The big boy with Tatty!

The big boy with Tatty!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Body Image

When I was a teenager, I had a very hard time with having healthy body image. I came from the generation of the exposed mid-drift, and due to our socio-economic circumstances, we did not have healthy food at home. My body was already predisposed to being overweight, and I wanted to so to be like the models of our generation that could flaunt what they had, but that just wasn’t happening. No amount of dieting helped me, and as I matured I realized something, the weight was never going to come off over night. I could spend how many ever years it would take to get my weight under control hating myself, or take a good look in the mirror and learn to love who was there.
            I’ve struggled ever since then with weight, even more so as an adult, and especially after having children. I was doing good when I lived in Israel on the fifth floor of a building without stairs. I kept up the healthy eating habits upon returning to the states and then I got married…and then I had kids…and then it just came back on fiercely. I’ve signed up for weight watchers but following the plan is still hard. I have to log food in between my two kids and the kids I watch and I have to say, that a lot of days, it’s just not feasible for me.
            So while I struggle, and make sure I exercise, I spend a lot of time accepting where I’m at right now and you know what? You can be beautiful even if you are overweight. You can be nice, you can be a gorgeous personality, and a wonderful person. Body image is only one aspect of who a person is…and that’s what I think about when I feel ugly. I look at my gigantic stomach and I know I’ve carried two thank God beautiful boys in there, I know that I have nourished them both with my body, and that my husband still loves me and you know what…it just doesn’t matter.
            I’m not sure how to tell someone but I watched a video of Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman, she said, “I know people get caught up in body image, if I look in the mirror, I try to focus on what I like about myself rather than what I don’t.”

            My dear friends, go look in the mirror and find the beauty that you all are, because that is what really matters!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

School Life

Thank God my husband and I are both students again. I started last semester, I took an ECE course and Child Development Psychology. I loved how the two floated around each other, and whatever paper I was writing, I was able to reference both of my text books. I was immersed in Early Childhood Education and Psychology, and I was loving it.

This semester, my course work is much blander. I am on my last ECE Course, on my way to getting my homed licensed at some point. The point being when we have a bigger space to work with, which we are on the hunt for. I am also taking Composition 2. I have no idea how this class is going to go as the professor hasn't graded the first papers yet and to be honest I'm terrified...citing in MLA is so hard for me I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing.

My husband just started accounting classes, which we are both very excited about.

Now comes my question, do colleges ever actually teach people what they can do with their degrees or just assume they know what they can do? Is it something the students have to seek out, or is the responsibility of the school? I have no idea, but I am and forever will be grateful that I didn't just go to College because that is what everyone else did. Its been a bit of a painful discovery to date, to find out that my husband's degree is not helping us in any way at all to get a better job, and that we have to now start from scratch.

Thank God though, he started at the University of Pittsburgh. He's working towards a degree in Accounting, did I mention that in my exhausted ramblings? New start for everyone.

I am simply coming to terms at the moment that I have no time to think and when I do...well it's nothing exciting at the moment.

I'm pining for Spring and Summer, for days at the park, for walks to the library, for days where I'm not yelling at MM to not get in trouble for the 100th time...

Please God, I just want it to get warm...and I want to finish these classes. I have 2 more to take before I need to take a moment to sit down with academic advisors because the next step will be getting into a University proper for psychology.

That's it, I wish I had something more exciting to announce, but I don't. Just life as it is, as an exhausted mother of two boys.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Upsheren, Birthdays, Chessed Projects, School oh my!

It’s 12:09am

I am exhausted. My seven month old has been teething for the last 2 weeks and the second tooth still hasn’t come through, which means sleep has been both good and bad, and thank God for my beautiful 3 year old, I don’t get much rest the next day to recover. He’s being as good of a sport as a 3 year old can while mommy catches up on rest as best as possible.

What have I been up to since last entry?

In December I finished 6 college credits, bringing a few steps closer I hope to an Associates Degree before I have to get busy getting MM’s schooling going. And I keep thinking of all the wonderful things I could do with my life, and for the world if I kept my life busy with helping other people. In the long run I’m seriously leaning towards Developmental Psychology. It covers all the aspects of childbirth and rearing that fascinate me and perhaps I can be another small ripple in the pond of birthing and parenting and maybe change things.

Chessed Project:

We all get super excited about the IDF, and involved, we want to donate and send things overseas, but I thought about it recently, what about the troops serving in America? One of I think my most “losing the childhood fantasy” moments has come recently watching a friend’s facebook page as she is deployed overseas, and her children are with friends/family until she returns. I thought of how much it would break my heart to be apart from my own children that long, and then how often do we Jewish Americans ever sit down and think about how much the American Military Forces do to protect our right to religion, to freedom of speech? So I asked her what I could do for her platoon, something nice. She said the girls want body spray, I found it by divine providence on sale at Bath and Body Works, for 20.00 dollars I got 5. They also want dark nail polish, healthy snacks, and the guys want hair gel. I can’t imagine all of the rest of the items will cost more than another 50.00 and I’m not sure how much shipping will be, but if anyone wants to donate, please hit the donate tab and tell me what you want me to get. I’m getting the box together, and I will be hopefully sending it by March, or sooner if I have help fundraising ;). Our troops here need as much love and support as the troops in Israel.

More School:

I start 2 more online classes this Spring. I’m taking ECE111 aka Infant and Toddler Development, and Composition 2. I’ve been invited to join the Psi Beta Psychology Honor’s Society, my husband thinks I should go for it. The long term plan is to switch to my local community college I’m tempted to go fulltime next year and finish off my Associates Degree. By then my oldest will God willing be 4 years old, and perchance I can try to finish off my bachelors before he is 6 years old. It might be a stretch, but I’m going to work as hard as I can do it. The crunch has mostly come from the fact that I think med school will be on the list of things to do when I no longer have small children to run after. Either that, or midwifery, I simply just love birth, child rearing, and psychology, it’s like Chassidus.


         I survived my childhood by living in a fantasy. I remember when it first started. Or rather, when I first made the conscious choice to use a pretend world to vacate the premises of my abusive childhood. It was in Backstreet/Nsync Fanatic preteen phase. I wanted to do something important with my life, I wanted to be someone great and change the world and more than anything, I wanted family. I wanted to know what unconditional love felt like, acceptance, peace, all the things every child should have when they grow up. So I escaped, eventually when the veil of Hollywood fell from my eyes, a nameless and faceless husband permeated my thoughts and dreams. He loved me, we had children, we lived on a farm, no I’m not joking, I used to dream of ending up on a farm with animals, horses and the peaceful sounds of the river banks to lull me to sleep.
         Then at my son’s third birthday, where we cut his hair, I sat back and I realized, I have my dream, thank God, I have my dream, I have that husband that I longed for as a child and I have the children that I dreamed about. I don’t have my girl yet, but someday, whenever Hashem sees fit, I know we’ll have our princess. (Don’t get any ideas people I just had a baby remember!?)
         It was a surreal moment watching him take his own scissors and hack away at his bangs, but in those moments, I realized, yes I do have my dream and no my childhood did not define the woman I became. Thank God, Hashem gave me a good brain, a logical brain, an obnoxiously analytical brain and I knew that happiness was a choice I had to actively make, and so was finding the courage to find a husband and to love my children.

Finally…I turned 6 years old on 20th of Shevat.

Six years ago, I sat in a bathroom singing niggunim waiting for the bais din to get together and take the magic dive into Judaism. You know what, this has been the most amazing and meaningful six years of my life. I have never found the passage or commentary and I am beginning to think I made it up, or misread, but one of the blessings to the Jewish people is the gift of full and meaningful lives. Everything we do can change the world, and bring light and goodness, every second, every moment is a chance to bring Godliness into the world, and I plan on living every moment to the fullest and enjoying, loving, every minute of life and with that God willing bring Mashiach one step closer!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

6 Months and Counting

I could write this like I have all the experience in the world, but in reality it’s only happened twice. Supply problems, with the only two children I ever had. When I fought and won with the first, I was told when I had another kid I wouldn’t be able to do it again. When I had Yosef Yitzchak I wondered if I would be able to do it again, to pump, take herbs, relax, and focus on nursing the baby. It wasn’t easy, but this time I didn’t cry. I took a lesson from the Torah when the Egyptians were on one side of the Jews and the sea on the other, and Nachshon Ben Aminadav jumped in until the water was up to his mouth.
            I just did it. I started taking the herbs, and I started pumping. It became a ritual that my older son was fascinated with. There aren’t many places to find privacy in this house, so I wore a nursing cover and pumped as often as I could. Not after every feeding, I’ve never been able to do that, but often. I had people this time helping me by giving me their extra milk so I didn’t have to give as much formula. Not only did it save my pocket book at the time I didn’t know it was saving my baby’s tummy too.
            And I did daven, and kept the faith that if I really worked for it, Hashem would help. Thank God, He did.
            Six months later, we are almost exclusively breast feeding, my son is thriving, and I feel comfortable sitting down now and patting myself on the back. When you can barely pump out half an ounce to an ounce and then find yourself with a healthy baby and full supply, the first thing you want to do, is shout from the roof tops, “Thank God I did it!”
            I don’t even think I can expound upon previous advice that I gave, but I have always believed, if something is important to a person, they will find a way to make it work. Timing is really hard, having a two year old who needs a lot of mommy time, and still does, but like anything you do, if you include them in the pumping, give them a picture to draw, play dough, something to distract them for those 15-25 min you pump, you’ll find that the time is there.
            There are a few mistakes that I repeated this time. 1. Giving the bottle too soon. I should have just started SNS feedings. My son was a great nurser until I introduced the bottle, then he just got lazy, which made things even harder. I took the bottle away and switched to an SNS tube, which strengthened his suck, and once he was doing well, I started the bottles again, because he was spitting the tube out. Next time God willing I want to only use the SNS, and forget the bottles for as long as humanly possible.
            2. Not resting enough. This one is so hard, and even harder when you have two kids, I have no idea what will happen when we have three one day God willing. In the end I made sure to find time to relax, take extra naps, and make sure that when I was nursing I was wholly devoted to nursing and nothing else. The whole reading to the other one while nursing doesn’t work for me. Holding the baby in one hand the boob in the other, and trying to find a way to take the book too, just didn’t work, so I found other ways to entertain my son. Educational videos, which I only used for a short period of time because I didn’t want him becoming a screen addict, giving him a picture to draw, and now I encourage him to just play and realize that this is mommy and YY time and it’s ok, because MM and I have time together too…and as always, it’s okay if he gets bored. One of my favorite things is watching my son find things to do to entertain himself.
            3. Along with the bottle, this baby doesn’t like sucking on anything that doesn’t have food coming out of it. Which for me…is not good. Suckling takes away a lot of the pumping you have to do, but if the kid won’t suckle you are in big trouble. So I had to work doubly hard, the bottle first method wasn’t working for me, so I did breast first and just started alternating between the two sides, which helped create more let downs, something that I think helped to bring more milk in faster this time. All good lessons that I have learned…
            However, Thank God! I did it again…and I feel good again.
            When I start out I shakily think to myself, if I can just last a few weeks…after a few weeks, if I can just get to 3 months, his suck will mature more, and more milk will come in and I will have a better chance. Once I get there, okay, six months, please God just let me make it six months, now that we are at six months and almost two weeks…I want to make it to a year, after that two years, and after that hopefully we’ll wean around the same time that I weaned his brother more or less if he’s still interested at that point. But I am so grateful to Hashem for giving me the courage to do this again, and for giving me wonderful friends who pumped extra for me, and spared my little guy the pain from the formula.

            I wish all mommies out there had an easy time breast feeding, with no issues, and my hat goes off to every mom that sticks it out, pumps and gives the bottle, or works through latching issues, has babies in the NICU who latch late and every other problem that they overcome. Mothers are powerful, we can do anything! A little work on our part and a lot of help from Hashem and we can do anything!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Lesson on Self Bullying

I haven't found an article that has spoken to me so strongly since I read this article.

It's all about, how we bully ourselves...and bully myself I do, and then I bully my family...I am shamefully admitting this, because I thought I had kicked the habit and then it happened again recently. Let me tell you, stress is a kill joy.

I forgot what it's like to wake up all the time at night, and be as exhausted in the morning as you were the night before and just praying that the older kid stays asleep a little longer, so you can get a few more minutes of rest. My beautiful second son, is the happiest baby, kin ayin hora, he only cries when something is to that he is in the 90% percentile for everything, and is constantly eating, eating, eating, and at night eating, eating and eating. This wasn't different when he was on formula, he was still up every 2 hours. I had a few months where he would go for an 8 hour stretch but not anymore. I know what he needs, but we don't have it, and I stress, because we can't afford to move to a 3 bedroom apartment, we can't afford a lot of things.

My husband's job is up in the air right now and we are praying that we land with a job in January and even if we do, my husband is thinking of permanently switching fields. Please God something he will be successful at. Banking just isn't paying the bills, and the stress we have from the ineffable noose around his neck, is making us both crazy.

So what happened? What does anyone (not) good Jewish wife start doing? Nagging, nagging, nagging...why is this like this, what is that like that, why can't my 2 year old be an 8 year old and stop ripping the damn house to pieces? Why isn't my 6 month old sleeping through the night, how am I going to manage my life? What about our bills?

Oh it sucks, because then you just start spiraling down the path of no return. So what do I do? There is a concept that is very strong in Chabad, called having a Mashpiah. A mashpiah is a counsellor, not always a parent, but someone older and wiser than you, that knows Torah, and Jewish law very well, preferably has grey hair, and a few married kids, but not always the last two. It's someone you feel comfortable bearing your heart to, telling all, and being comfortable with the response they would give you. It's someone that I have known for nine years thank God and have tried, as hard as I can to follow what I am told to do.

This last time he told me, "you are too young and too smart to become an old Jewish nag." The words stopped me in my tracks, I was becoming a nag. I was nagging on everything, you name it I was nagging. It was a bit of a slap in the face, but that's what a good Mashpiah is for. (OK side note, you are supposed to have a male mashpiah if you are a male, a female if you a female, my Rav I met back in 2005, and I haven't found someone the likes of him, even in female form. Ok...I did find someone in Israel, but he is more please keep that in mind when looking for a Mashpiah, really you should be getting someone of the same gender...I am knowingly not following that rule, but one day I hope to find an amazing woman to guide me the way my amazing Rav has. Hashem knows best, I never had a father, and over the last 8-9 years I'm learning what it would have been like to have one.)

And I took a deep breath and really took some time to think about what he was saying and I realised...oh no...he's do I fix this?? Step one...realise Hashem is in control not you...step 2, realise that your son is 2 years old and not 8...and that it's okay if he does silly things that 2 year olds do, because he was becoming afraid to do bad things in front of me, and that's the last thing I wanted. Step 4, tell your husband your sorry, and that you just feel scared and stressed.

That's why the above article spoke to me so much, because I have been there and done that...

Step 5...and this is a big one. Get off of Facebook, emails, phone calls and text messages, when you are with your family, really be with them. Slowly, I've been making a push to have the laptop out of reach during the day, unless it's to update my homework for school. I've had a few important things to care for through various social media networks recently like this:

On top of needing signatures this boy needs davening (Prayer for healing). For all those self righteous individuals, particularly ones who send out nasty emails calling this a fraud, what is important is for this family to have time with their son, and the treatments they choose to attempt are their own to try, it's their choice, not anyone else's. I'm amazed how close this story cut to home...I can't even imagine, Hashem should give Rafael Elisha a full refuah shaleima.

It's been finals week, but after this week, for the next month, my plan is to focus on my family, and spend time with them, and when they are sleeping, okay then have some screen time, if my mountain of laundry is folded, dishes are washed and the house is picked up...(I'm also starting to formulate my story, in written form for publication...that's going to take a lot of work.)

So this is my life...exciting no? All I have to say, is I wish my baby slept more, because I am exhausted...and I see no end in sight, I just hope that I can continue to take steps to manage my exhaustion, while being a supportive wife and a mother who encourages growth and mistakes for my older son and lots of hugs, kisses and love for the younger one.

We should simply just want Mashiach, I realise now more than ever, that is what will heal all the hurts of the world, make the quest for money go away, heal all illnesses, and bring families closer! Bekaruv Mamesh!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

To Save a Life

One of my new commitments with my blog is to attempt to use it to help others. I now ask everyone who reads this to take a moment and please sign this petition asking the FDA to allow an experimental drug to be used to treat a very sick little boy named Refael Elisha Cohen. If we get 100,000 signatures than it's possible that the FDA will allow this drug to be used. It could be potentially life saving and only takes a few minutes to sign. Please please help out this child.

Speaking to mother's in particular, I would hope that we could rally together to make this attempt, as we all know what it's like to see our children sick and hurt and would go to any length to rescue them.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

13 Things Every Mom Should Hear

I'm writing this as a response to this:

I understand the working mother's need to always defend themselves and to feel like the stay at home moms are constantly pointing fingers at them, but in reality that's not the case and if it is, I feel sorry for people that can't just give someone the support they need. I've been on both sides of the fence, my kids have never been in daycare, I can count on one hand the time I've left them with a caregiver and that's mainly because I made the choice to stay at home to care for my children. So this is my response to the author, enough whining about what people think and just be happy with who you are. The one thing I wish people would think about when parenting is, it doesn't matter what your friends are doing, or what your friends think, what matters is that your children are happy and cared for.

1. You are doing your best for your child(ren), and that is what they will always remember.

2. You are an amazing mom and I can tell that by how much your kids your love you.

3. Never feel guilty, we all do things we regret, no one is the perfect parent from the moment their kids are born.

4. It's so nice to know you have so many wonderful people to help support you on this journey.

5. We all do what we think is best for our families, and I chose...(fill in the blank), what's best for me is not always what's best for someone else.

6. I love when I see how your children smile at you, it's like pure sunshine.

7. Sometimes, being a mom is really hard for me too, and I'm so afraid of making mistakes, thank you for being my friend, and helping me see that I'm doing okay, and I'll always be there to encourage you as well.

8. I'm so tired, let's go get some coffee and talk about life.

9. These early years are so precious, and so exhausting and demanding, I don't know how my mother did this, I don't know how anyone does this! I can barely get up every morning and remember my own name!

10. I'm so happy you have such a supportive husband who helps you reach your goals, it's beautiful to see.

11. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing a juggling act and the pins are about to fall on my head too.

12. You are the best mother for your children, if God gave them to you, He trusts you to know how to raise them.

13. Sometimes I feel insecure about my choices too, but it's okay that we don't agree, or that I see things differently than you, sometimes I just need someone to tell me I'm doing a good job.