Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reflections on the School Year

"School" has ended and "camp" begins on Monday. Those words are in quotes because it is a 1 week camp at school and for the life of me I can't figure out the difference between school and camp for 4 year olds. Anyway, I thought this might be a good time for some reflection.

It is no secret to those who know us that the Mote and I have had a difficult transition to organized programs. When she was 7 months old I had to move her out of a daycare because the provider was drinking heavily during the day. The next placement was great but we moved when she was 13 months old so it was short lived.

When she was two she went to yet another in home daycare (her 3rd) and it was not what I hoped it would be for her. I was anxious every time I dropped her there. The same thing happened when she started preschool this year. By February of this year, I was sure there was something very wrong with her and me because we couldn't seem to get along anywhere. I dreaded school days and the Mote's behavior was horrible.

In February she started at a new school. I'd like to say that decision was mine but it wasn't. Her old school asked her to take time off because of potty accidents (do you see why I don't use my children's real names in this blog?!). So, we moved her to her new school. And get this. It is the very end of May and I don't have any concerns, complaints or anxiety. NONE. NOTHING. NADA. We are both excited about school (and camp?) days. I've been so pleased with the Mote's progress in the past few months and the activities at the school. The communication with the school has been fabulous and the Mote has not had an accident there in months. So, Sheryl, Nancy and Lisa, thank you for making this such a happy time for all of us. Even at the incredibly high price of gas (I have to complain about something!) we are so happy to be with you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Did I Turn the Oven Off?

Seriously, what is it with me and the oven? As soon as I get in my car I begin wondering if I turned off the {insert appliance: hairdryer, coffee maker, oven etc}.

So, this morning I was multitasking. I was working, taking care of the baby and making meatballs, chicken and marinara sauce for the freezer. I have a crazy month of deadlines ahead of me and decided to get ahead in my cooking. Things were going along well until I got in the car to go pick up the big child at school - from school we go to my parents house for a bit and then to swimming. 5 minutes from home I started wondering if I turned the oven off. I worked myself into quite a frenzy but didn't have time to go home and check. My husband works nearby and I asked him to go home and check. He is used to this by now. Of course, being the organized, on top if it multitasking queen that I am (stop laughing) the oven was turned off and the dog and house were safe and sound.

On to the next task.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting to Know Each Other

I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to send me e-mails or comment on my blog. I really appreciate your input and you often make me laugh with your comments on my crazy little life.

So, I thought you might all enjoy learning a bit about each, don't worry, I am not sharing names or even any parts of e-mails that have been sent to me directly. I'm not trying to create any stalker type situations here.

Instead I thought I would let you know that the readers of this blog are coming from almost every state in the U.S. as well as the countries of Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy and Japan.

Some of my readers I knew long before I started to blog and some others have found me through searches that have turned up this blog.

Some of the search terms included:

*What happens if you break passover?
Sorry - I have no idea what happens. You enjoy some bread?

*Love boutique
Um - not here sorry.

*Big yucks
I don't think that post was about the "yucks" you were looking for.

*Goose singing happy birthday
As talented as my pup is, he doesn't sing.

*My daughter hates the taste of her antibiotics
MINE TOO! Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

*fancy dress up pirate birthday party
YEAH! We're not the only ones!! Joint party next year?!

*Consider yourself goose
'nuf said

Again, thanks for reading and commenting!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Seriously people. We're going away for two days. TWO DAYS. I can't believe the amount of stuff we're bringing.
We need:
Several outfits per child (spilling, accidents, change in weather)
Pajamas and favorite blankets
Thermometers and medicine (I am paranoid)
Sunscreen and bugspray
Sippy Cups
Baby Food
And oh so much more that I haven't even thought of yet.
It will be worth it, right?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Am That Mother

You know the mother. The one who can't control her kid? Yep, that's me. The one who cried at her kid's dance recital? Me again.

The Mote (4 year old) had her dance recital rehearsal on Friday. At 2:15 I told her it was time to get ready. We needed make up, hair in a bun and tights on. Costume could be done at the rehearsal.

Well, the kid put on her yellow hard hat and her fairy wings and dug in those heels. She was not letting me near her hair. She screamed. She cried. She fell asleep. I panicked. My husband hovered looking shell shocked.

For a few minutes, I decided to scrap the whole thing. I've had so many battles with her the past few weeks over non-negotiable stuff like taking medicine and going to the doctor. I was going to drop the issue of the rehearsal and recital and just accept that she has a fun year in dance and that was that.

Then, I came to and decided that she needed to learn something here and I should try parenting. I woke her up. I calmly told her that she could either participate in the recital or tell her teacher that she wasn't going to participate but that the teacher needed to be told and I wasn't doing it for her. With that, my husband carried a screaming, kicking, hysterical child and got her belted in her car seat.

She was calm by the time we got to the rehearsal (I did bribe her with ice cream...I didn't say I was a good parent...just that I was giving this parenting thing a whirl).

So, in we walk. Every (E-V-E-R-Y) other little girl is prepared with her hair and make up done and is holding her mom's hand with all of their stuff in a neat little bag. My kid's face is swollen and blotchy and her hair looks she's running off to join the circus. I'm holding her little dance bag, her costume, my camera, my keys, my cell phone, her shoes and I look like a bag lady who forgot her bag. Our stuff is all over the place. She's whining.

That's when I became that mother. Neither one of us could get it together so I yanked her into the bathroom with all of our stuff falling out of my arms and yelled something about getting it together RIGHT NOW. Didn't work.

Some other mom got her hair in a ballerina bun. I got her costume on. And she looked at me, apologized and ran up on stage with an 18 year old who is her new BFF. G-d help me.

They practiced the finale first and she kept up with all the big kids, looking adorable. I was ok then. Even when she bowed by herself.

Then came time for her class to do their number. And I became that mom again. The one who goes up to video her kid while she is crying and shaking with pride. The one who forgets that every other mother in the place is feeling the same thing and is sure that she is the only one so choked up and so proud. The one who wants to run up on stage and get her little girl and bring her down again and go home and play blocks and just keep her a baby a little while longer because I don't think I can handle this growing up thing...

The one who is so proud of her girl and can't wait to see the recital on Sunday (oh- and have a few months off from dance class and payments too :))

Great Grandma Bess's Strawberry Pie

When I cook (which is not nearly as much as I should) I do it from respectable, copyrighted recipes. Thank you Food TV.

Anyway, since this is rarity - both me cooking AND having a non-copyrighted recipe - I thought I would share with you our family favorite Strawberry Pie. It is a favorite among all 4 generations of my family.

I didn't know Grandma Bess but from what I hear she did not speak English well, she did not measure ingredients and she was one hell of a cook. So, this is the best I can recreate her recipe. Sorry, Bubbe Bess for any variations.

Great Grandma Bess Strawberry Pie

1. Prepare a pie crust (for me, that means defrost a pie crust but make your own if you are so inclined)
2. Fill pie crust with vanilla pudding (instant is fine).
3. After pudding sets, put sliced strawberries on top.
4. Make filling. In a medium pot, mix together 1 cup crushed strawberries, 1 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons corn starch. Add 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until mixture is thick. Let cool completely. Spread on top of pie.
5. Let pie set in refrigerator for several hours.
6. Whip up some fresh whip cream (no cans here people, make the real thing) and add to pie just before serving.


Friday, May 16, 2008

A Farmer I am Not

If you love me...ok, if you want me or my kid to come to your birthday party then please for the love of G-d do not have it at a farm. Please.

As you can probably guess, my 4 year old and I recently attended a party at a farm. I was all excited about the afternoon. I dropped the baby off at my mother's house and took my older daughter and her friend to the party. Most of her class was there and I was looking forward to hanging out with some of the other moms while the children had themselves a fine time at the farm. The weather was perfect. 68 degrees and sunny. Apparently, I missed the idea that this event was at a farm and not a country club.

So we arrive at the farm and begin the trek out to the stream to see the natural spring. After the little boy I was watching stuck his hand in a pile of compost, my daughter decided to see if she could balance on a rock in front of the stream. I caught her on her way down and only her feet got wet.

After that, our 16 year old farm guide let the children into an enclosed fruit and vegetable garden with instructions "not to run" and "not to step on the beds". Wanna guess what happened next? It is going to be a very poor strawberry crop this year on the farm, I'm afraid.

Not heeding the lesson of the berries, our fearless (or high) tour guide then brought us in to the chicken coop with the same "do not run" instruction. In all fairness the kids were pretty good about the do not run rule and the nice lady said nothing like "don't try to pluck feathers off the live chickens". Two of the other mothers were conducting business on their cell phones. In the chicken coop. Another one, was texting her husband about her sudden desire for wings for dinner.

After that, the children headed into a big pen with 2 goats and a sheep. The mothers decided to hang back this time. Wrong choice. My child lost her footing and slipped and rolled down the hill. Yes, there was poop involved. No, I'm not ready to say more. Clothes have been thrown out. Another child angered a goat who went after him. This activity was short lived.

From there, they brought the kids to an herb garden and let them taste different kinds of herbs. Except it was 5 pm and the guide lady called it a vegetable garden. One of the kids wanted corn, mine wanted celery and so the hungry, tired, smelly children began to wail. All 15 of them.

After applying copious amounts of Purrell, we gave each child a chocolate cupcake and went on our merry way. And that, my friends, was the farm party.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights

I've known about this for a few weeks now and have gone back and forth about what to write. I talk to myself a lot about these kind of things. You should know that about me. Anyway, This is a subject that I take very seriously.

So, I thought about a long post on Darfur. I thought about China. I thought about many places around the world where people don't have the right to live as they chose.

But, instead of focusing on those topics, I've picked another. I think we need to talk more about what can be done to help those who are denied basic human rights. Yes, awareness of the problem is the first step and it is an important one. But, for the moment, let's assume that we all know about the problems in Darfur. Now what?

Now, we tell people that these problems are important. We contact our Congressional Representatives and Senators and we tell them that we think these problems are important. We work with organizations such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch or others to help bring about change.

Most importantly, we teach our own children that the world can not stay silent when other people are being denied the most basic human rights that we enjoy. We teach them to be good and responsible citizens of the world and to help those in need. And, we are proud of them when they join groups such as Youth for Human Rights or local school groups focused on protecting human rights.

The human rights crises that exist in the world today can not be solved by any one person. We need to act as a community and we need to help those who are not in a position to help themselves.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Children's Book Week

This week is Children's Book Week.

So, I thought I'd list some of my very favorite children's books:

1. The Little Engine That Could
2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
3. Paddington Bear
4. Fancy Nancy
5. Five Little Gefiltes (yes, really...that book cracks me up)

And some of my kids' favorite books:

1. Anything Dora
2. Fancy Nancy (at least we agree on something)
3. The Disney Princess Collection
4. All of the Sandra Boynton books (Good to chew, says the baby)
5. Fox in Socks (as of yesterday)

Please share some of your favorites in the comments...I'm always looking for new ones.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My First Meme

Well, isn't this exciting? Ok, maybe it is only exciting to me since I was having a hard time thinking of a post for today.

Anyway, here are 8 Random Things About Me:

1. I have always slept with a blankie. In my adult years, my blankie is actually an afghan but it serves the same purpose. I can not sleep without it.

2. One of the things I miss most about living in Massachusetts is seeing the ocean every single day. There are days that I miss it so much that it hurts.

3. I sometimes miss my kids when they are sleeping. I sometimes want to miss them when they are awake.

4. I talk to my dog like he's a person. No, he doesn't talk back but I know he understands me.

5. I like to eat dry chicken and turkey. Overcooked poultry is my friend.

6. I really like to color in coloring books. My 4 year old doesn't.

7. I like to drink my morning coffee in a travel mug, rather than an open mug, even if I'm not going anywhere.

8. If I'm wearing my hair down then I need to have a hair elastic in my pocket in case I neet to put it up at any time. Always. Can not be without hair elastic. Ever.

I'm not going to tag anyone specific because I'm not sure who has done this before but if you're interested then consider yourself tagged and I look forward to reading your post.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I may have changed my college major after 1 semester as a Psych major but even I can figure this dream out.

Last night I had the strangest dream (isn't that the beginning of a Simon & Garfunkel song? Love them!).

Anyway, I had this dream where I was with my family at a resort in Mexico. It was the resort my husband and I went to when I was 6 weeks pregnant with my first child. I was so sick. I didn't get off my beach chair much. I read and I slept. Thinking back on it, it was a wonderful vacation.

So, last night I had this dream that we were all there. It was the day before the trip was to end and I realized that I had not been to the beach yet..not once...even though I could see it from my hotel window. Why? Because I was too busy going to Stop and Shop in Playa del Carmen. Yes, I'm aware that Stop and Shop doesn't actually have stores in Mexico. And, if they did, it probably wouldn't take me all day every day to get what we needed. But that was my dream.

All Stop and Shop and no beach makes for a cranky mommy. I think I need a vacation. Pronto.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Proposed Merger

There's going to be a little bit of change around here. As some of you know, I love to knit and I started a knit blog called Everywhere a Knit Knit. I'd like to keep it up. Really, I would. But the pressures of parenting and work are preventing me from knitting enough to maintain a blog about it. Accordingly, I am merging the two blogs. I'm hoping that by merging the two blogs I will be be able to post more regularly and knit more often.

So, occassionally you will see pictures and hear talk of knitting around here.

My other blog will remain a separate blog.

Business meeting adjourned. Carry on.

I'm Back

Sorry for the lack of updates around here, my friends. The Mote has been sick and we have all been paying the price. It's been horrible. She got sick Saturday and it's been like one long tantrum ever since. Not pretty.

Anyway, today was her first good day all week.

So, tonight we hung up her new canopy. It's pink and it has butterflies. She was beside herself excited.

I was sitting on the floor directing my husband where to hang the canopy on the ceiling (what, you're surprised?). The Mote came and sat in my lap and said, "Oh Mommy. Oh Daddy. Just what I've always wanted. A canopy. And nice warm sheets."

The drama! I promise we give the child nice warm sheets every single night. Sometimes we forget other niceties (like today...socks? who needs socks with frog rain boots on a perfectly sunny day?) but sheets...those are always on the bed. I don't mess with things that might mess with her sleep!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Blog

My plan for today was to tell you about the excitement and joy of going to Israel after spending a week touring Poland's concentration camps. There's been a change in plans. I didn't keep much of a journal in Israel except to write things like "having so much fun" "wow!" and "great party". Not exactly blog worthy 16 years later. Seems that I wrote more in Poland and told my Israel experience more in pictures (long before I had a digital camera so no photos to share on this here blog).

So, we are going back to the regularly scheduled important topics of my blog.

Let's start with summer camp.

There is a wide open 12 weeks between the last day of school and the first day of school. 12 weeks. We will be away for 1 week. That leaves 11 weeks to fill. The Mote (4 year old) has been through too many transitions this year. While she transitions remarkably well at school, according to her preschool progress report that I received yesterday, that is not always the case at home. So, I don't want to enroll her in camp or start anything new. We all need a break from that.

So, imagine my excitement when I received an envelope from her current dance school and discovered they are doing a 1 week camp. It's called Pretty Princess Camp. Seriously. My kid could probably teach Princess camp since she is the very definition of a princess but is she ever excited. The only thing I had to explain is why her favorite boyfriend could not attend Pretty Princess camp with her.

Now to fill the other 10 weeks.

P.S. photo is(c) Linusb4,

Thursday, May 1, 2008

WARNING: This post is very different from my usual posts about parenthood and other important topics such as TV. It has nothing and, yet everything, to do with my children. When I was a senior in high school, I was privileged to go on the 1992 March of the Living trip to Poland and Israel. Since Holocaust Remembrance Day begins tonight, I have decided to share excerpts from my journal that I wrote on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) 1992. Please, feel free to skip today's post. It is hard subject to deal with. However, I feel that it is my obligation to write about it.

It is now eleven o'clock after a full day. It is hard to write now but I'm afraid that I will forget some of the things I so badly want to express.

The entire day was spent in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz has a campus feeling which disturbed me. In my mind now I picture the trees and the brick building and they seem, sick as it is to say, pretty.

The feeling of the day was disbelief. I think this is partly because Auschwitz is now a museum. Everything was behind glass. Everything was seen through the eyes of a tour guide - not my own. The numbers are unbelievably large. From 1942-1943, 1,300,000 prisoners died. This is approximately 20,000 people a day.

The March itself was delayed for quite a while. There were security concerns. That is not new on our trip through Poland but it is especially terrifying here in Auschwitz.

Once the March started, it was an amazing experience. 6,000 Jews walking together from Auschwitz to Birkenau as free people. When we arrived in Birkenau there as a long memorial service. Members of the Israeli cabinet and others spoke. 6,000 voices sang Hatikvah in Birkenau. In hell. It was an act of triumph.

We didn't have much time to look around Birkenau. We went into one barrack, however, that really upset me. This was the only building I have seen that has not been touched in fifty years. It stands exactly how it was during the War - to the nail.

All of the gas chambers and crematoria have been destroyed. The horror though is still very real. You can see where everything was. You can hear the 1 million children crying. You can hear the silence.

Shabbat in Poland is just one day away. I can not wait. After Shabbat we will leave for Israel.

I thank you for indulging me if you made it through my out of the ordinary post. One more, although a very happy one, to come tomorrow and then we will be back to the regularly scheduled nonsense of disco balls, TV and (gasp!) Pretty Princess Camp.