Saturday, March 28, 2009

Anatomy of a Photo Shoot

I have created a monster.
It started off with buying a nicer camera so we could get good snapshots.
One year, a second lens, and a sad attempt at an in-home studio setup later,
and my husband is saying things like,

"I think it was a pretty good day,
even if we didn't get any great pictures."

Today I thought I'd try out a new backdrop
while getting a gorgeous shot of the boys together
with natural light that was mediocre at best.
Ha! (Here's what actually happened.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Knock Me a Kiss

The scene:
A weekday morning, in the calm before the daily storm. A boy is sitting on the couch, cup of cheerios in one hand, milk in the other. His little body is bastioned with blankets, in which he takes particular comfort and delight -
(a trait inherited from his Ima.)

He looks up, expectantly, with lips puckered.

A parent's heart sings,

"He wants a kiss! From me!

After carrying him for nine months,
sitting up through sleepless nights,

enduring snotty noses and temper tantrums,
here at long last I gaze upon
his appreciation of my tenderness for him!
And his return of that love!

O, bliss!"

Bending down to return this sweet kiss,
the parent is suddenly confused.

The boy shakes his head, now puckering more emphatically.
The puckerer pauses to insist, "Fees!"

He wants me to make a fish face.

Oh, well. That's pretty cute too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Parsha for Parenting - Vayachel-Pekudei 5769

This week's Torah portion
contains more detail about the mishkan.
A midrash on this portion
reminds us that its language is close to that of the story of Creation
which means that the reason G-d wanted the Israelites to build a sanctuary
is to allow them to mimic Him
in creating things of beauty in the world.

Why are humans driven to create beauty
when G-d's world is already so beautiful?

It helps us to capture the fleeting feelings
of life's little gorgeous moments
in a way that resonates with us.
It helps us deal with the fact
that we can never live those moments again.
It gives us a personal, lasting connection
to that which we hold dear
and to the holiness inherent in it-
and to share it with others.

(So, is that a good enough reason for me to be so obsessed with my camera/this blog?)

(And now for a gratuitous shot of the boys cuddled up on the couch from some morning this week - creating beauty without even knowing it.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wranglers Winter 09 - A Tribute

Dear Wranglers -
Cori, who goes up and down the Hillel steps with endless patience;
David, who gives such great snuggles;
Allison, who knows the location of every star in the building;
Sarah, who loves every baby in the world to pieces;
Aryn, who hangs with us all night after hanging with other babies all day;
Samantha, who doesn't mind even spitup down her shirt;
Elle, who legendarily made both of us laugh in one night; and
Sarah, who knows that nekkie time equals happy time -
(and everyone else who has ever loved, cuddled, fed, kissed, or tickled us
while our Ima was teaching, hosting, or leading,
Thank you
for teaching us,
each and every Shabbat,
(and sometimes during the week),
what being Jewish is all about-
taking care of each other
(even if it's been a long week
even if we're tired
and sometimes cry
and many times spit up on you)

and celebrating together
and watching each other grow
and making each other laugh.

Good luck on your finals,
have a great Spring Break.
We'll see you in April.

Ashi and Rami

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Parshah for Parenting - Ki Tisa 5769

A few weeks ago, G-d commanded the Israelites to build a mishkan.
He was very specific in His instructions.
This week, we meet Betzalel.
G-d tells Moses that He has endowed Betzalel with
the wisdom, knowledge, and skill
necessary to create everything in the mishkan.

Thousands of years later, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
teaches the Torah of the Creation of the World*
when one of the world's light-containing vessels broke,
the light was scattered,
and, suddenly, there was a lot of cleanup to do.

She says that

the whole human race is a response to this need.
Each person doing a little tikkun olam
in his own way.
We are exactly what's needed to heal the world.
G-d has endowed each of us
with the wisdom, knowledge, and skill,
to meet His world's needs.

(Looking at my boys' sweet faces
I wonder -
What amazing things
will these tiny people

one day accomplish?

I can't wait to find out.)

*You can hear Dr. Remen tell this story here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


On a balmy weekend morning
when Abba and Ima wanted
to lounge on the couch
drink some coffee

and eat some pancakes

(the first pancakes seen in these parts since the Bar ended)

decided instead
that the thing to do
to run outside
looking for birds.

(It helps if you flap your wings.)
(Don't forget your lunchbox.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Parshah for Parenting - Tetzaveh 5769

This week's Torah portion is all about clothes -

a description,
in meticulous detail,
about what the high priests
have to wear to work.

We learn from this portion
that you are who you are
but your clothes help you
do what you do.
(They are an outer expression of one's inner self.)

I've posted once about Ashi's fashion sense.
But I've never posted about his first true love:
Ashi is just not Ashi without a hat -
the scarlet-and-gray striped (thanks Melissa)
the penguin
or, the new favorite, the monkey (thanks Tricia*).
When he's wearing a hat, my Asher is the very essence of his name:
This Shabbat, on parshat Tetzaveh,
I bless my boys that they
will always find ways
to outwardly express
their inner selves.

*Tricia custom-made this monkey hat just for us. You can visit her etsy store here and get one of your own!

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