Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Birthday Interview /Chaya/ Installment: 7

(Zalman S., thanks for reminding me about my blog.)

Today my oldest turns seven and thus it is time for our annual birthday interview! You can tell this angel is a dedicated student who holds on to everything her teachers say and commits herself seriously to what she believes in.

You can also tell, obviously, that she must get that serious, committed nature from me =D


1. What is the meaning of life? I don't know. What does meaning mean? What does life mean? Hmmm....baruch Hashem I have hands. Like that? 

What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a Mommy, a teacher, and a doctor. (Upon further discussion, yes, she thinks it would be a good idea for me to become a doctor now.)

What makes you happy? Connecting to the Rebbe and having hiskashrus *giggle*. Yeah? Could I do that?

What would you buy if you had a lot of money? I would not buy anything. I would use my money for Tzedaka...............also, I would buy a beautiful house. 

What are you afraid of? I don't want to say because it will give me bad dreams if I remind myself. Okay I'll just say it: Dr. Doomshtein (Maybe she wants to grow up to be a doctor so she can balance this out.)

What's a funny/silly word? I don't know. A silly word? Just start talking about clownies and you'll end up saying silly words. 

What's the best thing in the world? The best thing in the world is Moshiach.

What's the worst thing in the world? The worst thing in the world is the Yetzer Harah.

What makes you angry? When I don't get something right away that I want. 

What makes you sad? *Sigh* I told you this last year. It's when my sister starts up with me. *Sigh*

What's your favorite toy? could write my American Girl doll (Our Generation brand, best $16.99 I ever spent) or all my dolls....or just write both. 

Who do you love? Moshiach and the Yetzer Tov *giggle*. Did you want me to say you? (Uh, yeah.)

What is the hardest thing to do? To not listen to my Yeter Harah, and to respect my sister.

What's the easiest thing to do? That's a good question....listen to Mommy? No way, don't write that, that's not easy. Ummmm....paint! Painting is very easy.

What is the meaning of love? Meaning again? Okay, the meaning of love is....loving somebody. Why are you asking me this?


Happy 7th birthday to our beautiful, sincere, bright and curious Chaya! We love you!!

ps. I do these interviews every year. It's so much fun to see how my girls have grown in their responses. Here is Chaya's from last year:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

If You Give a Mom a Blog

If you give a mom a blog she'll think, "Hey, why not write a book?"

And then she'll start writing her book.

And while she's writing her book she'll take a trip down memory lane.

And while she's taking a trip down memory lane she'll think, "Ooooh, let me look through the baby albums."

And while she's looking through the baby albums she'll remember that she hasn't printed any albums since 2014. She'll rush back to the computer to start catching up on albums.

And while she's making albums she'll remember that she needs to mail out pictures to her parents and in-laws.

And while she's preparing to mail out pictures to her parents and in-laws, she'll notice that she has pictures that still need to be hung in her own house.

And while she's hanging pictures in her house she'll see some walls that need cleaning.

And while she's cleaning the walls she'll see the floor that needs cleaning.

And while she's cleaning the floors she'll think, "I'm gonna be cooking up a storm today, why bother cleaning?" And then she'll remember that she really needs to get on that storm cooking.

And while she's cooking she'll think, "I could really use a break."

And while she's taking a break she'll take out her phone. And notice that it has no case. And remember that she was supposed to order one. Cuz otherwise the phone will crack. And then she'll need a whole second mortgage to replace it. So she'll get back to the computer to order a case.

And while she's ordering the case she'll remember that she was in middle of making an album. To go with the memories. That she was putting into her book. Because she has a blog.

And then the kids will start screaming from somewhere in the house. That they need her right now.

And she'll go right now.

Because she's a mom.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Favorite Time of Year: Interviewing

It's Rivka's 4th birthday and that means it's time for us to sit down and talk about all the important things in life. I interview my kids each year on their birthday just to make sure they're getting smarter and not the opposite (gasp!)

Here are Rivka's fantabulous thoughts on life:

What is the meaning of life? Mmmmm....painting. (My art professor just cried tears of joy.)

What do you want to be when you grow up? A Mommy.

What makes you happy? A baby. (She has my future children planned out. It's very organized.)

What would you buy if you had a lot of money? Food. (Yes. YES. I'm doing something right.)

What are you afraid of? Lions. (This was her sister's fear in her 6-year old interview.)

What is a funny/silly word? Blahblahblahblah.

What is the best thing in the world? Hashem. <3

What is the worst thing in the world? Hashem. (Chaya: Rivka! Worst means a very very bad thing! What's the worst thing in the world? Rivka: I don't know. I just don't know.)

What makes you angry? Patching, maybe? Yeah, patching! (Don't look at me people. I'm not the one hitting her. She has a sister, remember?)

What makes you sad? Crying.

What's your favorite toy? A toy phone. (Close call. I thought it was going to be my real phone.)

Who do you love? MOMMY! I love YOU! (Her sister said: just mommy??) Mommy! And Chaya! And Tatty! And my morah!

What is the hardest thing to do?! (Gee, she makes it LOOK so easy.)

What is the easiest thing to do? Ride a scooter.

What is the meaning of love? Mommy. Mommy. I love you. (**heart melts** **give her all my money**)


Happy 4th Birthday to our sweetest Hashtag!! We love you so much and we are geared up and ready for what this next year will bring! No pressure, but less highlighter coloring on the stairs would be real magical for us.

And yes. You can have five chocolate chips because you're turning five. You're like ten hours into your journey of turning five but you got it bright girl ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pesach: My Freedom

There were a group of us sitting at the shiur when the dynamic speaker told us, “Think of the word Pesach and tell me the first word that comes to your mind.”


I kept my mouth shut. Because the words in my head were toothbrushes, vacuum extensions, cheerios, and how-did-my-daughter-embed-pita-into-the-Playmobil-school-bus?

I couldn’t help but think, ‘What’s wrong with them?’ I mean, sure, Pesach is a wonderful time to spend with family, eating matzah at the seder and celebrating freedom, but are those really the first things that come to their mind? Apparently, yes.

And so my next thought was, ‘What’s wrong with me?’

Pesach is supposed to be about freedom. It’s supposed to be about breaking out of our personal boundaries and experiencing things that are greater than ourselves. Pesach should be about living on a higher plane, serving Hashem in ways that might not seem logical because G-dliness is beyond logic and reason.

And yet, at the same time, Pesach is about going crumb-free. It’s the crunchiest diet of all the crunchies. Gluten free, sugar free, nearly-carb free, combined with good wine and mason jars. It has Park Slope written all over it! And that’s without all the cleaning. We’ve all experienced that ethereal moment, straddling the dining room chair, trying to separate the cushions with the strength of Superman while holding the vacuum hose at just the right angle, turning the vacuum on with one foot and rocking the baby carrier with the other. If that isn’t the picture of feminine beauty and spirituality then I don’t know what is.

Well, actually, I do. Because all this time that I’ve been waiting for the freedom of Pesach to encompass me, I’ve been oblivious to the fact that the work is mine. Pesach can be all the happy words only when I make the choice to make it so.

And I am.

I commit to making Pesach freedom for ME. And that looks like freedom from anxiety, freedom from routine and freedom from the bitterness of stress. Will I clean? Yes, I’ll clean. I’ll clean with the music on so that I can sing and dance along. One Kitchen Scrub with a shot of Endorphins, coming up. Will I shop? Yes, I’ll shop. I’ll grocery shop online (the perks of Crown Heights!) or I'll shop in parts or both. There is no mitzvah to spend two hours at the grocery trying to push a cart heavier than myself. Will I cook? Yes, I’ll cook. I’ll cook like I cook every other day of the year (minus the carb-truck): inventory the food in the house and mix and match recipes for fabulous results. Okay fine, I have some great Pesach recipes to follow. The real trick is reminding myself that Pesach is just a week long and I don’t need to have food prepped and waiting in the freezer from a week before, just because that’s what works for other people.

Pesach is about being free. I am choosing to free myself of past discomforts that I have associated with Pesach and instead make this Yom Tov into a joyous one like all the others. Pesach doesn’t have to look like stress. Pesach doesn’t have to feel like a burden.

I’m burning my lists with the chometz this year and I’m starting fresh. Funny how freedom for me is really freedom from me - the old me, the one who agonized over Pesach and spent too much time thinking about all the things I wouldn't be able to do instead of all the great things that I could do. The one who worried about how much work Pesach would be instead of how much fun Pesach could be. The one who didn't associate the good things with Pesach; not because experience taught me differently, but because I had yet to fully embrace the experience itself.

This article was first published for the Beis Medrash Women's Circle Pesach Freedom Book.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Miracle of Moving

We moved!

It's been a month in our house (house!!) and I have finally surfaced through the boxes and dust. My only coherent thought is omigod, what just happened. 

First of all, packing. In the 21st century there should be a Mary Poppins app that snaps and packs for you. Or at least some kind of device that can guard cabinets once they've been packed up. I swear each time I emptied a cabinet into a box the cabinet birthed new items to hold. They. Never. Got. Empty.

And the boxes. How much time I spent trying to figure out what should go together with what in each box.  For what? In the end, I was the one who went and opened them all just to find the darned peeler. No one else was around to be impressed with the mesmerizing way I managed to tuck the shirts into the hats to save room for the shoes tucked into the boots! Hello? That saved me an entire eighth of a box and only took two hours to arrange! Sigh. 

I really did try hard to be organized but by the time I was packing up box 6,578 I was way past detailing the inventory in each box. My labels became "House Crap #1" and "Forgot What's In Here." 

It's all just as well because even if I could remember what I had put in the box before closing it, chances are it had all new contents anyway. I got the Mary Poppins snap app unpacker in the form of one #hashtagrivka. She meticulously unpacked at least ten items from any box that I left open to add to. Quality super-nanny right there. 

One good thing about the packing?  The memories I got to sort through. School projects the kids managed to hide away, toys we've been looking for for 4 years, clothes I can't believe I ever thought were stylish and lots of things that made me laugh. Like when I found the clothes iron. LOL, I used to iron! With an ironing board! How domestic is that? Nowadays we're lucky to leave the house in all clean clothes 🙈. 

Happy one month in the new house to us! It's the first morning that I'm sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing (simultaneously praying I haven't forgotten twenty things that I'm supposed to be doing) and I'm reveling in it. The construction is over (for now), the layers of dust have been banished (for now), and we're loving it (for always)! 

To those looking forward to moving: prepare yourself for the inevitable miracle of discovering you have more than one moving-truck-worth of crap in your apartment at any given moment. Math and Science can't explain it so don't even bother trying.