The Tovsky Tribe

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Baseball Mom

I started playing softball when I was 7 years old.  My very best friend in my seven year old world, Alyssa, convinced me to play the game much to the satisfaction of my athletic father.  Our team wore golden yellow uniform t-shirts, with BRONCOS written in Black.  My jersey number was 11, the first of only two times I ever wore a number other than 8.  I do not remember anything else about my first year of ball other than these details, but it was the beginning of the11 year stint of my softball career.

I have tons of memories of playing ball, most fond, though not all.  When I was ten, I started playing 12-under travel ball.  My coaches were a married couple, Mr. and Mrs. McCue, and they became the fundamental molders of my skills.  The basics, the knowledge, the foundation...and a lot of McDonald's drive thru's.  Of course, for those of you who have seen me play a field position, their credibility could be shot, as I had a wandering eye to the boys on the ball field next door and a wandering mind to the poetry in the wind. But intellectually, I know the fundamental basics of the game from the skills to the strategy.

So now Chase and Ryder have discovered the joys of baseball.  Typical of three year olds, this new fondness comes along with an obsession that begins as their eyes open at 7am.  "Mommy, I want to play baseball," words I always wanted to hear, now come to me at an irritating octave located somewhere on the pitch scale between "whine" and "excited shriek." 

So we play!  Indoors!  In the sunroom with wiffle balls when we are batting and when throwing, the soft hardball Pop-Pop bought each of them while still in the NICU!  And, they each have to use the ball with their own name on it.  God forbid I should toss the Ryder ball at Chase, that would be a sure act of betrayal.

Ryder is interested in playing but not more so than he is interested in being Spiderman or jamming on his guitar.  Usually, when he plays, he is dressed in what he calls his Benny outfit.  Benny is the main character in the baseball movie Sandlot, a favorite of his, and when he dresses like Benny baseball is his game.  He seems to enjoy playing, the way he enjoys everything, but has a three year old attention span and is checking out the trains, or cars, or kitchen around him, reminding me very much of myself.

Chase focuses well beyond his years, as we would expect.  Fiercely concentrating on every word and every action convinced that each and every day he gets a little bit better. He wants to play!  He wants to be good!  And, he is.  For a three year old!  He can throw hard and straight.  He can hit hard and straight.  We are working on his fielding, which is less than stellar.  He looks like a ball player and he believes he is a ball player.  He likes the way it sounds when the ball hits the bat!  I love it!

I love baseball. I am glad my boys do too!  I hope the continue to.  I hope they become real ball players.  OOH, I hope to be a baseball mom.


The boys do a lot of wonderful projects at school.  Unfortunately, most of them will never be seen beyond our eyes, but some things are worth documenting.  Like this:






This is an All About Me! book.  The boys made it in school last month.  The whole book cracks me up particularly Chase's desire to be a tie maker when he grows up.  Ryder, perhaps confusing himself with Chase, thinks he has black hair, and something about Chase's legs makes him very happy.  We just do not know what.  If I had to guess I would say his line of thinking had to do with running fast but we will never know.  Just in case you can't see the pictures above here is what it says after the initial hand and foot print:

Ryder's answers are in Red, Chase's are in Blue:


I am  (3) (3) years old

I have (brown) (black) hair

I weigh (32) (31) pounds

I am (38 1/2) (37 1/4) inches

My favorite food is (cantelope and apples) (apples)

when I grow up I want to be (a tie maker) (spiderman)

I feel happy when (my legs)  (I am playing with toys)

I feel sad when (Ellie came to my house to build blocks and she knocked them down a long time ago) (Chase pushes me over)



To The Shoes!

He's passionate.  He loves deeply and loyally.  He is three!

Ryder has a way of falling in love.  He has fallen in love with his guitar, Neil Young, his "Benny" Pants, Spiderman, his Victorino t-shirt, and his blue and green striped sneakers.  He loves, obsesses over, each of these things deeply, as if they are the very best things in this whole entire world, with wide eyes and huge smiles.  He does not fall out of love with one as a new obsession enters his world, he just adds it to the list.

This post here is dedicated to his shoes!

In September of 2008 I bought the boys new sneakers.  They were good sneakers, suitable for running, jumping, climbing, etc. but they were also, what I would consider, their dress shoes.  Their school shoes.  They were the shoes they would wear most of the time, or so I thought, and therefore I felt a second pair of cheap, crappy sneaks for them to run through puddles with and to wear to the playground was absolutely necessary.
I found two pair that suited my style, edgy and different, yet affordable.  In fact, they were $6 each.  A red, white and blue pair from the GAP and a green and blue pair from OLD NAVY.  I brought them home to show the boys and within seconds Ryder claimed his pair and he never took them off.  Occasionally, he'd wear the brown and black Skechers I had picked out for him, and of course in the Summer he barely wore shoes at all, but literally for the last 17 months I had a hard time begging the shoes off of his feet.  17 months.  The shoes are older than Turner.

I figured they were too small, but when I asked Ryder he said they fit him fine and that he liked them.  "They are so comfortable," he would add.  It's important to note here that he also wore them on the wrong feet.  Always.  He knew they were wrong, he knows his left from  his right and is fully capable of dressing himself.  I would tell him, Todd would tell him, Chase would tell him.   But, he did not care.  "I like them that way," he would say, sternly reminding us he has an opinion and he is flexing it.  Sometimes I would try to change them and he would kick his feet just enough to get me off of his shoes.  His green shoes!!
So, he wore them, left on right, right on left, for months.  And months.  And months.
In September of 2009 I bought the boys new shoes, again, before school started.  Ryder's are still new.  Worn only several times in the last 6 months because usually he had to wear his "green shoes."

About six months ago the boys discovered the movie "The Sandlot" which opened their hearts and mind to the great sport of baseball. The main character in the movie, Benny, apparently wears shoes that remind Ryder of his black Converse high tops.   Converse are adorable, and I love them on the boys, but they are near impossible to put on which meant that I never planned on owning a pair after the first pair I had bought.  But, they are now Ryder's Benny shoes (to go along with the Benny jeans which I still have no idea why they were coined that.)  But, Ryder wanted to wear his Benny shoes a little more often which gave me an opportunity  I could not pass up.  I threw away his green shoes. 
Everyone told me just to do it then tell Ryder we could not find them when he asked for them.  But, jewish guilt #999 set in so I told Ryder all about it.

"Ry, buddy, it's time to throw away your shoes.  They don't fit.  I want you to say goodbye!"  This wasn't out of nowhere I had warned him for months that, eventually, I was going to get rid of the shoes.   He looked at me.  He looked at the shoes.  Looked at me again, "OK."  He looked at the shoes,  "Bye, green shoes," then back at me, "Can I still wear my Benny shoes?"
It was that easy, it happened that simply.  Maybe he does not love as deeply as I thought?  Maybe the timing was just right.  Amazingly, the Converse are not too hard to put on now that he is older and he can even do it himself.  And, more amazingly, he chooses to wear them on the correct feet.

I looked at the shoes before I threw them out to the curb. I laughed.  I like old, worn in things too. I almost could not blame the little dude.  The soles were worn flat, the once navy blue was now a faded denim, the size, I should not admit, was a size and a half too small, and from looking at them it was hard to tell which shoe belonged on what foot because it was so worn in to the opposite foot.  I wanted to save them as a memento, but then he would have worn them.  Instead, I took a few pictures and posted them here.  Ryder will look back at these pictures and laugh, maybe.   Or cry.  Or both.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Shabbat rock star Ryder

Shabbat Star being silly

Ryder was the Shabbat Rock Star on February 5th,which happens to be Delaney's 6th birthday.  Six!  How did that happen?
He was supposed to be the Shabbat Star near Turner's birthday, a fact we had pointed out to him many times since Chase's Shabbat back in October, but that we week he got sick and we had to postpone his special day.  Although he was disappointed he handled it like a champ and just said "I want to be Shabbat rock star when I feel better!"
His rescheduled date came and he was very excited.  At one point, Ryder had asked me if he could wear his suit when he was Shabbat Star.  Though it would have been adorable, it seemed like a little much for pre-school.  Instead, I found him a cool sports jacket that he could wear with jeans.  Since Ryder thinks dressing up is almost as cool as Spiderman his eyes widened the minute he tried it on.
When he got dressed the morning of he looked in a full length mirror did a silly dance that reminded me of his "I've gotta pee dance" (wait, maybe it was?) and giddily shouted "I look so handsome!"
He requested munchkins as his snack and a surprising "The Backyardigans and the Beanstalk," a book I had no idea he liked so much, as his story.  Off to school we went.
As always, it was nice to be a part of their classroom for the small amount of time.  Ryder's favorite part was blowing out the Shabbat candles.  Chase seemed excited, and understanding, that it was his brother's day until he threw a bit of a fit when he thought he could not go on the Bimah with Ryder.  But, brothers will be brothers, and in the end these two brothers love each other so, and Ryder allowed Chase to come to the Bimah with him!  It wasn't until the end, when Ryder had to put his vegetable in the pot for the chicken soup song, that I decided to interject.  I calmly said, "Chase, it's Ryder's day,  You already had your special turn."   He agreed and I got a nod from their teacher so apparently I did the right thing. Ryder went back to the Bimah to deposit his veggie without a fight!

I love watching the boys getting excited about things and love watching them amongst their friends in school so I am very excited for next Shabbat, when they are actually Shabbat stars together!

 The star of the day

 the star and his mommy

the proud big brother

silly again

Daddy and his big boys

brothers sharing the responsibility

I Think I can Run Faster!

On a typical day I am dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. A hoodie, if necessary. I am comfortable and this uniform is perfect for my full-time job! I've gone through some different fashion phases including an overdosing of a plaid and paisley preppy phase and a freakish phase of fancy sweater with sweatpants.
I was never a real fashionista but manage to have a thing or two appropriate and fashionable in times of need; dinner out, wedding, party, shivah. Well, actually, usually for a shivah I am shit out of luck. I am not sure if I don't have the appropriate attire or if I have no idea what to actually wear to such mournful events.
But, still, more often than not, in jeans and a t-shirt is how you will find me dressed. Of course, the uniform needs shoes. And, similarly to my clothes, I have a random assortment for different situations.
But, mostly I wear sneakers.  Or Uggs.  Or flip flops, depending on the weather.

So, when I bought these new sneakers, which I love, my feet suddently felt lighter, quicker, like I could actually run faster.   But, as I made this comment to nobody in particular I laughed.  Not only because I know I am the slowest runner on the planet.  ON THE PLANET!  Not kidding.  But, because so many times Chase and Ryder have changed their clothes - into sweat pants, into different shoes- scattering their old clothes about and demanding "I need to wear this it makes me run faster!!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jammin' in Jammies

Ryder Jammin'

Here's a little glimpse of our Rock Star in Training...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Letter to my Son on his 13th Month Birthday!!


Dear Turner,

Happy 13th months!!  Officially we have begun counting the months into your second year.  As you not-so-slowly cross the threshold into toddlerhood I love watching you as you learn, as you laugh!  You belly-laugh in such a way that we all must belly-laugh with you, at being tickled and at every single silly thing Chase or Ryder do.  You belly-laugh at yourself and you are adorable when you do so!
You made a smoother than expected transition off of the bottle and onto the cup.  You showed a bit of refusal at first, and let us know with a shriek that you were less than thrilled with your new drinking apparatus, but have since mastered both the sippy cup and a straw!  You also insist on drinking out of a real cup.  Mine!  You will point and grunt at it until I let you sip whatever it is I am drinking.
Although you are a decent eater, breakfast is your best meal!  it's actually unbelievable how much you eat.  Logically, I think to make Chase and Ryder more pancakes than I make you, but realistically you out eat them every time.
You have started to form your own opinions expressed through squeals, grunts, finger points, and arm thrusts.  Although you have no words yet you have a way of letting us know exactly what you need.
You love books, and each morning you will sit yourself in front of your books and pull each one off the shelf.  You will surround yourself with words you do not use.
Although you are not walking you can stand on your own two feet.  You will hold on to something in front of you, but you do not really need to.  You can now go down the steps, and love to be on the couch, but can't always climb up yourself.  You love to climb onto tables and chairs, and when you can't climb up yourself you ask for help...with a grunt and a shriek.
You are a good sleeper and will go right down in your crib for both naps and for bedtime.  You will snuggle up to your soft blanket pucker your lips as if you are drinking from a bottle, maybe flip through a book, then you are out...silently and peacefully.
High Chairs and shopping carts are now things you climb out of, and luckily your crib has not been added to that list.  Diaper changes and getting you dressed are still challenges for us but you do love your bath time!
Your hair is still coming in light brown and curly, your eyes remain bluish gray, and your dimple is still more pronounced on the right side.
You are a wonderfully pleasant and happy boy.  You smile and laugh and coo a lot. You get excited over balls and music and books.   You love to dump toys and turn them over to see how they work.   You love to be a part of the action and yet you play so well alone.   You are easy going and wonderful and as you begin to enter toddlerhood i revel in all that you do and all that you are becoming.  You make me laugh and melt my heart simultaneously.  You are incredible, Turner and I love you so!



Saturday, February 6, 2010

I'd rather be splitting hairs!

Most people would do anything for their children.  We wipe dirty butts and clean up baby throw up and that is just the beginning of the lengths we, as parents, go for our kids.  So, when I laid all 180 pieces of the wooden train tracks down on the activity table I was prepared to put it together.  It was a snow day and I had the time.  Although I completed the track, after two attempts and several hours, I can name a list of things I would have rather been doing: splitting hairs, watching paint dry, root canal all rank above the building of these tracks.  And, yet, I've done it again, and again, again...for my kids.


When Chase and Ryder were almost two I debated whether or not we wanted a train table.  At other people's homes and at stores with such a toy, they played with it all of the time, but I had a feeling it would be yet another thing for Ryder to climb and, ultimately, would become a collect all for the all the other shit in the same room.  I opted out, with no regret.

As we neared Turner's first birthday we spent some time with the Klaus'.  Jackson, who was 22 months at the time, had a slight obsession with trains and his train table was his favorite toy.  As all three of my boys stood around the table with their buddy I thought "perhaps a home with three boys should have a train table!"  I continued to debate it in my own head and watched as Chase and Ryder played nicely with the mini train set and the Geotrax.  I also noticed as Turner pulled the tracks apart.  But, he was only 10 months.  He did not know any better!!

So as a gift from special friends I chose the table and the tracks.  But, here's the thing about it.  Not only do you need a BS in Engineering to put it together, and not only are the instructions incorrect, or at least seemed to be to the likes of a lowly BA in Journalism, but the damn thing falls apart every time you play with it.  One slight nudge of the block which holds the elevated tracks and they crumble, like dominoes.  Well, that's another idea for the use of the table I suppose.

As I write this, after my patience ran out with the tracks last fall, all of the pieces are tucked inside the table's one drawer, minus the several that did not fit.  Those are scattered about messily on the table's top.  I am told glue dots, or Velcro strips will help the track to stay together but do I really want to put the whole thing together again? No, I'd rather be splitting hairs..., of course, I will do it anyway.  For my kids.  Just after I wipe a dirty butt.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Todd has a great long term memory. He can remember, with detail, moments of his childhood, often down to what he was wearing. He remembers every face he has ever seen. And, he has an uncanny ability to remember nearly every candidate he has worked with in his 15 year recruiting career.  Ask him to remember to call you back, to relay a message, or to know the date of your upcoming plan, and he may not!!
In all the ways Todd's memory excels, mine does not!   Sure, I can remember the phone numbers of all of my childhood friends. I can remember most people's, even random people in my life, birth date. I can remember first and middle names of most people's children. Yet, I usually have no idea why I opened the fridge, went upstairs, or dialed your number. Despite remembering childhood phone numbers I have no reason to call them (they no longer live there) and knowing peoples birth dates does not help since I usually forget on the actual day. Like I said, I have a  terrible memory.
Chase has always had an unbelievable memory. He remembers things no one else does and constantly refers to things of yesterday (or last month or last year!)
Now, his new favorite thing to do is to play the memory game. He loves it!  Every night we must play before bed and everyday we must play several games. Sometimes we play color memory, more often we play Spiderman memory.
When we first started playing we only used a few pairs. But, as time has passed and his skills have improved we have played with 20 or so pairs. Chase concentrates so hard during every game and you can see the inner workings of his mind as he is learning to use the whole board. You can watch his eyes light up when anyone of us turns over the other half of a card we have already seen. Chase is really good at the game. Sure, Todd and I let him win often, but he is really good and can and does win on his own.
Ryder plays with us too. He enjoys the game but is not quite as obsessed with it as Chase.
Although lately we have seen much improvement from Ryder, his desire to concentrate through 20 pairs is just minimal. Hs style of play involves turning over the same card every time. As if, suddenly, Iron Man will be wearing the Spidey mask.  He plays, as he does most things, as only Ryder could.  He does not have the same focus and, though frustrating for us, he has a good time doing it his own way.  And, perhaps he is on to something because yesterday he beat me, fair and square.

OP-I must have it!

I am not a high maintenance girl.  I grew up as a tomboy and turned into a lady.  A sporty lady, one who likes flowers and nighttime dramas and love stories but can still hang with the guys.  I have a wardrobe (a small one) filled mostly with jeans and t-shirts and enough of the “appropriate” thing to wear that I can attend most events from funerals to cocktail parties. To say I do not care about how I look is a gross understatement but on the scale from all-natural to extreme makeover I fall much closer to the left.  Part laziness, part confidence, there is a time for the plunging necklines and stilettos that does not include my everyday.  For some, I suppose, it does.
When it comes to maintaining, I am pretty low key.  I cut my hair about half as many times as we change the clocks in a year.  I wax my brows a little less frequently than probably needed.  I get a makeover on random occurrence, but do wear some makeup about 5 days a week, mostly mascara, to widen my eyes.  Since I love pedicures, I would get one every week if I could, but I don’t.  And, I get a manicure as often as I can. That’s right.  The manicure is my makeover must have.  For one, I love the “free” hand massage I get with every one.  Two, I hate my hands, and a manicure makes them that much more tolerable to my critical eye.  Three, I am a picker, and a manicure is the only way I stop picking, even if only temporarily.
So, you can imagine my delight when I learned of OPi’s new gel lacquer.  An amazing, shiny lacquer that not only requires no drying time, but also lasts 2-3 weeks.  No chipping.  Honest.
Usually I am flawed or chipped within moments of leaving the salon as I dig for my keys or start my car.  But, as I type this, I am 19 days in to my manicure and they are nearly perfect.  Mild signs of growth aside my nails have endured the rough and tough treatment I give them daily.  They have survived the 10 or so daily washings of sippy cups.  Ugh, they are so perfect I can’t find anything to pick.
The once a month manicure must have been designed just for me!!  I can't believe I am saying this, but...OPI gel lacquer....I must have it

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Yesterday I heard a thud, followed by a shattering crash.  I did not hear crying, thank god!  I counted the boys in the living room, one...two, as I double stepped to the upstairs.  As I approached Chase and Ryder's room this is what I saw:

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The thud was the dresser, the shattering was the piggy bank!  Notice the hamper scattered about and the books on the floor, also part of his mess, yet separate.

My heart stopped for a second before a naked and crying Chase ran into my arms "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm sorry" was uttered between sobs.  It took a while before I could determine that he was not crying because he was hurt, just scared.

It turned out Chase wanted the responsibilty calendar, a magnetic chart we use to monitor certain behaviors.  He wanted to play with it.  This is interesting for a number of reasons one being that we hardly use the thing because the boys' mother forgets we have it.  Another is that if he wanted to play with it, which he may have because they both have a fascination for playing with the magnetic stickers, he could reach it without climbing. 

But, for some reason, he climbed.  My suspicion is that he opened the middle drawer and then used the drawer as a stool.  The whole thing fell forward and somehow, I thank my lucky stars, did not land on him!   His piggy bank shattered everywhere and I was surprised that there was actually a lot more money spread about the floor than there were shards of ceramic.
I managed to stay calm as I tried to stress how very dangerous climbing on furniture could be.  I tried to stress how lucky he was that he did not get hurt.  I am not sure if he understood.

We punished Chase.  Not because he was being bad but because he did something he should not have and put himself in danger.  We took away Memory and stories.  He is not very happy with the situation, but he is dealing.

We've had our walls drawn on and our oils spilled.  We had dirty diapers thrown about and window screens damaged.  it was just a matter of time before furniture was knocked over.   The surprising part was the culprit.  Everyone who saw this picture before reading this entry guessed it was Ryder.  I laughed, understanding their disbelief.  But, the truth is, had it been Ryder to climb on top of , the bureau, or anything, it never would have fallen over.  He can scale things like the Spiderman he thinks he is.

It wasn't so bad in the end.  The damage looked bad, but it cleaned up pretty easily and only the piggy bank was ruined.  Still, it was scary.  I think over and over how lucky we were that he was not beneath it.  And, that Turner and Ryder were not in the room.