The Tovsky Tribe

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Stand By Me!

Ryder and Turner received a few bass guitar and guitar lessons for hanukkah.  They each started playing and have continued for the better half of a year so far, though there are some missed weeks. Ryder, who has been down this road before, has really started to learn to play.  Chris Shepherd, the teacher, has done a great job teaching them with songs they want to learn.  Here is Ryder "performing" his rendition of Stand by Me!

Monday, May 1, 2017

I'm 42 and This is My Birthday Letter

Somehow it is time for another birthday.  It doesn't come with too much emotion as 42 in and of itself offers about as much excitement as 41 did.  It does, however, come with a slight tinge of stress in knowing I have to carve out time to write another birthday letter:)  Another to-do, sigh!

I would say that, overall, life is on an incline.  It may be slight, and it may be gradual, but I probably couldn't handle it any faster or steeper anyway.

This past year I devoted a lot of time, A LOT OF TIME, to studying for the Series 6 exam.  It was a lesson in time management as well as in Securities.  I passed on my first try.  I never imagined this is where I would find myself in terms of a career but an opportunity presented itself and I decided to act on it.  I am happy I did. I like my job and welcome the idea of doing more, being more, having more.  As a result, I have been working a lot more this past year and I have been enjoying carving out this little piece of the world just for me.  Although the longer days make for more complicated early evenings, I do enjoy working and building towards something that I am earning, however small it may be.

We are kept ever so busy by the boys' lives.  Between the sports, and the activities, and the parties, and the sleepovers, there is very little downtime.  There is very little quiet.  Although I do get a bit frustrated by the volume at which everyone seems to exist, I do enjoy the noise- the signs of life and happiness- that fill my house and my ears.  And, though the schedule is not one for the faint at heart, I absolutely love watching the boys play their sports, play with their friends, and develop their personalities.

Todd and I have been going out socially much more often and it has been good for us.  We are social beings and it is helping us to find a balance by having some time that belongs to us and some more time together.

As my early 40's settle in to itself,  I have acclimated to this stage of my life with acceptance (even if I am in a bit of denial about the number!)   Each stage of life has its own unique qualities that define it.  This stage, being Mom first, and everything else second, is as fleeting as all of the other stages that are already passed and are missed.  I know this, and so I embrace it, endearingly, each for what they are, and for the mark they are making on my life, on my memory.  Moments in life are defined by the factors that surround it and, more importantly, the people that surround you.  Every birthday letter I write indicates how similar things are and,yet, how different.  Changes are fluid, albeit slow. Times are high, times are low, and strength seems to come disguised as pain.  I have learned that when you look back, the tough times were not so bad, and even if they were, you usually can't remember. And, you survived.  And, here you are.  And, the high times were there too, all along.  If you don't stop, take a breath, and look around yourself every now and again, you could miss it.  All of it. You could miss that ephemeral moment of magic that didn't seem to be quite what it was until it was in the rear-view mirror.  The magic of your toddler's laughter that is sandwiched between too many dirty diapers and crib jumpings.  The magic of your tween's smile and his confession of needing you wedged tightly between his stubbornness and his attitude.  The magic of your sons thoughtfulness hidden amongst his persistent whine. The magic of your husband's touch as you pass each other, hectically, in opposite directions.  The magic of love that bounces off the deafening sounds and fills the room.   I don't want to miss the magic, so I follow the flow of the moments I am presented with and do my best to be the best I can be on any given day.

Over the years it seems that the core of who I am has gotten a little blurred by the clouds of stress and life.  Either that or age has changed me.  Perhaps it is both.  But, when I close my eyes and not try to see it but, instead,to feel it, it can all become quite clear.  And, I should enjoy it while it is clear, because it may not always be.

The weekend was a fun start to what I hope is a great year.  Friday night, though not birthday related, we had a great night out enjoying a cooking demonstration with great friends.  I love cooking demonstrations, and the company, and unlimited wine.  It was a blast.

Saturday, my actual birthday, began with my FREE birthday reward at Starbucks (yay!) followed by an afternoon in New Hope with Stacie and Joe.

 We went to a charming place called Nektar which managed to have all of my requirements: outdoor seating (in this case, overlooking the river), small plates menu, and good drinks.  A flight of wine and a few small plates and I was a happy girl; not to mention the incalculable laughs that we've grown accustomed to having when we are with the Morena's.  After, we walked to Havana.  There we soaked in the sun while sipping on a cocktail and sharing wings. Then, we strolled some more, hit some of the New Hope stores and the chocolate shop before heading home to watch Ryder play lacrosse followed by Chase playing baseball. It was a fun day. Very fun.

On Sunday, after an enjoyable morning at Annette's bridal shower, we watched more baseball and more lacrosse before enjoying our annual birthday hibachi and cake with the boys.

Leyela, Sophia, and Lily in awe of the beaming bride to be

Cousins, and sisters, at Annette's shower

cake after hibachi with my favorite boys

Unfortunately, we did not get to celebrate with the families, as our weekend was jam packed but, hopefully, we will celebrate all of the good things these last few weeks have brought us on Mother's Day.

Read my 41st birthday letter

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Most Valuable Lesson

In the spring of 2015 Chase had his first evaluation to play to ice hockey.  Later that year, as summer ended, Chase began playing in his first season of ice hockey.  Here is that post.

He just finished his second season.  This year he changed teams and joined the Wildcat Warwicks.  At first, he was nervous.  He was unsure of who the other players (aside from the two Rev buddies he joined the team with) and wasn't sure what to expect nor how he would fit in.  But, every moment of this season was beyond anything he could have expected.

Thanks to awesome coaches and teammates, Chase had an amazing year of hockey where he was able to learn, grow, and enjoy his favorite sport.  The Wildcats really focus on skating much more than his previous team had and he showed great improvement in that area. This year, he played Center, a position I had to google to understand his role. Last year he spent a lot of time scoring. This year he spent a lot of time passing. When I asked him why, he said "that's my job and I have awesome wingers I can trust to score!"  He loved every second of it, made some great new friends, and fell even deeper in love with this passion sport.

And, all of that would have been enough.  He never asked for more.  But, as it turned out, at the end of the year awards banquet Chase was awarded the MVP of the team.  Coach Vince presented the award by saying "It isn't always about the guy who scores the goals, but about the guy that sets them up.This guy had the most points on the team, combining goals and assists, and for that he gets MVP."  Additionally, he also earned a hattrick patch (any player with one or hattrick in a game) and a playmaker patch (any player who had 3 or more assists in a game).

Chase was beyond happy, and proud, and knows that he couldn't have gotten there without his teammates who skillfully completed the plays he created, which is the most valuable lesson he could have learned. We are so very proud of Chase.

And, thank you, to Coach Vince, Coach Jesse, and Coach Emmy for helping Chase improve as a hockey player.

The presentation of the award

2016-2017 Wildcats Squirt Maroon

Chase, Jagger, and Quinn.  MVP, Best Defensemen, and Coaches Award.  Most Improved, Nate, was not present that night.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A look at Age 2

This is each of the boys at age 2.  Not necessarily in life, but in these 4 photos I see Chase and Decker looking similar and Ryder and Turner.  What do you see?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Letter to my Son on his 2nd Birthday!

Dear Decker,
The happy 2 year old

Happy 2nd birthday!!  2 years happy.  To say how hard it is to believe, though true, seems unnecessary because the passage of time continues to blow me away.  As does watching you grow and become your own person. Yesterday, when I asked you if I could take a picture of you on your last day of being one, you stopped mid-step, said Yes, then gave me a great smile.  Perhaps you knew what I was talking about because, typically, I can't take pictures of you because the minute you see my phone you want it.  You must have it.  You will whine and cry until you get the "phoney."  You can use it like a pro, finding your favorite apps, your favorite YouTube videos, and swiping any texts that come in right off the screen.

Today you woke up to balloons (one of your favorite things) and hugs and kisses and the surprise of Mom-Mom Jill, who had spent the night.  Then you spent the day with Uncle Mat (another of your favorite things) before coming back home for a quick dinner and cake before heading out to synagogue for Chase and Ryder's gimel shabbat.  You had cake.  We sang to you.  You were happy.  You also celebrated with cupcakes and your friends in school yesterday.  And, next weekend we will celebrate with your grandparents, your aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Last day of 1

The last few weeks you have been every bit the two year old you now officially are.  Adding new words to your vocabulary on a daily basis; crying if we tell you no; throwing books and other things across the room; touching everything; climbing most things; finding fascination in the smallest things; repeating the same things, daily, whether it be a routine or an episode of your favorite show; and laughing and making us laugh with ease.

Aunt Amy reminded me this morning that the day you were born it was a cold and dreary day.  There was an ice storm outside (that caused her and the girls to have a 2 hour ride to meet you) and a blizzard was en route.  I wasn't fully aware (or at all aware) of what was doing outside.  But, as Aunt Amy said, you were the only ray of sunshine that day and, Decker, at 2, you continue to be just that- A constant light in the room!  As the world perpetually changes- in our family we have had job changes, divorce, more babies born, bat mitzvahs, and more- in the world, we have had war, and economic volatility, Trump has, somehow, become our President and more- and yet, Decker, no matter what is going on around us you remain to be this little pocket of joy that can be taken with me where ever I go and, ultimately, joy gets spread.  It is quite a gift you have and I am beyond honored to be the person you call mommy.  Justin Timberlake wrote a a song called Can't Stop This Feeling, which I love.  In the song he refers to the Sunshine in his pocket.  That is you, Decker, everyday.  I love this song.

You are becoming quite the talker and are always saying new words and sometimes stringing two or three together.  You are constantly choosing a new word you hear from any of us to mimic, and add it to your vocabulary.  You say many words perfectly, and have come a long way from "ball" and "bubble", but you also have your own word for many things and if someone doesn't know your language they will have no idea what you are referring to.  For example, you know a dog when you see one.  You can point to one, chase after one, find one on a page in a book, or choose the dog puzzle but you always call a dog a "far far."  It is hilarious and I sometimes find myself calling dogs farfars, as well.  Two weeks ago we were in the Poconos with Uncle Rob, Aunt Jamie, Max, Leo and Sulky.  We had a great time and you spent a good amount of time chasing Sulky around the house calling "far far, far far."  You also know the shape star but consistently call it "high" while putting your hand up to the sky.  I assume you got this from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star because I always point up to the sky at the line "up above the world so high."  There is also Bah-bah-bah, which is banana, and should not be confused with Babba, which is Yo Gabba Gabba and "bebe" is actually what you say for a go-go squeeze, which you love.  Although you used to call milk,"Achun" you have recently learned to say it properly and can ask it for endearingly by saying "milky."  If you want to watch Imagination Movers, one of your favorite shows, you say "Tat-a-Tat" and refer to the book "Blue Hat, Green Hat" only by its hilarious point of "oops!"  Balloons are "La-loons" and though you can say "Cake" perfectly clear we should not confuse it with how you ask for ice cream, which is "cuuk."  You can say "Chase" and "Ry-yer" but Turner you called "Cock-er" until just the other day.  When you want to draw or color you will say "d" but when you ask for the markers it is "these."
And by far far I mean dog

He finally get's it right!  "Turner"

But, communicating with you is easy, even before you had so many words you had a way of letting us all know what you wanted or needed.  Whether it was a pull to the finger or the look in your eye or the motion of your hands, we always knew. And, now, as you string the words together to form near sentences it is such joy when you sit on the floor, look me right in the eye, tap your open hand on the ground next to you, smile, and say "sit. come play."  And, when I do it is always great fun that eventually leads to us laughing and you lifting your arm in the air and hitting the ground as you bend over, your way of saying "that is hilarious!"

You are a master at puzzles and have learned to match your colors and shapes flawlessly.   Although you typically answer blue first for most colors you know blue, red, black, purple and yellow by name.  You can only say the shapes "heart" and "high" (star) but can place all of the shapes into the proper sorting holes or puzzle spaces without fail.  You love books and enjoy the Barnyard Dance and "swinging your partner," "sliding with sheep," "Bowing to the horse," and "Leaping with the frog."  You also love Barney and watch the show and read our Barney book every day.  You like "choo-choo's" and kicking and throwing balls.  You like jumping on the small trampoline"boline" and playing basketball. You love the marble run (and so do I) and playing with the toy kitchen.

Three days a week you go to school with Ms. Donna and enjoy being with Grace, Casey, and Phoebe- whose name you say constantly.  On Friday's you still go to the best school around, Uncle Mat school, and are not easily dragged away on Friday afternoon.  And, Tuesday is my day with you.  My favorite day of the week. The one day I know I get to spend some one on one time with you and I love it more each week even if it is sometimes overtaken by errands.

You have your little "tricks" that you like to do, probably because it makes us laugh.  When you want to watch Teletubbies you stomp your feet on the ground; if we tell you to be a gorilla you pound on your chest; or an elephant, you do a raspberry noise while moving your arm like a trunk.  You can be a monkey with an "ooh ooh aah" and a giraffe by blowing up your cheeks and sticking out your tongue, a face you learned from the Charlie Monkey book.  You know what a rooster says, and will imitate the "cock a doodle doo," always with a pointed finger in the air, and your "meow" sounds very much like a real cat.  But not all of your tricks are animal related. You can hang from the pull-up bar, and ask to do so regularly.  You like to play "whoa" which is jumping on and being pushed down on Turner's bed.  You like to hide in the cabinet of your dresser, ask me to close the door, then crack up laughing when we knock on the door and open it up.  Often when we open it you are using the cabinet bar as another pull-up bar.  You can dab, but you think to dab is to wave, and explode fist bumps and give high fives.  You love to watch your favorite shows in the same spot in the living room.  You take the black chair and knock it over and sit in between the leg bars.  Every time.  It is rather adorable.  You love to watch and to feed the Froggy and the Fishies and have made it a part of your bedtime routine.  You love the "Barney, Follow Me" book and will follow me as I follow Barney's moves.  Your favorite part is when we do "scared as can be" which we imitate by putting the tips of our fingers in our mouth as if we are shaking.  When you go to sleep, usually without much hassle, you insist on your blanket having the design side up, and I have to blow lots of kisses under the blanket and trap them so that they can tickle your cheeks all night while you sleep. And, every single car-ride includes you taking off your shoes and your socks and, many times, chucking them across the car!

Your television viewing spot

You often make us repeat our words by saying "Heh?" and then, when we do, and you finally get it, you smile and say, "oh!"  You love to say "BYE" very loud and wave your little hand.  You say "Daddy, Bye" in the morning as we head out to school and then give an elaborate and adorable "BYE" to all of the teachers at Bright Eyes when I pick you up.  You delight in your brothers, who always make you laugh, and they are enjoying this new stage you are in as you are responsive to their little tricks.  They recently told you to "go tell mom you pooped your pants" and in to the kitchen you came running "mommy, pooped pants."  These 3 words had your brothers in stitches, which made you not only crack up but repeat the sentence again and again.  You have learned the word "fart" and laugh when you hear one, or even just the word. You are quick to entertain and once you get a response of laughter from any of us you will continue your little act.  You do silly dances and make daring moves (like jumping from the glass table to the couch) and your brothers and their friends get an absolute kick out of you.  They've taught you to play knee hockey, only you don't have to get on your knees, and to try to play Xbox.  You've also learned golf from Uncle Mat and, you love trying to talk to Alexa.  She doesn't respond to you yet but you crack up when we tell her "Simon says Decker you are cute" and she says "Decker you are cute".  We repeat this game with many adjectives.  When Alexa plays the Barney song or the Mickey Mouse song your eyes widen as if it is a gift just for you.

You skip when you walk, which makes me skip also.  Your voice rises on the end of every word just making whatever you are saying sound so very happy (like the pocket of joy that you are!)  Your smile is refreshing and your eyes are bright but there is nothing better than your laugh.  You laugh with your whole body and crack up into hysterics and it is impossible not to crack up also.  You weigh in at 27.2 pounds and stand at 33 3/4 inches.  It isn't always easy being the 4th son in our house.  We are very busy, often on the go, and our days are filled with a certain level of chaos even when things are calm. You are sometimes forced to fend for yourself, and we will find you playing nicely, doing puzzles, coloring, or looking through books.  I'll see you, and wish that I could join you for longer than a moment, and feel a little sad when I walk away to do laundry, start dinner, help with homework, run a carpool, clean up the kitchen, or anything else that someone needs, but I am happy that you are independent and content and happy.  And, Decker, you should know that no matter what we are doing, how busy we may be, how loud things can get, how many errands we must run, that you are loved beyond measure every single moment of every single day.  You bring all of us joy and laughter and a sense of peace.  You are the embodiment of good things, of true things, of real happiness and love, and I am thankful every single day for what you add to our family, to our lives.  I do not take credit for the joy that you are but I am certainly proud to be your mommy.  I love you Decker and I can't wait to see what this year brings.

Growing into the birthday shirt

Decker with his brothers and his "other brother, DT" on the frozen lake

Typically it is steps, beds, chairs he jumps off of- this is nothing

He didn't make the shot but he is working on that form

The sound of laughter.  "GO!"

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Letter to my Son on his 8th Birthday!

Dear Turner,

Cool as can be

Wishing for the stars

This morning, while I was still lying in bed, I was presented with the Facebook memory of your 5th birthday video. This very day, just 3 years earlier. You were magnificent. Magnificently beautiful. Magnificently adorable. Magnificently hilarious.  You spoke, while grinning with delight, with confidence and humor and a sense of wisdom beyond your years. You were still 4 at that moment with just hours remaining until you were the "whole hand."  Your eyes were filled with warmth and sunshine and happiness. Your voice was raspy with imperfect words. Your thoughts were pure and real and amusing and, somehow, even profound...for a pre-schooler. Watching it brought me right back to that moment and I was delighted by the memory.


Then, when I thought about it, I was delighted all over again. Because, Turner, you are still very much that same boy.  This is proven not only by your same selection of favorite colors (that includes nearly the whole rainbow) but is proven everyday in the person you are.  You are that same sweet, smart, funny kid.  Your face looks exactly the same, your mannerisms are still as precise, and you're just as thoughtful and calculated in your words as you were then.

8!  8 is my favorite number and, perhaps not by coincidence, my favorite age. Eight is the brink of big boy hood while hanging on to the end of the little boy life. 8 gets jokes told by his big brothers while still enjoying some of his baby brother's toys.  8 is independent and capable yet still needing cuddles and attention.  8 is full of conversation and opinions and also full of hugs and kisses.  8 has friends and social activities but doesn't need entertainment all of the time and isn't expecting a full social calendar.  8 has more confidence in his abilities and is more willing to try new things. 8, as they often say, is great.

You are now in 2nd grade.  Your teacher, Mrs. Rowan, left on maternity leave in November and Mrs. Demusz has taken over.  You seem to really love 2nd grade and have settled in nicely to your friends and school life.  You like math and usually do pretty well with it but struggle a bit with your reading, something we are working on. We celebrated your 8th birthday, over Christmas Break, with your school friends at a really awesome virtual reality gaming center.  Everyone had a great time. I love seeing you amongst your peers.  Then, we will celebrate with the family on Sunday.

In so many ways you are still the same boy you always were.  There is nobody I can count on more than you to lend a helping hand or to know which way is up or where something is or where it belongs.  There is no one who knows the rules better or insists more that they be followed (even if you yourself don't want to always follow them!)  You love to run errands with both daddy and I and just want to be involved and be included.  You are curious and ask a lot of questions, and you often force those you are asking to think deeper and wider.  You are wise and have an intrinsic understanding about the world.  You love to sing and to dance and to listen to music and have been known to stop what you are doing just to bust out a few moves or a few lines Of song and then continue on with whatever it was you were doing before the music in your head started.  You like to play games and you like to be with us.  And, Turner, we all love to be with you, too.

In the recent past you have gotten more competitive and more aggressive and more physical, which is a change from the 5 year old who played soccer and would not dare try to take a ball away from the other team.  You started playing basketball this year and are having so much fun. You love going to the practices and love to practice at home and tell us what you learned.  Your first game is coming up this weekend and you are, we all are, very excited.  Your team consists mostly of 2nd graders from Richboro Elementary school so it is even more fun for you to play with your friends.  When we play basketball at home you have a good shot, aren't afraid to get in on the play, and have been known to win Knockout and Horse on many occasion.

You are also considering playing baseball this coming Spring.  We will have to see what you decide....speaking of decisions, you are still not a very good decision maker.  Your indecisiveness is based on your desire to never disappoint anybody and I think you are worried that you could choose "Wrong!"  There is very rarely a wrong choice in the decisions you have to make and you will never disappoint by choosing what is best for you instead of deciding based on what is best for others.  But, that is who you are, considerate, empathetic, concerned and thoughtful. These are not often traits found in children yet these are exactly the traits that make up a large part of who you are.

In the coming week you will begin guitar lessons, a hanukkah and birthday present given to you by so many.   You have been asking to play guitar for some time and I am excited for you to begin. Not only do you have a love for music but you have a way of committing yourself to your passions and becoming determined to be great at whatever is.  I hope you find a real connection to the music world and guitar becomes a thing you love.

You seem to make friends easily and get along well with most people (except for Ryder, at times!) and though you have a long list of 2nd grade friends (Chase, Grayson, Michael, Gavin, Alex, Billy, Zachary, Jake, Jagger, and Bram to name a few,) you are most often found hanging out with and interacting with the 5th graders.  Many of Chase and Ryder's closest friends consider you a friend, too, and it is pretty amazing to witness the bonds that you are able to form.

You are a little brother that loves to instigate and show your muscle when necessary, perhaps reminding your big brothers that you are not so little anymore.  But, you are also a little brother who looks up adoringly at his big brothers and knows just how lucky he is to have them.  And, don't worry, buddy, they don't always say it, but it is clear that they know they have a very cool and awesome little brother in you.

As a big brother you make every effort possible to take care of Decker.  Toddlers can be difficult, particular in ways, and yet unable to communicate their needs.  But, even if Decker makes it tough, you continue to show him that you love him, are there for him, want to help him and teach him and just want to be with him.  It won't be long before the two of you are outside playing together and the bond you two will have will be like no other.

I haven't had you to the doctor yet for your well check up but you still seem to be on the taller side for your age (and a little on the heavier side, too!)  

Turner, you have always been a special little guy and no matter how old you get and how big you are I am confident that you will continue to hold on to that little piece of magic that makes you the special person that you are.  I hope that your kindness continues to grow, your sense of humor continues to flow, your eyes continue to shine, and your mind continues to expand.  There isn't one day that goes by that I am not so very proud of everything that you are and I will always support you being whoever it is you are going to be.

8 year old video

Happy birthday, Turner.  

I love you so....


Turner at 7

Growing in to the birthday shirt a bit more every year

Flaming basketball cake