The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

As a Jew I was raised, like most, celebrating Christmas day with Chinese food and a movie. Limited with choices, this option was quite enjoyable. When I got older and started making plans of my own, the only thing that changed was that Chinese food became Japanese Food and Christmas Eve became an annual event celebrated with my cousins. I began to look forward to the holiday almost as much as a child waiting for Santa.
Then I had children and though the holiday season is even more enjoyable when experienced with kids (particularly your own) the movie and dinner plan goes right out the window. Hoping to have an activity for our kids combined with the need to entertain (since our annual NYE party is on a temporary hiatus), we decided to host a Christmas Day Brunch. Promising myself and Todd that I would not go overboard with my entertaining-ism's, I tried to keep it relatively low key. 4 pounds of lox and smoked whitefish salad and 24 adults later, our brunch was off and running.
The night before at the annual cousins dinner, which is worthy of posting itself due to its good time and its expected laughter, I honestly bugged out a little bit. It dawned on me after a few glasses of wine and some slivers of raw fish, that we were going to have 17 children, 16 under the age of 4, in our home the following morning. I saw chaos, and crying, and whining, and chaos. Being one who often welcomes chaos, even I saw this as maybe too much. But, the party went on.
Not unlike other parties, it went off well. No crying, no whining, no chaos, nothing but a good time, seemingly had by all. The number of children was not overwhelming, nor was the number of adults. The amount of whitefish salad leftover, well, that is truly overwhelming.
Unfortunately, I do not have any good pictures of the event, hopefully some of our guests do. And, we will likely make it an annual event, at least until we return to our NYE celebration.
As far as my ism's on a scale of 1-10 I would say I kept it to about a 5 or 6. Yes, I set the tablescape the night before, and yes all the plates were marked, but I only cooked one thing, and kept the menu pretty basic. It was a fun day for me, Todd, our kids and our friends, and since I take the responsibility of other people's good times very seriously, that is a very good thing.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Battle for Three!

When Todd and I were dating we lived on either side of the corner of Third and Vine Streets. It was rather convenient. Often times we would make plans on the phone and the conversation would end with, "ok, I'll meet you at the corner." We met at this corner before dates, hanging out, nights at bars, restaurants, concerts. It became our corner. It also became our unofficial mantra "Meet ya at the corner."
Our relationship grew, in addition to the good time we had together, due to the ability we shared to communicate with one another, and our ability to compromise when necessary. Compromising was when we would refer to "meeting on the corner." This is something we were always good at, I am proud to say. But, what do you do when the situation has no compromise? How do we meet at the corner on the battle for three? I never made it a secret to Todd that I wanted a large family. I remember telling him I wanted four kids and he laughed at me as if I was kidding. He learned pretty quickly I was not joking. Although 4 is my ideal I was pretty aware it was a stretch, also aware that Todd only wanted 2 children, something he never kept a secret from me. He is pretty adamant on the number two, the fact that we had them at one time is a bonus for Todd. I see it another way entirely. Being that I want 4 and he wants 2, three seems like the natural compromise. But, since Todd does not see it that way how do we possibly meet on the corner? A dog? Cat? Bird? Perhaps a third house somewhere to complicate our lives? A solution that I came up with, in attempt to find a compromise, was to let fate decide. Give it the all natural attempt at baby making and see what is in store for us. Coming from the experience of unnatural conceptions and a twin pregnancy, this seems more than fair since we really have no idea what will happen, when, if at all. Todd, again, does not see it this way. I am out of ideas for the moment, but the point of contention remains. I am not giving up on my quest for number three, despite the fact that every time I bring it up the conversation ends the same disappointing way. And, Todd does not seem to be budging on the idea of adding a 5th member to the family. And, unless someone has a suggestion, I do not see a way to meet on the corner.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Crib Tent

I can zip it myself, Mommy!!

Screaming, yes, but in delight!!


So, we seemed to have resolved the crib jumping phase, at least temporarily. We invested in a crib tent. At first, the idea of this scared me, but so did the idea of a broken neck or concussion, or even just sleepless nights. We decided to give it a try and talked it up as a really cool tent. It seems as if it may have worked. Excited the minute he saw it, Ryder actually tried to climb into his crib. He got right in, laughed and squealed, jumped around, asked us to zipper it shut. Chase joined him in the "tent" and our new concern was whether or not Chase was going to feel left out. So far, Ryder has slept peacefully and soundly, not to mention safely, since its installation. Hopefully, this will buy us at least a few more months.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Outta Here

Ryder developed an aversion to his crib. Is aversion the right word for a smiling child who, upon being put into his crib, bursts into a fit of rage with tears and screams like we have never seen? we would pick him up, he would stop crying instantly. Put down....cry, pick up.... quiet. This began on a Saturday night and it resulted in him sleeping on me in our bed after staying up until 1am. That is clearly not a solution. Sunday night we try again. We decide to let him cry it out, like we did when he was an infant. The crying went on for what seemed like hours and just as we were getting good at drowning it out....THUD!!! He climbs out of his crib and greets us at the door of his room. We calmed him, and ourselves, down, assuming it was a one time thing and quietly put him back in his crib only to have him do it again. He then climbed out of his crib anytime he was in there and awake, morning, naps, and nighttime. Ryder is our climber, so technically this kamikaze act is no surprise, but at 17 months we are not ready for a bed, a separation of the boys, or for him to be screaming frantically at bed time. Plus, we are a concerned that the number of times he has landed on his head could affect him later in life.
Against my beliefs, and probably my better judgment, I have resorted to driving around at nap time and letting him fall asleep in bed with me. I am well aware of how bad of an idea this is and we are working on a new solution to keep in safe, and sleeping.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Funeral

I know this sounds morbid, and I do not mean it as such, but I often times find funerals inspiring. I know, most people find them depressing and sad, which they are, but beneath the tears and heartache I sometimes find inspiration.
I went to a funeral of the father of a friend I have known almost 25 years. He passed away what seemed to be suddenly, despite being very ill. A respectable man who raised a respectable family, the news came as quite devastating to me and my parents. I could go on about all the reasons it is so sad, but instead I will focus on how a man I knew as a kid is affecting me posthumously.
As far as anyone knows you only get one chance at life. Though most of us expect to live forever, it seems that without much notice at all forever can become tomorrow.
I love listening to eulogies. I wish I never had to hear one in my life, and wish more that I will never have to hear one again, but in this case where wishes can not come true, I do enjoy hearing them. I love hearing the words of the mourning as they present the life of the deceased from their perspective...all the good parts of a person wrapped up in a single speech. A eulogy focuses on their strengths, their successes, their memories shedding the most positive of a light on a rather sad situation.
Some people, perhaps those people that inspire those around them while living, can inspire their wider circle in their death. When you hear about their kindness, or their courage, their energy for life, or their passions, the way they lead by example or by sheer lesson, it is inspiring. I find, often times, it makes me want to be a better person, or improve on the person I am. It makes me strive harder for the days between my birth and death to be enjoyable, kinder, more generous, shared with the people we love most in the world. I am reminded again to tell those that I love that I do, to give apologies, and accept them, when necessary. I am reminded to be a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, sister, and most importantly, mother. I am reminded to set examples for my children that will hopefully mold them into the type of people who can inspire those around them.
I know everyday for the rest of my friend's life, she will think of her father and, despite her pain, will smile with the memories of the man that he was. And, I know that it would make her smile more to know that the man he was affected those around him, both in life and in death.

Shoeless Joe

Ryder lost his shoe. Some time between 5:30 pm on Wed. afternoon and before he went to bed that night (8:30pm) His shoe vanished into thin air. Most people I tell this story to, find it hilarious. I suppose it is funny, but when it is one of the coldest days thus far, it is sleeting rain, you have a class which begins in 15 minutes and you are trying to get yourself and two toddlers out the door at 9:30am, the humor is lost. I searched all visible objects. I tore the couch apart and looked between the pillows. I looked in all trash cans and checked all bags and bins....still no shoe. So, I took him out without them. When they were infants they never wore shoes, so it is only a year later. I took them to class, only let Ryder's feet hit the ground once we were in the classroom and right after class took him to the shoe store to buy him a new pair of kicks. He made out because he also got a new pair of sneakers. The shoe was never found. Our guess is one of the two boys deposited it into one of the trash cans and it went out with the trash that Wed. night.
Last April we had a similar disappearance act. Todd and I were in Jamaica. When we left there were 8 bottles. When we returned, there were 7. None of the babysitters knew where it was nor what happened to it, and all said they washed two bottles every time. Hmmmm.....three weeks later it was discovered behind the couch. Maybe I should go move some couches?!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A letter to my sons on their 17th Month Birthday!

Family picture on Thanksgiving

Chase- all smiles

Ryder's grin

Dear Chase and Ryder,
On Friday you turned 17 months old. We were at the shore enjoying a quiet weekend.
Chase, at 17 months you have really enhanced your verbal skills. You will repeat, with a good amount of clarity, almost any word we say and you continue to build your every day vocabulary. It seems you have more words and use them more often than other kids your age. You answer Yes and No to simple questions, though they are not always the answers you mean. You seem to understand everything we say and are good at following small commands. In addition to your speaking words you are learning more sign language and though you do not use it fluently, you are certainly improving. The problem is, you often watch sign language videos (signing times) in the car, so I can not see what you are watching. I have picked up on a few, however. Someday soon I will sit down and watch the video myself.
Ryder, you seem to do more talking when we are one on one. You still have this knack for saying difficult words perfectly, despite the fact that you barely use words. You recently have said Delaney a few times. We laugh because Chase, who talks a lot, calls her DiDi. You say a few choice words in addition to the ones previously listed: Bubble, Baby, No, More, Pop-Pop, Daddy, Mommy, Mom-Mom, Banana, Elmo, Shoe, Shower, Breakfast, please. It is not the amount of words that you lack, you just choose to not use them. You are much more in favor of the grunt and the point.
Chase, you are such a flirt! You continue to charm the ladies wherever we go. You flash your dimples and wave and blow kisses and the girls marvel. You give smiles and laughs out to anyone who will take them. Ryder, you are a bit less extroverted. You actually make people (me included) earn your smile and your laugh. But, once we work for it and you flash your grin, your whole face lights up and it was worth earning. You are very independent and though it takes you a bit of time to warm up to a crowd it is not because you are clinging to me. You are often content playing by yourself, figuring out how things work. Daddy and I always wonder if you will become a scientist.
You both prefer to sit at the table in the regular chairs and fight me when I try to put you in your baby seat. You are using forks more often and are using plates a bit more too. You still occasionally throw the food on the floor, but you are improving. I am amazed that you can sit at the table like big boys and eat most of your meal. You are learning to make decisions based on choices I give you (do you want milk or juice? pancakes or waffles?) Though still decent eaters, you are certainly becoming more particular and the variety of food you eat is a little less. Bananas and cheese, though not together, rank amongst your favorite foods. Chase, you have a new love for cookies, which you clearly get from me. You can ask for them by name and know exactly where they are. You also love cookie monster, and I am not sure if that is a coincidence or not. In addition to Cookie, you know many of the Sesame Street characters, Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie and Burt, particularly. You love to dance when you hear music and you have learned Ring around the Rosie.
Ryder you like to figure out how things work and are still fascinated by buttons, dials, lights, and phones. You tend to take off your clothes, whether it be your shoes and socks or your shirt. We have found you in your crib just diaper clad.
You both love your toddler table that we put in your playroom. You will sit there to play with a toy or eat a snack. And, sometimes you love to just knock the chairs over. You both prefer to drink from real cups, sometimes with a straw, sometimes not. It is not uncommon for you to drink my whole drink at a meal and as a result I try to no longer order soda. You had your first juice boxes and did pretty well with them. I was impressed that you did not have it squirting all over you. It did get messy after some time and I made a note to myself to only give you the smaller ones.
You have basically transitioned to one nap a day which is somewhere between 2 and 3pm. The inconsistency is my fault, as our activities often take us to that late in the day. Sometimes you will take a morning snooze in the car, about 30 minutes or so.
We are in the middle of Hanukkah and it has been fun. You have enjoyed lighting the menorah, particularly the wood one we bought. This allows you to put the flames in the candles and it is great to see you dexterous enough to do it. The first night we watched you Ryder, as you changed the position you were holding the flame so that you could correctly place it in the candle. Although you have been enjoying the gifts you are getting, I am not sure you get the fact that Hanukkah means 8 nights of gifts. I am sure by next year though I will have something new to write about that. We have gotten together with friends and family for the holiday, which you and I always enjoy.
Though you both love our cell phones, Ryder you have become a master at programming new numbers or sending texts to people, particularly Ali. I have to go into my phone everyday to delete your contacts.
Chase you love to tell us when you take a poopie. You will point to your hiney and say poopie. Most of the time you are correct, sometimes there is nothing there. Daddy believes you will be very easy to potty train as a result. I suppose he is right.
Ryder, you have fallen in love with a peek-a-boo all over again and will hide yourself beneath your hands, then show yourself with laughter. It is very cute. You both love to throw away your dirty diapers and know exactly where they go on both floors. You love it.
Today we went for your 2nd flu shot and afterwards I gave you each a lollipop. You both loved it, but the funniest thing was Chase, you called it a lollipoppop. Needless to say, your pop-pop thought this was really cute.
We looked at pre-schools this month, for which you will begin in September. We looked at both Ohev Shalom and Shir Ami. Though we are leaning towards one we are going to look at Rainbow Academy on Wednesday. We will soon have a decision.
We celebrated Thanksgiving, which was fun and daddy and I had our 4 year anniversary. It has been a busy month that seemed to pass quickly but as always it has been filled with fun and laughter. You seem like amazingly big boys these last few weeks, doing things boys do, not babies. It is startling and amazing and overwhelming all at once. I want to see you grow and learn and yet I want you to be my babies forever. This is every mom's emotional conflict. Regardless, I am proud and happy and doubly blessed every day, and I know it.

Never forget how much I love you so.
Mommy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Festival of Lights!

Ryder lighting his first Hanukah Candle

Chase, with his buddy Max, lighting the first of 8 candles

Applesauce all over me!!!

Hanukkah becomes a whole new celebration when you see it through the eyes of children. Of course, when your kids are 1 year old and do not fully get the concept, the celebration becomes more fun for the parents. Convinced that Chase and Ryder would remember Hanukkah, if not forever;), then clearly by day 8 they would remember it from the day before, I made some small efforts. We lit candles every day, including a wooden menorah which allowed them to do the "lighting," We gave them presents, we ate latkes, we sang hanukkah songs and played dreidel, and every morning at breakfast I read them hanukkah stories. All that and I do not think they remembered a thing. I never got either one of them to say the word hanukkah, but unlike many of their pals, they did not say the word present either. They did not seem to get as excited about the books as they do about "Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?" And the potato latkes barely hit their mouth before they decided they did not like it....though they loved smearing applesauce all over themselves. We had Hanukkah parties with friends, with playgroups, with family on all sides. They received way too many gifts, everything from cell phones and keys, to remote control cars, to the entire product line (almost) of Little People. Tickle Me Cookie, which scared Chase initially, is amongst the favorites with the words "Cookie, Cookie, Cookie" being repeated endlessly. They received the tools necessary to help Mommy clean, and to my great delight, they love their new Lego's. They love their new keyboard, the vacuum cleaner is a huge hit, and the airplane that hangs in the room is always identified upon entrance. The guitar Uncle Mat gave them ranks pretty high but since they can't say guitar, they just repeat "Mat, Mat, Mat!" All of these gifts (and so many more) but it was never about the gifts for them. I would show them a present and they would not get excited. Now that they have these things, they love it, but it seems they never expected gifts, not even by day 8. They're my boys!!! Their favorite part was simply lighting the candles. They got so excited when they lit their wooden menorah and seemed to be intrigued by the blazing fire in the real menorah. They truly enjoyed the festival of lights