Mar 7 2014
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Vayikra. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
Sacrifice: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.
Recently I’ve been thinking about sacrifice and motherhood. First we stop drinking, then we surrender our waistlines…and that’s before they’re born and the real work begins.
But the idea of “making sacrifices” for my daughter makes me uncomfortable. It sounds a little…controlling. After all, I chose this path. I asked to bring a child into the world, and I was lucky enough to receive this incredible little kid. And as I’m sure she’ll point out in her teenage years, she never asked to be born. Read more →
Mar 6 2014
This winter was rough. There is nothing like a Polar Vortex that can undermine a lifetime of painstakingly implemented household rules and limitations. That tight ship you run has long been sunk by a tidal wave of television shows. Well, since Purim is around the corner (March 15th, to be exact), why not make the most out of your child’s newfound obsession with “Dora,” “Wonderpets,” or whatever infuriating cartoon your kids are into these days.
Here are some costume ideas inspired by your child’s favorite–and your most reviled–T.V. shows of all time. The more annoying the character, the more kids have a tendency to love them to pieces, so these guys are sure to be a hit:
1. My Little Pony.
This is the perfect choice for little girls who love to get glammed up. There are so many ways to do “My Little Pony.” Think: glitter, fake lashes ($6.99), pink hair extensions ($9.99), and make-up. Star Song ($29.99), Pinkie Pie ($29.27), Rainbow Dash ($26.79)–take your pick. Read more →
Mar 6 2014
After all the late-night/early-morning work I did covering the Winter Olympics (in addition to my standing freelance assignments and that whole parenting three kids thing), I promised my husband that I would take some time off afterwards and not do any work at all. (Well, except for my standing freelance assignments and that whole parenting three kids thing).
My husband didn’t believe me. God, apparently, didn’t believe me, either, because, literally less than 24 hours after the Ladies’ Long Program ended in Sochi, God decided to make certain I kept my promise to take it easy by striking me down with a case of shingles.
For those unfamiliar with shingles, it’s caused by the chicken pox virus that has been lying dormant inside you probably since elementary school flaring up and making one half of your body feel like it’s on fire. There are also some blood-red blisters (in my case along the back and above the rib-cage; but that can vary from patient to patient) that eventually erupt and scab over for visual effect. Read more →
Mar 6 2014
Over at Today Moms there is a story on minimalist mom who “spends nothing on her baby or her toddler.”
British blogger Hattie Garlick instituted a spending freeze on all kid-related items last year after losing her job. Now she says she enjoyed it so much that she is carrying on the plan this year, with a monthly “get out of jail for free” card. (She doesn’t mention how much one is allowed to buy with this card.)
I think we can all agree that as a culture we need to chill out on consumption. It’s not good for our wallets or our planet and most of our kids could do with a lot less. But praising “minimalist mom” without acknowledging the amount of time that goes into procuring hand-me-downs is misleading and wrong. These “free” things she finds? They aren’t free at all. Read more →
Mar 5 2014
Imagine the scene yesterday: I needed to find one piece of paper, a particular form that will accelerate the process of renewing my daughter’s passport before we travel to the United States this July, for my younger brother’s wedding.
List-maker and Type A that I am, I thought I had the perfect system in place, and that finding this form would be easy-peasy. One hour later, I had opened every file cabinet and folder and drawer in the house, with a forest worth of paperwork covering every available space in the living room. My entire bureaucratic history in Israel exposed, the last 17 years of job applications, funny newspaper articles, and editorial cartoons from the New York Times, and all the fantasies I had constructed: the new car I cannot afford, the Canyon Ranch spa that represents the vacation I so desperately need, the novel I started one night after a particularly inspiring dream.
After another hour of digging through the chaos, I found the passport file, right next to THE WEDDING BOOK. Several envelopes containing a full set of plans for my Israel wedding, from the caterer to the diamond ring to the chocolatier, to the list of potential and acceptable music which would accompany me down the aisle (Either orchestral “Field of Dreams” soundtrack or “One Heart” from “West Side Story”). All the contact information was there, ready to be activated should I get engaged, if I were getting married ten years ago; I am fairly certain that most of these people in the “field of happy occasions” have changed their numbers by now. Apparently we–my potential husband and I–were planning on traveling to the Far East for our honeymoon. Read more →
Mar 5 2014
-This week’s adorable prize goes to Willow Hart, daughter of Pink and Carey, pictured on Instagram taking her dad’s temperature after back surgery–due to injuries sustained during his pro biking years. He also posted a pre-surgery photo of himself in a hospital bed wrapped in a blanket from Willow, captioned, “Here we go, surgery bound. My daughter willow made sure i had her baby blanket w/ me. My wife is by my side and all is good!!! Let’s do this. And no i haven’t had any drugs yet. #FuseThisOldBack” (Daily Mail)
-Mila Kunis is getting hitched to, wait for it… Ashton Kutcher! Yup, the bombshell–who was recently ranked #1 on FHM’s sexiest woman in the World–got back together with her former flame and fellow “That 70s Show” cast member and has been spotted around town with some extra bling on her finger. Mazal Tov, Mila! (Star)
-Drew Barrymore and hubby spent the weekend in the Hampton’s with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy’s wife, Nancy Juvonen, and baby Winnie. Drew–who has embraced Judaism for husband Will Copelman–is due with their second daughter any day now. There was no sign of Drew’s firstborn, Olive. (Pop Sugar)
-New baby Eric didn’t stop Simon Cowell and girlfriend Lauren Silverman from zipping around in sunny Miami on scooters this week, followed by dinner and some quality time with their little boy. (Daily Mail)
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Mar 5 2014
It occurred to me recently that though my boys are perfectly potty-trained–which is good because they are 6 and 9–I actually had no idea what to do when my daughter’s turn came around. Odder, still, was that it wasn’t because she’s a girl and girls train differently. What rattled me was that I hadn’t potty-trained my older children…my sister had.
It all sort of happened by accident. My oldest trained late because of issues with his digestive tract, so potty-training was more like an adult conversation than a child manipulation. He’s smart. Scary smart. He was interested in the internal mechanics. Potty-training was more like a seminar, complete with multi-media, entitled: “This is how your digestive system works.”
But with my younger son, I had just had a new baby, and my older sister came over to hang out and spend plenty of cuddle time with an adorable newborn girl. I don’t know why, but she suddenly said, “Let me see if I can get Izzy to use the potty.” She’s just funny that way. Three hours later, success! I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I was so busy with my newborn, I hardly even reinforced it after. She spoke to him when she saw him, asked how he was doing, made bargains and even told him to call her when he had something to brag about. “Mommy, can you call Auntie Francine so I can tell her I pooped?” Read more →
Mar 5 2014
I recently wrote about my local kosher market’s announcement that it was closing after 74 years in business and how devastating the news was to so many people in our community. I regretted not shopping there more often and wished I had a chance to do things differently. But how often do we get second chances in life?
With immense pride in my community and gratitude to our leaders for coming together, we all have that second chance in the Greater Hartford area. Our beloved Crown Market has been saved, and I for one will be shopping there all the time. I will not make the same mistake twice. I hope everyone who was affected by this story takes to heart that our local businesses truly need our continuous and community-wide support.
In the many Jewish communities I have lived in over the years, I have never seen people put aside their differences and work together as decisively as this. Our Jewish community acted swiftly and cohesively to rescue one of our most prized institutions, but it could so easily have ended differently. The Crown Market was at the brink of closing, and in other communities around the world, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men are not enough to put their institutions back together again. Don’t wait until your community’s institutions are on life support before mobilizing to save them! Read more →
Mar 4 2014
It isn’t fair.
I’m old enough to know that life can be unjust, but naïve enough to still be surprised when it happens. A friend of mine is dealing with infertility, and she’s starting treatments now. She had no symptoms. She’s young and healthy and in a solid marriage. She’d be a wonderful mother. It isn’t fair. She’s going to have months of pills, shots, sonograms, doctor visits, spending huge amounts of money, while everyone around us gets pregnant after overindulging in wine.
Once, she once told me that she wanted five children. Now she’s fighting to have one. Of course it could be worse. It could always be worse. But that’s no way to comfort a woman with an empty house. My children are the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given, and my friend just might get stiffed. Read more →
Mar 4 2014
It all started innocently enough–with a nondescript letter from the hospital where I get my annual mammograms and ultrasounds (dense breasts, anyone?). It was included in the stack of mail that accumulated during our December pilgrimage to my sister’s ski house in Vermont (Christmas Day on the empty slope–a gift to the Jews, even if there are no available Chinese restaurants for dinner). The envelope’s only distinguishing characteristic was a sticker attached to the front. “Not a Bill,” it read. “Please Open.”
Inside was a form letter summoning me back to the hospital for additional scans of my breast. After consulting with the aforementioned-sister, who also happens to be an OB-GYN and multiple cancer survivor, we decided that there was no cause for alarm. I hadn’t received any ominous phone calls from my doctor. The follow-up appointment they scheduled was weeks away. And plenty of women are called back for additional views.
So I resumed my normal routine without panicking. Laundry. Lunchbox packing. Writing. Trips to Trader Joe’s. Schlepping to after-school activities. Rudimentary dinner preparations. The joys of typical suburban life. Read more →