Dec 18, 2008

Yonatan Tzvi

Our beautiful child. Our miracle. Our son. Yonatan means Gift of G-d. His name was chosen for both its meaning and its initial letter. The Hebrew letter Yud, pronounced like Y in English, is translated in English as the letter J.

Yonatan is named for several family members whose names begin with either a J or a Y.

Yonatan was conceived just two days before my beloved Aunt Judy passed away. Aunt Judy was my second mom – the funny mom, the spoil-me mom, the listen-to-me-and-not-judge mom. She was the one who shared the personal heartache with me over our inability to get pregnant quickly and easily like so many of our peers. Although I was unable to tell her that we were pregnant, I know that she knew and that she passed away knowing that we had finally achieved our miracle. She was able to peacefully leave our world to watch over us from another place. It is in her memory that Yonatan receives part of his name and meaning. The Y comes from her name Judy and her Hebrew name Yehudit. Yehudit means “praised” and Aunt Judy was a woman who lived that meaning by always being interested in others despite her own pain and illnesses. She was the first one to offer words of comfort, wisdom, and love. Her praise of our individuality was a source of support that is greatly missed. Our hope is that Yonatan will carry on her love through caring for others more than himself like she did.

Our miracle would never have been possible without the love and support of our friends and family. Sharing our struggles and heartache and our joy with those closest to us helped us cope. We will never be able to adequately thank our cousins Janis and Jim for their generosity, love, and support. In honoring them, we wish for Yonatan to embrace their giving spirit and fill his life with acts of lovingkindness.

Jenn's maternal grandfather – Yonatan’s great grandfather – Irving (Yitzchak in Hebrew) was 12 years old when he arrived in this country. As an immigrant he worked very hard to build a successful butcher business and provide for his 3 children. Grandpa Irving was a kind and loving man who I was fortunate to have known. In his memory, we wish for Yonatan to inherit his sense of hard work and determination no matter what obstacles he might face.

My (Yiftach's) paternal grandfather – another of Yonatan’s great grandfathers – was Yaacov Levy, a prolific writer and influential educator who left his boyhood home in rural Ukraine and ended up contributing a great deal to Jewish and secular thought in Western Europe and Israel. While I never got the chance to know him, my dad’s figurative and literal journeys through his father’s life and work over the last several years have made me ever more confident of his place of honor in Yonatan’s heritage.

Several generations back on my (Yiftach's) maternal family tree is Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, a renowned 19th century rabbi from Lithuania whose influence on Jewish life is still felt today in Israel and around the world. Over the last decade or so, as I’ve become more knowledgeable – and, of course, more curious – about Jewish traditions, texts, customs, and history, I’ve felt an increasing spiritual kinship with Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan that has enhanced my bloodline relationship with him, and I enthusiastically pass these gifts on to Yonatan.

Your Ima and Aba’s names begin with J and Y, thus completing the circle of life from your great-grandfathers, your great aunt and your cousins with J and Y names throughout our family. You are the next link in our lives binding our families together and strengthening the millennia-long chain of Jewish generations.

Your middle name – Tzvi – is another link in connecting your life with your big sister Hadarya’s. In anticipation of having a family, we decided to give all of our children middle names that began with a T to honor Jennifer’s maiden name TABAK. It was also a way to link all of our children together no matter how they came to be part of our family. Tzvi means a deer or gazelle. These animals are very graceful and gentle. We hope that your will embody that characteristic and be a gentle person.

Welcome to our family!

Dec 13, 2008

12/10/08 - Blog Address Becomes True

2 1/2 years ago we (mostly I) began this blog to create a space to share my joys of being a mom and the life with the children my husband and I planned to have.

On 09/06/06 I wrote the following: "Welcome to our blog for our journey to becoming parents. was created to share our expereinces, our highs and lows, and finally the celebration of our yeladim (children) coming home."

Little did I know that 3 weeks later our beautiful daughter would come into our lives and begin the process of making the title true... OUR CHILDREN. But alas, she was just one and so the address did not match our intentions at the time with just one child.

Now it is true, thanks to the support of amazing family and medical intervention. We welcomed our son into our family on 12.10.08 at 1:05 AM. NOW our blog address is true because there are CHILDREN in our house and G-d willing there will be more to come.

What a fabulous feeling and amazing life I have with my husband, daughter, and son. Life with our yeladim is grand; even just 3 days after his birth and very little sleep. Yep, life is grand as of now and no one could tell me anything differently.

Dec 6, 2008

38 weeks!

As of yesterday, I am officially 38 weeks pregnant and staying that way for a while longer. WOO HOO! The high blood pressure scare and swollen legs certainly scared my doctor and the rest of us, but not working does wonders! This baby is not ready to meet the world yet and while bed rest seems to be getting a little tiresome (mostly from getting sore from sitting!), whatever I have to do do make sure this little one is totally ready, I'll do.

We have finally found a routine and seem to be on a good pattern of adjustment to this lack of cooking, cleaning, laundry on my part! Hadarya seems to be doing much better than the first week or so and it's great to have so much help from family and friends.

We are looking forward to meeting to our miracle and beginning life as a family of four. BUT not for a couple more weeks...

Nov 23, 2008

3 AM -- No party in her crib

Thursday, November 20th was the night before the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. For 5 years we've both participated: me through walking 60 miles or crewing on a pit stop and my husband through crewing gear and tent. Even when our daughter arrived 2 years ago, I still walked and he cheered us on from the sidelines. So this year, it was obvious that I would not be able to crew being 9 months pregnant and we would cheer him on from the sidelines. Hadarya had other things in mind.

While I was a bit nervous about the weekend by "myself" with her (and grandma and savta) I figured we'd make it happen somehow. But Tuesday's doctor's appointment, putting me on bedrest, changed everything. I was now out of commission and we needed to make changes.

Savta agreed to spend the night on Thursday night and help get Hadarya to daycare in the AM. She sleeps until about 7 AM and that would work out perfectly. Yiftach was set to leave at
4 AM to get to the fairgrounds for day zero to join his crew members lugging gear and tents.

Hadarya had been sleeping through the night for a couple of nights in a row and even if she woke up for milk or from a dream, it was usually around midnight, 2 AM, or 5:30 AM. So at 2:55 AM when she called out for Aba, we were a little unnerved.

For almost an hour she cried, whined, fussed, drank milk, fell asleep on Aba's shoulder, refused to come to Ima or Savta and generally acted uncharacteristically of our amazing child. It was bizarre. If you were not in our house you would never believe that our 2 year old knew Aba was leaving the house and she wanted to be part of it. It was just so uncanny.

He finally got her back in her crib at 3:50 and left with Grandpa to pick up Auntie Kimber. As soon as I shut the door and locked it, she woke up calling out for Aba. She let me pick her up (I haven't done that in a very long time due to growing belly and her lack of comfort!) and we laid on the couch together. I thought she was falling asleep but Savta said she was wide-eyed. She allowed Savta to carry her to our bed and she laid down between us and closed her eyes.

I called Yiftach to tell him (4:20 AM) that she was good...did not use his name but just said she's on her way to sleep in our bed; and she popped up and called for him. He did not make it to Del Mar and the beginning of the 3 day.

Our daughter has a sixth sense about things and she knows when things are not exactly as they should be. She totally knew that our lives had turned upside down on Tuesday at the doctor's and she was trying to figure it out. This was not a party that we were glad to be invited to!

0 to 60 in 1 Doctor's Appointment

Tuesday, November 18th started off like any other day but ended with a new plan for our lives for the next month. We carpooled to work and I had my typical 1/2 day with students. I knew that I only had 4 more teaching days left until I was on maternity leave and so we made the most of our day and ended with sharing. I had a one hour inservice (sitting and listening and participating) and then left to pick up Yiftach for our 4 PM regularly scheduled Doctor's visit.

Long story short, my blood pressure was way too high for my doctor's liking and my feet and calves were very swollen. Not surprising at the end of the day, sitting half naked on a small doctor's examining table with my feet dangling and waiting over 30 minutes to be seen...but the blood pressure wouldn't come down as she continued on with her exam and measurements.

My parents had picked up Hadarya for the doctor's visit and we called to ask them to keep her longer as we were headed to the hospital for further testing for preeclampsia. The doctor gave us 30% chance of being admitted and induced that night and that was a little much for us! We're not ready for this baby yet and it's not ready for us!

Blood was drawn and sent to the lab. We waited for a room in an office as there were too many people who came to triage right before us. I was hooked up to fetal monitoring machine, blood pressure machine, and contraction machine. Told to rest, lie still, and hang out. It took awhile but I finally got comfortable after Yifach piled a few more blankets on me to make me warmer and propped up my arm on a few folded sheets to keep it steady.

My blood pressure came down significantly and the baby's heartbeat was fine. The blood work came back clear and I had no extra proteins floating through my liver and kidneys! YEAH... we were sent home. No more work, no cooking (standing on my feet) and no significant anything but laying around on the couch on bedrest.

Life has changed. Dramatically. I sit on the couch all day. My mom comes over. My mother-in-law comes over. My daughter cuddles near me. I do not do a whole lot but flip through the channels and check my email! Our hope is to continue this lifestyle, as hard as it has been on my husband, and figure out how to keep my BP down and let the baby wait until it's really the right time....4 more weeks to go. We'll see what the doc says on Monday AM.

Nov 16, 2008

Do You Want...

So our daughter has a very smelly poopy diaper and refuses to change it. She thinks it's a game. She really wanted her bitzy (pacifier) and I told her only if she got the wipes and pad. Usually she complies and is very helpful. Today, not so much. Probably because she refused a nap and is being 2.

Here is the conversation we had with our 2 year old:

Me: Do you want to change your diaper?

H: Nope

Me: Do you want to go to Target?

H: No

Me: Do you want to go to bed?

H: Nope

Aba: She's going to say no to everything you say.

Me: Do you want to go in the car?

H: No

Aba: Do you want to go to skydiving?


Oct 15, 2008

Grandma's Blankie

On Monday night at 1:30 AM we ventured into the car with a wide-awake but very sleepy child after soaking the bed and her pj's. She couldn't get settled and wanted the car to fall asleep in. We've done this before so it wasn't that big of a deal and since I didn't have to work the next day and was worried about the whole bed wetting issue anyway, I was wired to go.

There were a few rules though from the toddler: she insisted, of course, on her bitzy (pacifier), and a blankie. She rarely sleeps with a blankie but boy did want one and it had to be a specific one. We got it right on the 4th try. Then she wanted her minnie mouse pillow too. We got her in the car and she started on about Grandma's Blankie. It took several attempts to understand her (we are working on taking out the bitzy when she talks but at 2 in the AM it wasn't worth the fight) and after repeating what she said again and again, we caught on to Grandma's Blankie.

The problem??? What was Grandma's Blankie?? Then I got it. The Luvee that Grandma made her. She got one when she was born and Grandma made her several more to have in the car and day care and to be the hot baby item for all her friends to give as gifts. It's a rectangle shaped flannel material on one side and minky dots on the other with different textured but coordinated ribbons all around. Hadarya doesn't sleep with them at home anymore, but she does at daycare. At home they are her babies blankies. YET... she knew, somehow that it was made by Grandma, and she had to have it in the car that night.

She got it. Slept fairly quickly. and tonight asked for Grandma's Luvee at bedtime.

Birthday Girl

Here are photos of our love on her 2nd Birthday. We can't believe she's already 2!! Where did the time go??

Sukkot and Soaking Wet

Although we've talked about and talked about building our own Sukkah every year for 5 years of our marriage, it just hasn't happened. We have had a backyard, albeit just dirt, but a place to build one. We just haven't gotten it together. This year was no exception but next year will be different. Nana and Saba came through with a fabulous birthday present for us both: a Sukkah Kit! We are beyond excited to have the directions, the lumber, and all the mechanics to make an 8 x 12 structure. Next year it's going to be fabulous. This year, we continue to "crash" at our friends Sukkahs to experience the holiday.

The word Sukkot is the plural of the Hebrew word sukkah, meaning booth or hut. During this 7 day holiday, Jews are instructed to build a temporary structure in which to eat their meals, entertain guests, relax, and even sleep. The sukkah is reminiscent of the type of huts in which the ancient Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt, and is intended to reflect G-d's benevolence in providing for all the Jews' needs in the desert. The sukkah is a temporary structure used for meals throughout the holiday.

We spent Monday night with our 2nd family...the Meltzers in their Sukkah. Hadarya had a blast playing with the kids, eating at the picnic table outside, and just soaking up the atmosphere. She is such a social kid! We had delicious food, great company, and headed home for bed around 7:45. Munchkin put on her pj's with all the other kids and wore her new birthday hippos from Baba Karen.

Around 1:30 AM she awoke crying, which is unusual. Yiftach went in and tried to give her something to drink and pat her back. Didn't work. She kept asking for Ima. So he finally took her out of her bed to discover she was completely soaking wet!! Her legs were soaked as was her freshly made bed through 2 sheets and a mattress pad.

Ima got out of bed and went to get her not yet realizing how wet she was. I took her to my room and laid her down to change her pj's. She cried the whole time from being cold and uncomfortable and wanting to sleep so badly! It turns out that somehow her diaper was not longer attached. One side was totally undone and the other barely hanging on. The diaper was dry but her legs and pj's were soaked!

She refused new pajamas and cuddled under a warm blankie on our bed. We stripped her bed and put on a new sheet but she wouldn't get in. She was pretty awake and just kind of freaked out. This is only the 2nd time she's wet through a diaper/pj's in her life! So we ended up having a snack and taking a ride in the car. She crashed quickly to the lull of the car and we transferred her to her bed.

We unfortunately were awake for a little longer since this was way more than just waking up! We are working on securing diapers better and trying to make sure she is able to sleep without being wet again.

Morning Rituals

Somewhere between 6:45 AM and 7:15 AM a sweet little voice can be heard calling, "IMA" down the hallway. That's my cue that my angel is awake. I respond with, "HA-DAR-YA!". She responds back in a different tone, "EEE-MA!" Then it's my turn, "Hadar-YA!" Until I make it into her room and she giggles at me and smiles. Rarely does she call for Aba. She's learned that Aba graciously gets up in the middle of the night, unless there is an emergency such as the night before last and then all she wants is Ima. (See next post for that incident).

Hadarya then asks for her song. "Good morning to you, Good morning to you, Good morning sweet Hadarya, Good Morning to you!" She then says, "again" and I proceed to sing to her again this time with saying good morning to her body parts. She giggles and giggles until she is ready for up and out.

Because I am on a fall break from work, we've been getting back into my bed and cuddling for a while. She just thinks that is the best of the best to snuggle into our bed and against my growing belly. We tickle each other, sing songs, and smile into each others faces.

It's sweet and delicious and I am going to miss it when I go back to work next week!

Oct 14, 2008

And I thought I would be alone...

It's been almost 6 years since I was married and it's often hard to imagine another life without my husband, my daughter, being an adult and the never ending bills, laundry, and cleaning that comes with it. That was not a complaint...just the life of grown-ups! We got married later than most of our friends (at 32 years old) and waited a year to even begin thinking about starting a family. We wanted to enjoy being married first.

Most of my friends already had kids by the time I got married. The oldest turns 18 tomorrow. Most of them are dealing with school age children and are at different stages in their lives with sports, dance, homework, and a variety of other activities that consume your children. Most of them have at least 2 and many of them more. Since we got married much later than them and therefore were going to have children later, I figured that I'd be alone in my pregnancy and child-rearing stages. It would not have been exactly how I would have planned it, but we plan and G-d laughs.

When we struggled to even get to the first stage of the game by getting pregnant, I knew for sure that I'd have my children but all my other friends would have theirs first and we'd be at different places raising our kids. Hard to take. Hard to explain. Tough to manage emotionally even though there was not a lot I could do about it. I even had a friend tell me that it didn't matter so much because I would make new friends who had kids the same age.

BUT I DIDN'T WANT NEW FRIENDS!!! I liked my old friends and the history and time we'd invested. I wanted to be a mom with these friends and not have to start all over.

Rewind to 2 years ago when our daughter arrived on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. In our group of friends, she was 7 months younger than 2 of our closest friends girls, 4 months older than another friends' daughter, just over a year older than my best friends twins, and 2 years younger than the group of our friends who had boys all at the same time. She fit right in age wise with everyone else and we couldn't have been more delighted! It was great.

Now she is 2 (as are most of the other girls or about to be!) and we are delighted to find ourselves pregnant with a healthy baby due in just over 2 months. When we first found out, we were thrilled to be adding to our family and being able to experience the joy and miracle of pregnancy. It doubled when we found out our dearest friends (who have a daughter 7 months older and a son 2 years older than H) were also expecting and due 9 days before us!!!

I WAS NOT ALONE! I was going to have a baby at the same time as our close friends.

It gets better. . . we have since found out that another set of our friends (whom we do not see enough of) are having a baby boy 6 weeks before us and another good friend (whom we do not see enough of) are having a baby boy 4 weeks after us!! There is another friend of a friend due a few weeks before me and another due 4 months after me. Then we just got the best news that our other friends are having their first baby about 3 months after us and we couldn't be more thrilled for them. Our friends who have a daughter 4 months younger than ours are also having another baby due 4 months after this one of ours! SO our two kids will be about the same age difference!!

That's a total of 8 babies born within 6 months of each other. I am so excited and so thrilled to not have to make new friends. To have families with other kids having kids about the same age. This is my babies hebrew school class. It's the b'nai mitzvah track. Even though I had a plan, G-d's plan was better. Have faith and look what happens.

Oct 7, 2008


This morning H was very willing to put on her shirt for school and have her hair done while she was busy eating her french toast sticks. She was all done and ready to go see what Aba was doing in the bedroom and let Ima blow dry her hair.

I asked her to take off her very dry diaper and pajamas so we could put on her shorts. She somewhat allowed me to do that but kept trying to run off. Now I LOVE the sight of her naked tush fleeing from my hands ready to swaddle on a diaper, but we had to get going or we were going to be very late! She kept saying hens, hens, hens. I just repeated and then she repeated and I said ok honey. Not really knowing what hens were and what they had to do with diapers. Finally I let her go and reveled in the sight of cuteness of her backside.

I started calling her to come back and she returned promptly with the changing pad we lay on the ground that has HANDS all over it. HANDS not hens. She was telling me that she was going to get the diaper pad and she did and she laid down and she let me put on her diaper.

Smarty pants. I should have just listened to her the first time and let it go!

Tomorrow she turns 2

Where did the year go? Just a year ago my baby girl could not walk on her own. Now she running running running. Just a year ago she ate with assistance and her hands. Now she uses....insists on , a fork and spoon doing it herself. Just a year ago she drank a bottle. Now she drinks out of an open cup and rarely spills. Just a year ago we giggled at her babbles and spurts. Now we marvel at the words she uses and the context in which they are used.

My baby girl turns 2 tomorrow and she is a child now. Not a baby and not really a toddler so much. She is an amazing person who is kind, considerate, adorable, funny funny funny, and easy going. We love her to pieces and fall in love with her more and more each day.

Words do not do her justice. Photos do not do her justice. Being in her space and soaking up her personality and love are the best things you can do for yourself.

I can think of no greater place to be in life than Hadarya's Ima. Thank you baby girl for sharing your life with me!

Sep 29, 2008

The End and The Beginning

It's the end of September.
It's the end of 5768 on the Jewish Calendar.
It's the end of babyhood for our daughter.
It's the beginning of October.
It's the beginning of a New Year.
It's the beginning of our daughter becoming 2.

Where did the time go? How did we come to Fall and the end of another year? Time seems to be moving at warp speed and I am trying very hard to take each moment and enjoy my time with my daughter. It goes way too fast and I don't want to miss a thing!

I am in my sixth week of teaching 1st grade and getting ready for a 2-week October break. I cannot believe it's time to break already! My class this year is really wonderful, academically high and well-behaved. It's really nice after my long long year last year at 1st grade.

As Rosh Hashana begins a new year for us and a new cycle of the holidays, we wish a wonderful, sweet year for our family and friends. This past year we've reveled in our amazing daughter and cherished the life beginning within my body. We look forward to this year filled with wonder as our daughter continues to astound us with her wit, humor, and personality and when she becomes a big sister in December. It's going to be a marvelous year in our household!

Shana Tova.

Sep 2, 2008

Moments of Clarity and Contrast

This last week has been wild. US politics took center stage for a lot of people, with the DNC on the one hand and McCain's VP pick on the other. We've been ramping up at work getting ready for the Fall semester (classes started today). And here at home, Hadarya has been continuing her amazing growth and development and strengthening her grip on our hearts.

At Hadarya's terrific daycare center, they sit in a circle each morning and sing a song to welcome everyone to school. It goes, "Hi, hello, it's good to see _______" (with each child's and teacher's name filled in), and is accompanied by simple hand motions (clapping and patting the lap). Hadarya has taken to singing the song to us, Aba and Ima, which is cool because it shows her ability to insert novel thoughts into familiar situations, which is a neat developmental step I like noticing as a proud papa.

Over the weekend, though, after giving her a small baked good for breakfast, we heard, "Hi, hello, it's good to see... MUFFIN!"

Clarity in the midst of chaos.

We attend Shabbat morning services with Hadarya almost every week (and Friday night services somewhat less often), and she "knows" parts of the service and anticipates them with glee. Primary among these is the Torah service, when the aron kodesh (ark) is opened and the Torah scrolls are removed and marched around the sanctuary. Hadarya gets a huge grin on her face when the ark is opened and cheerfully kisses the Torah as it comes around.

The other day, she pulled out her stuffed Torah, a toy we haven't seen a lot of even though she got it when she was very young. She proceeded to march around the living room and sing, "Torah, Torah, Torah..." Aaahhh, the kvelling!

Clarity, again.

Aug 26, 2008

I'm amazed at the power of the Internet to affect my feelings. I guess it just confirms what I've been telling people for years: computers (and, by extension, the Internet) are just tools for enhancing human interaction. Still, it's nice to be caught off guard by my own belief.

Aug 21, 2008

I'm a proud pee-pa this morning.

Aug 11, 2008

Israel Photos

We love our camera. It's one of the best purchases we've ever made and worth every penny we spent even though it took 4 years to buy it! We took over 1,000 photos during our adventure. We've edited them down to 746. Take your time. Enjoy the view. See Israel through our eyes. Gush over the cuteness that is our gorgeous almost 2 year old.


Terrible Transition

Last week was the week my love bug disappeared and was replaced by a whining, crying, tantrum throwing monster who suddenly hated daycare and eating. I am not totally sure what was the main trigger, but there were many contributing factors to the terrible week we had in our household last week. I hope other transitions are not this bad!

Hadarya's entire Chick classroom became Koala's last Monday. She is officially in the toddler cottage and not longer in the infant class. The best part is that her teachers all moved with her and so the transition was supposed to be easy. It was far from it!

If you read my previous post, you saw the lack of sleep and eating that began on Sunday. Throw in a brand new classroom, her 2 best friends absent for the entire week, and jet lag still lingering with the new teeth popping in and you have the recipe for a terrible week.

She cried buckets every morning whereas before she didn't even look back! She didn't eat or drink much of anything. She was very willing to take a nap but woke up crying and upset every day; even the day I was there waiting for her!

Then Wednesday night she stayed in her crib the entire night and only woke up 3-4 times for something to drink. (She's been very thirsty at night). Thursday she slept all night long and never woke up! Friday the same thing! All of a sudden my love bug returned.

Friday night we went to Zamru at the Bay and she gobbled up veggie lasagna off a spatula fed to her by the Rabbi. That jump started her appetite and she ate non-stop all weekend. Today was the first day back at school again and although she cried bucket when dropped off, she had a fabulous day!

Her friends were back. She ate well ALL day long. She napped well. She took a delicious bath tonight and didn't fuss over washing out the sand. She went to bed easily and early. We are back in the swing of things and it is very clear that my daughter craves structure and routine but is somewhat flexible if it's not too off. The change into a new place is rougher than I expected. It's been duly noted so I remember if and when we change to a new place!

The best part of the return of my sweetness is that she willingly gives HUGE hugs now and holds on so tight. It's the best! She is funny and happy and laughing all the time! mmmm.. she is so delicious!!!

Aug 4, 2008

What Happened to My Sweetness?

My beautiful, angelic, fabulous traveler is just about 22 months and someone has body snatched this lovely child and replaced her with a terrible-2-year old tantrum throwing, full body on the ground, throwing food, thing in our house.

We thought jet lag was bad. No one warned us about 2 year old molars. Thanks so much my friend!!!

We had a few nights of relatively nice sleep filled nights and then came Sunday. By mid-morning she was cranky, refused homemade chocolate chip pancakes (that should have been our first warning that life was about to change!), and took a 45 minute nap from which she awoke screaming and unable to calm down.

Life has not been the same since.

She has not eaten much in two days. She has not pooped in two days. She drank so much overnight Saturday to Sunday that her pj's and diaper soaked through enough for her to sit down and say "hot, hot" from knowing she peed! She takes bites of food, then spits it out, throws it across the room, and sweeps things out of our hands (yogurt all over the table is not so lovely). She throws herself on the ground and cries and screams. We try to ignore it, but after 25 minutes.... Tonight by 8:40 PM she was cooked.

She wanted to eat so badly but didn't want our help in getting anything. I finally scooped her up and told her we were going to bed. She calmed down immediately when I started to read to her but after three books, she was done. She refused to go to bed and cried. We put her in the car and took a drive. She was out within seconds and I hope the tylenol and motrin will be more effective tonight and allow her (and us) some much needed rest. Last night she thrashed about and cried every hour or so in our bed. Thank goodness I am not back at work yet because this would be a zillion times worse!

Our only clue to this being her molars is the constant drool that runs down her chin. She won't eat. She only chews (if she tries to eat) on the right side. I wonder how long this will last? When will I have my angel back? Will the other ones come in at the same time and let this all be over and done with?? I want my sweetness back and I want it back NOW!

Jul 27, 2008

The Flight Home

I was ready to come home. Our trip was fabulous and we had a ton of fun, but it’s very different traveling with a toddler than it is as adults. We didn’t anticipate certain things and we over thought other things. It’s not really a vacation that we had; more like an adventure in living in a foreign country with a toddler and no set structure to our days.

Flights out of Israel leave in the middle of the night. You are traveling backwards across time zones, depending on where you are going, so it makes some sense. Our flight left at 12:40 AM and arrived at 6 AM in JFK. We choose to fly internationally from JFK and do a domestic flight within the states. This meant going through customs and immigration in New York and then basically starting over with our domestic flight.

Four years ago when we traveled, El Al, changed the time of our out going flight and we missed our domestic flight home from JFK. This time we decided with a toddler to giver her the ability to run around, get food, and nap would be a better choice than rushing to get on another flight home in the AM and risk missing that flight. We also thought a direct flight would be better so we didn’t have to schlep off and on a plane again.

We were through customs and had checked our bags in at customs by 8 AM or earlier. The problem we encountered was that you cannot get to anything in a terminal at Delta in JFK without a boarding pass. Of which w we could not check into our flight until 10:10:45 AM. That gave us almost 3 hours to sit in the reservations area! My cranky husband was having none of this. I had to ask him to let me handle it so that we could possible get through with some help instead of waiting three hours.

I explained the issue we had with a agent and she took our passports and gave us special security only clearance to get through. Secrurity ended up being a hassle and my hungry sleep deprived husband almost got us in trouble. He kept beeping the making and he said he’d taken of everything and he was pissed. I had the baby, tons of carry-on, and they wanted to figure out why he was still beeping. Well, it turned out that he had forgotten to take out the cell phone battery and that was causing the beep!!

Our daughter is born to travel and is a fantastic traveler. She fell asleep in the car to the airport in Israel at 8:30 and slept pretty much through until just before take-off. We had a fabulous experience in the airport. Sailed through security and checking in our luggage. When we got to the gate, Yiftach asked the agent about checking in our stroller at the gate, since we had a sleeping child. It turns out that we’ve learned on international flights, you are not allowed to take any water on even if it’s been purchased in the airport. I had mine dumped on the way out. Well, it seems that on international flights they no longer do gate check for strollers on either end. Getting out in Israel H had to walk all the way to baggage… on the way back they take the stroller at the boarding pass gate.

This agent escorted us, in zone 1, all the way to the gate, waited and helped while we transferred H to my arms, and then he hand carried the stroller bag back to the front to check it in for us. We were amazed! We were also given bulkhead seats which were amazing. Not only could we actually see the screen, but H had a place to stand, play, and sleep! She wanted to go nigh –nigh and she she actually lay down on t a blanket, with a pillow and we covered her and she slept for 6 hours!! It was great for us too.

Then in NY she ran and played and we found some other kids to ;ay with and that was a bll! She fell asleep on Israel time at 1 PM in NY and will not wake up until we get home at 8 PM CA time. This is her nighttime!! We ended up with a seat in between us and she slept for most of the sgliht home. It’s our first night home that we are going to be in trouble because she is going to want to stay up all night because she’ll think it’s day and we are going to want to sleep.

Nachalot Benyamin and the Shuk

In the heat of Tel Aviv and the swarms of people, we tackled Nachalot Benyamin, a great artists street fair that is available twice a week for shopping. Unfortunately, we were not as successful at finding any gifts there this year. Probably because we didn’t really need anything, band partly because it was sooo hot and sticky. We had lunch at a great restaurant with Ruth, Noam, and Tamar and Zohar. I had a fabulous salad with lots of veggies, I think one of only a few salads I had the whole trip like that!We then ventured to the shuk on a Friday afternoon. CRAZY!!!

We wanted flowers and nuts and other things. We bought he best pastries ever and brought them on the plane with us for a snack. The shuk is crazy anyway and on a Friday with a stroller is even more crazy. It was fun, but hard with a sweaty toddler who didn’t want to shop so much. She was overdue for a nap and just never got around to it. She ended up blowing off steam in the park before Shabbat dinner.

Although it was a long day and Shabbat dinner, while super delicious at Doda Nomi and Dod Gil's, it was quick and off to the airport we had to go. It was great to be with family and have a lovely meal together. But there is always the nerves of needing to get to the airport and how long things will take. It was a nice way to end our vacation and trip.

Jul 18, 2008

Shabbat in Jerusalem

While my memory tries hard to remind me that Shabbat in Jerusalem (as I remember from being here many years ago) meant the entire city shuts down, it is not totally so in 2008. There were several cars driving around, which means you can't completely walk through the streets without being sensitive to a car possibly coming around the corner.

Regardless... Shabbat started in the usual hectic rush way that makes taking 25 hours a lovely thing. With only 1 bathroom and 7 people to bathe, children to feed, people not feeling up to par 100%, and then needing to get out the door for services certainly makes the 5-5:45 time slot RUSHED!

Somehow we managed and the 3 of us left to walk to services at Kol Nishama, a "reform" congregation where men and women sit together. It was really nice even though we got there 10 minutes late. Hadarya revels in services and danced her way through Kabbalat Shabbat after she got comfortable. We were sitting near the front in the top of a U shape. She loved walking away from us and sitting on the step that led to the bimah. She sat there and smiled at us. She sat there and stared at the Rabbi. She sat there and read a prayer book. She sat there and looked cute as only she can do and everyone smiled at her. She danced at the right places, clapped for the songs, and said amen at the end of prayers. The melodies were uplifting and a packed room made all the voices blend together in such a lovely way that I wish we had more of that in our synagogues in the states.

Savta Ruthie met us at services and walked home with us for dinner. The rest of the house was already asleep as everyone was feeling tired and exhausted. We had a lovely dinner that Scott had made before he went to bed. It was a lovely evening and we took Hadarya out for her nightly ritual of strolling to sleep.

We woke up Shabbat morning sort of late and immediately got on Skype with Grandma and Grandpa. Boy did that wake up Hadarya! She jumped over Aba to get to the computer and smiled, giggled, and laughed with them. It was a great beginning to the Shabbat morning. We ended up all going to services at Shira Chadasha and making it there a little earlier than last week. It's a modern orthodox with a michitza but women are called to the torah, lead services, and read from the torah. It's a lovely combination that I truly enjoy. I like being able to daven with myself in a community and not worry about the people around me.

We came home to a delicious shabbat lunch in which Scott's cousin, Reuven and Yiftach's friend, Einat, joined us. We ate over a a couple of hours, the kids played, the young ones napped for a bit, and we just schmoozed and hung out. We left for a trip to the park and picnic dinner around 5 PM and returned by 7 PM for bathtime and bedtime. Our baby girl does well with a bath now and loves getting in , especially if Maital joins her. We let her watch Elmo, skyped with Auntie Kimber, which Hadarya now says very clearly, and then took a stroll for her to go to bed. In between those two, we did Havdallah and Hadarya enjoyed smelling the spices.

A really super Shabbat experience in Jerusalem.

Biblical Zoo - mini Tiyul within Jerusalem

Erev Shabbat morning was spent at the beautiful Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. We traveled just past the mall we’ve become fond of (indoor air conditioning!) and ended up at this amazing zoo. It’s long and skinny versus the San Diego Zoo that is more round and expanded. There is a lot of water built into this zoo that it makes it look so refreshing for the animals.
The first stop was across a wooden bridge over the water where Hadarya could see “duckies,” which were really big birds that dove under the water for food. She thought that was so funny! We actually did see pink beaked ducks too. At the same time the screaming monkeys were making their presence known from the top of their house in the middle of the water on an island.

We then took the rakevet (train) to the top of the hill by the bears. What fun the bears were! There were 4 bears swimming, playing, jumping in the water, and walking around. We stayed for quite a while as they were so active. It was almost lunch time for them so they were pacing around trying to to be patient and wait. One of the bears actually dove off the rock in the middle of the water into the larger pool area. It was so funny to see him jump in! The other larger bear just eased his way into the water.

We then walked our way to Noah's Ark, which is the end of the zoo and the train pick up towards the front. It was very hot but the misters were very nice! We saw elephants and more monkeys. Then we got to the walkway that goes through the biblical animals. Hadarya had a blast running up the wooden walkway towards the lookout points. We were amazed that there were zebras, rhinos, and giraffes all together! They hung out, walked around past each other, moved in separate areas but everything was all connected. It was really cool.

By the time we got the Noah's ark information center we were hot and tired and it was time to leave. We got Hadarya her first popsicle while we waited for the train. It took her awhile to get the hang of it and it was sooo cold on her tongue! It was a really fun outing and a great way to get ready for Shabbat.

The grounds were filled with people sitting on blankets in the shade when we left and it was clear that this was a favorite place people liked to go to.

Everyday Living plus a Carnival

Part of the idea of renting an apartment was to be able to "live" in Jerusalem and experience everyday things. Today, Thursday, was kind of an every day thing. Scott had a tiyul that left at 7 AM and Jennifer asked us if we'd be awake to watch Nadiv and Maital so that she didn't have to drag them to walk Shayna to camp and then back to their daycare program. We offered to walk them to their program and then she wouldn't have to go out of her way. It was a good way to get us up and out of the house early and it was a really nice walk and it made us really feel like we were just ordinary people living here!

From the Hartman institute we got directions to a park with more "modern" equipment and spongy asphalt. Although it was hot, Hadarya had a lot of fun on the see-saw. She really wanted to swing but the wooden swings were too hot. We stayed for about an hour and she had a lot of fun running around. We met a woman on our way out and she asked how long we were staying. She is from Canada and has been here for 10 years. She came after law school, single, and stayed. She had a son who was about 6 years old. We took a long walk around by the History Museum and then back to the apartment.

We ended up going to the mall to cool off and get lunch and hang out and our little Miss took her nap while we shopped around. We had really yummy chinese food, just because we could eat at the mall in a restaurant like that.

The highlight of the day was going to a Carnival at 4:30 PM with everyone. It was not your typical carnival like we think of in the states. It started at 4 but they were still setting up when we got there! There were arts and crafts and tons of bouncy houses. We started out making necklaces out of bisseli (Israeli chips) and pretzels. Hadarya wasn't so interested. But we made one for her anyway. She really loved the bouncy houses and could not get enough of them. She also like the bouncy slide, which had a rope ladder to get up. Try carrying a toddler who weighs 28 pounds up a swinging rope ladder to get to the top and bounce down the slide.

There were big lovely mats (machselet) in many different places around the park area and different things on each one. One had lovely cushy bean bags type of mooshy chairs with books spread around so you could hang out and read to your children. Another one had someone there doing things like balloon animals, bubbles, and other fun interactive stuff. Then there was a huge fairy that was standing on something tall with air blowing her huge skirt around and the kids were shaking it and playing with it like parachutes. Hadarya totally knew what to do and shook with all her might and laughed a lot. The last place we stopped was an arts and crafts station set up with little tables and chairs. The big kids were tracing pictures and then coloring them in, but our little ones had more fun coloring their own pictures which Savta Ruthie wanted to keep for her fridge.

We ate dinner at a fabulous burger place that made my burger with eggplant and grilled onions and lettuce and tomatoes. It was quite delicious and we walked it off coming home. For as much as we've eaten, we've walked enough to not add the calories to our bodies! It was a delightful day doing what everyone who lives here does.

Jul 15, 2008

Tiyul #4 - The North Part 2

Sunday Night - Hadarya pulled an all-nighter, sleeping that is, after going to bed late around 10 PM. She woke at 5:15 for milk and fell back to sleep until 9:00 or so. Maybe later! We had a lovely breakfast on the balcony with a gorgeous sight to see. Then hustled into the car with all the gear and kids, up 100 steps in the hot hot hot heat, to go to the Tel Dan and Safed.

I LOVED the Tel Dan when we were here 4 years ago, so we wanted to go and explore this natural reserve some more. The trees, the pathways, and the water were enticing. We drove over an hour to get there, with two napping girls, only to find out it was CLOSED, due to a fire two days ago. What a bummer! BUT we were lucky to be with experienced travelers, especially in the North, and Noam found us a delicious spot all our own. The girls played naked in the water laughing, giggling, and splashing. We put on suits and joined them, had lunch, and watched the kayakers. Over 2 hours of relief from the heat in an area we’d never have found ourselves.

Then we ventured on to Safed, a place I’d never been and wanted to go. I was slightly disappointed as it wasn’t what I really expected. There were tons of tall and large apartment building on the sides of the hills as we entered. This was the new part, but seemed so out of place for a religious artist’s colony! I am going to have to do some research on the area and learn more for sure. We walked through the main street and down to the artists colony, which is really a long strip of shops. We saw some beautiful things, but not completely unusual and unique. Nothing I felt I really had to have. We did venture to the very end and go to the Safed Candle Factory, which are handmade candles of all kinds. It was amazing. A full size chess set mad out of candles. Shabbat and havdalah candles, as well as speciality items. We had fun here and bought some lovely things to bring home.

We then stopped for delicious ice cream and pizza for Hadarya (who ate almost the whole piece, minus what her cousin ate!) before heading back to our cabin. We ended the night with a campfire. Again, nothing we would have done on our own, but with Tamar and Noam… beyond perfect. They made salad, roasted potatoes and tons of meat, and Arab baklava for dessert. We ate over a couple of hours while we played with the girls and then they fell asleep. It was Hadarya’s first campfire and she was captivated by the fire. She went to sleep and slept on the blanket with blankets over her cozy by the fire. It was so beautiful to see. Now… at 11:45 PM, we are heading to bed too.

We had another great sleeping night although Hadarya woke from the crib we put her in . This is just a trip that she needs to sleep in our bed with us and be with us. Cribs are not working here for her at all. She drank some milk and went to bed with us. We woke late again, packed up, and then ate a long lovely breakfast on the balcony again. Eggs and fresh bread and salad. It was superb!

We then journeyed back to Ra'Naana via Nehariya for ice cream. Tamar and Zohar go to a mommy and me music class at 5:15 in the evening and we made it back in time for them to go. We were invited to join them and Hadarya had a blast! She LOVES music and it made no difference to her that it was in Hebrew. It was just so fun.

We then caught a late bus and headed back to Jerusalem. It was good to be back in our spot with our stuff and we are looking forward to some time in Jerusalem!

Tiyul #4 - Ra'Naana/North part 1

Noam (Yiftach’s cousin’s husband) who so amazingly picked us up at the airport and took us to Jerusalem, offered to come pick us up again in Jerusalem (1 hour each way) and bring us to Ra’naana before we left for a few days together. It was wonderful and saved us the journey on the busses.

We left Saturday night around 5:30 PM and went to Kfar Saba to his cousin’s birthday party! Hadarya didn’t do so well as she slept the whole way to in the car and then was surrounded by so many people she didn’t know. She kept fussing and crying and it was getting late, so we left and Tamar (his cousin) took us to her parents house (Dod Gil and Doda Nomi) to spend the night. Savta Ruth had just arrived a few days before.

Hadarya walked into their house as if she’d been there a million times and had a ball! She took to Nomi and Gil as if she’d spent days and days with them. She played with the toys they had for Zohar (Hadarya’s cousin who is 5 weeks younger) and laughed and giggled and enjoyed their company for over an hour. Then we changed her into her pajamas and she watched Elmo laying down in our bed for the night. Yiftach then took her out for a nightly stroll to put her to bed. Going to bed has been an issue as she will only go down in the stroller. He was incredibly successful and was able to transfer her into our bed.

We were blessed with an entire night’s sleep until 8:30 AM!!! She woke up 3 times and asked for milk and told us to STOP when we tried to pat her on the back. She drank and went right back to sleep. It was great. We hope tonight in the North will be a repeat. : )

Ra’Naana – Sunday Day

We spent a wonderful morning walking around the main street of Ra’Naana. Yifach found a pair of sandals that he loved and we hung out on the street with Sunny and her boys. Sunny and her boys live in San Diego and are visiting her mother who lives in Ra’naana. It was so much fun to see them! Lunch at the best falafel in Israel was a must and Ruth had joined us by this time. It was sooo delicious! My favorite part is actually the fresh lemonade with fresh mint. Refreshing. We then went back to his aunt and uncles and played with Zohar for a couple of hours before heading out of town. We were waiting for the car to get fixed. The girls laughed and played and had a blast together. We even took them to the park. I didn’t think it through that sand will stick to sweaty bodies very easily and within a short time they were covered. We carried them home and did a quick bath before getting in the car for a 3-hour drive.

The girls were great on the drive, especially for leaving around 5 PM, and sitting in the car for so long. They slept for quite a bit and had a blast running around the supermarket when we stopped for supplies. They each had a chocolate milk and just couldn’t get enough of running around after each other. We arrived in the middle of the mountains near the border of Lebanon to the most exquisite cabins.

Sunday Night - Hadarya pulled an all-nighter, sleeping that is, after going to bed late around 10 PM. She woke at 5:15 for milk and fell back to sleep until 9:00 or so. Maybe later! We had a lovely breakfast on the balcony with gorgeous sight to see.

Jul 11, 2008

Tiyul #3 - Machane Yehuda

Getting ready for Shabbat is always a wonderful experience in Israel. Especially in Jerusalem where you need to plan ahead because shops close and things go quiet for over 24 hours. Despite the lack of sleep, we ventured to Machane Yehuda, the outdoor Shuk (marketplace) with all the kids to get fresh things for dinner.

Machane Yehuda is a myriad of stalls that sell fresh meat, bakery items, candy, a few knick knacks, and fresh fruit and veggies. It’s a haven for feeling like you are farm picking your items and getting them from the supplier instead of the grocery store.

How can you beat fresh chocolate rugalach oozing with warm filling? Hot in the bag made them stick together but did not ruin the taste. Fresh tapuzim (juice) is the most amazing thing there. While we can make it at home, we so never do and there is nothing like watching the oranges get squeezed and drinking it down.

It is here that we began this conversation about the differences in our cultures diet and health factors. It’s so easy to be already prepared foods and run out for a bite to eat, but we really don’t realize what we are missing in terms of taste and what we are doing to our bodies. Here we go to the market every few days in order to keep up with the milk, water, and other small items. We buy just what we need in terms of fresh fruit and veggies and we go back for more when we need it. We walk everywhere and that alone helps our bodies.

We have also found that we eat lots of different salads and pita bread but we are eating way less in terms of starches. No rice. Few potatoes (except for the chips with falafel!) and hardly any meat, since the double whopper at Burger King does not happen every day. It’s a diet rich in fruits and veggies and definitely healthier than what we do at home!

Hadarya spent most of our time in the market asleep, as become her nap time from 11 – 1 and so we enjoyed the hubbub without her! We then walked to Ben Yehuda street for lunch at Burger King where she woke up and laughed and played. She loved the soldiers on the street singing songs and she loved running around. We walked to the Kipppah Man and bought new Kippot for Yiftach and then to the bookstore to collect some book in Hebrew.

We’re getting out slowly…for short time spans and hoping that the sleeping increases at night.

Tiyul #2 - Tel Aviv

We decided that despite our lack of sleep, we'd venture out and do something since we do not want to waste our time that we are here sleeping all day! There is a great "outlet" for Naot sandals in Yaffo (right by Tel Aviv) that we visited 4 years ago by accident and I got two pairs of sandals for slightly more than 1 pair in the regular store.

We were slow (as usual) in getting up but managed to get to a monit (cab) by 10:30 AM and to the central bus station by 11. Unfortunately, we had a sleeping child on our hands when we arrived and there is unorganized chaos going through security. The end result was I was not careful and we lost the treasured green motzetz (pacifier). We are actually running out and this will be the test of what happens if we lose them all!

The 45 minute bus ride was easy and quick. We ended up hanging out at the Mall where it was air conditioned and we could get a good burger! Yiftach's dear friend Einate happened to be at the same place getting her haircut so we met her and hung out with her for a bit. We then moved on to the sandals. We were quite disappointed as the prices were the same as the regular store and there was only 1 pair in my size. We decided to keep looking!

Our next plan was to have dinner with Yiftach's Dod and Doda and cousins, but Hadarya had enough of waiting (after 40 minutes) for a bus that wasn't coming and would take another hour to get to them. We decided to err on the side of the child and we went back to the central bus station and headed back to Jerusalem.

We are planning another trip to Tel Aviv to visit the shuk, the beach, and nachalot benyamin.

Tiyul #1 - The Kotel

Wednesday afternoon we had to get out of the house after sleeping late and trying to figure out this time zone thing with our daughter. We'd actually managed to get up around 10:30/11 but Yiftach woke with a huge headache and was feeling terrible. Unbelievably I had no tylenol with me so we headed to the pharmacy. In Israel, there are no medicines sold in the supermarket. There are two distinct stores. So off we went and home again to get it working. By 2:30 we needed out.

So we decided to visit the Kotel (the Wall) and deliver our messages. Hadarya fell asleep as soon as we got in the cab and she slept through the transfer to the stroller through the shuk and to the kotel. It was incredibly hot there and she was not a happy camper on the kids side. We did not think it through completely and taking Hadarya and the stroller and the diaper bag and the camera to the women's side was not smart. Hadarya thought it was hot and whined a bit but she touched it and that is all that mattered to me.

We then went up to the shady area up at the top of the open courtyard to wait for Aba. We had snacks, drinks, and then Hadarya toddled off with her Aba to see the Kotel from his side. He had so much fun with him and he loved the experience of being there with him.

We grabbed a lemonade (Hadarya LOVES it so much!) and then a cab back to the house. We took few pictures but have the memories in our foggy brains that still need some sleep. For dinner we carried in kosher chinese food after the kids went to bed. Our kid went to bed, which was more of a nap, and then woke up for her usual 10:30 - 2:30 AM play time. Ah, the life with a toddler.

Jul 9, 2008

Jet lag with a Toddler

Fly 10 1/2 hours. Add 7 time zones. Mix in a 3 hour car ride from the airport. Toss in heat, humidity, and no nap. No surprise that your 21 month old wants to play at 11:30 PM after being asleep for only 3 hours. She had a nap and didn't get the memo on her parents desperately needing their sleep. She stayed up until 2:30 AM. (DAY 1 - Monday) Watched 2 or 3 waves of ELMO on dvd and then asked for her stroller. So we strolled the neighborhood for 30 minutes while she fell asleep and then we all crashed in the bed until about 8:30 AM.

(DAY 2 - Tuesday) She fell asleep at 10:45 AM and we joined her around 11:30 or so for a delicious nap until 2 PM.
Hadarya had a blast playing the Meltzer kids all afternoon, watching a new movie, and running wild. She ate some dinner at dinner time, took a bath, and went to bed at 7:30 PM very quickly. She slept for 3 hours (great nap!), woke up at 10:30 as we went to bed, played in our bed half sleeping until 11:30 and then stayed up until 2:30 AM. 1 long walk around the neighborhood until 12:30 AM. 2 ELMO DVD watchings, and 1 bump by Aba and she was ready for bed. We strolled again at 2:30 AM and were done by 2:50. She crashed. We decided to sleep as late as possible and that meant 11:00 AM!!

DAY 3- Wednesday. After a slow start, major headache for Yiftach and hanging around the house until 2:30. We decided to go to the Kotel and walk around the Old City. It was great. We did not spend enough time in the shuk and will need to go back and do some shopping, but the kotel was hot and the image I have of my daughter walking hand and hand with her Aba to touch the wall is pierced in my brain. Just delicious! Hadarya stayed up until 9:20 PM and is now fast asleep. We are heading that way too and hoping for a full nights sleep. That will set us off to Tel Aviv tomorrow and a day of fun!

Flying With A Toddler

3 flights and 10 time zones in 3 1/2 days and we marvel at our daughter’s ability to adapt and go with the flow. Hadarya did great on the way to Salt Lake City; playing nicely with the 2 other kids, sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle, and sharing all her new toys. We were pretty proud of her. She perked up in Salt Lake City and ran and ran and laughed and played…even took to standing in the stroller where Yiftach caught her just before she pitched over backwards; all within my view! My heart stopped beating for 30 seconds as I watched in slow motion. We quickly remembered that the stroller we bought had a flip handle so you could view your child while strolling instead of not seeing them until it’s too late. 4 laps around the quiet end of the terminal put our baby girl to sleep before our 12:01 flight to JFK. She slept through the beginning of the flight but woke up after the announcements crying in her sleep trying to get comfortable. She asked for “nigh-night” several times and pointed out of the plane. Try explaining that to a less than 2 year old!

Our longest flight was the one to Tel Aviv which was 10 hours, 20 minutes flying time. We were the last passengers to board the plane, not realizing that 1. they close the doors 30 minutes before take-off for security reasons and 2. we had to go through another security checkpoint before getting on the plane. That included dumping out all the water I had just filled in my container and Hadarya's too! We were very lucky that we had 3 seats with no one in the middle and Hadarya got her own seat. She slept for almost 1/2 the flight and then awoke ready to play. Her favorite toy by far was the seat belt! She did really well with all the new toys we gave her, eating snacks, and being entertained, despite the fact that we did not have our Elmo DVD on hand. She ended up a happy kid with 2 tired parents but we made it to Israel in one piece.

The hardest part was the passport control. We had no stroller as they decided our gate checked stroller was really luggage and it got checked through. Our superb daughter handled it better than her aba and had a ball running through the terminals to get to baggage claim...a lot of them mind you! Then we got to the passport control: long lines, sweating, with people cutting, holding a toddler who is over tired with a diaper bag on my back for about 45 minutes. Yiftach goes through on his Israeli passport and has a fast pass that put him through in 20 seconds. He was beginning to get nervous as we took so long. What a relief when we finally got through! I totally wanted to cry from the sheer emotional toll of being overtired and having to wait sooo long. BUT again we made it through and that feeling as we came through customs with throngs of people waiting and staring at those who come through the doors was overwhelming. WE WERE IN ISRAEL!

Then Noam, our cousin, was at our side and his amazing graciousness of picking us up and taking us to Jerusalem began.

Jul 5, 2008

New York Weekend

Off we flew at 6:40 PM to Salt Lake City en route to JFK on July 3rd for a long weekend before we leave for Israel. We arrived in New York at 6:01 AM on July 4th after a relatively easy red-eye with a tired toddler. She actually fell asleep in Utah and then we carried her onto the plane asleep. We were lucky enough to have an empty seat between us for her to sleep in! Which she did while we sat on the ground and through take-off. THEN she got miserable. She cried and fell asleep, asked for "nigh-nigh" and pointed out of the plane for her crib, then fell asleep. It was a cyclical thing for about 1 1/2 hours and then OUT for the last 2 hours to NY. She actually slept through getting off the plane, getting our bags, getting onto a shuttle and then all the way into the city until the shuttle stopped at the first drop off!

Our first stop was at Cate and Ivan's. They live on E43rd between 10th and 11th and are letting us stay in their apartment for the weekend while they are in North Hamptons at their house. It was so awesome of them to let us stay here and has made the difference for a stay in the city with a toddler. She napped on NY time and went to bed a little late on NY time. We all got a delicious 2 hour nap in during the middle of the day and slept until 9:30 AM on Saturday!

We spent the afternoon with Cousins Art and Sheila from Albany and Allison from Mobile, Alabama. It was terrific to see them! Art asked Hadarya if she wanted to go outside and she said yes, took his hand and off they went! It was sooo adorable. They walked quite a ways down the street and then we found the most delicious pie place! They made mini pies served warm a la mode. MMMMMM..

July 4th evening we spent having dinner at a kosher deli (Ben's) with our conductor friend Jeff. It turns out we are staying a block away from him! Quite fun actually. Hadarya slept through the whole dinner for second nap, so we got her pasta and meatballs to go. She woke up in the cab ride to B'nai Jeshurun for services. Yiftach had been before and it was supposed to be the happening place. It was nice...combined young hip services with the regular service for the summer. They are very strict on things like no strollers and being on time so everyone has a seat. Tons of people, lots of singing, ruach, and dancing. Short and to the point sermons from the Rabbi and the Cantor. We ended up back at the apartment instead of on the roof top for fireworks because it was raining and Hadarya was ready for bed. It was a great evening and we all slept sooo well!

Shabbat morning July 5th, we had bagels from H & H by the water and enjoyed Jeff's company again. We left as it began to rain and then a complete downpour occurred for the next several hours, drenching us, making us laugh, and Hadarya figured out how to hold a garbage over her legs and the "shade" covering her to stay out of the rain! We were quite a sight to see walking the streets with the others in the rain. After two blocks, we were lucky enough to get a cab so we didn't have to deal with the subway to the Children's Museum 45 blocks away.

The Children's Museum of Manhattan was magnet for visitors today and those looking to get out of the rain. We were amongst the many many many people exploring the four floors of the museum. She loved the stuffed animals and especially the monkey we wrapped around her body. She left that exhibit with the monkey and took it on a tour of other places in the museum! She especially loved the science areas of the building blocks, screws, and air pressure. The sandbox was also a huge hit! We left the museum for a food break and ended up eating at Cafe Lalo's --- the You've Got Mail place! It was great food and a good chance to rest. Hadarya wanted to go back for more and we played for another hour +. When we left she was fast asleep before her head hit the end of the stroller!

We ventured on the subway, in which Hadarya missed her first subway ride by sleeping through 4 passing trains and the entire ride down. Times Square was a hustle and bustle and we decided to go to the Toys R Us to see what it was like... A MADHOUSE I tell you. Oh my gosh. I'd been to FAO Schwartz the last time I was in New York but this tops it all. There is a line to get in and pushing and shoving too. You walk in the door and there are people there to take your picture... in a toy store people. Like at Disneyland and the Zoo. But it's a TOY STORE. We walked in about 20 feet (we did not get our photo taken) and stopped at the railing to get a better view. It took a few minutes but there in front of us, was a regular size ferris wheel in the middle of the toy store...filled with people and a line a mile long! That was the attraction to have swarms of people coming into a toy store. A unique ride. We did not walk around . We did not see the life size Barbie doll house that Jeff told us they have. We turned and practically ran our thank goodness sleeping child out the door before we gave in to the consumerism! But we can say we've been there and done that. The end.

Our last day in New York was spent with Aran and Dalia. Yiftach’s cousin from Israel and his fiancĂ© who took a 4 hour bus ride from Boston to see us, meet me and Hadarya, and just spend time together. We had a blast doing a whole lot of everything and nothing! We walked around 1 teeny tiny slice of Central Park…so I could say I’d been there, done that too and took Hadarya on the carousel ride. She hated it! She loves it at home, but something about the enclosed area, the tiredness of her body, or whatnot, she did not like it so much! She fell sound asleep within minutes of the ride and we walked by the ball fields, the playgrounds, and tons of greenery within the city. We ate a scrumptious lunch at a kosher deli and then took the subway back to pack our bags and get ourselves on a plane to Israel. We can’t wait to see them again and spend more time together.

PHOTOS will be coming soon!

Jul 2, 2008


Bubbles are a huge hit in this family. We sit in the driveway and do bubbles. We blow them in the bathtub. We create them with soap to get H in the tub. She makes bubbles with her wash to get her body clean. Bubbles are big.

They were especially big when Auntie Kimber and Grandpa got in on the act. Auntie Kimber had unsupervised playtime on our neighbors walkway with a brand new bottle of bubbles. Fun ensued for our little miss as she dumped the bottle out and splashed in the puddle and made different kinds of bubbles. Soapy bubbles up her arms, in her hair, on her face. The last picture shows her at the end of the bubble fun!

Jul 1, 2008

Fun with Cousins

Cassidy and Callie spent all of last week visiting us from Chico, CA. Hadarya is in love with Callie. She spent hours following her around. Calling her name... Cah-yee, Cah-yee. She played and shared her toys beyond anything one would expect of a 20-month old and never did they have issues over sharing. Callie is 4. She was amazing!! She understood if Hadarya grabbed something or wanted something she had. She was so beyond her years of maturity in sharing her brand new stuffed polar bear and being patient while Hadarya played with the doll at Grandma's. In turn, Hadarya didn't seem to mind that Callie sat in her special rocker chair, played with her piggy bank, or used the baby stroller.

The first day we went to the YMCA pool/water play area. It was a blast! Hadarya then went back to her regular routine of daycare until the weekend (so she could nap and Ima could enjoy the cousins!) and then we ventured to the Children's Museum. FUN FUN FUN was had by all on their last day in town. It was a super week and the photos speak volumes.

Jun 30, 2008

Family Photos

Here are our Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Family photos. Taken in May, June, and July.

What Happened to June???

Today is June 30th. The month is over. I did not blog ONCE in the entire month. Does that mean it didn't happen? Did June just disappear from my life? It was such an incredibly busy month that it happened in a blur. I actually did capture some amazing moments and times in our lives and our daughter's. I just didn't tell anyone until now. Enjoy catching up on June...July is going to be even better! I promise.

Our smart cookie has figured out there are things you do everyday to get yourself ready to leave the house. This includes shoes. Hadarya has become fascinated with my shoes. She loves to get my shoes for me out of the closet or off the back of my door. She picks out many at once, but always matching AND she can put them back in the right place if I let her know I already have what I need. Lately, it's been all about putting ON my shoes and walking around. She went into my room and got this pair out, put them on, and came out to see me in the family room! She also loves to take my clothes and put them on over her clothes. It doesn't matter what they are or how big they are, as long as she can put them on. We think she is so cute when she plays dress up. Who needs the fancy princess dresses and shoes??


Hadarya is obsessed with her dolls and stuffed animals. It is almost all she plays with. Never mind the adorable kitchen with real sounds we bought her in April. So passe'. Forget about the 300 pieces of food Grandma bought that she loved to dump out. The band in a bucket? Naw. Nothing compares to 3 baby dolls, 1 monkey, 4 bears, and tons of blankets. Everything gets pulled out of the toy chest on a regular basis and spread around the room in their spot with their blankie and patted on the back to go "nigh, nigh." She sings her song to them and sometimes she has actually said the "good night" part instead of the "nigh, nigh, baby." She does the same thing at daycare and does not really like to share with the other kids. The other day she monopolized the entire area for her babies. Her newest thing with them is changing their diaper. She gets the pad, the diaper, the wipes, and the powder. She then runs through the whole routine (with a little adult help) to secure the diaper. She is getting to be a big girl and almost ready for the potty!

May 28, 2008

Got A Minute...

I finally feel like I have a minute and the last couple of weeks have flown by and gone unnoticed by this busy Ima...not so. Just too tired, too busy, too caught up in life to get my act together to do anything.

My almost 20-month old daughter gets cuter and cuter by the day. Her hair is long and beautiful and always needs to be pulled up in a style out of her face. She is tall and wears her clothes adorably. She knows how cute she is and loves to smile and play games.

Our newest game started because I was trying to get her excited about seeing Aba at home. On the last stretch I began: "Guess who you are going to see at home?" She smiles. "Are you going to see Grandma?" She shakes her head yes. I say, "Noooooooo" "Are you going to see Auntie Kimber? She shakes her head yes. I say, "Noooooooo" "Are you going to see Savta? She shakes her head yes. I say, "Noooooooo" "Are you going to see Grandpa? and on it goes until we are just about home and I shout "It's ABA!"

So now, any time I ask her a question starting with "Are you....ready for bed, ready for a bath, going to see Miss Alyssa? She starts to shake her head yes, smiles, and says "Noooooo!"

Food continues to be an interesting endeavor. She knows what she likes and what she doesn't like. Sometimes she's adventurous and will try new things. Other times she says no right away. She eats a variety of things but sometimes not a whole lot in a day! Today was mostly a fruit and milk day. Her latest craze was pizza...from Costco, which she devoured 1/2 of a piece in a sitting. That was her weekend lunch and dinner. Nothing else would do. French fries are becoming interesting to her now that her Aba has taught her how to dip them in ketchup! We don't have them often, but as soon as she gets one, she looks for the dip so she can suck it off and dip again. It's very cute. She learned it from one time in a restaurant over a month ago.

Lesson learned: be careful what you teach her because she learns quickly and doesn't forget!

Baby Dolls and imaginary play has exploded in the last 6-8 weeks. She is constantly with a baby doll or stuffed animal. It must have a blankie, usually her loveys, and she covers it and pats its back and says "night night." At daycare she spends hours with the babies and blankies and carrying them around. She has begun singing to them the same song she is sung to for nap time. She also sings to us and pats us on the tummy or back to put us to sleep. It's adorable. We love seeing her smarts and transfer of information!! We also bought her a kitchen and loves making things and sharing her bucket of food from Grandma! She thinks it's hysterical that we "eat" the food and she brings it to us with a plate or fork. I can't wait to see how much more sophisticated it's going to become in the coming months!

May 10, 2008


I was doing my hair in the bathroom when Yiftach came in with my waffle covered in PB on a plate and was carrying his plate of challah with cream cheese and chocolate spread. He handed her lego waffle piece, plain.

She looked at mine and let me know she wanted it.

"Honey, I am sorry but you can't have that; it has peanut butter on it."

She pointed at Yiftach's and willingly took his piece with cream cheese.

We tried her plain waffle when she was done.

No go. She let us know she wanted more of his.

"Oh, do you want a dip on your waffle?" I asked.

I dipped her piece in the chocolate spread and gave it to her.

"Thank you!" she said and devoured the entire thing in one bite!

May 5, 2008

Polite Police

The Polite Police are in full force in my household in the form of a 32 inch long haired beauty who doesn't really speak too many words. I should be grateful to her fabulous daycare for instilling in her manners that we reinforce at home. I should try hard not to laugh at her cute face when she drops her pacifier out of her mouth to remind us to cover ours...but it's so funny!

Our little miss is very big on covering your mouth when you sneeze, cough, yawn, or anything that resembles some sort of action like that. She is most on top of this in the morning when hanging out with us in bed. If we cough, she stops whatever she is doing and puts her hand over her mouth until we cover ours. She sometimes covers our mouth with her hand if we don't respond.
Then she goes about her business when we're done. It's very adorable and I really really really hope that it will last forever...

Apr 26, 2008

Passover with Cousins

The first seder fell on a Saturday night, so we decided to spend it in Chico with my cousins whom we rarely see because they live so far away. Wendy and Eddie are my first cousins, children of my Aunt Judy z"l (who just passed away 3 weeks ago) and Uncle Ron. We were raised 8 houses apart and spent 13 years closely united.

Not able to take any time off from work, the 3 of us flew to Sacramento at 8:30 PM on Friday. We spent the night with Eddie, his wife of almost 5 years!!! Jeannie, and Jacob (almost 4). Hadarya is an amazing traveler who slept the entire plane ride, transferred to the car, and then to a new bed on the floor at their house. We had a delightful morning playing in their beautiful house and getting to know Jacob. Hadarya and Jacob played so well together!

We borrowed their car and drove just under 2 hours to Chico to be with Wendy, Cassidy (9) and Callie (4). It was a fun, busy, 24 hours in Chico! Hadarya could not enough of playing with the big girls. She really loved Callie's kitchen and slide.

Callie was amazing at sharing her toys and really had a ball with Hadarya. She enjoyed the goats, the hammock (but not walking across the grass to get to it!), and drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.

The seder itself was ok. It was the typical seder my dad likes to run but not so conducive to young children and not so inspiring to read words from a book. We forgot our bag of plagues and so things were rushed and hurried and the best part was dinner. Being with our family was what was important this holiday. It was great fun to watch Hadarya search for the afikomen with her cousins. She figured out how to look by watching them and grabbing something.

We drove back to Sacramento to spend the afternoon and evening before our flight with Eddie, Jeannie, and Jacob. Hadarya loved playing outside in the sandbox and exploring the stairs and new toys! Jacob was so sweet about sharing his toys and did a great job at pulling off his Spiderman mask when Hadarya needed to make sure he was still there! We flew home at 8:30 PM and Hadarya stretched across our laps and slept the whole way...into the car...and into her own bed! It was great.

Both sets of cousins are going to visit us in San Diego this summer (June and August) and we can't wait to show off the fun in our town with them. It's going to be so much fun!

G.G.'s Gift of Love

G.G. is Great Grandma Jeanne (Nana's Mom) who lives in Canada. She has never met Hadarya but showers her with cards, gifts, and handmade items anyway.

Upon her arrival into our lives, she knit a gorgeous pink and white blanket that is so big, we are saving it for her when she is in a big girl bed and needs an extra blanket. It is beautiful.

One of her favorite books is the one G.G. sent that makes animal sounds. The Pig and Rooster are going to get broken from over use!!

The latest gift... just because; is a poncho, hat, and purse that all match. The best part is that Hadarya can take them off herself! She thinks she's the big girl pulling things over her head to get changed. While trying it on today, she said "hot, hot" many times. I don't blame was over 80 degrees in our house!

Thank you G.G. for your labor of love and caring about Hadarya so much!

Where did my BABY go?

Yesterday afternoon Hadarya and I were hanging out in her bedroom...well I was putting things away and cleaning up as fast as she was throwing (her new skill) toys around. I discovered a bag of uber cute summer clothes that I bought a few weeks ago but it got too cold to wear so they were stuffed in the bag in the back of the closet. It includes 2 new bathing suits for the summer.

Have you every tried to get an 18 month old to try on clothes? She doesn't like to get out of her pajamas in the morning, so why I thought she'd think this was fun is beyond me.

I managed, without difficulty, to get her in her new suit because it had fishies on it. Then she had fun saying fishy, fishy, fishy. She did not want to take it off. She put on her bright green headband and headed out of her room to the bathroom. My baby girl pulled up the step stool to the sink and pushed it against the cabinet. She grabbed her toothbrush and toothpaste and proceeded to brush her teeth.

I just stared at her. I couldn't believe that she was this 32 inch tall child standing on her own doing personal hygiene. She still likes to be cuddled...sometimes. She still likes her pacifier...all the time lately. She still babbles incoherently...most of the time. But she is no longer a BABY. She is a little girl with clear ideas, thoughts, and actions. She works hard to communicate with us, adding to her vocabulary daily, and developing a keen sense of imaginary play.

I miss the baby but I LOVE the little girl so much!

Apr 13, 2008

Rest Your Body - special guest post by Yiftach

The teachers at Hadarya's daycare center, the SDSU Children's Center, are responsible for putting dozens of kids down for their naps every day, so they have to have a system. The nap room is darkened, there's calming music, and it's often necessary to help the kids relax by repeating a mantra, bringing them down from their high-energy activity level to where they can fall asleep. The teachers often simply repeat "rest your body" over and over again as they pat the kids' backs or just sit next to their cots. I'm not the kind of person who can repeat a phrase like that without getting creative, so the other night, when I was putting Hadarya to bed, I came up with the following:

The Rest Your Body Song
(to the tune of Oh My Darling, Clementine)

Rest your body, rest your body, rest your body and your head,
Rest your body, rest your body, rest your body in your bed.
Rest your arms and rest your legs and rest your feet and rest your toes,
Rest your hands and rest your fingers, rest your knees and your elbows.

Rest your body, rest your body, rest your body all the way,
Rest your body, rest your body, and tomorrow we will play.

(repeat as necessary)