Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ashi ♥s Jeni

Dear Jeni,
With your delectably complex flavors,
inspired sundae creations,
and (most especially) your Ashi-sized spoons,
you have stolen my heart.

(Visit Jeni on the web at

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Muddiest Boy Wins*

"The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful."

~E.E. Cummings


The Muddiest Boy Wins

The Muddiest Boy Wins - Epilogue
*Thanks, Elle, for the nudge.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Prayer for My Children - Rosh Chodesh Sivan

I was reminded by the Homeshuler that it is traditional to offer a special prayer for one's children on Rosh Chodesh Sivan.

You can read the text of one such prayer here.

At the LittleHouse, we do Jewish things just a little bit differently. They are a bit more flexible, a little gentler, and more open to the belief that tradition is richer when it considers the contemporary.

With that in mind, here is a prayer for my children on Rosh Chodesh Sivan.

Before You, my G-d and G-d of my ancestors,
I set this prayer for my children:

I pray that they add more to the world than they take,

that they work every day toward its repair,

and that they walk through it with awareness of and humility before You.

I pray that they live full, healthy, secure, joyful lives,

and that if they cannot, that they are granted the disposition

to be truly happy with their lot.

I pray that they find a love that speaks to the deepest parts of their souls

and makes their lives worth living.

I pray that they become young men of whom their people can be proud.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, G-d, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seen In the Personals

Single Jewish Male
Enjoys lively dinners, lots of snuggling, and wearing as little clothing as possible.

(Sounds pretty good, right?)

Yeah, until you see the picture he attached:

(That's a deal breaker, ladies!)

Still interested in RamRam?

Leave a comment and we'll add you to the shidduch list.

(In case, you know, NevNev's not interested.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meet Bonnie ({sweet})

Bonnie joined our family this past weekend.
She is a tomato plant.

The super-enthusiastic (!!!) sales lady gave me these care instructions:

Give it lots of water,
lots of sunlight,
lots of love,
(hope for the best,)
and it should bear some really sweet fruit.

I'm wondering:
was she really giving me advice about the plant
or about my boys in the shopping cart?

I guess it doesn't really matter -
in that regard, the tomatoes and the boys are about the same.
Except, of course, the boys are more delicious.

To see more {sweet}ness, visit Beth's blog. Thanks for the challenge, Beth!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dining Al Fresco, Toddler Style

Weekends can be rough here at the Little House;
Parents want to spend maximum Quality Time with boys.
Naps are sometimes (read: often) missed.
Some days, you can even witness things getting hairier by the hour.

Today was one such day.
Dinnertime rolled around and our nap-deprived Ashi was more highly strung than a Jack Russell terrier bouncing against the gate before a field trial.
My announcement of "Dinnertime!" was countered with Ashi's near-constant refrain,

"You want to eat outside?"


Recognizing that this may be the only way to get some dinner in the boy's belly, I set up to feed the boys on the front porch.

Asher wanted to share some of his yogurt with Rami.

Asher thought the resulting oozing was hilarious. Rami agreed.

Following the celebratory flinging of the yogurt, Rami was a mess, and Ashi still hadn't eaten dinner.

Boys 2, Ima 0.
Oh, well. There's always tomorrow.

Friday, May 15, 2009


On a lazy early evening this week,
a bucket of vibrant sidewalk chalk
and an equally, though uniquely, vibrant sky
were just calling my boys
to sit outside
and bask in their fabulousness.

The power of those colors on the boys,
I think,
is like the power of the boys on me.
The deliciousness of their smooth skin,
their lingering baby-scents,
and the sweetness of their expressions
beg for me
to just loaf around all evening, drinking them in.

Dinnertime be damned.

To see more {colors}, although I know I'm plenty late for the party, visit Beth's blog here. (Thanks for the challenge, Beth!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day - Epilogue

Sometimes when you pick up your child
you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands,
or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck.
This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood -
finding a piece of yourself separate and apart
that all the same you could not live without.
~Jodi Picoult, "Perfect Match: A Novel"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day - Chapter 2: The Good Stuff (or, Heartswells)

Saturday Morning, 4 AM:
Asher cries out from his room. It's the "I'm having a nightmare" wail.
I squint at my clock and notice that it's much too early for us to Wake Up.
Asher's continued cries of anguish tell me that, although that may be true, he's not Going Back to Sleep.
I trudge into his room, retrieve the troubled boy. My agenda is to bring him to my bed and hope (against hope) that he snoozes, or at least lays quietly, next to me for at least another hour.

I whisper, "You have to be quiet like a mouse."
He solemnly holds an index finger to his lips and says, "Shhh." Understood.
I slide him into bed, then follow. He rolls toward me. Places chubby hands on my cheeks. Plants a big kiss. Exclaims, "Muah!" Heartswell. We both drift off.

Saturday Morning, 6 AM:
I rouse from sleep. Asher is rousing as well. Seeing my eyes opening, he grins. Heartswell #2.

Saturday Morning, 6:05 AM:
Asher surveys our kitchen. Extends his hands, palm up, elbows drawn in. Looks at me, confused. "Cake?"
So, off to the grocery we go.
To get cake for the boy, and the sacred Cream Filled Chocolate Frosted donut for Ima.
And Starbucks Coffee.
It's Mother's Day Weekend, y'all. We're going to enjoy it.

Saturday Afternoon, 3:00 PM:
Following a delish Shabbat lunch with the Buckeyes, Rami and I head upstairs for our Shabbos Schluffie.
As I am arriving at the edge of sleep, Rami fusses in his crib. Yes. He is unhappy, and just wants to make sure I'm aware of the fact. I can't nap with that in the background.
I trudge over to his crib, retrieve the cranky boy. I slide him into bed, then follow. He inclines his head toward mine, nuzzles his chubby cheek next to my nose. Sighs contentedly, smiles the Rami trademark smile. Heartswell #3.

Saturday Afternoon, 4:15 PM:
I awaken to see this. Heartswell #4.

Sunday morning, 6:30 AM:
David says that, this morning, we will do whatever I want.
I glance outside. The sun is coming out. It carries the promise of a delicious, golden light in about an hour.
I tell him I want to take pictures of the guys. At the wetlands park. Maybe, I will make it into the frame once or twice.
(This means that everyone needs to get gussied up and packed in the car in the next forty-five minutes. With two bleary-eyed, snot-nosed, pajama clad boys, this task is not for the faint of heart.)
David nods, agreeing without pause. Heartswell #5.

(Yes, I did make it into the frame a few times, thanks for asking. But that's for "Mother's Day -Epilogue.")

Sunday, 1:00 PM:
Asher naps. Rami and I wander outside, seeking a distraction as we await the arrival of our Mother's Day Picnic company.
I notice the gorgeous sky above and the lush grass below.
Cloud-watching? Why not?
Rami, who normally kicks, rolls, and yells when placed on the floor,
lets his arms and legs relax when placed in the grass.
He is the picture of serenity. His face is calmly attentive.
I spread out alongside him in the grass, trying to take in whatever his eyes see.
He is so beautiful. Heartswell #6.

Sunday, 1:15 PM:
Our guests arrive. Savta enjoys a moment to greet Rami. Heartswell #7.

Sunday, 2:05 PM:
Despite the gorgeous day, we have the park to ourselves.
Asher relishes in the playground and I recline while eating egg salad on
All Butter Croissants (I cannot emphasize that enough.)

Heartswells #8 &9.

Sunday, 8:45 PM:
David and I relax together over a dinner he made and wine he poured.
He starts to tell me what a wonderful Ima I am.
That he appreciates how much I do for our family.
That I make the best little boys.
I look into his gorgeous chocolate eyes and realize that I am looking into the same eyes that Rami will have, sooner than I can believe. Heartswell #10.
David rubs my feet, and doesn't mind that I'm drifting off to sleep already.

As you can see, the Good Stuff and not the Stuff, is what really made Mother's Day Weekend.
(And yes, I have noticed that pretty much all the Good Stuff involves eating or sleeping.)

Thank you, Mom, Dad, Steve, and Al.
Thank you, boys.
Thank you, David.
(You make the food worth eating and the naps worth taking.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day - Chapter 1: The Stuff

Last year I said all I wanted from Ashi was something he made for me.
I didn't think I meant it.
(Yes, of course I did want something Ashi made, but also:
dozens of roses, diamond earrings, singing telegrams, etc. etc.
Hey, I work hard.)

Then I got that beautiful, perfect card and I was won over.
I seriously didn't need a single extra thing to feel like mother's day had been celebrated.

This year's school-project card yield was only better
for being doubled.

I woke up to flowers and candy
that David planned to use
to get great pictures of the guys:

A book of beautiful photos (from Mom), and
the most vibrant of flowers (from Steve):

and last but most certainly not least,
chocolate-covered goodies (dipped by hand)
and a pound of darkest-roast gourmet coffee (not pictured)
from the adored Auntie Al:

Thank you.

Oh, the haul this year was truly awesome.
It made me feel appreciated by, and precious to,
each member of my family.

(But it was nothing compared to Chapter 2: "The Good Stuff." Stay tuned.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day: Prologue

Women know
The way to rear up children (to be just)
They know a simple, merry, tender knack
Of tying sashes, fitting baby shoes,

And stringing pretty words that make no sense,
And kissing full sense into empty words.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Growing Boy

My baby has started to eat solid food.

He devours the baby-cereal-mush and pureed produce with gusto.
His deliciously-rolled thighs
and rubber-band wrists
excitedly pump back and forth
as the spoon approaches.

His mouth stretches open
in anticipation.
The food goes in,
the boy swallows -
(he allows hardly any to ooze back out,
as the eating novice is wont to do)
and grins, demonstrating his
absolute delight in this tastiness.

While he revels,
a slight pang of sadness pinches my mostly-happy heart.
The box of baby oatmeal in my pantry
and rubber-covered spoons in my cabinet
mean that my tiny guy is growing up.

Soon he won't need bottles.
Soon he'll be walking.
Soon he'll be able to prepare his own food.
Soon he'll be a young man, no longer my tiny boy.

But then I notice that his eyelashes are encrusted
with the liquid-pasty mixture.
Then I see it in his belly button.
Then I glimpse it smeared between
those delectable toes of his
and I remember
that he's still tiny enough
to laugh as I idly kiss those toes for hours

(as I am wont to do.)

And I think -
maybe I don't have to get quite so sad -
just yet.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunset Splash

"Remember to play
after every storm."
~Mattie Stepaneck

Friday, May 1, 2009

Parshah for Parenting: Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5769

This week's portion includes the instruction
to leave the corners of our fields unharvested
so that the poor in the community may gather them and be fed.
Rashi comments on this instruction
that anyone who fulfills it
is like someone who built the holy Temple
and offered sacrifices therein.

In other words,
doing something to positively affect the world
is equal (or greater) to
being in audience with the Holy One.

These days,
most of us don't have fields
to leave unharvested.
We do, however, have
our homes
our daily work
our families and friendships
our children.

When we use these things
to change the world for the better -
make our personal spaces ones of beauty, comfort, truth,
give some of the income that sustains us to help sustain others
do actions and speak words that show those dear to us how we love them

and raise our children
with the expectation

that they will give more to the world
than they take from it -

it is as though we have built the Temple
and offered sacrifices therein.

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