Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy Third Birthday, My Asher.

This week's parshah (Torah portion) is Vayechi, and it involves Yaakov (Jacob) blessing his sons, the 12 tribes of Israel, of which Asher is one. As Yaakov prepares to die, he provides a unique blessing for each of the tribes, assigning the tribe of Asher the role of olive growers. The olive branch symbolizes peace, and, if anything, my beautiful boy is a peace maker. He goes out of his way to make sure everyone is happy and okay, and he'll bend over backwards to help his little sister or his friends, just to put a smile on their face.

What is the significance here? Well, Sunday is Asher Yitzhak's Hebrew birthday, marking his third birthday and his entrance into Jewish responsibility. I can't believe he's already three, but I'm so excited to see the little man he'll grow into.  He's a stubborn monkey, still refusing to even think about starting to use the potty, but his imagination astounds me with froggies stuck in trees and bunnies needing help and fires popping up everywhere that need to be put out. This morning he used my sleep mask and a bag of monster bowling pins as a wrecking ball to knock down the infestation of ... pineapples. Yes, there were pineapples. Everywhere!

Last night, after the baby was in bed and Mr. T and his parents had headed out for haircuts and errands, I popped in to check on him to see if he was asleep yet. He was awake, so I went in to give him kisses and say the shema. I squished him and told him I was flattening him like a pancake because I was hungry! He giggled and squirmed and smiled and said, "Mommy, can you stay here forever?"



For all of the moments that he makes me want to pull my hair out, moments like that make me both happy and sad. Happy that my boy is so beautiful and happy and healthy and mine, but sad that I don't have more time or energy to devote to him. 

"Mommy has work to do, my love, but I'll see you in the morning," I responded. As I went to close the door, he said, "I love you Mommy" and blew me a kiss. 

These are the days. 

Before we left the house this morning, Asher gave me a light stick turned necklace and asked me to put it on. "You're a beautiful lady!" he said. 

Oh my boy, I'll eat you up, I love you so. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!


Ah, another year has come and gone, and here we meet again. I started this blog almost 11 years ago, and for the past few years, things have been quiet and slow. I'm expecting some interesting changes in the near future, which hopefully will allow me a bit more time to devote to this beloved blog (beloved by me), because it has always been a happy place for me. 



I started the year out right by making a wholesome breakfast for the family, then I made some gluten-free banana nut muffins, did the dishes, started some laundry, and then I was basically exhausted. Whew! Here's to tiny children getting older and me getting some energy back? That's a thing, right? 

What are you hoping for in 2017?

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Breastfeeding Acceptance Plan

It's been a rough couple of months. It seems that whatever Asher comes home with, I get whatever that is, times about one million thousand hundred billion ... you get the picture. He comes home with a cold, I get the plague. He comes home with a cough, I get the plague. For the past 10 days or so, I suffered greatly, and I'm still not 100 percent. I'm probably closer to about 78 percent, but I'm hustling.

The hardest part about being sick was that I quite literally could not survive without taking pseudoephedrine for the painful and debilitating congestion I was experiencing. The result, of course, as a breastfeeding mother with a 6 month old, was that my milk supply tanked hardcore. I panicked at first. A lot. Like I always do when I get sick and my supply tanks. But usually I have milk in the freezer as a backup and life goes on and I zip through my backup and then build it back up. But this time, I had no backup supply because I just haven't been able to pump as much, despite pumping three times during the day and once at night. And have I mentioned?

I hate pumping. I hate it more than I hate baby corn, and that's a lot.

I'm so over pumping I can't even begin to tell you how over it I am. It chains you down in 15-20 minute increments throughout the day. And when you're sick, it's like the last thing that you want to be doing.

So I embraced my reality. I went to the store and I bought formula. It's a supplementing formula, actually, because I'm still nursing and still pumping and hopefully, at some point, my supply will boom again. But if it doesn't, I'm not crying about it. I'm over it. My baby has options, and that's what's important.

And then, on Sunday,
While breastfeeding an overly tired and cranky Tirzah in the Target Starbucks while Asher watched shows on my phone, a man with his wife and son packed up to leave. He came over to me and said, "Thank you for taking care of your child. So many don't." I was sort of stunned and couldn't figure out what he meant. It took a few seconds for me to realize he was referring to me nursing the baby.
So I think I'm okay. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ask Chaviva Anything: In the Kitchen for Shabbat and Keeping Kosher

Are you ready for another installment of Ask Chaviva Anything? I know I am. I've gotten a ton of questions, and, guys, seriously, all these questions about when I'm returning "home" and when I'll be back in Israel, and what am I doing with my life by not being in Israel ... sigh. You're killing me. Home is where the heart is, and my heart (my husband and my kids) happen to be here in Denver, Colorado. I'm not moving back to Israel until I can afford it, until I don't have to live in the red, until I don't have to subject my children to the potential of hunger and debt collectors. That's when I'll go back to Israel. Unfortunately, that's not a close reality.

Anyway ... on to the questions!

How do you manage to make Shabbat with all your workload and two small children? Do you have some kind of routine up your sleeve? I need some tips and inspiration! Thank you!

This is a great question, and one I don't really have an answer to. It sort of just happens. In the old days, I'd cook on Thursday night after kids were in bed, but these days, I'm mostly exhausted by the time they both head to bed around 7 p.m. and/or I have work to do. So really what happens is that I set up my work station in the kitchen on Friday morning/early afternoon and multi-task like a crazy person. Laptop near the cutting board, oven preheating, and sometimes I'll have groceries delivered via Instacart just to save myself the trouble. This time of year, I rely a lot on crockpot dinners for Friday night and simple Saturday lunches like fish, rice, and vegetables. Ultimately the greatest struggle is when Shabbat hits, we don't always get everything done. So, for example, this past week I'd made a delicious side of salmon + rice with roasted cherry tomatoes and green beans, but we forgot to put the plata (hot plate) on. I managed to put the rice in a plastic bag, wrap the bag in foil, and set it on top of our hot water kettle to try and warm it up a bit so we weren't eating an entirely cold meal on Saturday for lunch. It sort of worked. My biggest "harrumph" this time of year is that I'm out of challah and haven't made any more. We can buy challah for my husband and son at the deli or grocery store, but for me, it's a production to make my gluten-free ha'motzi challah

So. It's basically chaos, but it always gets done. We also pick the kids up at the latest possible moment on Friday so we can get everything done. Oh! Also? I have a cleaning crew come every other Friday, so that keeps me sane. I had to stop trying to do it all, and although it's a hefty expense, it's one I had to deal with. 

Also? I spend a lot of time searching for easy recipes on the web and storing those for using on Shabbat. Honestly, I keep thinking of how much easier my life would be if we ate meat because I could easily make some chicken with rice in the oven. Cooking fish, tempeh, tofu, etc. is much more time consuming/needs much more delicate attention. 

What kitchen stuff would you not have in your kitchen because of not being able to make it kosher? For example, do you have a wooden cutting board and if you do how would you re-kosher it?

This is an interesting question, and one I haven't really even thought about. Truthfully, since nothing non-kosher comes into my kitchen, and because we are vegetarian at home, I don't have to worry about anything needing to be re-kashered. The one time of year that I do cook meat in my kitchen is Thanksgiving, and in this case, I just put my wooden cutting board away and bring out my meat cutting board. If this doesn't answer your question, let me know!





Review: Luly Baby Bandana Drool Bibs

I have this thing where my kids, bless their hearts, get really into food around 4 months of age. They start watching the food zip from plate to mouth, they begin grabbing at all the things, and they start chewing on everything food-like that they can.

So, as Little T approaches her 6-month-birthday on December 9, I'm happy to say she's been eating "real food" beyond "Mommy milk" for almost two months now. She's graduated recently to gnawing on cucumbers, eating oatmeal cereal with little berries in it, attempting to scarf pancakes that her brother gives her, and more. I've been pretty impressed with her love of food and eating, and it's just a sign of things to come.

Baby's first sushi! She loved it. She hated the bib. 

What are those things?

Those things are teeth.

Yes, my little baby is working her way towards chompers, which means she's drooling like crazy. So in addition to going through bibs like they're going out of style, we were also going through bandanas of the drool-catching variety pretty quickly. Unfortunately all of the ones I bought were pretty low-quality, until I was tapped to do a review of the Luly Baby Bandana Drool Bibs. I'm always super skeptical of baby products because there are so many copycats out there that do substandard product development, but the moment I opened these I knew these bibs were different.



The quality is apparent with the double-layered fabric (100% cotton backed with absorbent fleece), and the impressive neckline that conforms to Little T's neck to actually catch the drool and liquid from hitting her neck. Also? I love, love, love that these bibs have snaps! All bibs should have snaps. I'm loathe to buy bibs with velcro because they get snagged on everything and scratch up Little T's neck.



Also? They patterns are so cute and fashionable. Little T is making her way into the fashion world, one drool bib at a time. Get yours now on Amazon!

Note: I received these items free for my honest, unbiased review. All views presented in this post are my own, are super honest, and you can rely on that!