The Tovsky Tribe

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Citrenbaum B'Nai Mitzvah

It is amazing how much stuff you need to travel with three young kids on an overnight trip. The infant himself needs half of a car load. Yet, we piled the five of us and all of our crap into the truck and headed to Maryland for a B'Nai Mitzvah.
The car ride down was pretty good. The three hour trip began with a two hour nap from all three boys. Chase and Ryder woke up just in time to go through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, which they thought was cool. We explained that a tunnel went under water the same way a bridge goes over water. Even though we explained this to both of them simultaneously, Chase still went on to explain it, verbatim, to Ryder. The ride then continued with "Sugar Mountain"(by Neil Young) on repeat with a few interjections of "Imagine" (By John Lennon) until we pulled up to the hotel. The boys were so excited for our arrival, as they had been asking to go inside of a building ever since we drove past Baltimore's mini-skyline. They seemed to love being in a hotel, loved that Delaney was next door. They loved that we rode an elevator and had fun hanging from the crossbar on the bell hop's cart.
We had dinner soon after we arrived. The hotel had a restaurant that was too nice for our young crowd. Luckily, they had a private room- large enough for a big party, just the right size for four pre-schoolers to tire themselves out. I am not sure if the room was actually sound proof but we did not get any complaints about the train of toddlers.
Bedtime was the worst part of the trip. Of all the bedtime battles we have endured, they never seemed so bad as when the five of us were in one small room.
Despite hearing stories from mom-mom, despite leaving the bathroom light on as their night-light, despite sharing a bed and having mommy and daddy sleeping in the same room with them, which is exactly what they ask for every night, they carried on as if they were being tortured, as if they weren't having the time of their life just a few hours prior. Before the boys fell asleep at 11:30pm, Turner however went right to bed, we had to all switch beds a number of times before we settled on Ryder and I in one bed, Chase and Todd in the other. Finally we rested.
Getting five people ready for the Bar Mitzvah in the morning was challenging but manageable. Once the boys were dressed they were so excited to be in a suit that they demanded they go next door to show Delaney.
And, it was seeing my boys in their suits that made all of the hecticness worth it. They looked like little men, and just so handsome. Perhaps I still have pregnancy hormones but I found myself teary eyed when they tried the suits on and then again, as if I had not seen it before, that Saturday morning. As well-dressed as they may be at times, it is nothing like seeing them donning a suit. Though I tried to get them to pose for a picture I was quickly reminded, despite how they looked, that they are only 2.
Overall they had a good time at the Bar Mitzvah. When we walked into the synagogue Chase immediately told me he needed a kipah and I laughed, happy that their pre-school education has taught them something. They were not perfectly silent throughout the service, but then again they are 2. We spent some time in the hallway, but we got full cooperation from all three children as we went to the bimah for the dressing of the Torah. Amazingly, Turner was awake the whole service and yet we never heard a peep from him.
The weekend, which was a glimpse of our future a decade from now, overall was a success. The kids had fun. They danced, they learned to shoot pool, and most importantly they were able to spend time with close cousins who live far, as did we, and that was the highlight of that weekend. Well, that, and seeing my boys in suits.

For more photos from the weekend click here

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thank You!

It is customary to send thank you notes after receiving gifts. I know this, I understand this, and I appreciate this custom. Sometimes, I enjoy writing thank you notes, the odd occurence of putting pen to paper and expressing gratitude. Often times, I try to write really great thank you's, personal and detailed. This is how I begin, anyway. Then I find myself buried beneath a mountain of unwritten notes, the uncompleted task looming over me like a rain cloud. As the weeks pass and the completed total increases only slightly it becomes much more difficult to express my sincere gratitude with eloquent wording. I do, I really do, appreciate everything everybody has given us and Turner. We appreciate the warm welcome our son has received upon his entrance into this world. In fact, I appreciate it so much that I want to take the time to make each and every note different and personal. But then, they take so long that the cloud forms and I find myself writing a blog about thank you' instead of the notes themselves.

PS: if you are one of those yet to receive their note, thanks for your patience, it is on its way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Look Mommy, There's Daddy

When I first started dating Todd he would say I had a hundred different laughs. A lot of that may have been the young girl in me, smitten with her new man, being coy. But, I suppose I have a range of laughs from giggles and chuckles to big belly laughs. Most of these laughs are not out loud laughs, and though the big belly laugh is seldom it feels so great to experience.
The other day Ryder, along with my own airheadedness, made me laugh so hard I cried. In fact, I am still laughing at the incident even days later, and the laugh is still out loud though I am no longer shedding tears.
Saturday we were having our first family day out since we have become five. Todd had to drop off his car for service at a local gas station and I had the kids and was picking him up. I am not sure where my mind was, but being only four weeks post-partum I will blame baby brain, as I drove right past the gas station I was to get Todd. As we drove past, Ryder said in his cute little voice, "Look Mommy, there's Daddy." His reminder allowed me to turn around quickly but also sent me into absolute hysterics. I laughed so hard tears came down my face. I laughed so hard Chase and Ryder laughed too. I laughed so hard that when Todd called to say "yo dumbass you forgot me" I answered the phone but could not speak and all he heard was my laugh. I did pick him up, we did have our day, but we can't help but wonder how far I would have gotten if Ryder was not in the car.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Letter to my Son on his One Month Birthday!

Dear Turner,

My sweet love! Today you are one month old. This baffles me, for I am simultaneously amazed at how quickly a month has gone and that it has only been a month. It seems, in many ways, that you have always been with us, as if there was always a place for you in the life we carried on prior to your arrival. The transition has been so natural, and I know it is because you were always meant to be a part of us, you truly completed our family.
Right from the very beginning I knew things were going to be different with the third child. Perhaps it's the confidence of no longer being a first time parent, or the lack of time to sweat the small stuff when there are other kids running around, perhaps it is a million things I am unable to list, but things are certainly different the third time around. Being that I am myself a third child, this really does not come as a surprise. I take fewer pictures, and spend much less time staring at my beautiful you, but each glimpse I do take imprints on both my memory and my heart instantaneously. I savor each moment with a knowing sense of how quickly it all passes and how quickly you will change, you already have. My favorite time with you right now is when I get into bed for the night and you are with me, snuggling on my chest. It's then that I trace your tiny face with my finger, or notice how your ears are blossoming out of the point you were born with. It is then that I watch as your strong baby fingers grasp my finger, and watch your cheeks give the slightest curl as you get ready to have your first smile. It is these moments that I cherish.
At one month old you are an angel of a baby. You have a relaxed disposition that immediately relaxes whomever is holding you. You rarely cry, though you do seem to get a bit gassy at night which causes you some discomfort. You are quite the eater. It's interesting, actually, because you do not look like the type of baby that should eat so much, yet you take 4 ounces (since you are 2 weeks) every three hours, rarely leaving a drop remaining. Although with your brothers I followed a four hour schedule, three hours works for you because amazingly you practically sleep through the night. You do 5 and 6 hour stretches in the middle of the night, which amazes us all.
You have really begun to fill out, your face is round and your chest is thick, but you still have chicken legs. You remind all of us of Ryder, down to the way you are balding and the color of your eyes. They are a beautiful, stormy bluish grey and I love to stare into them. Despite the fact that your eyes are actually getting lighter (they started off a dark brown) I am not expecting them to stay this wonderful shade of blue. No matter the color they end up, your eyes are beautiful, large, round, and full of life. Your eye lashes are starting to come in and I wonder if they will be as long as Chase and Ryder's, and your eye brows are also beginning to show, though they are still light.
You are losing the hair you were born with, balding like an old man all around the top. The hair you are losing is so fine that we are not seeing remnants anywhere, but if I rub my hand over your head my palm will be covered with small, fine hairs.
Your brothers have welcomed you with delight. They give you kisses and help feed and change you. They call you, lovingly, Turner Luke and are seemingly interested in you. It won't be long before you can interact with them and I am sure there won't be anyone who brings a smile to your face quite like them.
You do not prefer the pacifier, though you will take it when you are hungry and it is not quite feeding time. We swaddle you at night and you seem to like it, though there does not seem to be much you do not like other than a wet or dirty diaper. You usually let us know right away and quiet down as soon as it is changed.
At times, I wonder what will become of you as you develop your personality. But, I know that will come in time and I do not want to rush it. For now I continue to be in awe of you; of your beauty, of your disposition, of your patience. You should know that you make daddy and I so proud. We look at you and we are amazed we created you. We see your perfect face, your large hands, your tiny lips, your cute chin, and not a moment goes by that we do not think we are the luckiest parents around.

We are thrilled to call you our son, and we are excited for every day, to watch you grow, to love you so.

I love you beyond measure,

With your brothers

Turner at one month old

Chase and Ryder at one month old

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Classic Rock Enthusiast

It is often said that two year olds get fixated, obsessed if you will, on things. For some it may be trucks, or princesses, or sports. This overly passionate love is a normal part of development for most toddlers and my boys are no exception. For Ryder this obsession is classic rock-n-roll. He has had a thing for music for most of his two years. His guitar is definitely his favorite toy, so much so that even Chase calls it Ryder's guitar despite the fact that it technically belongs to both of them. Ryder will sing himself to sleep, and sing himself awake and now that he has a microphone he has many rock star moments. All of this, perhaps odd for a two year old, is something we have all learned is a part of Ryder's being. But, recently, he has taken his love for music to the next level. Scouring his father's insanely large CD collection, he pulls out CD's which catch his eye for one reason or another. Perhaps it is the color or the picture on the front, but he will take that CD and immediately ask about it. Who it is, both the band and the person if they are not the same. He will ask what they are doing. He will ask or rather, emphatically demand to listen to the CD and to hold the case, afterall he needs it he exclaims!! In his inquisition he has learned about Derek and the Dominoes and that their lead singer is Eric Clapton. He asks why he (Eric) is sleeping on the cover and we have explained that sometimes when singing you close your eyes. I am sure he will incorporate this into his act. He has learned about Hendrix, whom he plays guitar lefty just like, The Who, and noticed Roger Daltrey jumps with his guitar, Pink Floyd as a unit and the solo music of David Gilmour and Roger Waters. He has heard the music of Heart and Norah Jones, which he confused for one another when he heard the female voice.
He has taken to bringing CD's to school, listening to them at bedtime, and asking upon awakening for Hendrix. He recognizes the CD by their covers and knows what he wants to listen to, and asks for it by name. One of his favorites is The Who By Numbers. Todd and I love this CD, which works out well. He has not yet learned the lyrics to sing along but I can not imagine that is too far off. And, he is also unable to understand the concept that a CD plays music and a DVD plays a video. As typical of two year olds, in spite of this obsession, we can't get him to sit and listen or watch for more than a few moments. Instead it becomes a frustrating game of playing DJ and changing the CD every so often.
Our once organized CD's have become a scattered mess, they are stamped with fingerprints causing them to skip, and a lot of the books are ripped and jewel cases broken. This is quite irritating for Todd and I and we often take the CD's/DVD's away just for this reason. But, there is a part of us that want to indulge Ryder's musical love and let him be, we certainly do have a few CD's to spare.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


If you are Jewish and have a boy then on the eighth day of his life he has his Bris. Turner was no exception, though his brothers were. Chase and Ryder were nearly three weeks old when we had their Bris. This was not us breaking tradition, but because they were in the NICU the Bris was 8 days after their release. We had Chase and Ryder's Bris at home, we had Turner's at my parents clubhouse. We used the same mohel, Cantor Mark Kushner.

Still recovering from a C-section, and for those who did not know otherwise, still looking pregnant, I put make up on my face and put on clothes other than pajamas and entertained. A meat tray, a "Happy Bris Day" cake, quite a few bottles of wine, and three dozen blue and brown balloons later, a "Welcome to the World let's circumcise your penis party" was had. The Bris was really a wonderful day. We were joined by friends and family who surrounded us, and our newborn son, with warmth and kindness, which is exactly the type of welcome we would wish for anyone's child.
Turner handled the actual snipping really well, with only a minor cry out. The wine soaked cotton swab lollipop was likely helpful. Afterwards, his healing went without a glitch. I am truly amazed how different even an infant's penis looks before and after a circumcision. But, out of respect for my sons' penis I won't go into that.

The godparents do the hand off

Once the actual Bris was done, the Rabbi from my Bat Mitzvah, my wedding, and the synagogue where Chase and Ryder go to pre-school gave Turner his hebrew name. Rabbi Perlstein has known my family for so many years he actually knew the people we named Turner for, giving the naming ceremony a personal touch. Turner Luke's hebrew name is Natan Leibel. Natan is for my maternal grandmother Nettie (Nessa.). Sadly, she passed away when I was just seven years old. Although I still have many memories of her, her house, times we spent together, I am not always sure what is real, and what is conjured up from the stories I have been told. At seven, when she passed, I said I would name my first son for her (in english- Noah Brett) and I also wanted to open a restaurant called Nettie B's. I was a dreamer as a child. 26 years later, it is my third son who honors her name, though in hebrew only, and a restaurant, despite my love to cook, is out of the question. Still, Natan is a special name after a special lady. Since the day she passed, I think of her often and miss her always. Natan means gift, and without question Turner is a gift to all who love him.
His middle name, Leibel, is also very special. Named for my Great Aunt Lil who became like a grandmother as we grew up. I am fortunate because I knew her well into my adult years and can remember her with details, unlike my seven year old memory. Aunt Lil was filled with a life and a spunk, well into her 80's, that most people do not have in their youth. Her death, which came suddenly and quickly, crushed us all. At the time Chase and Ryder were just three months old. I was not sure how I would ever describe to my then infant sons the woman they would never remember, but were lucky enough to meet. Still unsure of how to do this, perhaps naming their brother in her honor will help them to understand.
Leibel means Lion, a strong, courageous, beautiful animal- traits that are nice to possess. In addition, Todd's maternal grandmother is our children's only living great grandparent. Her last name is Lyon's so the name ties Turner to her as well.

Most parents expecting boys dread the Bris. The actual "surgery" causes mom's much anxiety. Having been through it twice before I knew it was not so bad, but the ceremony was just a small part in an otherwise great day!