31 December, 2012

Goodbye, 2012

This has been a really great year. As I type this my older boys are climbing all over me, the baby is alternately grabbing toys and demanding my attention, and my parents are heading back in from a short shopping trip (that was also a little break from the attentions of their grandsons). 2013 is bringing several changes, mostly of the smaller, everyday changes that happen without much forethought, but also several larger alterations to our lives.

I have decided to resign from my current position. I like my job, and I am good at it, but I am just not focused enough on either my work or my kids and I really want to focus on my boys. I still need an income though, so I am looking at a more flexible position with the same company. I hope to hear back this coming week, but things at work are definitely changing.

In February I am going to begin training to become a certified doula. I have wanted to become a midwife since I was 12 years old, but after having two babies with midwives I have discovered that what I really want to do is support the moms, and Andaluz is providing an avenue to do that. I am very excited.

Third, we are going to try to move. I would like to live in an area with sidewalks that is closer to everything we use/want, and hopefully closer to an actual community, if not inside a community, of supportive neighbors. Maybe we can pull this off, maybe we can't, but we are continually improving our home with this in mind in addition to our own needs and comforts.

There are many things I want to begin or progress with that I have not been able to due to my schedule; improving my cooking, getting back into Highland dancing, maybe joining a book club, refining and expanding my etsy store, a few side projects that may become something bigger, that mystery book club I signed up for, and the boys are going to be enjoying a lot more of my attention now (whether they like it or not). We are going to have a lot of fun.

I'm not a really sentimental person, given to recaps and long lists of reminiscences. When I'm asked what I am thankful for there is just so much, so I go with what is simple. This year brought the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. We got the most perfect baby on the planet, amen. Tonight I look forward to beginning a brand new calendar, starting new projects, and a whole lot of eggs florentine, sparkling cider, and time with loved ones. Maybe even a livestream of some fireworks. Here is to a really, really great year.


17 December, 2012

Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah was awesome! Really, really awesome. A list (of 8, as is apropo):

1. We finished putting new flooring in the living room, and I even repainted it so all the walls are one color now :) This was more a present to myself than anything, but the whole house feels so much better. Except for the garage, which is where we tossed all the gross old carpet and padding. ew.

2. The boys loved their presents: Pajamas, more pajamas, a fort kit, a kid's sewing machine, a kid's learning laptop, special rocks, the Lorax DVD, and a PARTY! (Party with gelt, stickers, etc.)

3. We had a party! I am incredibly awkward and self-consious and for at least an hour before the party I was wandering around saying " I can't doooo this!" "Then why are you having a party?" "I don't knooooow!" However! It was great. Really crowded, but great. We had a lot of fun, and people came! People I don't know very well! It went well! I'm so proud. The kids had a blast. All of them. 9 kids, 1 baby, 9 adults. So much fun.

4. One of my guests brought a bottle of wine. WIN.

5. I went on a small appliances spree, and now am the proud (and plump) owner of a waffle stick maker, a deep fryer, a cake pop maker, an electric griddle, and a dehydrator. The deep fryer and cake pop maker were used for our party, with fantastic, tasty results.

6. Dehydrated things! Oh I love my dehydrator. So very, very much.

7. Cake pops are amazing. I love them. This thing can even make doughnut holes. So delicious.

8. This year both the boys really understood the story, and every night the boys lit the menorah, together, and it was lovely and sweet and everyone was happy. I am definitely looking forward to next year.


21 November, 2012

Dental update!

Short story: the extraction went well. Yay!

Slightly longer story: after asking pretty much everyone I know a friend of mine agreed to be my 'dental buddy', so Cam could stay home with the boys rather than trying to control them in the waiting room while I had my teeth pulled. This was good, as it turns out the dentist had blocked out 2 hours for the procedure (in retrospect, wow, some extractions must be really grueling!)

Signed in, sat down in the chair, and I got my injections. They took affect right away, which was awesome. I had been a little worried that they wouldn't work on me, but they did just fine. In fact, by the end the entire left side of my face, up to my eyebrow, and including my left nostril (but not the right), was numb. That was a very weird feeling. The right tooth had to come out first, as it required digging around to find the root and he figured that would take the longest. Well, once he got it it came out in 4 pieces (and took a bit of the jaw with it; I felt/heard when the jaw fractured) and that was that. Then he moved over to the left and after a couple pulls, and the tooth deciding to come out sideways ("I've never seen that before!") we were done. Start to finish, I was walking out the door an hour later. I did scare them by standing up and immediately tripping over the base of the chair ("Are you woozy? dizzy? You sure? Really?""I'm fine, just clumsy.")

What did take a long time was picking up the antibiotics (which I apparently should have been on since my initial visit) and ibuprofen. He offered stronger narcotics, which I told him I didn't think I would need them, but if I did I would let him know and he would call in a script for me. So I wandered around Lowes with my friend while she ordered a countertop, then we went back to Walgreens, picked up my drugs, and home again home again, jiggity jig.

Since then things have been going pretty well. I'm down to about two pain relievers a day, when my mouth begins to feel sore, and have a few more days of antibiotics to go. I anticipate being able to eat some Thanksgiving food tomorrow (yay!) and then I get a followup appointment to see how well my mouth is feeling. It feels weird. I can FEEL that there is a big hole in my gum on the right side; I'm being good and keeping my tongue and anything else out of there, just keeping it clean, but still. Weird. Can't say I really miss the teeth though. New goal: Keep the rest of my teeth. This post brought to you by the adjective: Weird.


15 November, 2012

Yay teeth!

Round about month 8 (month 7? Maybe month 9) of my pregnancy a chunk of my wisdom tooth fell out of my mouth. That was unusual. It had been sore for a while, but nothing out of the ordinary for wisdom teeth pushing in and rearranging my other teeth. I had thought it was strange how very sharp it was the whole time, but then that sharp chunk fell out and the soreness stopped too. Wow. Interesting. Did I see a dentist? Nope.

I figured I would go to the dentist and get it checked out. Maybe have the crown repaired. Eventually. Now, me waiting to see a dentist for 3-4 months is not that strange when you take into account I last saw a dentist when I was 17 or so. That's right, 13 years without any dental catastrophes. Plus not only had my tooth, or what was left of it, stopped hurting but there was no sign of infection or any other issues. Aside from everything I ate was now getting stuck in there. That was annoying. Tasted bad as well. This is to be expected when you have food essentially digesting in your mouth. Ew. I brushed my teeth a whole lot more often (say, 5-6 times a day, instead of 2-3. Yes! I brush my teeth! Surprising, given this event.)

Last Tuesday I was munching on my lunch (black beans and rice! Boriqua soul food.) and it was suddenly extra crunchy. The rest of my tooth had fallen out. Well, I think it was the rest of my tooth, I didn't have the other part on hand to match it up. I  mentioned it to my mom and then she mentioned it to my Dad who called my the next day to scold/implore me regarding seeing a dentist. Right now. Because it is important. I should see one. Could be dangerous. I need to see one now. etc. He also offered to pay whatever my insurance did not cover (yay! Also, yes, I have dental insurance and still had not seen a dentist. In my defense ... there isn't one. I should have seen the dentist months ago. I am a lazy coward. In regards to dentists.) I googled and compared and narrowed it down to two dentists, neither of which are in-network (of course! hahaha) and Milt happened to know one personally and liked him, so I scheduled the appointment. After getting a 'worst case scenario' price quote, assuming my insurance completely refused to pay, so I could be sure to have the amount on hand.

I went in Monday afternoon and the dentist and staff are super nice and I have a very interesting mouth. Part one, the tooth that fell out (right maxillary third molar) actually just snapped off at the gumline, leaving behind the root. That baby needs to come out now. Part two, my left maxilary third molar has a massive cavity on the cheek side right at the gumline, which the dentist suspects is what happened with the first one. That baby also needs to go. It is technically repairable but #1 the repair is very difficult, and #2 removing it will even out the pressure on the rest of my teeth. I also have a minor cavity on another tooth that will be a quick repair; after 3 kids in 5 years and no professional dental care in 13 years, that is pretty darn good. Part three, many of my teeth show calcification, a symptom of tooth grinding/clenching, which normally would be corrected with a root canal but I have no issues, the teeth are strong (all my teeth are in great shape. Except for the two rotted ones. Obviously.) so no root canal. Part four, I have an additional wisdom tooth, a right mandibular 4th molar. It is teardrop shaped, appears to be locked into the 3rd molar (which is good, as it will keep the molar from drifting up due to the absence of the tooth above it) and it also appears to be hooked into the main nerve in my jaw. So while normally this would prompt an extraction, he doesn't even want to tough it unless absolutely needed, as removing it would be messy and could result in permanent numbness. Awesome. Also, the left mandibular 3rd molar is actually pushing up against the left maxillary 2nd molar, so that probably won't need to come out either. It just needs to be monitored.

Another thing that stumped him was that I had no pain. None. Not from the remains of the tooth in my gumline, not from the massive cavity on the other side of my mouth, nothing. Very odd, apparently. Good and bad; perhaps if I had felt something when the cavities started forming I could have had them filled rather than pulled. Of course, if I had just gone to the dentist sometime in even the past year I could have had them filled. C'est la vie. 

Anyhow, Monday morning I am going in to have my to upper wisdom teeth extracted, and I am slightly freaked out. I have dreams about teeth falling out, and they are not pleasant. I also worry; stuff could go wrong! He's just going to numb me, I won't be knocked out, but still, what about numbness! Infection! Blood everywhere! Okay, there will be blood ... ugh. One thing I do need to remember is to get copies of those xrays. Those were pretty nifty.

slightly freaked out,

26 October, 2012


Wednesday night I began to feel ill. Really really ill. By the next morning it was clear I had food poisoning. Adin got hit too. While it wasn't too bad (he was able to keep down fluids by the afternoon) I haven't really nailed down the culprit yet and on top of that I feel like we've hit a wall with the SC Diet at the same time.

I know I am not doing it right, and I am woefully unprepared, but to be completely honest with myself it just doesn't feel right. When Asher got sick I knew what to do, in my gut, and going gluten free was easy. We went gluten free in one day, and have stuck with it for almost 4 years. This time it's just hard, and hard in a way that seems pointless, not 'working toward a goal and it will be worth it' hard. Maybe I'll decide further down the road to give it another shot, but right now is just not the time.

However, Adin is still sick, and I need to do something. So I am going back to my herbalism training and we are going back to a standard GF diet (still cutting out refined sugar, blech, and cutting back on the starches a little bit) with herbs to treat what is going on. I don't know why I have taken so long to come to this decision. I treated Asher's weak teeth with herbs; I have treated myself and other family members with herbs; I am trying to become a certified herbalist! So why did it take so long to just trust my own knowledge? Maybe because when it comes to my kids being sick in a way that I cannot figure out my fear just shuts down rational thought. Maybe I am worried that if herbs don't work then it means my training is pointless and it's all just mumbo-jumbo nonsense and I will look like a fool? Probably. There's definitely fear of failure, ridicule, and judgment coming to play here.

Well, the time to fear is over! I ordered the herbs I need to get started, and a list of additional to order in a month (Milt and I will be starting some too, at that point). I am making our GF challah tonight, we are going to celebrate Shabbat, and the herbs are in the mail. This feels good. A good end to a crazy week.


21 October, 2012

October skies

Autumn has struck us, here in Oregon. I say struck, because that is exactly what happened. Sukkot brought a slight chill in the evenings, some wind, as if to remind us that summer was officially over, but summer held sway until last weekend when a storm swept in. Finally! I was ready for Fall, even though I did not realise it. Summer was beginning to drag for me; I needed fresh air again.

This week the weather was lovely, with the occasional rain, but this weekend again brought heavy rain. The trees are changing, the sweaters are on, and I am reminded that though the long, hot summer we forgot to price replacement heaters. For now we have space heaters, which do a good job, but long-term we are looking into heaters that are also dehumidifiers, as I don't think we will ever be in a position to experience the air being too *dry* in the winter.

  On my 30 list I have made some progress.
1) I am almost caught up on the journals and found where I can buy a journal for Malachi.
3) Homeschooling is going well; the boys are very enthusiastic, although that may be more an enthusiasm for being allowed to play with markers than for anything else.
 5) Slow, steady progress on paying off those cards. I had to divert one week of payments to paying other bills, and drained my 'tax account' (long story), but I am back to weekly payments and the due amounts are dropping quickly.
7) We celebrated the High Holidays and are looking forward to Chanukah; I would like to start doing a little something for Rosh Chodesh but until I can regularly have the headspace to keep Shabbat a special time then I know not to add more onto my to-do list.
 8) Milt and I have everyone up-to-date on the WiiFit. I'm actually pretty good on weight, but my physical abilities have definitely deteriorated since I last played (which turned out to be over a year ago!)
9) I am starting Adin on the SCD diet tomorrow, and will be doing a modified version myself, in solidarity. Fingers crossed!
11)Renewed my Etsy listings; otherwise, nothing new there, but my plans are coming along nicely.
12) I have been making things; I'm going to see if I've 'caught up' yet; the goal is 365 items by my birthday.
 13) Took the boy's monthly photos. yay!
15) Filling a box in my office as I go; my office is coming along nicely too.
16) Began rereading my herbalism texts. I need to find a reputable course; I am not going to invest time and money unless I get a recognized certificate at the end of it.
24) Sent my Grandma a birthday card. Yay!
25) Still writing down recipes. I forgot how much time that takes. Also, I ran out of ink. blah.
 26 & 27) I missed a couple days (illness/thunderstorm) but have been very good about getting dressed and going outside.

That's about it; now for a gratuitous photo of the boys in the last of the warm weather.

24 September, 2012

30 for 30

I came up with 30 goals for my 30th year. I'm excited!
1. Catch up my boy's journals. I write each month in journals to each of my boys. There are a few entries that I have not yet put into Asher and Adin's books, and Malachi doesn't even have a journal yet, just a .doc.

2. Photo albums. This means get my pictures sorted, printed, and put into albums. This also includes the family photos we had done, as those need to be sent out to my family as well. A good goal would be my Grandma's birthday, which is in October. Some time. I should find out.

3. Homeschool! I plan to ROCK THIS.

4. Finish the home improvement projects. This is quite a list, but doable.

5. Pay off my credit cards. I currently have $2500 in credit card debt (Milt shares some of that, but $500 of it is all mine). I think I can do this by the end of the year.

6. Have a wardrobe I enjoy. I have fabric, I have patterns, I have skills, and I have a seriously tattered collection of clothes. This is a good time to throw out the tattered and stained and replace them with clothes that I love.

7. Celebrate all the holiday. By all I mean Jewish. If I did ALL the holidays I would be doing nothing but celebrating. Which is not a bad way to do things. I just don't have time for that.

8. Get fit. I have no idea how much I weigh, and I know I am not fat (but I am flabby; hey, I had a baby!) but I am weak, and I do not like that at all. I need to get my strength back!

9. Figure out my family's dietary needs and stick with them. Yum!

10. Grow some food all year. Our garden did pretty well this summer, despite major neglect. We got carrots and tomatoes, and watched kale and lettuce leaf up beautifully, and then watched it bolt beautifully. The popcorn is growing nicely, and our one surviving stalk of sweet corn is 2 feet high and has 2 cobs. Our artichoke plant is still alive, as are Malachi's quince and Adin's cherry (Asher's avocado lives inside). We have celery, rhubarb, peppers, and mystery squash, and a whole lot of leafy plants who are mysteries only because their name labels got washed off and I misplaced my garden chart. Fall plants will be going in soon, and we will work on the garden through the winter, but I plan to do some indoor gardening too. Fun!

11. Get my etsy shop moving. I have PLANS. So many plans. Just need to do them!

12. Make something every day. This may be hard, but I am going to count ANYTHING (even a paper airplane) as making, so I think I can keep this one going.

13. Take a photo every month of my boys. They are so cute.

14. Write letters.

15. Purge! We got rid of a lot over the summer, but there is still far too much stuff. Just random stuff! Ugh. Slow but steady. If I break it into manageable chunks (fill just one box, rather than tearing apart an entire room, and then getting rid of that box before the boys unpack it for me) then I think we can make some real progress. Also, using up my major stockpile of supplies, for homeschooling, gifts, and etsy, is going to be really great.

16. Continue my herbalism training. Even if I can't enroll in courses this year, I need to keep studying.

17. Improve my Japanese skills. Hai!

18. Really use my Spanish, and build on it.

19. Get some Hebrew learning in. I figure I can learn along with the boys on this one.

20. Complete 30 Pinterest projects. This is actually not going to be difficult. I already made a thai peanut sauce (amazing!) and an apple cake (so good!). So 28 to go.

21. Travel. Somewhere. Anywhere. Let's go!

22. Knit one garment

23. Crochet one garment

24. Send out cards. This means birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. I have lots of cards, just need to keep track of dates. While this goes along with writing to people, I feel that sending off a quick card should not take the place of a real letter.

25. Organize my recipes. I have a wonderful little recipe book that was an anniversary gift, and I never use it. I want to put my extra-special recipes in there, and all my other recipes (and recipes to try out) in a binder. Perhaps then I can let go of some of my cookbooks. Hahahaha. right.

26. Go outside every day. So far, so good.

27. Get dressed every day. While the going outside would seem to require that, this is the first step. Having 3 little guys and a home-based job make it REALLY easy to not get out of my pjs, but I also feel really gross when I spend all day in them. Oh, I also hereby give myself special 'pajama days', but these will be for the whole family and involve movies, hot chocolate, and general cozy together time. Also naps.

28. Repair and/or finish my quilts. I love my quilts, but some of them are looking pretty ragged, and I have a few in progress that I need to finish up.

29. Finish my dad's vests. This one has a deadline; I've been 'working' on these for 2 years now, and sending each one as a I finish. Well, there are only two left and they are almost completely done. I can get these done for his birthday in December, and then use the scraps to make vests for the younguns.

30. Go camping. I have wanted to go camping now for 5 years; it is time!

23 September, 2012

Shana Tova!

What a beautiful new year! This is my favorite time of year, and these are my favorite holidays. Maybe it is strange that I look forward to Yom Kippur, but I really do see it as a reset; I feel free, focused, and hopeful. I got to got to services on Monday, just Amidah and to hear the shofar, and nod at a few people I knew. It was brief, but very nice. We even had friends over the final night for dinner; our first time having people over for dinner in years, and our first time in this home. It was so much fun! The boys are doing well; finally settling down from the madness of my family's comings and goings and emotions (oh, the emotions!) We are finding our groove, establishing how things work now. It's getting better. Not that it was bad before; ok, parts were bad. Now more of those parts are good, and the not good parts are not so bad. :) We are enjoying the holiday season, easing into schooling as I have decided to formally (or officially, not very formal really) begin homeschooling. The boys are excited and enjoying it. By the time the holidays are over I hope to have a good routine set up for all of us. I have goals (!) for the year; I have been inspired and want to come up with 30 for my 30th year. I think it's doable. I'll print it out (and post it here) and get that going. It'll be fun. I know what my first goal should be: get more sleep. So that's what I am going to do now, as for once all 3 of my babies are dozing before 10. Sweet, sweet slumber. What a lovely way to head into a brand new year.

15 August, 2012

Baby boy had his Brit Milah Monday! My father got to meet him; passing through from Washington to California he spent Friday and Saturday with us, but had to leave Sunday and so could not be the Sandak. We scrambled to even find a mohel; EVERYONE was out of town, including our rabbi's family and the majority of the mohels (of the two that were not out of town one called us back very confused as he had been retired for over a year). We got Dr. Lowensohn, and he was LOVELY. The wonderful Sarina came, and with my mother and grandmother it was a full house. Well, a full living room, at least. We have a very small house. The ceremony was very nice, the procedure itself was relatively quick (although he did not, unfortunately, sleep through it as Adin had. My mother got him very drunk on Manishevitz instead. Poor drunk baby.) Ariel brought her gorgeous baby Tova at the end (Tova and Malachi were both due the same day; she came 2 weeks early, and he came 2 weeks late. They are exactly 1 month apart.) The gathering was small, and kind of awkward, and totally reflected our family. It was great. The bagels and sparkling cider just topped it off. Today he weighed in at 8lbs 9oz. He is doing extremely well. :)

08 August, 2012

Touching down

Malachi was born on August 6th, 8:20 am. He was 8lbs 1.5 oz, and 21 inches long. He was a surprise, in many, many ways. He is our first and only 'planned' baby; Last fall Milt and I had a long talk about the fact that we both were wanting another child, but had been hesitant to bring it up because Adin was our last, due to my history of complications and the flow of our family. When we found that we both had this desire, this feeling that there was someone missing we decided to go ahead and have one more baby (and yes, try for a girl). I found I was pregnant in October, and we were thrilled. This pregnancy was different from the beginning; this time around I had morning sickness, fatigue; all the 'typical' pregnancy symptoms. Surely this meant a girl. We had girl names picked out, but just in case we also chose the name Malachi, in honor of the grandfathers, both of whom had Milton in their names (and are the reason for Milt's name). Baby's due date was July 21st, and I began my prenatal care at Andaluz Water Birth Center in November. The care was wonderful, although my initial midwife left the practice, then the next midwife was going to be on vacation in August and so was unavailable; I finally met with the midwives who would be with me to the end, Adelle and Jessica, and Catherine, Adelle's assistant. Jessica's assistant wound up leaving the practice as well, and her replacement was another midwife, Carmen. I also felt that I wanted my sisters and mother to be at the birth this time. This was also a first; previously I hadn't really wanted anyone around. My family started arriving the 23rd of July, 2 days after the 'due' date. My sisters drove up from California; then the following Sunday my parents arrived by train, and finally on the 1st my grandmother flew in from Hawaii. Still no baby. The day for my boy's birthday party and the family photo shoot came and we had a lovely time, but with one day to go before my sisters and father had to leave I was a little anxious. That night, the 4th, I began having contractions while eating dinner. Great, we thought, following the pattern for the first two, and this baby should be born by noon! 3am the next morning and, true to form, I was definitely in labor. We waited a couple hours, then drove in to the birth center and got set up. Hours passed. My sister headed back to the house to finish packing up. More hours passed. By noon we were starting to wonder where the heck this baby was. Finally, afternoon and my sisters and father had to leave. I was progressing steadily but slowly, and was exhausted. Contractions felt erratic and somehow wrong. I kept waiting for my body to take over, but it never did, I had to work on each contraction. I labored through the night, trying to rest, but it was relentless and alternate contractions were extremely painful; they just felt wrong. Adelle and Catherine stayed up with me all night, alternating shifts. Carmen arrived as well, and they sat with me, emptying and refilling the birth tub, sitting with me in the bathroom, helping me to lay in the bed when I couldn't handle being upright anymore. Jessica arrived later on, and joined the shift. 8 am, sitting in the bathroom, and suddenly I could feel the baby crowning. The ladies helped me go very slowly from the bathroom to the tub, and I fought myself to just get this baby out. The contractions never took over; I never had the unstoppable pushing; I had to push this baby out myself, through the burning, and I did. He came out in one very long, very painful push, his head, then immediately his arm, as if swimming out and down. Adele scooped him up and handed him to me. He waited a moment to cry, then I checked and he was, to the surprise of everyone in the room, a 'he'. I laughed. Everything after that went fine; I was bundled into bed, the expected bleeding occurred and the drugs did their work. I gave him the name he had told me in a dream a month previous, and he was here, but somehow still unreal. And completely perfect.
My stay in the birth center was amazing; I got to rest, and only rest, for 2 days; had round-the-clock care, amazing food, and peace. It was beautiful. My midwives were wonderful. It was the best it could possibly have been.

10 April, 2012

April continues! As it does.

It's been a good week; I have been working for one full week now, and it is going well, at least in my opinion. I've made a few mistakes, thankfully nothing major (even one that was major but turned out to not be my fault) and I am looking forward to more. The only problem is that I can log in any time and do 'just a little' and I really need to be doing other things in the house.

For example, I finished up the flooring in the new master bedroom and we moved all our furniture in; it's wonderful. I've loved this room since we first saw the house, and it just feels right. I'm still working on clearing out the old room, which will be a guest room/baby's room/office, depending. I'm sure it will evolve. Either way, I need to empty it of the detritus from the past 6 months and lay flooring in there too. Then it's on to the boy's room. We've been buying the flooring for each room on separate trips to Ikea; it works out well so far, as we really don't have a place to store more than what we need for one project at a time. Plus I love Ikea, and Asher loves Smaland, so it's quite nice.

I'm still filling boxes with stuff to give away; I think we need to make a donation run this week. I also need to remember to send out some seeds I promised to a friend, and donate all the rest to the community garden.

Our own garden is looking pretty pitiful, but there are living things in there! The last windstorm blew down my makeshift coldframe, which shocked about half the seedlings too far to recover, but the rest are doing ok. I just need to figure out some way to keep the squirrels from eating everything.

Pesach is going well; the seders were ok; it can really only improve from here, and they weren't bad, it was just a stark contrast from the big, involved Chabad seders to me reading the haggadah myself and prompting responses from the boys. I'm thinking of organising a second night seder next year with a group of friends; I think it would be a lot of fun, a good mix of ages, and a nice, comfortable span of observance levels. The oat shmurah matzoh we got was FOUL though; I am either making my own or buying Lakewood next year. yeesh. It made the regular shmurah matzah seem tasty.

Since the boys are finally asking to go to bed (I have reached the pregnancy point that I really can't chase them around anymore) it's time to wrap this up.


02 April, 2012


I don't even know what to write. There is just so much, and every time I sit to write I get distracted, so I play sudoku instead, or surf pinterest, or stare out the window for a while. My brain just needs the space, I suppose.

-Officially passed the 5 month mark in this pregnancy; everything looks good. Baby is active, randomly, although I can usually get a response immediately after laying down, but wandering around Ikea got a lot of action too, so I never know. Talked with one of my midwives about diabetes testing (no, unless there is a good reason) and the post-dates ultrasound (yes to stress tests, no to ultrasound unless stress tests or something else cause concern)so I ma feeling pretty secure there.

-roommate moved out. amen.

-Got flooring at Ikea and I am in the process of putting it into the recently vacated room, which will be our room shortly. Then have to do the other rooms. One step at a time.

-Getting ready for Pesach; pretty set, just need to finish cleaning.

-Started my New Job! yay! Today was the first training day; it went well, I learned a lot, and I am ready for tomorrow. Only concern is the scheduling, and taking care of the boys. We'll just see how it all works out.

-Garden is doing ok; about half the seedlings died, thanks to crazy weather, but it s early enough in the year that I am just going to plant everything I have left (with the exception of a few seeds I am saving for next year) and it should all turn out.

-Went and bought a playhouse for the boys. It is waiting, boxed, in the garage until we clear the space for it in the yard. This involves some major pruning, raking, smoothing, laying sand, and then building the house, but I honestly believe it is about one day's worth of steady work.

-I've been working on some minor crafty things; flannel boards and shapes, some flannel people are in progress, alef-bet cards in a tin, sorting all the boy's toys into keep, toss, and educational, put all the 'school' things in one closet and all their toys in another, with the really messy stuff up where they can't reach, refurbishing a dollhouse I got at the thrift store, and painting up some peg people to live in it. Adin loves them. It's all very nice.

That's it for now; back to work on the flooring now. I plan to finish it tonight :)


01 March, 2012

Hi March!

February has, thankfully flown by. We got ourselves a snow storm in honor of leap day, which was really fun (I say snow storm in that there was a storm, and there was snow, but it wasn't a blizzard or anything like that).

I am officially halfway through this pregnancy (although we expect to go to 42 weeks, so my halfway point is in another week), and I finally (I hope) have a midwife. I am delivering at a birth center and I get two midwives and their assistants, so whichever is on call that day comes to assist me and they switch off each prenatal appointment so I know each of them well. The first midwife I had I really connected with, and then found out that she would be moving on after April, so I was left with the other midwife who I really haven't connected to. I had an appointment to meet with another midwife, but that was cancelled last minute since she would only be available in August and I need one available July and August. Finally met with a new midwife this week and I really REALLY like her and her assistant, so I think we are set. My next appointment is with the one I feel lukewarm about, but I am going to give it one more meeting to see if we click or not before asking to meet with another.

I think I finished 29 projects, but between misplacing my camera and my computer dying and buying a new one and general disorganisation/malaise I haven't been documenting very well. This month I am focusing on sewing (tonight I will be mending, woo hoo!), so I'll be documenting that as well as my completed projects from last month. Pretty exciting!

In other news, translation work has picked up again, so I'm happy, since I have to pay for this shiny new computer somehow and we had to put new tires on the van and I need to start a fund in case we have a boy, for a brit, and I want to have a diaper service for at least the first few months, so more expenses, yes.

happily, -nava

14 February, 2012

project 7: closet shelf relocation

The positioning of the shelf in closets has always bothered me; I feel it is an awkward height in that full-length garments cannot hang freely, while the shelf itself is too high to be really useful and that there is usually a lot of wasted head space in the top of the closet. So I decided to reposition the shelf in our closet. It's a quick job, really, once the clothes are taken off the rod and the boxes (or whatever) are taken from the shelf.
-I first removed the clothes rod, then loosened the screws holding the two rod holders into the board supports on either side, and then loosened the center hook/support (which supports the rod and the shelf).
-Then I used a hammer to knock the shelf loose from the shelf supports and took that out as well.
-Finally I pried the shelf supports (3 boards) out.
-I figured out where I wanted the shelf to be; in my case I made it even with the top of the closet opening, so there would still be room for the boxes I use for socks and such up there; then I hammered each support back into place, using a level to be sure everything matched up and wouldn't be crooked. At least, it wouldn't be crooked in relation to gravity; there is a good chance it is at least slightly crooked to the rest of the closet.
-Then I retightened the rod supports and put the rod back in. I had to do the rod before the shelf because the rod acted as a brace for the shelf supports; I think the walls are a little uneven and I wanted to be sure the shelf would reattach in the same way it had been positioned before, and I realised that if I put the shelf in first I would not be able to wedge the rod back in once the supports and shelf were fastened together.
-Then I placed the shelf back on top and hammered it back in to place. I repositioned the center hook; it was originally offset slightly, and I put it in the center of the closet. With two equally sized doors it seemed really silly to have the rod divided up unevenly.
I filled up the shelf with my boxes (I use the old version of these boxes to store socks and things; very handy) stacking them 2 high, which leaves a few inches of headspace, which is fine as it allows for easy maneuvering of the boxes. I rehung the clothes and voila, all set. Now I can install a shelf at the bottom, or a rail, for shoe storage, and our longer garments (winter coats, bathrobes) hang freely. I even have room for a hamper in there now.
It was a simple project, although I do wish I had waited until Milt was home, so he could have assisted me, as I wore myself out on that project. Completely worth the results though :)

happily, -nava

project 6: fruit trees

I have been waffling about getting fruit trees for some time now, and finally decided to just go for it. Adin has a pomegranate that may or may not be dead (I'm giving it one more spring, and then we'll see) so I had him choose his own tree; he selected an ultra-dwarf cherry. We also got a fig (for the baby) and an ultra-dwarf nectarine. Milt planted them in our backyard and so far they are doing ok. Of course, it's only been a few days, but we have high hopes for these little guys (and they are little). I want to get a few more varieties, and I am going to ask my parents for cuttings from their quince and plum trees as well. I also have some yucca cuttings waiting for me to figure out where to stick them as well. An orchard in the making! A short, heavily pruned orchard in a smallish yard, and it's going to be amazing.

happily, -nava

project 5: build garden beds

Milt actually built the beds, and I am so happy (and thankful) that he did. We got 16'x8" decking boards at the hardware store and had them cut into 2 3' and 2 5' lengths. Then Milt got out the power drill and started assembling. It has taken a while, since the rechargeable batteries for the drill don't hold much of a charge, and it's been raining a lot now (after 1 week of gorgeous weather), but he has been working hard. Each one gets a 'floor' of cardboard and then 3 bags (6 cubic feet total) of soil; we've been doing a mix of 2 enriched + 1 potting soil for each. He is going to take the old boxes we built, combine 2 of them into 1 and use the 3rd frame for a low bed for potatoes, and we are planning to put in a greenhouse and a playhouse where those beds were. A month from now those beds are going to be FULL of plants!

happily, -nava

project 4: start seeds

Well, my camera is still MIA (it did surface briefly during Shabbat, of course, and has vanished again) so I'll just do the posts now and update with pictures later. I don't like to edit/update posts, because then they show up multiple times in people's blog feeds, but oh well.

Project 4! I decided it was time to start some seeds, so I pulled out all the seeds I have and got to work. We bought 3 'windowsill greenhouse' kits from the hardware store; these came with individual soil pucks in a plastic tray with a clear tray to cover it and act as a greenhouse. I filled up all the pucks, then gathered the clear trays and every other usable piece of clear plastic (mostly containers from loose spinach) and filled those with newspaper seed pots. I made these out of one of our many phone books, wrapping two pages around a toilet paper tube, tucking in the end, then smashing the end flat to keep it mostly secure. Milt filled them with potting soil and they are going well. It's been a week now, and I filled up another spinach container with more phone book pots and repotted some of the seedlings that were getting crowded. It is too cold and unpredictable outside to even think of transplanting out there just yet; I even have a weather forecast that is predicting snow later this week. Crazy!

Here is what I planted:
Amaranth (I also plan to direct sow later in the spring)
Arugula (sprouted and all repotted)
Basil (2 varieties)
Beets (4 varieties)
Broccoli (sprouting)
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage (2 kinds; 1 European, 1 Chinese)
Carrots (assorted heirloom variety pack)
Chard (planted today in the space vacated by the spinach)
Cucumbers (3 kinds inc. 1 gherkin)
Kale (2 kinds; both are sprouting, I repotted 2 of the seedlings)
Lettuce (2 mixed varieties of leaf lettuces, so about 8 kinds)
Lobelia (planted today in the space vacated by the arugula)
Peppers (5 bell, 2 habanero, 3 others)
Pumpkins (3 varieties)
Spinach (3 kinds; 2 have sprouted, one was repotted for more room)
Squash (4 varieties)
Sunflowers (5 kinds; the edible variety has sprouted)
Tomatoes (12 varieties; I have a lot of plans for the tomatoes this year)
Watermelon (3 varieties)

I also have 3 kinds of potatoes, 1 asparagus, and 2 strawberries waiting to plant. I direct-sowed my old, shriveled garlic and onions outside; they may come up, they may not, we'll see. I have several kinds of poppies and 4 boxes of mixed flower seeds waiting to be sowed as well, and about 12 different types of bulbs waiting for the rain to stop so I can get them in the ground. So exciting!

happily, -nava

06 February, 2012


The projects are still in full swing, it's just that I misplaced my camera. I think one of the boys snuck off with it, so they could take pictures, but no confessions yet so I will just keep looking. Here are the recently completed and in-progress projects:
1. Assembled a Havdalah set
2. Challah cover for Shabbat
3. Matzoh cover for Pesach
4. Started our seeds for the garden
5. Built a raised bed (We have supplies for several more, but our cordless drill needs a new battery; the 2 we have do not hold a charge for more than 10 minutes anymore, so it is slow going there). Also planted very old onions and garlic in that bed; we'll see if anything sprouts.
6. Sorted through my recycling (that's going to be one thrilling photograph)
7. Planning my wardrobe (this is preparing for March; I've decided to spend March not just making/mending/modifying, but building myself a cohesive wardrobe that I love. Most of my clothes are getting very worn out, so now is the time.)

There are others, I am sure, but I'll document them as I go. I've also been taking full advantage of the spring weather we've been having; full sun, windows open, clothes hanging outside to dry. It's been beautiful. Weather forecast predicts clouds starting tomorrow, but no rain until Saturday at the earliest. It's been wonderful.

-happily, nava

03 February, 2012

project 3: redo owl bank

A few months ago Adin knocked his clothes dresser over on top of himself. Thankfully he was not hurt, at all (it landed on a rocking horse), but he did shatter an owl bank they had in the process. After about a month I glued the pieces back together and covered the whole thing with tissue paper and mod podge. Then it sat in the garage while I decided what to do with it. A few weeks ago I finally painted it, and it turned out like this.

I was not loving it. Then Milt came home and asked "why didn't you make it into a Totoro?" Genius. So I did.

Project 3: Completed! Project 4: In Progress

-happily, nava

02 February, 2012

project 2: update etsy

Updating my etsy shop may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me. First, I am continuing to hope that it will at least pay for itself at some point, Second, I had to rephotograph a few things and actually photograph a few other things, and Third I had to finish one item that has been waiting for finishing for, oh, a year. No, longer. So that is what I did.
I grabbed the neglected tutu and finished it up, then I had a live model photoshoot for all of the skirts (except the one adult sized one I have), then a few shots of the previously unphotographed skirts. I know I have another one somewhere in the garage, but for now I am not going to try to dig it out. It will get unearthed soon enough. I then took all the photographs, edited them, and voila, shop updated. I am debating relisting the patterns I have or my floral essences, but right now what I have up is enough. Here is one picture from the photoshoot:

In other news, we had more sunny skies and temps in the upper 40s/low 50s today, so windows open! Hanging clothes to dry! Boys playing in the backyard! Lots of Vitamin D absorption! It was wonderful :)

Project 2: completed! Projects 3 & 4: In Progress
-happily, nava

01 February, 2012

project 1: secure pantry

The majority of the closets in this house, including the pantry (and excluding the under-stair area) have sliding doors. This wouldn't be a problem except that 1) the doors hang from a track and were not secured at the base, so the boys looooove to swing them in and out and push between them, freaking me out. 2) the track system/ wheels are bent or otherwise distorted to the point that the doors in the pantry and one closet will not stay on their tracks, which make things interesting. As in, loud, cumbersome, and dangerous. Also, we have been battling mice (and winning, slowly, but winning) and the doors as they are now leave a sizeable gap along the floor, which means that mice can get into my pantry. EEEWWWW. Granted, so far they can only get in to the floor area, where I don't have any food, but still. The mice needed to be excluded (I'm sure they disagree), the doors needed to be secured and, oh yes, the doors needed to be securable (as in, lockable) so that two little boys would stop serving themselves whatever they saw and then leaving it to rot on my kitchen table. Also in my living room, on the stairs, in their bedroom...etc. The madness had to stop.

So, I got some strips of wood, had them cut to size, went back and got the correct width when I found I had a 2" wide board instead of a 3" wide (grrr), and built a track system of my very own, based on the danish credenza my mother owns. So far, so good. The doors stick a little, as the bottom corners have been roughed up, but, the gaps are gone, the doors stay in the doorway, they are moveable, and they cannot be swung to the point that the Ikea safety latch can be popped open. Hooray! I am going to sand the doors a little and wax them and the tracks (and paint them), but those are tasks for another day. A day in which I have money and go to the hardware store. Here is the really awful picture, because I really didn't feel like trying to move our table out of the way in order to have a better angle. I did move it a little; usually the chair shown is right against the doors if someone is sitting there, so the chair at the other end is pinned against the back doors right now, but that's ok. You can see the remaining beadboard waiting to be installed on the left, which is also on my list, but I'm tired of sawing things so that's gonna wait a bit. I also have to get the trim for that. All of this is on my list.

Project 1: Complete! Projects 2 & 3 are in progress. Yay!

-happily, nava


My goal to get my house (ok, excluding the garage and laundry room, because those are PROJECTS) clean by the end of January is 90% complete. At first I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to start with a clean slate, however, I have my house back. It's clean, and the only messes are clean laundry to put away and dishes to wash. Amazing! The house feels so much better, the kids are happier, I'm happier, it's great. Today I'm going to finish up putting away things and get a couple projects done involving hanging doors (pantry and boy's closet) and possibly a couple other things, but we'll see.

We also got our state tax refund yesterday, which is wonderful, we can get caught up on all our overdue bills (lot of little bills and unexpected expenses that aren't terrible, but still frustrating on a budget as tight as ours). I read a lot of economic blogs, and several say that you shouldn't give the government a loan, that is, you shouldn't hand over that portion of your paycheck without thinking just to get it back come refund time. Thing is, we don't. We just make so little that even with all of our withholdings exemptions we still get refunded. Now, it isn't exorbitant; we aren't getting rich (clearly) off of "the gov'ment", but it is enough to get us back on track financially and rebuild our financial safety net, at least a little bit. The goal is to have a fully-funded emergency fund, but right now it's about all we can do to keep a little aside for emergencies and keep up on bills. We are slowly getting out of debt, and we have everything we need and more, so our financial life is pretty good, no real complaints here, and once we pay off all our bills it will be even better because I won't have that stress over 'how are we going to pay this one this month' anymore. My biggest relief this year is that once we get our federal refund I will be able to pay our midwife and other associated bills in full. Oh, that's going to be so great.

Other news, we finally got contacted about our case file to be foster parents. Apparently it got left behind somewhere and the local office jut received it (almost 4 months later). Thing is, now Milt is not so sure he wants to be a foster parent. Right now, I agree; baby on the way, getting our house in order, we need to focus on our family as we are right now. We're going to be discussing with the worker the process of completing our certification and then putting us 'on hold' for actually taking any children until the time is right. I hope he'll come back around, and I know we both care about these kids, but timing really is everything. Still, good to know our case is active and we weren't disqualified. :)

Alright, time to get some work done!

-happily, nava

29 January, 2012

Planning for the new month

I have decided that February will be themed 'Finish It February'. I am going to try to finish one project for each day. Some of these projects will be parts of other projects (for example, I cannot finish my entire kitchen in one day, but I can complete individual steps, such as recovering the counter, repositioning cabinets, or installing the backsplash, in one day). 29 projects should get me pretty far in completing the many, many unfinished projects I have here, and help in clearing out a lot of clutter, as unfinished work has a lot of associated clutter. So for this month, of which I have 3 days (counting today) my goal is to get the house CLEAN. That way I can really focus on working/crafting, without feeling guilty, overwhelmed, or blocked by the mess. It should work. Even if I get sick again I have plenty of handwork that needs finishing, so I am ready to go! One of my projects will be choosing a theme for March. Maybe Make It March (so I can participate in Me Made May, where I wear only items I have made/altered?). Now I need to get to work, the dishes, and laundry, and floors, and toys, are screaming for attention. Cacophonous!

-happily, nava

Oh, and I have new neighbors, a very nice couple with a 4-month-old boy. We had a great time meeting each other yesterday. Hooray!

21 January, 2012

"New Age language"

I hear a lot about not liking hippies, how they are all crazy, or elitist, or what-have-you. In theory, I disagree; I see myself as a hippie, as one of those weird people. However, I have had many attempted conversations with people who have that energy and yet I develop a rapid dislike for them during the conversation. I figured out that it's the phrases they use, and more than that, the phrases they don't use. See, I get the whole naming your experience on your own terms, that's great, that's getting the idea out there, that's beginning to connect it to language. However, often the next step isn't taken, the step where you attempt to connect what you are trying to convey to what the other person will understand. That's the point of speaking, of communicating. I get the impression, in these conversations, that the person does not care about communicating, they just want to talk. That is extremely offensive to me; I feel it is abusive of language, of communication, and of each other. If all you want to do is express yourself to yourself, then don't involve other people. If you really do want to connect and share your experience, share who you are, then use your words, use your phrases, use your made-up linguistic musings, and then translate. As best we can of course; after all, everyone's interpretation of any word is completely unique, so we can only get so far in understanding each other through language. The point is to try.
I also think it would help if we don't respond "yeah, man, I totally feel you" to the person talking. All right, so you feel them. Awesome. Do you understand them? ;) Because maybe, just maybe, they don't just want to be felt; they want to connect.


16 January, 2012


This was a good week; had a few snafus (like, baking challah in an oven after turning it off, realising after candlelighting that we did not have any wine or grape juice in the house, and Adin getting hold of a bag of chex mix) but overall quiet, productive, and pleasant.
Woke up yesterday to SNOW, then the sun (sun?!) came out and melted it all, then we had more snow, and the sun came out again and melted it, and then hail, at which point I gave up and stopped looking outside. The boys played outside a little bit, before the first snow melt, and had a lot of fun. Both have colds though, so they are stuck indoors for now.
I also joined pinterest and have spent far too much time on the site, but it has actually helped me to get inspired and motivated, so it is useful. I do need to cut down my online time, but with waiting for translation orders to pop up I always have my laptop up and running, and it is just so easy to log in and pin, and pin, and pin...
It just started snowing again, beautiful big flakes like in a movie. Wonderful.

09 January, 2012

January! Yay!

This past week was good, very productive. I'm getting my house back in order, slowly, but at least there is measurable progress now, rather than simply struggling to maintain a certain level of chaos. It's a nice change.
I had a Mother's Circle class on Sunday, and Wednesday evening the teacher called to remind me that I was in charge of snacks and to please bring challah and grape juice, since this class' focus was Shabbat. I had already received the ok to bring food from my kitchen, since it is kosher, and I remembered that we had been given a bag of flour in our Thanksgiving Gleaner's box. At the time I was at a loss as to what I was going to do with a bunch of wheat flour, but it was perfect; 13.5 cups of flour, so I fudged the recipe a little and made 3 loaves of challah. They came out beautifully, and everyone loved them. Cam ate one loaf himself, and we have a second one that is waiting to be devoured.
After the class we finally (3 weeks late) took the boys to the Children's Museum. Adin is cutting molars and so was strangely shy and clingy, but they both had a great time. They basically just played in the dig pit for a couple hours, and then a quick look through the Lego exhibit. It was crowded, and while it was not as crowded as I expected, it was still a little overwhelming for the guys so they were ready to leave when we were.
In other news, the replacement screen for my pixi finally arrived, except it isn't a replacement screen. It's a screen protector. I have been trying to fix this phone since August, and I am fed up. Thing is, I just don't have $100 to spend on a replacement. In a couple months I'm eligible for an upgrade anyway, so at this point I kind of don't see a reason to keep trying, except that I really like my phone and I have no idea how many texts and voicemails are on the thing.
In other other news, my job is going very well, I've had great reviews from customers and, aside from their being almost no work since the year began, it's been a really challenging and fun job so far.
In baby news, 12 weeks now! Only 6 months to go. Kiddo is the size of a fingerling potato. All my lab tests came back great, no signs of any sort of illness or deficiency, and baby had a STRONG heartbeat at my last checkup (10 weeks). Things are looking good! This is awesome!

happily, -nava

01 January, 2012

Plans plans plans

Woke up to the sun shining; while I love the rain, it was a good start to the year to have such a gorgeous day. Spent the day cleaning, fighting off nausea after taking all my vitamins at once, and drawing up a list of things I want to accomplish in 2012. I want to get to 18; so far I have 12. One thing on the list is to post once a week, so even if I don't keep up with my journaling I'll have some sort of outlet and record going. I'll post the list next week, so I already have a post planned. Yay! Another goal is to get OUT once a week, even if it is just to the library, but I do want to take the boys exploring the parks and museums and events around here. There were so many things I wanted to do last year, so this year I need to make it happen. Now I'm going to finish getting cleaned up and organised for tomorrow, when I will be starting up our learning activities again. I was planning to start today, but a clean slate is a much better goal for the first of the year. I think. :)