pretty much always around.
It was more than the caffeine, to me coffee is synonymous with relaxation. It means- sit down and take a minute for yourself. When I buy a coffee in stores, it is about "treating" myself- someone else is making it for me and all I need to do is enjoy. And fight off my kids who want a sip, but that is a different story.
With sleep deprivation and my busy life though, coffee became more about the caffeine and less about the "relaxation"
This past month has been especially challenging and stressful for me. During this time, I relied on my coffee to get me through.What I was noticing though, was that the coffee was not really working anymore. In fact, it seemed to be hurting me. I was trying to just get through the day, crossing things off my ever expanding to-do list, but instead of feeling energized, I had headaches. Pretty bad headaches. I could usually get rid of my headaches with some advil but did not want to start relying on coffee and advil to get through the day.
I thought I was just especially tired or needed more coffee, but I realized that this would just start an ever worsening cycle of more and more caffeine.
So I decided that my body is sending me a message to stop abusing it...if I want to keep going, do well in school, and keep our home running, I need to take care of myself. This means getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, and taking time to unwind and relax. I am officially cutting out caffeine for the next few weeks to see how I feel without it. I am not going all out on this- giving up caffeine does not include chocolate, the occasional cup of diet coke or other things with caffeine, but it is a start.Because I cannot give up my habit of sipping coffee, I will be switching to decaf to have the "experience" without the caffeine.
So far I am on day 2- I am curious to see if I can keep this up and will notice any noticeable improvement in the way I am feeling. I will keep you posted

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I did it!

In the past few weeks I have deal with:
6 days of yomtov
3 shabbatot
1 major fast
4 large meals with company and countless others for the family
5 weeks of school
3 exams
1 lab report and 2 short assignments
mountains of laundry
children home from school due to non-stop holidays
a baby who still does not like to nap or sleep
a minor foot injury
1 birthday party for my husband
1 nursing school application
...and lived to tell the tale!

I feel accomplished, proud and very very tired. It seemed like every moment I had was allocated towards one project or another, whether it was cooking, studying for an exam or other family business that needed attending to. The last hurdle is this weekend, when we are having a guest speaker at our shul which means yet another big meal to cook/serve and clean up.
I kept telling my friend that I just had to get through till this past Wednesday- and I did.  I am hoping that things will lighten up once we start our regular schedule, where every other day is not a holiday or Shabbos. Although I am not so sure because as soon as yomtov was over, I scheduled about 5 doctor's appointments for the children and myself. But I am not going to worry about that just yet.
For now, I will just try to catch up on some sleep...