The Tovsky Tribe

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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Death Grip on Babyhood!

There are tons of little moments that remind us our babies are no longer such.  They happen despite our death grip to hold on to their infancy, to their babyhood, even their toddlerhood.  They happen no matter how much we beg to freeze them in the moment of time when they cuddle on your shoulder and tuck their head into the crook of your neck, or snuggle into their cribs with their toosh in the air, or at their absolute hysterics over a simple game of peek-a-boo!
Today, Turner had one of those moments, in fact a string of those moments, and as much as I wanted to knock him down when he was first learning to walk there is nothing to do to stop his inevitable steps over big boyhoods threshold.

Chase had a doctors appointment all the way out in King of Prussia.  With Todd in Florida visiting his Mom-Mom this could not have come at a more inconvenient time.   But, appointments at CHOP are hard to come by so I went in the middle of the day.  With both my mother and sister tied up with previous commitments I had to find other "babysitting" for both Turner and Ryder.

Ryder went home from school with his buddy Oren.  They had a blast and Jeff had no reports of negative behavior.  And, in a story I do not want to repeat here, the boys became even more of blood brothers than a costume sharing gesture could ever prove.

Turner went home with Nikki, Jagger, and Brody.  Or, as he says it, Ninik, Gagher, and Baby Broyee!  Every morning when he wakes up he asks if it is a "Barbara's House" day?  After I told him that it most certainly was (and, ultimately, after his grin of delight) I filled him in on the fact that he would be going home after school with Jagger.  "Ok, mama!" was all that I got.   I dropped it for a moment.   We got dressed and went downstairs.  Over breakfast Ryder and I discussed how he would go home with Oren after school.  He did a fist pump and an "AWESOME!"  I looked at Turner and said, "Turner, who are you going to go home with?"  "Ninik, mama!  Gagher and Baby Broyee!"  He said it so matter of factly, as if he always goes home with people other than me.  Then he continued, "I hold Broyee at Ninik's house?"  I told him I thought that could be arranged.

Apparently the date went great.  Turner gave Nikki a hug as soon as he saw her.  At her house he played and shared with his best bud Jagger.  He got to hug and kiss and change the diapers of Brody.  He got to walk the dog and watch her pee.  He got to play rock band.  And, from what I understand, he never stopped talking.  This came as a surprise to Nikki, but to me, not so much.   That boy never shuts up.  Ever.  Unless of course he is being out-talked by Chase.  Which is likely.

Although all of these, on his first play date without his mommy, are examples of those reminder moments none of them are my real indicator that Turner is not a baby.  He is in school, he speaks in sentences, he plays with his brothers, and he has an opinion and, yet, I can continue to deny his obvious growing up.
What came to me like a smack in the face was when I asked Turner about his day, if he had fun with Jagger and what he did, I got a full response.   He told me, in his words: "I hold baby broyee.  I kiss him."  I asked, did you help Nikki?  and he said "Yeah, momma, I help Ninik change Broyee's peepee."  He paused.   "I walk the doggie.  doggie made peepee."  I continued, "Turner what is the dog's name!"  He smiled, "Sophie!"  Sophie he repeated several times.

He clearly had a blast!!

My baby boy will always be my baby but he is giving me not so subtle hints that he is no longer an actual baby.  I will try to enjoy the moments that he lets me know he is a big boy, admiring his milestones with both pride and (slightly bitter) joy.  And, in the meantime, I will also cherish the few things I have left to hold on to my baby's babyhood.   His snuggle with his "baybay and friend."  The way he grabs the corner and rubs his finger on the silk.  And, how his mouth starts rooting when he is tired.  The grin that lights up a room and the giggle that is childlike and fun.   And, for now, I will even cherish the fact that he still wears diapers, still sleeps in a crib, and still cries for his mommy, sometimes.

And, without being too much of a braggart, I am also very proud that my boy, my baby, was able to show to others what I already knew...that he can be a big boy!!!

Holding Hands with his Best Friends sister

Hugging Brody

Holding Baby Broyee

Little Rock Stars

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blood Brothers!

Ryder has a tendency to be a little difficult.  He is a good boy, who knows his manners, but sometimes forgets to use them.  He means well but sometimes get caught up in la la land.  He doesn't see the world in black and white, and therefore, everything has to be explored.   Although I admire this about my son, it can also be quite frustrating.

Today, Ryder was a superstar.  He was so well-behaved!  He listened so well!  He used his manners!   All the things he has a tendency to be difficult about (ie: going potty, getting dressed, leaving for school,) were of no issue today, at all.  It was wonderful.  I told him thousands of times how proud I was, how happy I was, how grateful I was.

Ryder is a sensitive boy.  He is imaginative and creative, and it would not surprise me if he was a poet later in life.  He has an extreme fondness for all things superhero and he adores the world of make believe.  His costumes, in particular his Spider-man costume, are his number one most important thing in his entire universe.  Costumes are his kryptonite.

If he is misbehaving and we say we will take away his costumes, he often stops the bad behavior.  Though, not always.  We also use a "new" costume as incentive, or, er, a bribe, for good behavior.   Hey, don't judge, whatever works!!!

He likes to put his Spider-man costume into little boxes.  He does this because Peter Parker does this in the movies.   Ryder loves to dress up like, and pretend to be, Peter.  Today, Ryder took both Spider-man costumes, folded inside of his Ryder "what used to be his markers" box to school.  Since he was behaving so well today, I didn't stop him.

At pickup this afternoon I was told how good Ryder was all day, how well he listened, how happy he was.   It really was a great day for him.  When he saw me he ran to me, like always, jumped into my arms, like usual, and gave me a great big hug.    My boys are always good for a real tight hug.  Then he looked at me and asked "Mommy, can I give Oren my Spider-man costume?"

I nearly fell to the floor.  Maybe because he almost knocks me down every time, but mostly because Ryder never wants to part with his costumes.  EVER.

I asked:  "You want to give Oren your costume?" and he responded: "yes, his is ripped and I said he could borrow mine!"  Shocked, I continued: "Of course you can, Ryder, but you realize you will be without it, right?"  He said "yes!"  And, so, he gave Oren the costume.

When we got home Jeff called and said "Oren has a Spider-man costume he claims Ryder gave him.  Did he take it from him?"  I assured Jeff that Ryder did, in fact, give Oren the costume.  I told Ryder how proud of him I was for sharing with a friend.  He said "Oren's my friend, it made him happy."

Now, the fact that, technically, it was Chase's costume he gave is irrelevant because Chase will not miss it.  And, Ryder does wear both.

As it turns out, this little act was a HUGE display of affection.  I never had a doubt that Oren was Ryder's best bud.  He loves that kid.  Chase does too, in fact.  The three of them are little bosom buddies.  Oren, interestingly, has things in common with both boys.

But, if there was ever a sign of a 4 year olds love for his buddy, if there was ever an expression of friendship, this is it.  The sharing of the favorite costume.  They might as well become blood brothers.

Yes, Ryder certainly had a very good day!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Band of Brothers!

Boys in the 'hood!

When I want to get a picture of the boys, it is near impossible.   At least one will be difficult, another won't sit still long enough and I end up with, at best, an unblurry visual of one child.
Sometimes, we will be enjoying a moment and I will ask "Can, I take a picture of you guys?"   Their response, without thinking, is "no!"  So I skip it.

Saturday we went to the Academy of Natural Sciences to enjoy Paleo-Palooza=Enough Dinosaurs for three little boys to enjoy.  It was a mob scene, and a cold and windy day, so the line was no fun.  Luckily, Ali and Jared bailed us out again and got us in!!

When we left the boys were tired and hungry and wanting to go home.   I never expected a picture nor would have even asked for one.  But, as we walked to the car, and the wind was blocked out by the buildings and the sun was shining bright, Ryder stopped on some city steps and said, "mommy, can we get a picture here?"  My camera is broken, again!  But that is another story.  Luckily, Todd's phone takes great pictures.  Chase and Turner didn't hesitate to join in the snapshot.

"Ryder looks Bad-ass!"  "Reminds me of the Beastie Boys!"  "Boys in the 'hood!'  This is how people are describing this picture.  I love it though.  Mostly because it is a moment they wanted captured, and also because, in this, I see the personalities of my boys.   Boys, Best Friends, Brothers!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

100 Days of School!

Yesterday was the 100th day of school for Chase and Ryder.  I don't remember this from my schooling, but apparently this is quite the big deal.  The kids have been learning to count to 100 and every day one lucky kid got to X out the day that was being completed.  The 100th day was certainly cause for celebration.  The assigned project was to bring in 100 of anything the child wanted and to present it any way they wanted.  

I asked the boys what they wanted.  Ryder said "I want to bring in 100 costumes!"  This was hardly surprising but was impossible and costly so I asked him to reconsider.  He told me every day, until the minute we started working on the project, that he wanted to bring in 100 costumes.  Chase answered the question by saying, "I want to bring in 100 goldfish set up like a goldfish!"  I was amazed by his creativity, and was happy that was a relatively easy project, until I learned (from him) that the goldfish was the exact example Ms. Liz had given.  There was no way I was letting him do the example.  So, I started offering up examples.  All were rejected.

In the end, Ryder agreed to my idea of using 100 toothpicks to create a Spider-Web.  He did a fantastic job of helping me and insisted on adding his own touches, both a spider (that I drew) and a Spider man that he colored and had me cut out.  He put the glue on and told me exactly where to put it.  If I must say so myself, it turned out pretty good.  He was both helpful and happy!!

Chase decided, and I have no idea where he came up with this, to make a tree house out of 100 lego's.  I love legos' and a part of me was so excited this is what he wanted (despite being shocked since lego's are more of Ryder's thing than Chase's.)  But, as we began to work on it, I realized how difficult and fragile this project would be.  In the end I did most of the work but Chase was super proud and he knew "I have to be extremely careful because my project is delicate!  What's delicate mean, mommy?"  He is always asking for definitions of new words.

Ryder allowed Chase to help, a bit!!  This is amidst working on it.

A lego tree house!

Boot Camp!

I just did something crazy.  CRAZY!  Markedly, nuts!  No, of course, this isn't my first time having a crazy moment.  I know it won't be my last.  Sometimes I flirt with insanity, so in the grand scheme, perhaps this is nothing.  But still, I just had a crazy moment and enrolled myself in Action Boot Camp!  Don't think it sounds so nuts?  Just Wait, there's more.   This Boot Camp, which has nothing to do with wearing fun and fashionable boots and has little to do with the camp that I remember going to as a kid, is three times a week!  3 TIMES?  I don't remember the last time I did anything three times in a week?  Laundry?  Definitely, not (though I should!)  I am not even sure I always get to take a shower three times in a week.  And, wait, here's the kicker.  Boot Camp begins at 6am.  6 am - 7 am three times a week!!! For 6 weeks!!

Like I said, CRAZY.

I am sure there are people out there who A. Function at that hour of the morning on a daily basis (and perhaps even some who have had a few hours in their day by that time) and B. Think exercise is as good of a reason as any to rise with the roosters.   But, I am not one of those people.   Not even close.  6am is what we call UNACCEPTABLE in our house and even 7am is borderline.  And, though there was a time in my life when exercise was a big part of my day (though never before PM hours), that was a long time ago.  Before Facebook, and texting, and Phillies Dynasty talk.  Back when my closet did not have jeans hanging in every size from 2-10.

I would say that this was a momentary lapse of reason.  But, the truth is, I actually pondered this decision for several days just to be sure that my craziness would last for, at least, the six weeks of the "camp!"  I couldn't talk myself out of it, though I did try.  Somehow, this seems like a good idea (CRAZY)!  When else can I do something for myself that won't completely affect my whole family.   I don't need babysitting at that hour, I don't need Todd to skip work, I don't need him to drive them to school.  I just need Todd to be home, which, because he is a relatively normal human being, he'll be home and sleeping.  
I figure it's only 6 weeks.  6 Weeks sounds long when I think about the grueling hour at the crack of dawn that I will have to try to get through three times a week, but really 6 weeks passes much faster than I can actually keep up with.  So does ten years!

Why this sudden urge to exercise, to lose precious hours of sleep?  I am not sure.  I've been down the path twice before, heading back to the gym, trying to turn muffin top into....something other than that.
Both times the thrill ended 6 or 8 weeks into the routine, mostly from a scheduling conflict.  It may sound hard to believe but when your entire day, week, life revolves around three little people conflicts become quite the norm.  You learn to expect them.  

Lately, I have been loosely following the new Weight Watchers plus program.  Unexpectedly and much faster than  I anticipated, I am below my pre-pregnancy weight.  From Chase and Ryder.   Nearly 5 years it took.  Although it is a nice mental treat to know, to see, a number lower than I have seen in years, a look in the mirror reminds me without a doubt that my body was definitely taken over by other beings.  The cozy place they each called home has a photogenic muscle memory.  Should I want more kids (I don't, for now my CRAZY ends with boot camp enrollment) it would have a perfect place to nestle and grow without restriction.  So, I figured, now that I lost the weight that was reluctant to leave me for all so long, perhaps I should try to morph it into a bit of shape.  A bit.  Or if not, let's not pretend I am so young anymore, and a little cardiac activity on a weekly basis may be good for me.  Blood flow, heart rate, stamina.  Yes, these are important elements in good health.  Or, so I am told.

I am motivated.  Maybe it's the birthday vacation Todd surprised me with.  Perhaps, it is the way I look in the few pictures a year that I am actually in.   It could be that I, only half- jokingly, refer to myself as the fat friend in my group of strangely skinny moms.  It could be that the bigger jeans are way too big and the smaller sizes can actually sneak up my hips.  But, it's not all vain.  Really.   Since I started eating better, I feel a lot better.  Maybe it is true, the old adage, you are what you eat.   And, since I still allow myself some things I choose not to live without (chocolate and wine, to name two), I enjoy them so much more, and don't feel crappy after consuming them.

I can't stop the daily chaos, the tiring afternoons, the draining instead I will combat it.  Combat it by adding energy (despite losing sleep) with good food and exercise and three hours to myself a week. Sounds good, right?  Mid-thirties, and there is something to be said for feeling good!

Check back here again over the next few weeks.  Maybe, if I am not too tired, or too sore, or too embarrassed from the reality check of how out of shape I actually am, there will be an update on what this boot camp is doing for me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A week of sickness

This is the equipment we needed to properly dose out our children's medicine last week.  Since all kids were taking at least two different medications (a fever reducer and an anti-biotic) it is shocking we did not a chart in order to keep track.

These are the provider of smiles on an otherwise shitty day.   Feeling like crap, mothering children who also felt like crap, made for a very long, long day.  These flowers offered up some beauty, some aroma, some love.  A sweet reminder from Todd that he loves me, he appreciates me, and that it was, indeed, a bad week!!

And this!!!  This is the extremely thoughtful, vey kind gift from great people who reminded us that good friends are always there!!  Even if they can't make the sick kid(s) better, they sure can try.  Since I hadn't been out of the house for days, this was dinner!!!  Thank you Ali and Jared!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


In this day of text messaging, everything has an acronym EVRYTHNG!! When in doubt, just shorten the spelling. There really is no need for vowels, anyway. SaHM is what has become of the term, of the job, of the choice, Stay at home mom! Which is what I am! I say this as a matter of fact. I do not bring home a paycheck of any kind, instead my sole responsibility is to make sure my kids are alive and my house is standing at the end of every day. Of course, that sole responsibility has about 2 million little responsibilities under its umbrella and each day it is a relative surprise to which tasks will fall on the top of my daily to do list.
Most days I am stuck in the motions and unaware of what, if anything, has been accomplished.  All I know is that when I go to bed...the kids are alive (and happy) and the house is standing (even if messy!)
I don't know how working moms do it, because on top of the above very important responsibilities they also have a full-time job!  Hats off to them.

However, though considered a lucky choice, I would hardly categorize my life as luxurious, since I barely get a minute for myself in a week, let alone a day.  But, I am not complaining.  Really.

I just got over being sick.   Twice.  The first time was a horrible cold caught by making the mistake of entering a hospital.  The cold was so bad I could hardly see and I was pretty sure my head was about to explode.  But, I did not have an opportunity to rest.  Like I said, SaHM is hardly luxurious.  So, I went about my mothering duty (it just so happened to be yet another day off from school) with puffy eyes and a runny nose.  The second sickness attacked me, probably because I never rested off the cold, as a combination of strep throat and a virus, all at once.  This doomed me to my bed and Todd had to stay home.  I thank him for his 24 hour stint as Mr. Mom.

But, here's the thing about being sick.  Here is why it is impossible to stay in bed even if you have a fire in your throat, glands the size of hockey pucks, and hammers in your head.  Life goes on around you.
The laundry does not stop piling up (and piling and piling,) billing due dates don't get extensions, kids don't stop being hungry, nor making messes, nor dumping their toys.  Food shopping still needs to get done.  None of it stops and so, we put on our big girl bras and continue on with our day.

And, now I am reminded of what it is I accomplish in a day.  Even if it goes unnoticed by those I live with.  And, also, I have become ever so grateful for the good drugs!!

Sick and Tired Winter

Winter! Winter was here well before its official calendar date and has roared rather loud and obnoxiously since its arrival. The temperature has barely risen above twenty degrees and though we've had fewer blizzards than last year the accumulation of snow fall is almost as great due to its constant flurrying.
Although all of this snowfall does bring sledding, which the kids enjoy, and the need for hot chocolate and wood burning fires (which I enjoy), and missed days of school (which the kids and I have opposing viewpoints on). Frankly, Winter has out worn its welcome.

And were only in February.

I can deal with the extra time required, though we are always short on, to bundle up my team of little guys. Hats, gloves, scarves, coats! And, though all of these aforementioned things make strapping the boys into their car seats nearly impossible, I can deal with that too. The mountain I have to climb to get my mail? Manageable. The ice I nearly slip-on? Tolerable.  The pale white skin and the desire to over-eat? Less than attractive but still I will accept it as terms of living in a four-seasons town.

But, I've had ENOUGH with the illness.  All 5 of us have passed our symptoms around like dice at a craps table....and the only symptom we don't have is, well, the craps.  Our house seems to be a cesspool of germs.  Want to come swimming?  I doubt it, and I don't blame you.

We've never really been the "sickies" before. The occasional bout here and there but never have we needed to Lysol and Purell all season long.

When we started Chase and Ryder in Pre-school two years ago we expected them to try every Pre-school virus on for size. Luckily, we avoided most of them.  Until now.

Chase has suffered the brunt of it, being sick six different times since Thanksgiving. The poor kid is quite the trooper. In between, Ryder has given a new meaning to being "hot"  as we watched the mercury rise into febrile seizure territory.  And, now, Turner's nose is off and running in a marathon.

I was sick with the worlds worst cold, but since mommy's don't get sick days I just had to deal with the cough that may not leave til Summer.  Then, of course, I got hit with a double doozy combination of strep throat and another virus which allowed me exactly 24 hours free from my duty as I was laid up in bed.   Simultaneously, Ryder had a stomach bug and a double ear infection, Turner had an ear infection, Chase battled with stomach issues, and Todd attempted to run the show while battling a terrible cold of his own.

I made the decision not to give the boys flu vaccines. This is something that I waiver on almost every year. Last year I immunized Turner, but not Chase and Ryder. And, despite the rampant H1N1 we managed to avoid the sickly swine. Amy did vaccinate the girls last year, and yet the girls did get the virus.....twice. So, clearly I had made the right decision then.  And, perhaps this year too, since the one sickness we haven't had (please knock on wood here) is the flu!

I am a believer in letting the body naturally build up the immunities required to survive in the world, or at least in the germy space of a pre-school. I am not saying I am against medications (well at least not for my children) but I also believe that moderate exposure to the germs that surround us is like exercise for the immune system.

Germ-phobes everywhere just got the chills.

Please understand that with all this being said I don't allow my kids to bathe in viruses and don't promote licking floors. I do expect them to wash their hands at all of the same important times that every other parent does. And, like everyone, my heart breaks if the kids are sick.  So, obviously, right now my heart is broken as I watched through sick eyes all three boys suffer illness.  I can't take another minute.  I spent yesterday (high on my antibiotic which for some reason is making me speed) cleaning, disinfecting, the house!  I hope.  I pray!  I opened windows to get the fresh air in and the germy air out.  I sprayed Lysol, used the wipes, and covered every hard surface with disinfectant spray.  I mopped the floors and wiped down the remotes, the phones, the computers, the door knobs, the light switches.

Clearly, I am fed up!  I have had enough of the sickness.  Apparently, the groundhog did not see his shadow (though I am surprised he got out of his ice covered hole) so Spring is coming?!?  Maybe.  Like I said, I can deal with the temperatures, the snow, the ice, but the illnesses, no more.

So, please! Enough is enough! Really.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Let's Go Flyers!!

Today was Chase's turn to enjoy his daddy/son date at the Flyers.  He had been counting down the days since Ryder went ten days ago.   He talked about it a lot.  We had Delaney's birthday party in the afternoon then he and Todd headed downtown for another Flyers win.   
They beat the Dallas Stars 3-1, he enjoyed his ice cream, and he got a picture with one time legend Dave "The Hammer" Shultz.  He was too tired to tell me about it when he got home, making it two full quarters after a 7pm start, but he did have a huge smile on his face.

Young Picasso's

 A good old fashioned ice storm made way for the perfect opportunity to use the glass as the canvas.....


Quintessential Ryder.  One of his many, creative sides.

(This was just a normal day, no need for such formal attire.  Unless, of course, you're Ryder!)