Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Sammyism

At last night's Chanukah party, Sammy came over to me and said:

Sammy: "Can I have some babysauce?"

Me: "What's babysauce"?

Sammy: "You know....babysauce"

Me: "Do you mean applesauce?"

Sammy: "Yah. Applesauce is babysauce...."


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jumbled Thoughts and Mad Love for Israel

It's been awhile since I've posted so I'll just try to write something that will be impossible to put into words but is something I wish I could make everyone understand.

Where to start?

Well, for one - one of my closest friends had a baby a week ago. And she is in Detroit. And I am here. And it's awful. I HATE being so far away. I hate not being there to take her to the doctor when she went into labor (like I did with her first child). And I hate not being there to visit her as soon as she even thinks about having visitors in the hospital. And I hate not being there to buy this and that for when she gets home from the hospital. I was really bummed the day after she had the baby because I really felt a million miles away. And I was reminded how this is the part of Aliyah that sux. There is no way around it. And I have no clue if it gets any better but if getting better means drifting apart from my friend, I don't want any part of it. And I was thinking of how it must have been hard for my close friends (and family) in the States when I had Kayla and how they were the ones who felt far away. And I wondered for a split second - is it worth it? Am I happy with my choice?

Despite all that sadness of being so far away, I am so confident and sure in my decision, and I am 100% positive I did the right thing. I love living here so much, it's almost unbelievable. I wake up every morning and I usually take my boys to Gan and daycare. And every single day, on my walk home, I look around and I think wow - I LOVE this country. I am happy simply walking through the streets. It just makes me happy to be alive. I am so proud to live in this country. I am so comfortable living in MY country. A Jewish homeland. No other place in the world is like Israel. No other place in the world accepts me and opens its arms to me the way Israel does.

I played basketball tonight and the man in charge of the gym was sitting in his office, playing over and over and over a song called Im Eshkachech by Yaakov Shwekey. Take a minute and look it up on YouTube or something. The chorus has this amazing haunting melody that just wraps it's arms around me. I had heard the man (his name is Gavi) listening to this song a few weeks ago and today I went in and I said, I HAVE to know what this song is! Can you play it for me?

He said that he listens to this song over and over again. He said his son went to the States a few months ago and all he wanted for his son was to find a match. He is 27 years old and he just wanted his son to be happily married. Someone randomly sent him this song and he started listening to it and thinking of the meaning. Israelis are lucky like that, they can understand ALL the words without even trying! He must have found some connection to this song, because he said he would listen and listen and listen to this and 2 days later, he found out his son was engaged. And now he has even more of a connection to the song. As he listened to it, I saw tears come to his eyes. It's neat to see someone have that connection to a song. A connection that I feel.

When we first started playing at the gym, I didn't know Gavi from anyone. And I certainly didn't have anything in common with him. He's an older guy, didn't "appear" to be religious, and was just the guy in charge of the gym. But over the past few months, I've gotten to know him a little better. A bit about his family, about his travels to the States, and now his love for Yaakov Shwekey's music and how it hits him "right here". He doesn't wear a kippah, but he is most certainly a religious man. And I love that about this country too.

We're all connected....we're all Jews....and this is our country. We "get it". A country we have fought for, died for, and will continue to do so until Moshiach is here. I am proud to be Israeli and I am proud to call this country my home.

I don't think this post came even close to conveying what I am trying to say or how I feel but maybe, just maybe, I was able to explain to all of your who don't understand (and to some who do), why we picked up and moved halfway across the world to start a new life. Miles and miles away to all those we held dear to us.

It is SO right here. It's so awesome here. This is the place where I belong, the place where my family belongs, and the place I can't wait to watch my children grow up in.

Now if only you guys would come here and make it complete!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

A Toddler's Prayers

Sammy (while sitting on his little car): I'm going to Yerushalayim!!!

Mommy (that's me): What will you do there?

Sammy: I'm going to the kotel!

Mommy: What will you do at the Kotel?

Sammy: I'm going to daven to Hashem.

Mommy: What will you ask Hashem for? What will you daven for?

Sammy: Ice cream!

That's my boy.........

Monday, October 26, 2009

Censorship AKA Magazine Pics Part 2

I originally wrote this Note as a Comment on my Facebook Note titled Magazine Pics (see previous Blog). But it got really long so I am writing it as a new separate note.
I still haven't turned the magazines in yet so let me know if you think they need more censorship. I don't want to be known as the crazy American Mom who brought in all the magazines with inappropriate pics!

I have some Parenting, American Baby, Bon Appetite, and a Living and Loving magazine. Totally did not think they would have inappropriate pictures. But then I went through and ended up with a whole pile of pictures/pages I tore out.

Then I second guessed myself and wondered if I was being too extreme (I felt like someone in Iran censoring reading material!! Ok, I am exaggerating a bit....)
Here was my criteria - tell me what you think......
Took out all ladies in sleeveless or very very low cut tops. Left in ladies in short sleeve shirts and regular necklines and pants.
Took out all breastfeeding women because they generally were not very covered. I KNOW it's a totally natural thing, yada yada, but they were not feeding in the most tzanua way...
Took out all women's bare bellies. But left in the men in swimming trunks.
Unsure where they stood on naked babies (no frontal nudity just cute little tushies) so I think most I left in.....but I can just imagine a bunch of 4+5 year olds screaming TUSHIES!!!
Hmm.....what else? Left in young girls in swimming suits but took out ladies in swim suits.

Mainly, I thought of the more religious parents in the Gan and how would they feel if the pics came home to them on a poster or something....would it make them feel uncomfortable or would it be ok?

The strangest censorship I did was one of those Mirena birth control devices. I didn't think the Rabbi would appreciate it plastered on his kid's project because it was a "funny shape".

So? What do you think?

Magazine Pics

There was a sign outside Jonah's Gan today that requested parents to bring in magazines or newspapers for the kids to use to cut up for projects. In parenthesis it said, Of course, all magazines should be appropriate for a religious Gan.

Now, what does that mean to you? Where do you draw the line? What pictures are considered okay and what pictures are not okay?

Please share your thoughts on this one........

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ISO: A Good Night's Sleep

I have been totally exhausted every night this week. I don't know if it was because of the 8 hour work days I put in at the beginning or the couple days at home with Kayla trying to accomplish way more than is humanly possible or both of those in combination with fighting some kind of stomach virus. Or if it's just a general combination of trying to work as many hours as I possibly can and take care of a house and family. Either way, I collapsed every night at around 8 or so. Sadly, I didn't get to sleep the nice 12 hours straight I probably needed.
Let's take last night for example.......

It was 7:30 and the boys were doing their usual complaining about going to bed. Kayla had fallen asleep so I lay down with her in my bed waiting for my "turn" to sing to the boys and put Kayla in her crib when they finally decided to be quiet. I sang to them and lay back down with Kayla. I was trying to decide should I get up and work or should I go to sleep. I was so tired after a long day and in the midst of my debating, I fell asleep. At 8pm!!!! Of course Kayla woke up shortly after that but luckily Shauli (my knight in shining armor) stayed up with her. It was, after all about 9pm.....Well, I am glad I got in some good sleep then because the rest of the night was a disaster.

1am - Jonah woke up howling in pain that his ear hurt. We gave him some Tylenol but then there wasn't much else to do. I read him a few books to keep his mind off it and gave him an ice pack. It was so hard watching him in that much pain. He kept begging me to make it end. And there was nothing I could do for him except hope that the medicine kicked in. Eventually he went to sleep so I went back to sleep.

3am - Sammy wakes up and tries to sneak into our bed (his new trick). I think we would have let it go except he started kicking me in the head. So Shauli takes him back to bed where he starts crying and wakes up Kayla. Then Kayla is WIDE awake and no matter what I do (nurse her, bottle feed, lay down with her) she is ready and raring to go. That lasted until sometime after 4am. Ok - back to sleep.....

4:30am - And Jonah is up once again howling in pain. Sadly it hadn't been quite long enough to give him another dose of Tylenol but I stayed with him for a little bit and gave him another ice pack and eventually he fell back asleep.

6am - And Kayla is up once again so I feed her. She falls back asleep and I snooze a bit until Jonah climbs into my bed.

And that pretty much ended my night's sleep.

Is a Good Night's Sleep really too much to ask for?

Monday, October 12, 2009


A funny story to share with you....

We all know Kayla is petite, right? That fact has been established. She was born smaller than my boys (but they were both a week overdue and she was at least a week underdue).
So she was born small (6 lbs) and stayed small. I think in the beginning she was in the 15th percentile for weight. At about 4 months she was in the 10th percentile. At 6 months, she was beneath the percentiles, and shortly after (when I started supplementing with formula) she climbed back up into the 3rd percentile. It certainly has saved me on buying new clothes!! She has been in the same clothes for much of her life. I guess by the time the cold weather rolls around, it will be time to graduate to a new size.

Well, we went to her most recent Tipat Chalav visit and she fell off the charts again. Oops. Luckily, we have a fantastic nurse and she doesn't yell or scold or anything. She just gives some suggestions and told me to come back in a month to weigh her again.

When we went home, I told Shauli about her weight and said how she used to be in the 3rd percentile and that even though she did gain weight now she is beneath the percentiles. He said, "So before, she was in the 3rd percentile. 3 percent of all babies were smaller than her and 97% were bigger than her. And now she is under the percentiles so 100% of all babies are bigger than her??" And I said, "I guess so...except for all the other babies that are also not on the chart". And he said "So she is a percentile. She is whatever percent bigger than those other babies."

Good point. I know my baby is not the smallest baby ever in the world! So there are babies that are smaller than her. So the percentages don't make sense. Right? Or are we missing something here....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Expect the Worst and You Might Be Pleasantly Surprised

I made the dreaded trek out to the Tel Aviv US Embassy today with Shauli, Jonah, and Kayla.
We needed to take care of a couple things. Report of Birth Abroad for Kayla, passport for Kayla, and passport renewal for Jonah.
We had already tried this once at the Jerusalem Embassy but arrived late for our appointment and were told to leave because we were too late. And we had rented a car and made a special trip out to Jerusalem! Talk about frustrating!!!
After that bad experience, we decided to try out the Tel Aviv Embassy and finally got around to making an appointment.
We took the new bus direct to the train in Rosh HaAyin and then the train to Tel Aviv. Yes, I know we could have taken a bus straight to Tel Aviv but you never know if you will get stuck in traffic (most likely you will) and I know for the kids, it's way more exciting to take the train. And for me, it's way more comfortable to take the train!
From the train in Tel Aviv we took a cab to the Embassy and arrived about 15 minutes before our scheduled appointment. Shauli took our backpack and phones to go check them at a nearby storage facility (for 10 NIS). In the meantime, the guard checked that I had an appointment and pointed me towards the door for people with strollers. I was allowed to take in our stroller plus my diaper bag/purse. Truth is, I think I could have gotten away with a much bigger bag (a real diaper bag or something close) and put in food, drinks, pretty much whatever - as long as it wasn't electronic. As I was going through security a lady said to me, "Oh, I think you are coming to see me." And I answered, "Um....I don't know?" And she said, "US Citizen services?" And I said "Yes, passports and for my baby." And she said "Yep, you go right ahead and I will be there in a few minutes." I told her I was looking forward to it because she already seems so nice!!!
As I was trying to open the door, another person came along and offered to help me. And then a nice man saw that I looked lost and pointed me in the right direction for US Citizen Services. Woohoo! Off to a good start. Everyone so friendly and English being spoken everywhere!!!
We got to the room and it was empty...... I looked around and was like ok... am I in the right place? The place where I expected to wait hours.....there must be a trick. I brought Jonah over to the toys (they have toys, a TV, kids books, and magazines!) and looked at the 4 windows which were all empty. Then a man on the other side noticed I was looking a little confused and came over to his window where he apologized profusely because he didn't notice I was waiting. Can you imagine?? He apologized to me!!!!
Shauli arrived and we told the man (who actually was Australian and a new worker there) what we were there for. We went through all the papers I had brought and I was actually prepared and gave him the forms, originals of all documents, plus photo copies! Except I had brought a regular size envelope instead of a large one, luckily they have extras on hand there and too much postage (I brought enough for 2 envelopes but he said they would put them all in one when they send them back).
My fear was the passport photos..... I had them taken for the kids at 2 separate places and they ended up being 2 different sizes (neither of which were 2x2). Apparently telling the Israelis taking the passport pictures that you need American passport photos, doesn't cut it. They have no clue what that means (at least the ones in Ariel). I knew Jonah's were way too small but I was hoping Kayla's would make the cut... They didn't. Lucky for us there was another woman there who overheard and told us that the same place where they check bags also do passport photos (I bet they get a TON of business). So Shu took both kids there to get new photos done and I finished with the paperwork. Everything went smoothly, the man was so helpful and pleasant.
Shu returned and we paid (ugh) with our American credit card. Then we took a seat and waited. Not too bad though - 15-20 minutes? As soon as we discovered the books/magazines we got called to the next window. That's where my "friend" from earlier was sitting. She checked our receipts and had us sign a few things (even let Jonah sign his own passport paper). Made some cute faces at Kayla and chatted Jonah up. And then sent us on our way!!!!!!

We were in and out the door in less than an hour!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dare I say, it was almost an enjoyable experience.... Here I was expecting a total nightmare based on various stories I have heard and it turns out (in my experience) the people were so nice and helpful, there were no insane wait times, and the whole thing was generally a very easy process.

Since we had all that extra time, we actually went to the beach afterwards (right behind the embassy) and then headed over to Azrieli mall where we met my friend, Laurie, (who I know from Ben Gurion Uni) for lunch. Mmmmmm....Chinese food.....

We also happened to get roped into a new phone plan with Cellcom (many many more minutes for less money and fancy new phones!) And the crazy part is - I spent about 2 hours or more dealing with Cellcom!!!! More than double what I spent at the Embassy. Who knew?

So....moral of the story. If you expect the absolute worst, you can only be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dirty Shoes

This article totally freaks me out. Because my baby daughter Kayla seems to be drawn towards shoes. No matter how many toys or other things are in the room, she will find the pairs of shoes, go get them, and proceed (as many babies do) to put them in her mouth....

Ew gross!!

And after this article, I am slighty freaked out.
Can your flip-flops kill you?

Thanks to Concerned JewGirl for the link.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Last year, at the end of the school year, Jonah's teacher mentioned to me that he has trouble cutting properly. So over the summer we worked a little bit with Jonah on cutting, letting him cut, and even buying him special Lefty scissors. At this point, we still aren't sure if he is a lefty or a righty because he uses different hands for different things. Even when he is writing, sometimes he uses his left hand for English writing and his right hand for Hebrew writing.

Cutting is a skill we take for granted but it is also a skill that we learned when we were young. Jonah is now learning that skill but as the one trying to teach him, it's not so easy. I show him how to hold the scissors but he says it hurts his hand. Instead of his thumb being on top, he likes his thumb on the bottom, with fingers on top. Well, that is about the extent of my occupational therapy skills. What else am I supposed to tell him or show him to get him to hold the scissors correctly?

Have you faced this issue or one similar with your children? What did you do? I did mention it to his new teacher this year and she said she had already noticed and would keep a further eye on it and try to work with him. She told me to work with him at home but I told her, I try to show him how to hold the scissors correctly and he just says it hurts and he doesn't want to. Not quite sure what else to do beyond that. She told me to let him practice cutting. But does it matter if he is cutting "incorrectly"?

Shauli thinks this whole thing is craziness. Let the kid cut, the way he wants to. What does it matter? Why is everyone making such a big deal about how he holds the scissors? I don't really know the answer but I'm guessing it has to do with other fine motor skills. If he can't hold scissors correctly and it hurts him, maybe it will affect other fine motor skills in the future. Or maybe it's just an issue with cutting and I should let him cut the way that is most comfortable for him.

Need some opinions on this one ...............

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Letter to Our Aliyah Shalicha :)

Dear Shira,

Hi there. I just wanted to drop a quick line to you and let you know how we are doing, a year after we made Aliyah.

We moved to Israel last September and moved straight to Ariel. We could not have made a better decision or found a more fitting city. It is beautiful, the community is so warm and welcoming, and it is situated in central Israel and therefore close to everything. The Anglo community has really grown in the past year and we have found both new Israeli and Anglo friends. In fact, we just hosted a Kiddush on Shabbat to celebrate the birth of our daughter and to celebrate the completion of our first year. One of the hardest things about making Aliyah was leaving our friends and some family behind and I was filled with such warmth and happiness looking around and being surrounded by so many new friends.

I want to thank you so much for your assistance in helping us with this huge step in our lives. I'd also like to make a personal request. When you speak to people considering Aliyah and talk with them about communities, please keep Ariel on file in your mind. :) It is really is a fantastic community - a real city with a small town feel to it, a growing Anglo community but plenty of immersion with Israelis. Affordable housing, and not too far from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. I would be happy to be in touch with anyone considering making Aliyah and/or moving to Ariel and tell them about my experiences here. Ariel may not be the city for everyone but I know there are many many people that would be and are happy here. I appreciate you spreading the word to those it may be right for.

By the way, are you the Shaliach for St. Louis too? And if so, has my grandmother, Margo Grossmann been in touch with you? I know she is considering Aliyah (which would make us SOOOO happy) so I thought I would let you know she is my dear Grandma. :)

Thanks again,
Natalie Zacks

PS- I am attaching a family picture taken a few months ago at my nephew's bar-mitzvah.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shauli's Speech at the Kiddush

Shabbat Shalom,
We decided to give this Kiddush to give thanks to Hashem for the birth of our daughter, Kayla Rivkah, and to celebrate completing our first year living in Israel.
We named our daughter, who was born in January, Kayla Rivkah. She is named after my grandmother, Rivkah. She was a great בעלת חסד, her house was always open to guests, and our hope is that little Kayla can emulate her מדות . As we were looking for names, we came across the name Kayla, which we really liked. We discovered that the name Kayla has Hebrew origins meaning crowns. Or so we thought.

After I named her in shul, Rav Avner came over and asked me what Kayla is. Shai Urim was there and he answered it’s a very nice American name. So go figure, we have our first child born in Israel and we give her an American name!

However, since then we’ve heard some nice possible meanings for Kayla, such as derived from the name Michaela, which means "who is like G-d", or that it is connected to to the Hebrew word קהילה ,community.

Which brings me to the second reason for this Kiddush. We celebrated our first complete year in Israel this past week,and it has been quite the experince, ברוך השם We, as well as our kids, have adjusted to life here, found friends, and can't imagine living elsewhere. We are filled with gratitude to Hashem and to the Ariel community, who have made us feel at right home.

Thank you very much!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Well, the Kiddush on Shabbat was a smashing success!!!!

We decided to finally have Kayla's Kiddush (to celebrate and thank G-d for her birth) and also have the Kiddush to celebrate our 1 year "Aliyahversary".

Did a big shopping trip on Wednesday (thanks to Rechelle for the ride and to Joanna for calming me down and helping me choose pretty tablecloths, napkins, etc.)

Thursday we had a family BBQ for those who wouldn't be able to come to the Kiddush. But only Sarra, Shlomo, Sruli, and Shev showed up - plus our friend Shlomi. Must have been something about "S" names. Although that doesn't excuse Sim, Shany, Shilo, and Shoham. :)

Friday, Shu and I cooked for Shabbat dinner in the morning and then I started getting nervous about the cake platters I bought. They were WAY too small! So Jonah, Sammy, and I went to the mercaz and raided the 5 NIS store. It's supposedly the $1 store but that would mean 3.77 NIS so that's not quite the case. Jonah and Sammy each got a toy for coming along and behaving so nicely, and I didn't find any platters but just bought big rectangle aluminum pans to put the pretty pink napkins inside. The boys also each got a "Barad" (icee) before we left too.

As we got off the bus near our house they saw Dotan (of the barbershop Otan and Dotan) sitting outside his shop. They are huge fans of Otan and Dotan and often call out their window "Otaaaaaan! Dotaaaaaan!" as they are supposed to be sleeping because they can see the shop from their window. We passed him and Jonah said I want to get my haircut. Sammy agreed. I was surprised but that was fine. I had planned to take them next week but with Sammy's long days at daycare, getting a haircut today and next door would be preferable.

We went home, got some money, and returned. Little did we know - there was a LOOONG wait. Jonah was fine. Sammy began to freak out before we even got through the door. He was clinging to me, crying, and begging to go home. But after the 20+ minutes we ended up waiting (and the stickers Dotan gave them) he calmed down enough and was ready for a haircut. Jonah went first and did an excellent job. He's a pro already and has never really been scared of haircuts. Although at some point he got hair in his mouth so he tried to wipe it off with the "cape" that he was wearing and proceeded to get hair all in his mouth and all over his face. It was pretty gross - poor kid.
Sammy's turn! He asked to sit on my lap but Dotan convinced him it was more comfortable to sit on the big pillow instead. He looked so small sitting in that big chair with the haircut cape on him. Just his tiny head and tiny feet sticking out. I wished I had my camera. And he had such a brave look on his face!!! Well, we got through the haircut and he did surprisingly well. I think even Dotan was shocked. Kol HaKavod Sammy!!

Back to Kiddush home and started getting nervous. There was still so much prep and then we had to get the things to shul. AH! How was it all going to get done?? Lucky for me, my friend Yael called and offered to come over with a friend and help me out. They had both worked at Chabad on Campus and were used to preparing meals for lots and lots of people. They came over and I showed them the pans, baked goods, and veggies (needed to be sliced and plated). If life were a cartoon, there would be a whirlwind of activity, hands moving, peels flying, and in a minute, the dust would settle and there would be 5 platters of baked good and 4 platters of veggies all perfectly prepared. Wow!

Then our friend Josh came by and picked up the sodas, boxes of food and paper goods, and the baked goods and veggies and we dropped them off at the shul. That was that.

Had a very nice Shabbat dinner along with our friend Shaya who spent Shabbat with us. Then we had a scary experience with Shauli breaking out all over his body in hives!! That was not fun. But he survived, thank G-d. We think it may have been an allergic reaction to the new detergent I used. Who knew Shu was so sensitive?! :)

Shabbat morning arrived and the guys headed for shul. I made it there by about 10:00 and fluttered around nervously until kiddush time. Then so many people offered to help I didn't even know what to do with everyone! Luckily, Idit and Joanna and Yael and a few others really took care of things. The tables got set, the food went out, and it was time. Rav Avner made kiddush and once again, in cartoon world there was a whirlwind. Plates flying, crumbs all over, and when the dust settled, the food was all gone.......
A regular kiddush at our shul consists of Bamba, pretzals, chips, crackers, store bought brick cake and soda. A fancy kiddush consists of those items plus cholent and kugels. We made it in between and served: Bamba, pretzals, crackers, pink and white marshmallows, carrots and cukes, chummous and matbucha, and home made cakes, cookies, and brownies. Not to mention instead of just plain white tableclothes and napkins, we spruced it up a bit with bright pink tablecloths and cute pink napkins with baby girl shoes on them.

Avi introduced us and I think he said some nice things about us, however it was all in Hebrew so I didn't quite catch it all. Then Shauli made a nice speech both in English and Hebrew (I will post in my next blog) and then we cleaned up and that was that. I met a bunch of new people who asked about Kayla and about us in general and we got lots of compliments on the Kiddush. So Hooray! It was a success!!
Thanks everyone for all your help and for those who couldn't make it, you were missed.....

I will attach a pic of the cute napkins and maybe one of the tables (although that was Friday afternoon so it's missing quite a bit of the food).

Thursday, September 03, 2009

School - Then and Now

As we approached the beginning of the school year, there was a feeling of excitement in the air. For about a week prior to school starting, whenever you met another parent, the conversation always started with - it's almost time for school to start. Hooray!!!!
Gan started on September 1st, Jonah's 5th birthday. So it was a good day in general! He is in Gan Chova this year which is the equivalent of Kindergarten. He also switched from the 3+4 year old gan to the 4+5 year old Gan.

The Big Day

Jonah was mostly looking forward to his new Gan and we had gone to an Orientation the week before. We met the teachers and saw the Gan and the yard (complete with basketball net).
Although as we got closer, he was a bit more hesitant and as we passed his old Gan he said, I don't think I want to go to Gan. But he put on a brave front and we arrived at the Gan. The teachers greeted him warmly and he sat down at a table to play with the other kids. I stuck around for a few minutes, taking pictures, and chatting with him and some of the other parents. Every once in awhile he would glance at me and give me a shy smile. He was fine with me leaving.....I was the one who was having a harder time. Well, Sammy (my 2 year old) was really excited to go to Ma'on (daycare) and kept pulling on me, "Let's goooo". I waved goodbye to Jonah and off we went.

I cannot begin to compare the difference between leaving him last year and leaving him this year. And I am NOT envious at all of the new Olim going through this with their own kids. I remember the tears, the emotion, the heartbreak. In fact, one day I too left in tears. I kept wondering, what did I do to my kid??? How could I take him away from a Gan he loved going to every day and put him somewhere that he doesn't know the kids, doesn't speak the language, and is in tears as I leave.

Those were a rough couple of weeks in the beginning. But now I look at him and listen to him talk about Gan and I want to burst with pride. Because not only does he enjoy going (and his teachers seem to love him) but he is helping out the 2 other Olim boys that are in his Gan. Whether it's translating between them and the teacher or showing them different toys, or playing with them in the yard, he is helping them fit in and feel comfortable. And next year, those boys can help the next batch of Olim. It's a good cycle we have going here. And a fantastic community.

Baruch Hashem, Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d!!! Life is good. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

To Serve or Not To Serve

I was so proud of myself for getting a jump on my Shabbat cooking last night. I made 2 challahs and a Rice/Noodle dish. And then I was really tired so I went to bed.

Sadly, the little elves who were supposed to put away my food left the rice and noodles out of the fridge.

So, here is the question. It came out of the oven about 10:30pm and went into the fridge (when Kayla woke me up) at about 5:30am. It was no longer hot.

Before I throw it out, I figured I would check with my loyal readers (and those who know more about Food Safety than I) and see what you think. Is there any salvaging this dish?

The ingredients are rice,noodles, chicken soup mix, onion soup mix, margarine, and boiling water.

Let me know what you think - and I prefer to err on the safe side!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Speaking of Sauce.....

Me to Kayla: Kayla, are you hungry? What should I feed you?

Jonah: Mommy, feed her some Potato Sauce.

Me: What's potato sauce?

Jonah: It's like apple sauce. But made from potatoes.

Me: Oh yes, of course....

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Language Barrier

I was looking for some applesauce today and stopped at the dry goods store in the Merkaz of Ariel. They sell a lot of random things in addition to the spices, beans, rice, nuts, etc. so I figured I would take a chance.

I asked the man if they sell "Apple sauce" but I said it in English because neither me or Jonah knew how to ask for it. He didn't seem to understand although repeated the word "sauce". I said in Hebrew, "you take apples" and made the motion of like grinding them up. He looked like he might know what I was talking about and walked over to a table. From there, he took something and asked if that was what I was looking for. It was some kind of spread and he asked me, "to put on sandwiches?" I said no, to eat and made the motion of eating something with a spoon. I said for kids, or babies, or anyone really...

Then he said, "Ohh.....we call that Gerber".


Friday, July 31, 2009


Please sign this petition to Ron Nachmun, Mayor of Ariel, and the Name Change Committee.
Mayor Ron Nachmun wants to change the meaning behind the name of Ariel to honor Ariel Sharon.
You can see an article about it here:

Ariel Sharon was behind the Disengagement of Gaza 4 years ago. Some of the community of Netzarim now lives in Ariel and it would be a slap in the face to them if the city decided to honor the very same person who threw them out of their homes. And for what?

For peace? Or for the Arabs to destroy that part of the land......

Here is a link to the petition:

Thank you!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem

Psalm 137 contains the phrase "אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני - If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget".

Jonah and I were discussing why today, the 9th of Av, is such a sad day. I asked him why it is a sad day and he told me because the" בית המקדש נרשף, the Holy Temple burnt."
I asked if he knew the song "אם אשכחך" and if he knew what it meant (see translation above).

He told me, "Well, Mommy, I'll always remember Yerushalyim, but sometimes I forget which is my right hand."

May everyone have an easy and meaningful fast and may this day next year be one of celebration at our Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Sunday, July 26, 2009



For those of you who have made Aliyah or are making Aliyah - where did you choose to move, why, and how did you find out about it?


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I love Ariel.

I wrote the title and accidentally posted that as my blog. But that pretty well sums it up. Everything else is just details.

When we came on a pilot trip a year and a half ago, we had 2 questions to answer. Do we (by we, I mean Shauli) actually want to make Aliyah and where do we want to live. The first question is difficult but at the same time simple. It's a yes or a no. The path of our lives depends on this decision but there is no grey area - we make Aliyah or we don't. Lucky for us, the answer was Yes.

Question 2 was actually harder. There were SOOOO many options. SOOOOO many places to live and how in the world were we supposed to decide where to move based on spending a couple hours somewhere - with someone who does like living there. That was really intimidating to me.

I think we had a list of about 20 cities to check out. We made it to about 5.
Maalot - Pros = FAMILY, beautiful, not too big/small, big houses. CONS = few Americans, too FAR from everything/everyone.

Modiin - Pros = FAMILY........ Americans (for Shauli) Cons = Affordable renting/not affordable buying, Way too many Americans (for Natalie), too big of a city, bland. Or in the words of one of the residents of Modiin a "Concrete Legoland".

Tel Mund - Our dream city (based on what we read in the Bayit Neeman B'Yisrael book). The people who showed us around had a GORGEOUS 7 bedroom MANSION (of course, they just sold their house in the 5 towns, etc etc). We asked if there were any younger couples, with not so much money...basically the answer was no.

Pardes Hana-Karkur - not sure how we ended up at this place but it was a strange little town. Not for us....

Rechovot/Kfar Saba/Ramat Gan(?) - Drove through and decided on the spot they were too big for us. We didn't want a real city with real city problems like traffic and parking and noise.

Ariel - "Come to Ariel lalalalalala" Sorry, that's the ringer for the people who work in Ariel (like Reuven and Milka and used to be Avi). If you've called them, you know what I mean and you are singing it now too.
Ariel kind of snuck onto our radar. We had our pilot trip set with our list of 20 cities and right before we went on our pilot trip we met with someone from NBN who talked with us about cities and said that maybe we should check it out. So we did.
We spoke to the Aliyah coordinator for about an hour about it. Then we came to visit. Then we came back for Shabbat. And we loved it! From what we could tell, the community was very welcoming, it was pretty, it had everything you need for your day to day living but without the probs of a large city, it was affordable. It was also the first city we went to where people laid the cards on the table. They told us about Ariel (pros and cons) and it was like "This is our city. Take it or leave it. If it's for you, GREAT, we can't wait to welcome you with open arms. If it's not, ok". I didn't feel like they were trying to "sell it". Maybe because it doesn't need to be sold. If this is the type of place you are looking for, it sells itself. And if you aren't interested and are looking at places like Modiin, Maaleh Adumim, or Ramat Beit Shemesh - then this city probably is not for you.
At the time of our pilot trip, there were not a lot of Americans. But there was a lot of enthusiasm about bringing Americans. From the mayor to the people in the community - their goal is getting Olim to Ariel. And they will do whatever they can to help accomplish that.
So we became some of the pioneers of Ariel. The first batch came last summer (that was us and some others) and a few more trickled in through the year and another batch are coming this summer. And it's wonderful. Every person who makes Aliyah to Ariel (or who moves here from within Israel) makes a difference here. That is one of the best things about this community - you make a difference. You can get more involved or less involved but you are a part of Something and you matter. You don't get lost in the crowd.
And for Olim Hadashim, who are making this HUGE, somewhat terrifying move - we are here for you. The Israeli community is here for you. And us "veteran" Olim are here for you. Reuven (the Aliyah coordinator) is here for you, and the real veteran Anglos are here for you. From setting up a bank account and health insurance, to grocery shopping, to buying school supplies. There is someone who will hold your hand every step of the way - until you find your footing and can do it yourself. And then you will take the next Olah's hand and help them.....
That was really important to me. Because Aliyah is scary. It's a dream come true but it's not easy. And the fact that I had people there for me to answer both the big questions and the small was phenomenal. And I hope I can be there for the newbies like others were here for us.

One more thing that really sold it for me. Because this is something new for Ariel and the Anglo community is just starting out - the possibilities are endless. If you want something to happen here - step up to the plate and bring it. Leah wanted to have Shiurim in English, she now gives a weekly parsha class AND a weekly Pirkei Avot class. And people even come from Tapuach for it! Jodi wanted an English story hour and once a week, we get together at someone's house with the kids and she reads a story and does an activity with them. I wanted a weekly basketball game, and I started a weekly basketball game. And people come from Har Bracha, Itamar, and soon from Yakir for it! Yael wants to make an English Resource Center for the Shomron and she is working on that. We can help shape and mold this community the way that we want it to be.

I look forward to looking back :) 20 years from now and seeing how far we have come.

I am not going to say everyone should come to Ariel. Because they shouldn't. Not everyone would like it here (even if I can't understand why). But I do know there are people out there who are looking for something just like Ariel - and those are the people we want to find. This was actually the point of my blog. Yes, I had a point - not just to sing the praises of Ariel.

How can we get the word out? Where do people look when they are looking for a city to settle in? The NBN group seems to be mostly people who already made Aliyah or people who have been accepted to NBN - but I feel at that point, a lot already know where they are going.
For those of you who made Aliyah/are making Aliyah - where did you go to check out cities? Where should I post info about Ariel and what sort of things do people want to know about?

Thanks for your help and please come visit us "Settlers" sometime......

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Settler Names

Jonah made a new friend on Shabbat. This kid will be going to Gan with him next year. They became friends because said kid had brought a bunch of little airplanes to shul. Jonah saw that and it was instant friendship. :)

His pal's name is O'have Tzion or אוהב ציון. In Hebrew O'have means love and Tzion is Zion aka Israel. So would that be Loves Zion or Lover of Zion? Lover for short? :)

His brother's name is Na'ar Shalom. I think that translates to a Peaceful Boy.

There is a 3rd child with also a very "Settler-like" name but I can't remember it.

And they say Kayla is a strange name......

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Scar Cream?

This is a random post.....

Both of my previous c-section scars healed very nicely and evenly.
This time around, half the scar has basically healed and is even hard to see and half the scar is still red and ugly and gross. The surgeon did not stay on the same scar line for this half, but went below the originals. Not sure why.

Anyway, I vaguely remembering hearing about some kind of cream in the States that you apply to a scar and it helps heal it faster, better, etc.
So my questions are:

Does anyone know of this cream? What is it called?
Does it work?
Do they sell it in Israel or do I need to get it "imported"?
Is there anything else I can use to help a scar heal?


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Basket Case

I am sure you have all heard the term "basket case". Generally in reference to someone who is a mess, right?

Well, Kayla is having a very hard day. I don't know if it is because she hasn't napped well today or if it is because she might be teething. Whatever the case may be she was crying A LOT!!! And was only happy sometimes if I was holding her and walking around.

I was able to put her down for a minute with Jonah entertaining her (G-d bless older brothers)and came to the computer. I was chatting with my friend online (Shout out to Ariella T!!!) and said that Kayla was such a basket case. She said "haha, basket case. What is the origin of that?" I told her that was a good question, I certainly had no clue. And since we are living in the Age of Information At Our Fingertips, I googled it. Here ya go:

Originating in World War I for a soldier who had lost all four limbs in combat and consequently had to be carried in a litter ("basket"), this term was then transferred to an emotionally or mentally unstable person and later to anything that failed to function. [Slang; second half of 1900s]

And to think I called my daughter a "Basket Case"!!! I'm sorry Kayla....
I wonder what other terms I am using for my daughter that have terrible origins. :P

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kayla's Kiddush

Boys are easier because you know that when the baby is born, the Friday night afterwards is the Shalom Zachor. And you know that assuming the baby is healthy etc, the bris is 1 week later. There is no procrastinating, there is no inviting, it's just the way things are. So while initially I may have thought having a girl party is easier because we can be more laid back, it's infinitely harder to organize. Also with the Shalom Zachor and brit, friends and family basically took care of it all. I wasn't quite up to it so soon after the birth.

Here we are, Kayla is 4 months old and we have not had a kiddush for her yet. So I really want to do something about that.

The question is do we just do a simple little thing at our shul? From what I understand, it's a bring your own kiddush food.
Do we still do something at our shul but also invite friends and family?
If friends and family actually come........where do we put them all? To sleep? To eat? To hang out?

Or do we do something on a weeknight or on a Friday morning.

My friend in the States who had a baby girl shortly after I did also has not done a Kiddush yet. She offered to have a Kiddush together with us and then we could split the cost. But that offer didn't go for the plane tickets too......

Any thoughts? Advice?

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Just wanted to give a little Kayla Update.

She is 4 months old now. Plus a week or so.

She weighs 5 kilo which is 11 lbs.

I don't know how long she is because the last 2 visits they didn't measure her. But the doctor asked if I thought she was longer than before. I said yes. That seemed to satisfy him. :)

She sleeps through the night very very well. (Bli Ayin Hora!!)

She smiles. She laughs. She makes cooing and happy noises. She skwacks. I don't know how to spell that or even if it is a real word. But it's a noise she makes when she wants attention.

And her latest and greatest feat that she started on Thursday and is now a pro at - she rolls over. From back to tummy. Sometimes her hand gets stuck and she can't pull it out (so she skwacks). But she is working it out.

And she's awesome and fabulous and adorable and wonderful.

That's your Kayla update.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Just wanted to wish all the Moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day!!!
To my Moms - Happy Mother's Day - I miss you!!
To all those who have been like a Mom to me - Happy Mother's Day - I am sorry that I have not been better in touch.
To my Grandma and Bubby - Happy Mother's Day to 2 wonderful, amazing ladies - you inspire me.
To all my fantastic sis-in-laws who I consider to be my sisters - I love seeing (most) of you so often, let's continue the simchas (not it). And to D back in the States - yes, we know you're the fave now.
And to all my friends, many of which are either new moms, Mom-To-Be's, or mommies of newborns (in addition to toddlers) - you are all incredible and I miss you so terribly much!!

Sunday, May 03, 2009


The truth is, there have been so many things that I have wanted to blog about lately but when it all comes down to it, I haven't had the time. When I am at my computer, I am usually working. And when I am not working, I am often chasing after one kid or another.
3 kids - whew. Wipes me out...

So, I'll give a general update.....
Life is good. Thank G-d. Kids are good, thank G-d. I am so so so happy the winter is over because Bli Iyin Hora, we are able to stay healthy for more than 2 weeks at a time. Not to mention it's great having the windows open and getting the fresh air. I love this weather!

We got Jonah's confirmation that he is going to Gan Lotus next year. We will miss Arazim but it's time for him to move on to bigger and better things. :) This year he was in a Gan for 3+4 year olds (Gan Trom Trom Chova and Gan Trom Chova) and next year it is for 4+5 year olds (Gan Trom Chova and Gan Chova). He will just be there for 1 year though before he starts 1st grade. I am a little nervous because I don't know many of the kids - most of his little friends are staying at Gan Arazim but we know a few people switching over and I assume we will meet people. My Hebrew is improving bit by bit although I am still somewhat intimidated to use it. No matter, Jonah will meet people with no problem. His Hebrew is amazing!! He is even picking up the different verbs for boys and girls. Nice. I'm also excited about his new Gan because he will go until 3:30 everyday instead of 1:30. Woohoo!!!

Sammy had a crazy language explosion over Pesach. We were getting a little concerned because he wasn't using a lot of words and he wasn't putting words together. But we spent Pesach with his cousins (R&V for Seder and Shabbat and S&G plus S&S for the rest of the time). The cousins spent hours and hours playing with each other and Sammy just started talking and talking and talking. He doesn't stop now - B"H! Some of his cutest phrases are "Ew, gwoss" and "Woah baby!".

Kayla, our little princess, is getting so big - even though she is just in the 8th percentile for weight. She's just an itty bitty thing but so much bigger than when we first brought her home. She is finally starting to grow into some of her 3 month clothes. All her 3-6 month are still packed away in a bag just waiting..... She started smiling but she is a pretty serious kid. You have to work for your smile, she doesn't just give them out willy nilly. :) Her 2 big brothers absolutely adore her still and love to take care of her and worry about her when she cries. It's really really sweet. She sleeps VERY VERY well at night (Bli Iyin Hora - it's about time I get a good sleeper!!!) but likes to be held and paid attention to when she is awake.... we'll see how long I can work from home with her.

Shu is getting ready to start his own company. He has been having meetings with lawyers and accountants, and his partner - working on the nitty gritty. So he goes to J'lem a lot. In general that's ok but not when he gets lost trying to get to the trempiata (hitching post) and doesn't get home for hours and hours. This happened a couple times recently and I was nearly out of my mind from the kids. 3 tired kids in the evening - it's a lot of work.

As for me....same ol same ol, I suppose. Still working on the medical billing. It is a job that has really saved us this year - I am not sure what we would have done if we came to Israel with no jobs! Of course, it's not my dream job and one day I will move on. But for now, it fits perfectly. My hours are flexible, I can work day or night. So that's convenient. A couple times the websites I use weren't working so that was really annoying. Especially when it is over the weekend and people don't work on Sunday so I can't call to resolve the issue. Or if I am working in the morning here - it's the middle of the night in the States. So that doesn't help either. Annoying.
I am getting closer and closer to starting a women's basketball game. We had a time and a place (and a cost - booo) but that all fell apart when the guy in charge of sports quit his job. There was some shady stuff going on and apparently he feared for his life and the lives of his family. Yikes! But I persevered and there is a meeting today with the head of the Matnas (community center) and my game will be brought up. So hopefully that will get sorted out and we can start playing this week or next week. The question is do we keep it Anglo or invite the Hebs?
I am missing my friends in the States really really really badly. It's been really hard since Kayla was born because my friends there and some family haven't met her yet. It's weird and I don't like it. And I have a LOT of friends in the States who are either pregnant or recently had babies. And I am not there for that either. My friend recently posted some pics of her daughter's birthday party and a bunch of our other friends and their kids were there. I love looking at the pics and seeing how they are all growing up - but at the same time, it's so hard. It's so hard that we aren't there and our kids aren't growing up right next to them. I don't know if this aspect gets any easier. The other hard part is we have NO clue when we will see them next. I really want to plan a visit to the States. I am so jealous of my friend from here who gets to go back every summer for about 3 weeks or a month!! That would make things so much easier on my end. If I knew that every year I would spend a month in Detroit (and St.Louis) and just get to see everyone and spend time with family and friends. I could handle that. Sadly, we are financially nowhere near a trip to the States. So I guess you all have to come visit us here!!
As I have been telling people....we love it here. We really are very happy and love living in Ariel, have a great community, are making friends, are slowly picking up the Hebrew, are really getting settled in. BUT we still miss our friends and family in the States. It's not one or the other, it's both. Loving it here doesn't make us miss everyone less. And missing everyone there doesn't make us not like it here.

So that's that.
I am going to try and write a small post about Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. But right now I have to get to work so I will try to write it another time.

Ok Adina, I blogged, now I want some more pics. Hehe! :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Words won't do justice........

Wow, that was an experience................

It's almost 1 in the morning and I just returned from a pretty awe-inspiring time. We just went across the road from Ariel to an Arab village called Kifal Chares where the graves of Yehoshua ben Nun, his father Nun, and Calev ben Yefuna are. Yehoshua ben Nun was Moshe's successor and led the Jewish people into the Land of Israel. His father was Nun. And Calev ben Yefuna was one of the 12 spies sent to scout out the Land of Israel and report back. He and Yehoshua were the only 2 who came back with a positive report.

Since these graves are in an Arab village in the West Bank, Jews are not allowed to visit them. But once a year, on Yehoshua ben Nun's yarzeit, they open it up to the Jews. This year it was open from 10pm-4:30am and people come from all over Israel to be here. It was pretty neat that it was happening right in our neighborhood (more or less).
We got there at around 10:15 or so and waited around for awhile because they weren't allowing anyone in yet. They finally let us enter and we walked and walked and walked. It was a strange feeling, walking through the streets of this town where no residents were in sight. It felt almost like a ghost town. Apparently, the residents are put under a curfew- and that is one of the reasons they do it at night. So most of the people would be at home anyway. The army was there in full force(maybe not full force - but there were a lot of soldiers there), and it was very reassuring to see soldiers every few feet, and perched in strategic positions on rooftops.

The first Kever we came to was Calev ben Yefuna. We stayed there for a little bit and then continued quite a ways until we got to Yehoshua ben Nun's kever. This is where the action was. There was the actual grave with a big sign with the prayer "Aleinu LeShabeach" on it. Yehoshua wrote that when they were entering the Land of Israel. There was also a table set up with food and drinks for everyone. I just had some water but I saw rugelach and sweets and heard later that there was even kugel there!!
One of the nicest things I saw/heard was a class of 1st graders (our friend's son was one of them) who had just finished learning the Book of Yehoshua/Joshua and were making a Siyum to celebrate finishing it. How exciting that they were able to do this and come to his grave at the same time. I hope Jonah gets to do that too!

We stayed there for awhile and I teared up at one point. I was so inspired and so in awe. I was standing just a few feet away from where Yehoshua ben Nun is buried. The man who had the merit of leading the Jews into our beautiful and holy land of Israel is buried right across from where I now live. He paved the way, he brought Bnei Yisrael back, and now here I am. Thank you, Yehoshua. Thank you, Hashem. Thank you for helping me get to this stage in my life. It's my dream. My dream fulfilled.

A lot of people don't understand why we made Aliyah. A lot of people are really sad because of it too. They don't get how we could up and leave our family, our friends, and our comfortable lives. And move to a place where it isn't always "easy" or comfortable to live. Move to a place where we didn't really know anyone. And a place where we don't know the language that well.....
I don't know if I can put it into words. But what I wrote about above is one reason. One huge reason I am here.

Our Israeli neighbor and friend phrased it really well. And I know it is something I will think about a lot.

He said you can live next to history..... or you can live in history.
And in Israel, we are living in history.

And it's so true. In the States, we learned about all this. We learned Torah, we heard the stories, we celebrated the holidays. But it all happened "there". Far away in a land called Israel.
Now, we live in Israel. And all these stories, and all these people came from here. I can't believe that I just visited the Kever of Yehoshua..... right across the street from my city.
I hope when Jonah is in 1st grade and he finishes the book of Joshua, we will be able to come here and I will be able to show him where this great man is buried. Right next door to us....

I love it. This is why I am here. Because it's where I belong. It's my present....and our future.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

1st Child Syndrome

Shauli (to Kayla): "Whose the big girl wearing the skirt??"

Jonah: "I am! Except I am a big boy wearing pants."

It's hard for him to imagine that the world does not only revolve around him anymore. He has to share it with his siblings. :)

Only in Israel

Kid on the back of the Cornflakes box, wearing a Kippah. Love it!!

Chag Sameach, from our Coke Bottle. Also, it's an extra big bottle in honor of Pesach!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stroller For Sale

Before we moved, we had a number of people asking us to bring them double strollers on our lift (they paid for the space) because they said they are really expensive here in Israel. We went a little crazy and ended up buying one for when our new baby was to be born - thinking Sammy and Kayla will only be 21 months apart so we will still need a double. We also bought a double stroller to replace our double Jeep stroller to use for then - the bigger kids. That was a mistake for sure - I really miss our small double jeep stroller!!
Anyway, Sammy loves to walk and hardly even uses his stroller anymore to get to daycare. So I'm thinking, I really don't still need 2 double strollers! And sadly, we don't even have a normal single stroller. Just the Snap N Go and an umbrella stroller.
Soooooooooooooooo, I want to sell the unused double stroller. But need some advice, how much should I sell it for in Israel? I haven't shopped around for doubles here and don't think they even sell this model here.

It is a Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem stroller. Brand new in box (box is a little broken.

So, how much should I sell it for? And where should I advertise it? And does anyone reading this want to buy it??

In addition, does anyone know anything or have experience with a Zooper stroller? They seem really small and easy to push. Where is the best place to buy?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What to Do?

Hooray Hooray!! I have a new nephew!!! Mazel Tov Sarra and Shlomo!!
Very very exciting.
I am going into Jerusalem tomorrow morning to meet the little guy and hoping I have a way back to Ariel. :) So I may have time to kill in J'lem with Shu and Kayla.

But aside from that, we will IYH be coming to Jerusalem for a Wednesday morning bris. We are going to rent a car and are looking for things to do on Tuesday and Wednesday with the kids. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Monday, March 16, 2009

Big Brother

Jonah and Sammy were playing with Kayla while she was in her swing this evening. Jonah accidentally bumped her with one of the toys that hangs off the swing and she started crying. He jumped up and said to me, "I'm sorry!! It was an accident." She was fine and I asked him to give her her pacifier to soothe her. He did then said to her:

"Kayla, I'm so sorry. Are you ok? Do you think that Big Brother doesn't like you? Are you worried that your Big Brother doesn't like you?? Well, your Big Brother does like you. And I will always love you. Even when you are big. And even when you are a Mommy. I will still love you."

It was SOO sweet!! He is crazy about that girl. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Morning Shuffle

I did it! Hooray for me!! And it was all accomplished by 9:00.
Ok, maybe it isn't as big a feat as I am making it out to be. But what can I say, I'm proud of myself.
You're probably wondering what I did that was so don't laugh.....
I got all 3 kids out the door this morning. By myself!!!
Are you laughing?

Yes, I have been lucky and spoiled up until this point because Shauli has been home with me. Although the reason he is home is because he doesn't have a job so that's not good but I like to look at the up-side.
I generally deal with Kayla in the morning: feeding, changing, cuddling, etc. It's a tough job but someone's got to do it. Shauli usually gets the boys ready and takes them to school. Occasionally we change it up and I take them to school - but then he stays home with Kayla. Even the mornings that he goes into Jerusalem, he generally leaves after the boys are already gone.

However this morning, he left at about 6:30am to tremp (hitch-hike) to Jerusalem. And I was on my own. Luckily, no children were awake at 6:30am. They all woke up at the same time at 7:30. So we started off on the late side. Kayla woke first yelling about how hungry she was cuz she didn't eat all night long!!!(That's an approximate translation). Of course as soon as I start feeding her, Jonah calls out that he has to go to the bathroom really bad and needs help getting down from his bunkbed. Picturing an accident about to happen in the top bunk - I detach Kayla (who is NOT happy) and rush into the boys room. Sammy is sitting in his bed, face covered with boogers (as usual) and Jo is leaning over his railing. I ask him to go to the end of the bed, so I can lift him down from there - where the ladder is and voila, he climbs down himself. I take Sammy out of his bed and rush back to Kayla who is wailing away. I start nursing her again, Jonah goes to the bathroom and Sammy, unsure of what to do - starts twirling in circles in the hallway.
Kayla is now trying to decide whether she wants to eat or doesn't want to eat - can't make up her mind - is this a girl thing?? I think she is enjoying the fact that I can do nothing else while holding her.
I take this opportunity to get the boys to the table and give them cereal. Kayla decides she does in fact want to eat and so I sit on the couch and feed her while Jonah eats his half bowl of cereal and Sammy (who usually eats about a bowl and a half) puts Cheerios in his mouth and then shows them to Jonah, who cracks up, encouraging Sammy to do it again and again.
Fine. Whatever. No one is crying. And I know Sammy will eat when he gets to daycare anyway.
After I more or less finish with Kayla, who doesn't want to be put down, I bring her swing into the boys room and get them in there to get dressed. Sammy is attempting to push Kayla's swing for her - NOT a good idea. Jonah is jumping about yelling about how he doesn't want to take his PJ's off because he doesn't want Sammy to hit him. It's a valid concern because when Sammy sees skin (like a back, tummy, or legs), he likes to smack it!
I tell Sammy to go get me one of his new shirts from the living room (they are really hand-me downs from Jonah but we just brought out the newest size and were going through them in the other room). Of course, that means Jonah wants to wear a new shirt but the only new clothes he has are summer clothes. And today is not summer weather. But since I don't feel like battling a 4 1/2 year old, I let him as long as he wears a sweatshirt too. Ok, 1 kid dressed. 2 to go. Plus me.
Next up to bat, Sammy. Diaper change first - screams! I can't wait for him to be toilet trained. But I think we have about a year to go on that one!!! I put his clothes on and he is excited about his "new froggy shirt" even though Jonah is jealous and begs me to buy him a froggy shirt (with a blue frog on it) too. Jonah says he remembers this shirt from when he was 3 and it was one of his favorites. He keeps touching the blue frog on Sammy's shirt. Sammy doesn't like it and Jonah tells him that "everyone is allowed to touch the frogs - not just Sammy". Although I can only imagine what Jonah would do if the roles were reversed!
Ok, 2 kids dressed. Socks and shoes. Kippah. Check, check, check.
I try to send them back to finish their cereal so I can get dressed but of course bothering me is much more interesting. Sammy however, doesn't want to miss out on his cereal so he goes to get his bowl, comes into my room and proceeds to dump out the Cheerios onto the floor in the hallway and my bedroom. Ooh - cleaning for Pesach will be a blast!
Sammy and Jonah start running up and down the hallway screaming. It's giving me a headache and scaring Kayla a little but no one is crying so .....
Ok, now I'm dressed. Now we just have little Kayla. I decide not to change her entire outfit (no time for that) but add a few layers of clothing. If I don't, I know all those Israeli women will lecture me about how cold she is. That's why Israeli babies always look so puffy. So many layers!!! Ok, so she's got a lot of layers, and fuzzy ones on the outside and while I am sure someone will make a comment, it's the best I can do. I know someone will say something about bringing her out in this weather. But what is my alternative - to leave her at home? Alone?

Jackets on the boys. Jacket on me. Jonah wants an umbrella because it looks like rain (great!) but our 10 NIS umbrella broke and hasn't been replaced so I convince him that wearing his hood will be good enough - and pray that the rain holds off.
Now - how do we transport all the kids? I put on this funny little front-carrier that makes me feel like a kangaroo. But since I can't push 2 strollers by myself, the front carrier it is for Kayla. It has a LOT of straps. And one of them goes on the upper back. The spot that is just out of reach of my hands.... And Jonah doesn't quite have the coordination to snap it by himself. So I snap it before I put it on and then put the backpack on like I am putting on a sweater. I get Kayla's arms and legs in all the right holes and we are just about ready.
We head out the door and then remember Jonah's backpack. I send him back inside while Sammy, Kayla, and I start the journey down the steps. Sammy still takes a while going up and down stairs. He wants to be held but that is just not going to happen. Jonah is worried we are going to "win" but I reassure him that he has plenty of time.
We mosey on down the stairs, make it to the bottom and I get out Sammy's stroller. He looks at it and announces "WALK". Oh great. He doesn't walk that much faster than he goes down stairs. My original plan was to take Sammy to daycare first, thereby avoiding a bunch of stairs with Sammy. But since it's already about 8:20 and Jonah's Gan gate gets locked at 8:30, change of plan. We'll take Jonah first because the lecture from Jonah's Gannenet is much worse than the one I would get at the daycare. It's too early in the morning to be scolded. :) We somehow make it to Gan, before the gate is locked. And there I get my first comment about taking the baby out in this weather. I tell her my husband isn't home and the kids have to get to school - Mah La'asot? (What to do?).
Sammy wants to stay at Jonah's Gan but luckily that doesn't turn into a huge fight. I keep reminding him that when we get to Ma'on (daycare) he will see his little friends, Maya and Etai. He constantly says their names whenever we are home. He loves them! So with promises of Maya and Etai, we head to Ma'on. There is a shortcut which we take through the park, the only problem with it is that there are about 50 steps to climb. They aren't 50 steps straight but it's like 4 steps and then a "landing", 4 more steps, then a "landing", etc. Sammy tries to make it up by himself (remember he was not interested in the stroller) but gets tired halfway through. So there I am, with my kangaroo baby on my front. I first take the stroller up the 5 steps, then kinda lift Sammy up the steps. I can't really carry him or even get a very good grip because of Kayla but we manage. Although we look ridiculous.
We make it to Ma'on in time for breakfast. I love watching all those little kids sitting at the itty bitty tables with their plates and big tablespoons eating up their yogurts or whatever it is all by themselves. Making a huge mess all over themselves. But so proud for being so independent. Sammy walks in, glad to be with his crew and is not phased when I say goodbye and leave. It is still harder for me to leave him than it is for him to stay. I think he enjoys being there now.
I see the lady in charge as I am leaving and she sees that I have Kayla so she comes over for a quick look. I brace myself for a comment about Kayla not being warm enough or something but she doesn't say anything!! She tells me how her "baby" is now 17 1/2 and it seems like just yesterday he was this small. We talk about how time flies - although my oldest is 4 1/2 and hers is 25. But when it comes to kids, time flies - no matter how old or young they are.
It is a nice feeling that I am starting to get more comfortable with the language and the people. There has definitely been a big language barrier issue. But I'm getting off the subject.
Ok, so Sammy's at Gan. Kayla and I start heading home and only get rained on (drizzled really) at the end of our trip.
Kayla then spends the next hour and a half wide awake and fussy!! Maybe she was mad at me for taking her out.
So I started work a bit late this morning. But I must say I am proud of myself and relieved that we survived.
However, I can also say that I do NOT look forward to a lot of mornings like this if/when Shauli starts working.

Ma La'asot?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Memories of Rick Martinez z"l

Today is my dad's 12th Yarzheit.

I like to think if he looked down on me today he would be proud and happy. I'm very happily married to a wonderful guy, have 3 amazing kids, and live in Israel.

As Jonah gets older, he sometimes asks about my dad. Or makes comments about him. He knows that he is with Hashem. He also apparently knows that means he is dead. So much for "sugar-coating" it.

I'd like to ask people that knew my Dad to post or send me a Memory you have of him. It can be anything from a conversation to something you remember him doing. It can be something small or big - whatever. Just a memory.

As time goes on, I don't remember as much about him. And I am not around very many people that knew him so I don't hear stories about him as often.

So I would really appreciate if you could send me a memory. :)

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Purim in Israel is AMAZING!!!!! I really loved it. I loved taking the kids to Gan on Sunday and seeing all the other kids (and plenty adults too) walking to school, waiting for rides, in Gan - and all dressed up. Everybody is into it.
My mother-in-law made a good comparison. In America, when we see everyone dressed up in costume - like people working in stores, walking down the street, etc - for Halloween, we think oh, how silly. They look ridiculous.
Here, in Israel, when the same thing happens but it's for Purim - we are SO excited!!
I guess because this time it's our holiday. This time we get to participate. And we aren't the minority. The whole country is into it. It's so great.

In general, I think we have been settling in quite well. And there are many times when I just take a moment to look around and realize how lucky I am to be living here. Living my dream. It's somewhat different than what I expected but it's amazing. I still look out my window at the hills of the Shomron and think WOW, I'm living here. I am living in Israel.
Last week I went to Petach Tikvah 3 times. This is a big deal because without a car, it's really difficult leaving Ariel (with 3 kids). Twice I went there with a friend in her car and once I took public transportation. Petach Tikvah is considered "The Big City" near us. It's exciting to go there, to go to the mall, eat at the food court, or go to some of the bigger stores. I enjoy it - but would never want to live there. Too big of a city for me.
On the drive there and back, on one hand, I am already used to the surroundings and the scenery. This is my home.
On the other hand, sometimes I still switch to my "tourist eyes" and remember how I would look at my surroundings and how I felt. How desperately I wanted to be living here. I remember how I would look at the trees and the buildings and the sky and the mountains and be in love. And I fall in love all over again. I love living here. I am proud of myself that I made Aliyah. I am proud that I am raising 3 young kids in this land. I am proud that I am working. I feel like everything I do here means more. It counts more.
I thank G-d for all this being possible. I thank G-d for sending me a husband that made ALL of the above possible. Life is good.....

On the flip side, I miss my friends and family SO much, it hurts. I have especially been having a hard time since Kayla was born. I just can't believe that my American friends haven't met her, haven't held her. My own mother has not even met her!!! It's really really rough. Some people might think that because we made this choice to make Aliyah and because we are doing well here and are happy here, that it makes leaving that much easier.
I don't agree.
I think the 2 things are completely separate. On one hand, I am happy here. I like the way our new life is turning out.
On the other hand, I MISS MISS MISS MISS my friends. Quite a few of my friends are having babies and a few had girls, just a little younger than Kayla. And I'm not there. Not there to visit them in the hospital, not there to make them meals, not there to just be there.

Our "chevra" all got together for a Purim Seudah and posted some pics. I started looking through them and it was so nice to see everyone and see how the kids are growing and how cute they all were in their costumes. A couple of our friends had babies at around the same time Sammy was born and as I looked at the pictures, I was thinking - we should be there. I can't believe we aren't there. It made me so sad, I had to stop looking at the pictures. I literally X'd the page. I couldn't handle it.

So my emotions are just back and forth. I am so happy and so blessed to be living here. We did the right thing in moving here.
But missing everyone is rough. Really rough. Does it ever get easier?

My dream plan, when Shu's business ends up being wildly successful, is to be able to spend about 4-6 weeks in the summer in America. This way, I would have some time to spend with friends and family. And to do some good shopping of course. And I would know every year when I would be going back and when I would see them again. That's one of the really hard parts now - we have no plans to go back to Detroit, we can't afford it! And we have no idea when we will come back either. So I don't know when I will see my friends there again. I don't even know when I will see my Mom!

So - to all your veteran Aliyah people - does it get easier? The missing everyone part?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Game Over

I get a weekly newsletter from a website called BabyCenter. The above picture was on the newsletter this week.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Twelve Years

February 23...
I hate this day.
My dad died today. 12 years ago. That's a long time. And it feels like a long time too. It doesn't hurt as badly. And I feel bad about that. I feel guilty. But I have just gotten used to him being gone. I feel like I have been without him for so long. It's just the way it is.

I don't like being used to it. I wish it still hurt. Then he would feel closer to me. I know I have blogged about this before. Blogged about these feelings. I started feeling like this about 2 years ago.

I want to write something special for him. About him. I know a lot more people will read this because I import my blog into Facebook. So I feel I want to write something good. Something meaningful. But I don't know what to say.

I can write about the day it all started. The day this whole life-changing cycle began. The day I found out. About his illness. His cancer.

I was 17. I had started at a new school in Pittsburgh. A new life. Living with my "Surrogate Family". Things were good.

Back in St.Louis my dad had been having some back trouble over the summer. My mom and I kept telling him to go to see a chiropractor - that he probably just needed a good adjustment. But he didn't want to go. But the back pain continued. Fast forward to October. October 23rd to be exact. That was the day he found out.

I found out shortly after. I had been trying to call my dad and wasn't able to reach him. And he wasn't calling me back. I started to get worried and so I called my grandmother. I think I left a message and she called me back. It was awful. My grandmother doesn't know how to give bad news. She doesn't know how to break things to someone. Not that there is any good way to tell someone their father is dying of cancer. And after all, this is her son!

I finally got her on the phone and asked what was going on. Where was my dad? Why couldn't I reach him and why didn't he call me back? She said, "Natalie. I have bad news. Your dad is very sick. He's very very sick. He's in the hospital. Your dad has cancer." There was such fear in her voice.
That was it. No sugar coating. No easing me into it. WHAM! I felt like I had just gotten hit with a ton of bricks. I couldn't breathe. I felt sick to my stomach. I didn't believe I had just heard those words. I don't remember much more about the conversation. I remember being in shock, total disbelief. I was angry. I was hurting. When I hung up the phone with Grandma, I fell apart.I started crying. Hysterically. I didn't know what to do with myself. I ran outside of the house. I was crying outside. I knew I looked like a crazy person. Like someone who was out of control. I came back in. I was on the floor in my room. I didn't want to believe it. What the heck?? How could it be? It was just a stinkin backache!
The family I was living with heard the commotion and came to try and calm me down. But I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to be calm. I didn't want my dad to have cancer.
The cancer was "Adeno Carcinoma of Unknown Origin." Whatever the heck that means. It started in his back bone and spread to his hip bone and his sternum by the time they found it.

The doctors gave him 4-6 months to live. He died 4 months to the day after he was diagnosed. Talk about Iyin Hora.

I somehow managed. Got through day to day life. I wanted to come home but my dad said I shouldn't. He didn't really want me there during the chemo. It was too horrific and made him too sick. They say the treatment is worse than the disease.
They treated it. Radiation. Chemotherapy. We even tried homeopathic treatments. Anything to save my father. But it was too aggressive. It spread to his liver. And that was it. That was when they knew we were getting to the end.

We had a scare in January. I was still in Pittsburgh, going to school, doing what I was "supposed" to be doing. It was Motzei Shabbat. Someone called (maybe my grandmother?) to tell me what happened. My dad was in the hospital with a blood infection. And I needed to come home. I didn't get any more information or realize how bad it was until I talked to my Rebbetzin from St.Louis. It was really bad, really serious. People die from blood infections. The doctors did not know if he would make it through until the morning. And my Rebbetzin told me that I had to call him and say goodbye. So I did. I called my dad in the hospital and even though I felt like I couldn't even think straight I managed to tell him that I would be there in the morning, I would see him in the morning. And I told him that I loved him so much. I would be there soon.

A couple of my friends came over and we sent out a mass e-mail. Asking everyone to daven for my dad or do a mitzvah in his merit. This e-mail went all over, to all kinds of lists. All over the world. And I believe it worked.
I made it home in the morning and he was still alive. Not only that but we had another month with him. A month which I spent by his side every day. And every time I left the room I said, "I love you." The fact that he got better from the blood infection gave me hope - I thought maybe, if we all keep praying for him.......just maybe he would get better......

2 years ago, I wrote about when my dad gave us The News.
I still don't know how a parent does that. What he must have been going through to tell his children he was going to die. And soon. My poor dad.

After that, we moved him to some kind of Extended Care Home. It was basically a nursing home. It was awful there, people always asked if he was my grandfather. I think he was there for a week until we moved him home. Hospital bed in the living room, hospice care, and us.
It was hard living like that. Seeing my dad so sick. Never knowing when or how. But knowing we were nearing the end. On the other hand, we were lucky. We were really lucky that we had that time with him. That we knew it was the end. And we could say our I love you's and appreciate what time we did have left. Sometimes I just wanted to curl up into bed with him. Sometimes I wanted to ask him for something - a letter with advice. Some "last words". Something to pass on to his grandchildren. But I didn't. That would make it too real. That would mean accepting it. I wasn't ready. And by the time I may have been ready, he wasn't able.
I wanted to take pictures. I so desperately wanted pictures of him. He was the photographer in the family and so we have very few pictures of him. But I didn't take pictures because I don't want the images of him looking old and sick stuck in my head. I already have the memories taking over my other memories - I didn't need the photographic proof.

February 23, 1997. It was a Sunday morning. A beautiful, crisp day outside. A day my dad would have loved. And the day he died.
That's all for now. That's all she wrote.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Month

Wow, it's already February 19th. That means Kayla is a month old today!!!!
Ahhh, my baby girl is growing up. It happens so fast!!

She is treating us pretty well. She is not a big crier or anything. No colic, thank the good Lord. She just cries when she is hungry or when she is getting a diaper change. She's not a fan of being naked.

We've had a few good nights, where she has slept really well. And a few really bad nights - where she sleeps the evening away and then is up and ready to party starting about 11pm. Last night was one such night.
What makes it harder is Shauli has been sick since about a week after she was born. And can't seem to fight off whatever it is that he has. And I finally succumbed to the illness a few days ago. It wasn't too bad the first 2 days and I thought maybe I would win the battle. But the past 2 days have been rough. My lack of sleep certainly doesn't help and today my throat is on fire.

But I digress................ HAPPY ONE MONTH BIRTHDAY KAYLA!!!! Can't wait to see what the next few months/years bring. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Kayla's Birth Story - Part 3 - THE BIRTH!

WARNING!!!!! THIS IS THE GRAPHIC PART OF THE BIRTH STORY!!! (Not to worry, it was a c-section so it was more gory than the kind of graphic you might be thinking)

Finally, they came and rolled me into the operating room. Shauli had to wait until I was all prepped and they started the surgery. But Sharon was with me the whole time. Talking me through everything that was happening. Oh my G-d, I was so nervous. I was scared, I was dreading it. I wanted it to just be over. Everything felt surreal. We got into the operating room and it was just us. Me, Sharon, and a male nurse with a funny name – Ubi or something. Sharon introduced me to him and then it was time to do the spinal. I kept thinking Ok, it's time. I can do this. I can get through it. I got onto the operating table and sat with my legs over the side. I had to curl my body like a banana and arch my back like a cat. Sharon was checking where she was going to put the spinal. She was poking around and it was pretty uncomfortable but she did a good job distracting me with random small talk about my Aliyah, my kids, etc.

Then it was time to get started and I guess first she did some local anesthetic which was like pin pricks and then she did the spinal. I had to move my legs back onto the table and then lay down. It was nothing nearly as dramatic as the spinal with Jonah where the scary anesthesiologist cranked my head all the way down and where I felt a whole shock down my side. Nope, this was way less dramatic. My legs started getting numb. The rtest of my body started getting numb. Then the rest of the surgical team came in and started setting up. I was introduced to a couple nurses. Sharon was great because she would do all the talking in English and translate for them if necessary. It made me feel like I, the patient, came first.

They set up the screen and got a couple things started. It’s a weird sensation. The whole process. One one hand, my entire body from chest and below is numb. I can’t move my legs at all. But I can feel some sensation. I can feel tugging and pulling. But not pain. They got started with the surgery. I was so thirsty and my mouth was so dry. I kept clearing my throat and was just horribly parched. I mentioned it to Sharon and she snuck me a few drops of water from a gauze pad. Ahhhh…… A couple minutes in and Sharon asked if I was feeling nauseous. I thought about it for a minute and said not nauseous but strange. Not good. She told me my blood pressure had dropped, which is very normal after having a spinal, and so I may feel nauseous. She was keeping an eye on it but I guess it kept going lower and lower. Then the nausea hit. Badly. And then the throwing up. Or what would have been throwing up if I had anything in my stomach. Oh, it was awful. It wouldn’t stop. Sharon gave me something to bring my blood pressure back up and I think something for the nausea too. That whole episode was also really weird because my entire lower body was numb. And throwing up usually involves the abdomen. But I just felt it in my mouth. Ugh. While it was happening, I was just wondering if I would make it through the surgery. Not if it was like this, I wouldn't. I just wanted it to be over. Finally, the medicine kicked in and within another minute or two, I felt better. So much better that I knew I could get through the surgery as long as I didn’t go back to that!! I was feeling really warm and asked Sharon to get me a wet washcloth for my head. My “comfort” cloth. She brought one but it had warm water so I asked for cold water and she said it would be harder to find but she got some! I started feeling a bit lightheaded and she gave me some oxygen. It was the mouth mask which was more annoying than just a nose one. But it helped relax me and remind me to take deep breaths when I was nervous or when things were bothering me. Then I just concentrated on breathing. My right shoulder got really really sore too and that may have been from when they were touching my diaphragm at the time. Weird.

FINALLY, Shauli was able to come in. A sight for sore eyes. But I was feeling pretty out of it and don’t remember a lot from this point on. I know that everything seemed to happen really really quickly after this. He had the camera and Sharon took a picture of the 2 of us. I happen to think it is a great picture. Not sure why. Maybe because it is so "in the moment". It was almost time for the baby and Sharon took the camera so she could take a picture as soon as the baby came out. She asked if we knew what we were having and I said we did but weren’t telling anyone. The baby was about to be born and Sharon said, “They are taking the baby out….I can’t see what it is yet….here it comes. Oh, it looks like a girl. You have a girl.” And they held her up right over the screen!!! She was SOOO small. I could not believe it. And that’s what I said, “Oh my gosh, she’s tiny.” Ahhh – that’s my daughter. They checked the time (Shauli?) and said she was born at 11:13. Then they whisked her away and off Shauli went to be with her. I was introduced to another nurse and that would be the baby nurse. Then they brought the baby back to me for another minute. Oh my gosh, I was in love. They held her up to me but all I could do was give her kisses. She looked very puzzled. Some more pics and off Shauli went with our daughter.

And that was that. I could not believe how quickly they got her out!! Then it was close-up time which Sharon said would take longer. But she also told me that the surgeon is the head of the department or something so I shouldn’t worry, he would do a good job. At some point she introduced him and he popped his head over. That was all I saw of him!! That was really about as much as I saw of anyone. Aside from Sharon and Udi. I remember someone had told me to ask about future kids. So Sharon asked him how it looked, how I healed from my previous sections, were there any lesions or whatever. Could I have more kids? She asked in English and he answered, “Surely. She can surely have more children.” Good to know I healed nicely. For the FUTURE.

It seemed to take forever for them to close me up and it was somewhat uncomfortable at times. One of the yuckiest parts was that at some point, I could hear the scissors. Snip snip snip. I think that was when Shauli was still there because I told him, I could hear them cutting me. Ohhhh, it was awful. It felt like they were really high up. And in my mental image of myself, I picture myself laying on the operating table with my entire abdomen and chest cut open. Because that’s how it feels. I feel them low and high, tugging and poking around in there. At some point I also knew they were cauterizing me. I can’t remember if I could hear it or smell it but I knew what they were doing. Ugh. I started feeling tired. SO tired. I just wanted it to be done. But I was scared. Scared for the pain. They seemed to be taking forever. And I missed Shauli. But I was lucky because Sharon was awesome. She told me what was going on when I needed to know that and just chatted with me when I needed that. She was just really chilled out and a very calming presence. She also had boys before a girl – 4 boys before a girl. A boy, a boy, and then triplets! Wow!

So eventually, they finished closing me up. Then here is a CRAZY random story! Just before they moved me back onto the stretcher, someone walked into the room and said in English, “Hey, your maiden name is Martinez?” and I said “yes…” thinking it was just someone who wanted to comment on my strange last name. Then he said, “And you grew up in St. Louis?” so then I was thinking ok, was it someone from my class? I said, “Yes..” And he said, “But you were born in Milwaukee?” Who IS this guy? “Yes…” He continues, "And I even know the street you lived on. It was umm.. Shepard Avenue. Your brother is Adrian! You moved when he was in like 3rd or 4th grade?” And I said, “Yah, that’s my brother. And I guess he was in 4th grade – I was in 1st – who ARE you??” He said his name is Chezky and that he was friend's with Adrian when they were younger. Then he asked if Adrian is living here and I said no, no, he’s in Seattle. I asked what his last name was and he said “Landy.” I said yah, that sounds familiar – how crazy!! When did he come to Israel? He said his family made Aliyah when he was in 6th grade. Then he came over and helped them move me onto the stretcher. And he said, “Well, send regards to Adrian. Tell him Chezky Landy says hi.” And off he went. SO random!!!

Then they strolled me out. They took me to a recovery room – across from the pre-op room. I asked how long I would be there. They said it would be about an hour. And I watched the clock. And watched and watched. They were waiting for me to be able to move my legs. I kept trying and trying. I just wanted to be with Shauli and my daughter. I missed them SO much. I hated being away from them. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t be with me. ARGH. People kept coming and going and randomly checking on me. But for the most part it was very lonely. It seemed so strange to me. I had just given birth to my daughter. Yet I was lying there alone. Desperately wanting to be with someone. I am used to being in the recovery room with my family – and certainly with my new baby. Even though I couldn’t hold her – I just wanted to be with family at that time.

Finally, they decided I could move my feet enough that I could head to a real room. They rolled me out and I heard a big cheer. Along with Shauli was Aviva and her sister, Aliza. Whee!!!! They came with me up in the elevator and to the room. And then they left.

Well, that is really it for the actual Birth Story. I have plenty to say about the 5 days following it and my experiences in the hospital. Maybe that will be for the next edition…………….