The Tovsky Tribe

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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yah Mon, it's my Birthday!

I took this of myself, of the view, at 7am on my birthday!

The kind staff left me this message.  Notice the spelling:)

Today is my birthday! I keep forgetting, which could be an obvious sign of my aging. Or, sheer avoidance. But, it is in fact my birthday. I am 36. However, in my moment of realizing it is the anniversary of my police car arrival I think I am 37. I am not sure if I am grateful for the extra year of youth or optimistic that 37 will still feel this good!!

I am spending this day at The Caves, in Jamaica. No other words are necessary to make that point clear!
I couldn't ask for a better day, a better way, or better company to spend my birthday. Since being here I've battled a bad case of the runs and haven't been up past 10pm yet. Also, my back hurts, which should be resolved by my 4pm Jamaican massage. Coupled with our 530pm sunset hot tub experience. If it were not for these subtle hints of ageing I would not feel a day over 35:)
After our massage!!!

Down these steps into the hot-tub cave for sunset!

The view

The view,  again

Popping the champagne!


36 is an uneventful age. Except if you count the fact that today is the Royal Wedding, a day the world could not stop talking about, making this April 29th highly anticipated. I would like to personally thank Kate and William for taking the spotlight off of me on this day and allowing me to sunbathe in Jamaica without the paparazzi and enjoy my aging in peace.
Life is not much different since my post last year. My wardrobe remains as is, my DVR records the same silly shows and is always nearing the 90% full marker since I rarely make the time to watch. My laundry still piles on end and I still enjoy the same things. I am proud to say that different from last year, although I still (happily) have the husband and three boys, I no longer have those extra ten pounds that separated my mid-twenties from my mid-thirties. I had to sacrifice a large portion of my brain, the part that houses short term memory for keys and ATM cards, particularly, but it seemed like a fair trade. Despite the weight loss, however, I still have the membership fee of pregnancy branded on my belly as stretch marks and the baby hips to go along with it. I wonder if sacrificing my spontaneous desire to jump from a 30 foot cliff would be considered market value?

On this start of my 37th year I am relaxed and calm and quintessentially happy. Calm Caribbean waters may be responsible for the relaxed feeling but the happy comes from within. This I know is true.
Birthdays are a time to celebrate. Grateful, always, for another year no matter the number. And today's celebration was way more than I would have ever asked for. Our night, eventually, finished off with candlelight dinner overlooking the wave-crashed cliffs, another fantastic meal at the Caves, and a team of Jamaicans singing "Happy Birthday" to me.

Idyllic setting aside, however, I can't wait to have my boys sing happy birthday to me. Birthdays are for celebrating life.....but its not complete with out them. But, that's two days from now. For now, it's back to my perfect blue sky!!

Til next year!

A Princess Story

Today is the Royal Wedding. It also happens to be my birthday which somehow, or so many other people have told me, makes my birthday a sort of holiday. Frankly, I don't get it. I don't get the correlation between the two and I especially don't get the months of chatter, set my alarm, grab me the box of tissues, overkill fascination with the couple. Everyone is just so excited to see how she looks. SPOILER ALERT: she looks beautiful! Don't need to tune in in the middle of the night to know that. What bride doesn't look beautiful? Particularly one who starts off good looking. Oh, and has a gazillion dollar budget?
No one wants to see what William looks like. Mostly because, who cares about a groom (wink wink,) even a Prince is outdone by a bride, but possibly because he isn't too good looking. Which, is why of course, he is the King-to-Be that pretty much guarantees he got girls at a young age. And, that's how you score a hot Kate Middleton.
The story goes that Kate Middleton, the commoner, a millionaire commoner but one all the same, was choosing between elite private schools when her mother, a no fool commoner, remarked "if all else is equal go to St. Andrew University. William is going there and you have as good of a chance as any!"
I laugh at this for many so reasons. That's a Disney Princess story yet to be told.
You will laugh at me, likely, when I say I never dreamt of marrying a Prince. Becoming a Princess. Oh, imagine my clumsy hands, my rounded shoulders, my gaseous belly being addressed as Lady Wendy. It just wouldn't work.
I never dreamt of horse-drawn carriages, which is lucky since my prince of choice can't get within a few feet of Secretariat without going into anaphylactic shock.
I never dreamt of the glass slipper nor the sprawling castle. Even knowing I would have a staff to clean the crannies of the place, all that SIZE, all of the rooms, it is just too much to handle.
Nah, I never dreamt of being a princess. Perhaps this is why I don't have daughters. Although I do believe, totally, that my sons are Princes and they are evidence that birth right is only part of the princehood equation.
This is not all to say I never dreamt as a kid. Nor that I don't as an adult. Sure. Don't you know that my 4th home is going to be on the grounds of a vineyard I own in Napa Valley. The third is undecided yet, but is likely tropical.
That's right. My housekeeper(s) have finally tackled my laundry problem. And my clutter issue. My staff-accountant pays all of the bills.
My husband, my children, and I will have to return your message at another time because we are jet-setting.   Again.  You really should see Zimbabwe.  Add it to your bucket list.

Wait, maybe I did dream of being princess?! Do you think the royal family would mind if I wear flip-flops to the dinner table?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


These photos of Ryder were taken right after we inherited this Piano.  This was evidence that he was ready for the lessons!!

Ryder has been a budding rock star since he started toddling around with his guitar.
He would strum the guitar with his natural, left-handed, stance and he just looked the part. Even with his diaper hanging out.

Now, as he approaches the big boy age of 5, he is beginning his journey down the musical yellow brick road. This makes me both proud and uncomfortable. I crushed rock stars for a while when I was younger. Both, actual celebrity-type rock stars, and boys my age who aspired to be rock stars. There is something immediately alluring about a boy with a guitar, not an image I want to picture for my son.
But, he's been asking. A LOT. For guitar lessons. Being that he is too young and his hands are too small (if he has Berman hands, which I think he does, I hate to tell him he will struggle with that issue for life) and his fingers are not yet nimble enough we were advised he start with piano.
And so we did.

He had his first lesson on Tuesday and he proved he wanted these lessons as bad as he had been saying. After Miss Mindy introduced herself (and he told her that we had a cousin Mindy and a friend Mindy, Shane's mommy) he ran right over to the piano, his feet hardly touching the ground. He looked at it for a moment, wide-eyed, imagining the possibilities. Then he looked around. He found, much to his delight, a photograph of Miss Mindy's two sons dressed, appropriately, in superhero costumes. It doesn't matter how small or how hidden, like a Waldo, if there is a Spider-man to be found, Ryder can spot it.
The presence of his super friends made him feel at home. More relaxed. It gave him something else to focus on when his 4 year old mind travels, as it does, from the task at hand to something else altogether.  I wouldn't be surprised if he spent some time wondering if their was a Super Hero Pianist? I suppose, despite the fact that he doesn't wear a cape, there is and his name is Beethoven.
Although I did not sit in on the lesson, I did sit in the other room with Chase (who refused to miss out on any moment that may belong to Ryder.).
I listened a bit as Mindy opened the top of the piano and showed Ryder how it works when you hit the keys. His MacGyver mind must have been enthralled at that alone.
They went on, working on the black keys, practicing which fingers to use, and where on the keyboard the sound was "Low like a Lion" or "High like a Bird" a closed eye exercise he seemed to enjoy!
His mind did drift - twice to the costumed boys picture and once to the piano shaped dish filled with M&M's - but it always came back. And, of course, there's homework which means, like it or not, I will learn to play the piano, too!
Afterwards, he recited back most of what he learned, first to me, then later, to Todd. He even asked if we would all go to his Piano concert like we go to Chase's soccer game! I am sure he will be super excited when he learns that piano recitals involve tuxedos, since he loves to get dressed up!!

Overall, I am excited for Ryder as he partakes in something that belongs just to him, for now. I am excited for him as he begins to vent his creative energy in a positive way. I am excited for him because he has always heard music; in his head, in the wind. He has always loved listening to music. Playing the piano he seemed happy, at ease, eager to learn so that he can, one day, play a song. Or compose one.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Look who insisted on standing at the potty.  He insisted his brothers come look.  He insisted I take the picture.  He even held his penis pointed, appropriately, in the toilet.  But, that was all.  He walked away. He did not even try to pee.

Two days later he took his diaper off in his crib.  When I asked him why he said he did not want to wear it, he wanted underpants.  I obliged.  But, only after he sat on the potty.  He did, but he did not pee.  He did ask for a sticker for trying, though.  He wore underwear, refused a diaper, and refused even more to actually use the toilet.  While in the underwear I asked, "Turner, where do you make your sis!"  "In the potty!" He shouted.  I smiled.   "Do you make sis in your underwear, Turner?"  "No!  In the shower!!!"  Not sure where he got that, but I will take it over the underwear.

Two pairs of underwear later he gave in and let Ryder put a diaper on him!

Opening Day!

It was snowing, and dreary, and and a not so funny April Fools trick that it did not feel one bit like spring nor baseball season.  But, still, it was opening day for the beloved Phils and, despite it feeling a bit like game 5 of the 2008 World Series, we were geared up and ready to watch our ACE, Roy Halladay, begin our undefeated season!!!!

PS:  Yes, we won the season opener.  No, we are not undefeated nor did we really think we would be.  But we are hopeful for a long OCTOBER baseball!!


I was raised conservative Jewish.  With two Jewish parents.  I was Bat Mitzvahed and confirmed through the very synagogue that my children now attend for pre-school.    I was taught Hebrew and the meaning of being Jewish and the traditions and beliefs of each of the very many holidays.  I have cousins, many, who are Orthodox.  And, until recently, my extended family did not include any non-Jews (though we welcome them with wide open arms!)  So I am a bit shamed, or embarrassed, or at least my parents will be, when I say that I know very little about all of these aforementioned things.   I can recite small pieces of prayers that are tattooed on my memory, but can't be sure I am using the exact right words.  I know the blessings over the wine, the challah, the candles.   I celebrate all of the major holidays in a customary fashion of family, food, and chaos.  And, there was never a doubt I would raise my children any other way but Jewish.
So, now that Chase and Ryder are finishing up the Jewish Pre-School days, and Turner is just beginning I rely on their education to learn a few things myself.
Today (3/20) is Purim.   Friday (3/18), at school, was the Purim celebration.  To the secular world, Purim is the Jewish Halloween.  I suppose that is true, to a degree, and I do know there are very religious Jews out there who may not celebrate the Saints holiday.  According to wikipedia, Purim is a holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish People in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded n the Biblical Book of Esther.  I know Purim by the characters, by the hamantashen, by the annual carnivals.   Purim is the fun holiday.
The kids certainly think so.  They love to wear their costumes, sing their songs, make and eat the tasty treats.   For weeks they told me who they wanted to be (Chase - King Achoshpheros; Ryder- Haman; Turner was also the King.)  For weeks we had to practice their line for the show.  Chase could recite everyone's line, including his own, with clarity and projection.   Ryder, although he had the line committed to memory, was not so willing to say it loud enough for me to hear in my own kitchen that I was not sure what would happen at the show.
But, the day came.  There were no arguments to get dressed.  Ryder was happy with the Haman hat I made the night before.  They begged for make-up for beards, and mustaches, and goatees.  Ryder sand the whole time (aside from a few yawns) and Chase managed to not steal everyone else's lines.  Turner got to play carnival games while dressing like a King.  They even posed for pictures.  My 3 princes as 2 Kings and a Villain....and so very proud.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Lat week when he had to travel last minute to Florida for the sad occasion of Mom-Mom's funeral we had to come up with babysitting coverage for the time we were away.  My parents had been prepared for this and were there and ready to spend the time.  But, Wednesday nights are always a conflict (and, conveniently, it is usually Jill's night to come visit) so we needed extra sitting in order for my mom to go to work.   My cousin Annette, Aunt Nettie to the boys, spent the time with them.  She brought along her new boyfriend who, by all standards is a keeper, according to Chase!!!!
Anyway, I texted Annette to check in, to make sure all was well while we were sharing memories of Mom-Mom at shivah.

My text said this:  "hey, everything good?"

Below was her response!!!

Were gooood!

Boy, did this response bring a smile to all of our long faces.   Looks like everyone had fun.  And, there are even vegetables on their plates!!!!

Thanks, Annette!!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beyond Measure!

I lost my last grandparent when I was 17 years old.  As a punishment for being an obnoxious, whiney, self-centered teen I was the finder of my Pop-Pop's still body.   Elvis style.   I probably needed more therapy than I had (none) since I still fear that the elderly will drop dead in front of me.  But, I do like to believe that that was his way of saying "Hey kid, kids will be kids, I know that.  And, old people will be old people.  You can't choose when or how you die.  Are we even?"

Um, yeah sure, I guess!!!

I never was fortunate enough to have four grandparents.    And, both of my grandmothers died before I hit double-digits.  This is the price you pay for being the youngest grandchild on both sides.  Spoiled rotten youngest, they say?  But there's the flip side to that coin.

My kids are very fortunate.   They have four grandparents and a great-grandmother.  A great-grandmother who puts more than generational separation into the word great.  Sadly, we lost her today.

Celebrating Mom-Mom's 90th birthday with wonderful family!
Mom-Mom and 3 of her 5 grandsons!
Mom-Mom and her only grand-daughter!

Todd's grandmother, Mom-Mom to us, Bubbie Evey to our boys, passed away earlier this evening.   This death, though expected, is sad and painful and will leave all us feeling the loss forever.  But, her life is not one to mourn, instead to praise.  She was 93 years old .  She had been widowed for over 15 years.  She was, basically, healthy right up until the end.  She had overcome broken hips, broken elbows, and overall old age.  Even in the end a massive stroke was not enough to take her down without a fight.
These last couple of weeks of Mom-Mom's life were nothing short of incredible. In the 16 days since her devastating stroke, in the 10 days she had survived without IV, in the three days she survived with labored breathing, words like amazing, incredible, and unbelievable were used to describe her overcoming of the odds. And, as we used these words to describe her end it dawned on me: What kind of life had she lived, what words of greatness can we possibly use to describe her life if her end, her end, was just that.....UNBELIEVABLE.

Todd's last visit with his beloved Mom-Mom (and Aunt Bonnie, too!!)

I remember when Todd first took me to meet her.  I was so nervous.  Mostly because, as I mentioned above, I have a fear of elders dropping dead on me, but also because she was his Mom-Mom and he could not mention her name without baring his dimples.
He told, and retold, so many of his favorite stories of her, and his Pop-Pop Leo, stories that were not so different from the ones I remembered with my grandparents, and that always warmed my heart.
When I did meet her, all of my nerves went away.  We just chatted, and played Rumikub, and looked through her old recipes.  She told me the stories Todd already knew, like how Pop-Pop Leo (whom I never had the fortune of meeting) was really her cousin.  This astonished me.  I was happy I chose a non-cousin in Todd, then wondered if, by chance, he was my distant cousin.  We do have the same eye color?!?!
I wonder how to explain this passing to the boys.  I am not sure if I will find the right words, the right explanations.   They think death happens when you turn 100.  I guess Mom-Mom got closer than most of us ever will. Although Bubbie Evey was not in their everyday lives, they do remember visiting her in Florida, they know her by name and by sight, and they enjoyed talking to her on the phone weekly.
"Which one am I talking to?" She would ask and they would, each, SCREAM their name when it was their turn as if turning up the volume made it all that more clear to her.  Turner never met Mom-Mom.  By the time he was born she was unable to travel.  Mom-Mom lovingly referred to him as either "the baby" or as "TL" but would not, could not, call him Turner.  A name, I am sure, she could not fathom being her great-grandson's first name.  But, she saw his pictures and heard his voice and he attempted at saying Bubbie Evey in such an adorable way that I wanted him to repeat it again and again.  She will get to know him now, from heaven, Chase and Ryder, too.  Boy will she ever be so proud!!

When we were coming up with a name for our yet-to-be-born third child I had mentioned naming in honor of Mom-Mom.  Todd was not sure he was comfortable doing that, as he had always named for the no longer living.  So instead, we named Turner for our beloved deceased and honored Mom-Mom by using a hebrew name that meant, simply, "LION." I am thrilled that he can represent her "Lyons" name with his charm and his smile and may he live the long, wonderful life that she, clearly, did.

Death never comes easy to the living left behind.  A void is felt and not easily filled.  I think Todd is so very lucky.  His Mom-Mom lived long enough and healthy enough to see him get married.  She has been to both of his homes despite the fact that she lived in Florida.  She met two of his children and knew of, saw pictures of, spoke on the phone with his third.  He knew her, he remembers times they had together, and he can retell so many of the stories.  Yes, I would say Todd is lucky!

When my grandfather passed away and we attended the funeral I would not look at the open casket.  My parents wanted me to, they felt that seeing him looking peaceful and at rest may be a better final image than the one I had.   I agreed to try as I held my brother's hand and slowly walked his way.  The minute my eyes caught the top of his bald head I sprinted in the other direction.   I never did look at him again.
It's true.  I remember the day I found him more clearly than I would like.  I have a feeling that the friends that were in my house (who I made confirm what I had been denying) remember it clearly too.  But, that is not what I remember the most.  At the funeral, while I listened to the beautiful words spoken of my Pop-Pop, I painted a picture in my mind.  One that is so vivid in my mind today that it may as well be hanging on my wall.  I pictured Pop-Pop as a spirit, yet you could still see him, wearing his favorite bow-tie, wearing his favorite hat, dancing, the way he loved to, his way up to heaven.  Waiting for him were my Mom-Mom, holding my Uncle Carl.  She smiled when she saw him and he did in return.  And her words were simple, "Morris, We've been waiting for you!"
I loved that mind painting, I still do.  It comforted me in my time of my need.

I hope for all of the family, the daughters, the grandchildren, the nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren, that they too can find faith in whatever it is that helps mend their hearts.   I hope they tattoo on their memories the best of times, the 93 years of living, the 35 years (and more) the grandkids had with her, the 4 years my own children had with her.  Not everyone gets lucky enough to have all of those years, and all of those stories.

Mom-Mom, you will be missed everyday, but also happily remembered.  You were certainly, and as you always said, loved beyond measure.