Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shabbos preparations

Mother in Israel posted about Shabbos preparations and wanted to know how others manage to pull it all together on these early shabbosim. Although MiI likes to prepare everything on Friday so that it'll be fresh as possible, I don't. I need to plan in advance and I often start cooking early. When I'm disorganized we have a really quick and easy Shabbos consisting of one or two dishes. I only have three kids one of which only nurses. So when I don't plan we end up eating a rice and chicken type dish. I have two recipes. The one we like more is to put rice in an aluminum pan. Then you put the chicken on top. You sprinkle on paprika, pepper, garlic powder. Mix less than one Tbsp. of ketchup per piece of chicken, 1 Tbsp. of brown sugar per piece of chicken, and soy sauce. Pour over chicken. Add water (2 cups water per 1 cup rice). Cover and bake until water is absorbed and rice looks ready. You can always add soy sauce and more brown sugar along with water to cook it longer if it isn't ready. The other variation is to place the sauce in the aluminum pan. Place the chicken on top. Sprinkle with spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika). Add a small can of mushrooms and some onion soup mix. Add water. Bake covered. Both of these are easy and quick ways to make a meal. We also buy jarred gefilte fish and make a veggie salad. We try to skip dessert in order to cut back on calories. This is all when it's just us.

When I'm in the mood for something fancier and more thought out I make any of the following side dishes: carrot kugel, potato kugel, cranberry crisp, sweet potato pie. The main dish is usually some form of chicken-breaded baked chicken (1/2 cup mayo, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper. mix and dip in bread crumbs), chicken with bar-b-que sauce, chicken with honey mustard sauce, chicken with apricot sauce-hubby doesn't like this so much so we haven't had it in a while, chicken with potatoes, fried shnitzel. Then occassionally I make deli roll-take filo dough, roll it out and cut in half so you have two rectangular pieces, smear with ketchup and mustard, place two types of deli on top, roll it, bake. And of course, what Shabbos meal would be incomplete without chullent. So basically when we feel like putting more time and effort into shabbos, we make two of the above side dishes, one form of chicken and if we're having guests we make deli roll and/or chullent. If we have guests I usually make a chocolate cake from a mix to save time and because it comes out so good. To enhance the taste I add chocolate chips to the chocolate cake mix. It comes out really yummy. Oh and I forgot so say that when we have guests I make gefilte fish from a loaf and maybe also soup.

So I start off making my list of what we will want to eat for Shabbos. Then I make a shopping list. I make sure that I have everything on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. I start with the kugels on Wed. If I'm really good I get two done and maybe also the cake. On Thursday I coook the fish and soup. If I'm really good I also get the chicken dish done. On Friday hopefully all I have left is the chullent. That leaves me with the cleaning to do and at that point my hubby is home to help so we get it done on time.

Also, I've devised a rotation of what cleaning will be done on what day to make my life easier. I don't always stick to it and don't always get it done but here goes. On Sunday I clean the master bedroom and bathroom. On Monday, I should clean the kids room. Tuesday I clean the kids bathroom and storage room. Wednesday I clean the toy room -I've been avoiding that one for a while (yup, it looks like a tornado hit it). On Thursday I clean the office and study which are downstairs. On Friday I clean the kitchen and living room and the bathroom downstairs. Sounds great doesn't it. Now if only I'd stick to it maybe my house would look more decent. If I don't do all that, we at least try to clean the kitchen and living room for Shabbos. This allows us to feel ready to greet the Shabbos queen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My in-laws arrived this past Sunday. I've been looking foward to their visit with slight ambivalence (sp?). On the one hand, my mother-in-law could be really helpful with the cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. On the other hand, she can talk too much and is very different in personality from my husband and myself. My father-in-law is the parent who my husband and I can least relate to. He also is a very different personality. He's always on the go and can't sit still. He's very quiet. When he's not quiet he's riling up the kids. How much help could he possibly be? Well he can take the kids to the park and do dishes.

I was hoping that they would come and take care of the house and the two big ones so I can rest with the baby. So they came on Sunday night. On Monday, my father-in-law cleaned up the yard all day. He's been taking out the thorns and cleaing up the weeds. He literally did that all day with just some small breaks in between (although he didn't finish). My MIL sat and talked. About what? Everything. She's good at that. We made a menu for the week and a shopping list. We discussed the schedule for the week also. Sunday night I went to bed late because that was the day they arrived. My hubby went to bed even later. My MIL kept him up talking and then he had to learn some. Yesterday I barely got to rest. This is because they don't like to rest and don't really anticipate all of my needs as a mother who has just given birth. When Uri went to sleep at 12 PM I asked if I could go rest. Then Uri woke up at 12:15 to eat. Oh well. At least I got to eat lunch before picking the kiddies up. I can't deal well with their on the go style. They always need to be doing something. I on the other hand am content to just rest. After all, I don't sleep very well at night.

Now I'm exhausted and wondering if I would be less tired if they weren't here. One thing that really really gets to me is the fact that when they come, they make themselves feel at home. Now I know that most normal people would love for their guests to feel at home but I am not normal I guess. I like to be in control. I like my own space (their sleeping in my office). I don't like when others intrude. They came to our house. Within minutes they started openning up their suitcases and taking things out. Some were presents for the kids. Some were for other people. Then they unpacked, on our dining room table. Then my FIL started going through our cabinets for snacks. Luckily we still had some pretzels left and we had bought cinnamon grahm crackers. He really likes those. After that he just had to make coffee. Can't live without it. So he started to look for the milchigs dishes. Not once did he ask for help finding anything. He was perfectly happy being on his own. I meanwhile was watching from the sidelines and was going nuts inside.

After all, this isn't his house. He's never been here since we just moved a few months ago. Why does he think it's okay to go looking through someone's cabinets? Would it be better to ask where something is? Maybe he's not used to being dependent on someone else. Maybe he just doesn't want to bother us. Maybe AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Maybe I need to calm down and work on my middos and this is what Hashem has thrown my way. After this week I should have most excellent middos. Hooray!

So they unpacked. Now the room they are in can fit two beds and has some hanging space. Well they have a need to unpack and place their clothes anywhere but their suitcase. So they reorganized the room. Everything that was on top of the closet was neatly moved aside so that they could have room for their clothes. Where there was space on the bookshelves they also placed their stuff. Why does this bother me? I don't know. I'm very territorial. I like my space like I said and I don't like when others come to my space and do something else with it.

It's very hard for me to sit back and let someone else take charge. I like things done my way. That's probably why I don't have cleaning help. Onto another related subject, what do you call your in-laws. When we got married my husband and I both agreed that it was weird to call them mom and dad. Neither of us felt comfy calling the other one's parents by that. We wouldn't dare call them by their first name. So, we didn't call them anything. Then one year later our son was born and we could call them Sabba, Savta, Grandma, Grandpa. That was a relief. But I still feel that it's weird. It's also weird not to call them anything. What I have learned from this is that the best things for a mother-in-law to do is to say, you can call me ____(mom, ima etc.) if you'd like.

I've spoken to friends about what they do. One friend calls her MIL mom and her mother Ima. One friend has a sister-in-law who calls her MIL by her first name. Some people just don't have this problem. I can't see calling someone other than the parents who raised me mom and dad. Why should they deserve that title if they didn't earn it?

So I guess the bottom line is that I'm a chutzpadik, irrespectful little immature person who can't get over her pet peeves. Wow, that felt a lot better. Sorry for the vent-a-thon. Have a nice day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Disadvantage of Renting

We are currently renting a two floor house on our yishuv. For the past three years we had been renting a three bedroom on the second floor of a house. We have tons of stuff since I have not been able to part with many of my things. We had a shed outside and a whole bedroom inside used for storage. We felt the apartment was small once we had our second. When we found out that our good friend who were renting bought a house across the street from their rental we were thrilled. They needed someone to take over their lease and we wanted a house. They didn't even have to advertise. They also wanted to hand pick their neighbors so they didn't want to advertise to the whole yishuv that the house was up for rent.

Now I know this is selfish and not nice but we rented the house even though we knew that there were families with many more kids who were more desperate to move. I'm sure a lot of people were jealous and resentful and it made me uncomfortable.

So now that we've been living here for about 6 months and we're b"H very happy, let me tell you what happened today. My daughter was sick with a virus so she stayed home with me. She was really sick yesterday and today was just to make sure that she was over the virus. So basically she had regained all her strength by this morning. I had spent all morning with her until 12. I couldn't take it anymore and decided to go for a walk to the park down the street until I had to pick up my son.

As we are walking to the park, we see a neighbor. This is someone Israeli who usually barely says hello. Here she not only said hi but also waited for me and my daughter to catch up to her. Then she asked us if the owner of our house would be interested in selling. Boy did that blow me away. I wonder if my shock was aparent on my face. It probably was. I told her what I knew. The last tenants had asked him this question and he wasn't really interested and only for a price that was about $70,000 more than the value of the house. He lives in Jlm and needs it to cover his rent. Also, he got grants from the gov't. and would have to pay them back if he sold before a certain amount of years. I didn't tell her that last part though. She said to me that she had some friends who live on the yishuv and recently had to relocate within the yishuv. They are sick of moving and want to buy. Because there isn't much choice (since there's no building going on), they are willing to pay (I guess any price).

This knowledge made me very unhappy to say the least. Here we are, in our new house, which we like so much. Along comes a neighbor and tries to oust us out of our home so her friend can live nearby. Now she apologized for being the intermediary and knew that it would mean that we'd have to relocate. The thought of moving to another probably smaller rental was so overwhelming to me that I'm glad I didn't fall down right then and there. I told her that I didn't have the owners number on my but that she could call me for it. She said that it wouldn't be for a while that her friends would move, like the end of the year.

So we said our goodbyes and I turned around, headed home and called my hubby. He tried to reassure me that the owner wouldn't sell, even for a high price. I'm not 100% reassured though and the thought of moving is not pleasant. Let's hope that it doesn't happen until we've bought a house to move into.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shabbos guests

This week I decided to try to be extra good about keeping the house clean. I tried to tidy up every night after everyone went to sleep. That meant I got less sleep this week. We've had these icky small fly things in our house and they're always flying in the kitchen. That was part of the reason I was trying to be so clean this week. I didn't want their number to increase. They multipy like rabbits.

Anyway, so I was keeping the house so nice and clean. Then a friend asked us if we could host a couple for sleeping and a meal on Shabbos. I thought about it. First I responded that having them sleep here shouldn't be such a big deal. We would just have to clean up the office/guest room a bit. I told my friend to try to find them meals elsewhere but when she was unsuccessful, we decided to have them here for lunch.

So on Wednesday I started cooking for Shabbos. I made cranberry crisp which I had been craving ever since I gave birth and the neighbor made us a very yummy one. On Thursday I got a recipe from a different neighbor for her potato kugel which we got to taste after I gave birth as well. My husband really liked the consistancy of this kugel. I made potato kugel and sweet potato pie as well as chocholate cake and shnitzel on Thursday. That was definately a record for amount of food cooked in one day since I gave birth (and probably even before-like since I was in my 8th month or so). On Friday I made chullent.

The cute young couple arrived Friday afternoon. The wife had a bad cold and slept a lot. The husband it turns out is the brother in law of a girl I know from seminary. They were very nice. They ate out Friday night at a different family. Shabbos day they ate here. My son kept asking me why the wife was always sleeping. We played some Jewish geography, which is always lots of fun. For shalosh seudos they ate at our neighbors next door. I think they had a nice time and got to see the yishuv. Since they have no kids I don't understand why they would move out of Jlm but they are from Chicago and don't like the city so much. Although they said that they think they'll be seeing us around the yishuv again I wouldn't be surprised if they wouldn't. Usually young couples prefer to live in the city where there are many more conveniences. You don't move to a yishuv only for the grass and the wide open spaces.

So I was impressed with my ability to pull that off. I remember after my first son was born. I stayed with my mom for the first month. I didn't feel like I had recuperated from the birth until 6 weeks afterwards. I didn't get the nursing going well until 2 months. This time, I didn't tear which meant no stiches and less pain and being able to sit. I already had tons of practice nursing. I already mastered nursing while being covered up. I was worried about the baby wanting to nurse during the meal but that wasn't a problem because he ate right before and slept the whole time. When my son was an infant I used to go into the bedroom and close the door while I nursed and my hubby entertained the guests. I guess things have gotten a lot easier. So, all in all, having guests wasn't so bad after all.


First of all I hate that word. So I'll just call it trying to eat healthier. Last Shabbos I decided to start to try to eat healthier. This is very hard for me because I am a chocoholic. I LOVE chocolate. I could eat tons of it every day. But I decided that this isn't healthy and I'll like to lose some of that excess weight. So, I decided that if I would not eat any chocolate all week, I would reward my self on Shabbat by making or buying a cake. This is my first week on this trial run and I was successful. At one point I found some chocolate bear cookies in the cabinet. I put two in my mouth and then almost immediately spit them out. I couldn't believe how successful I was in staying away from my yummy delicious chocolate.

Of course eating better is hard for me because I'm nursing. When I nurse I gain tons of weight because I'm always hungry. This is as opposed to when I'm pregnant and lose between 10 and 20 pounds becaue I can't stand the sight, smell, or taste of many foods-including sometimes chocholate (gasp!). So I've been limiting my breakfast portions, limiting my number of meals, limiting number and types of snacks. I've also been eating a lot more salad. We shall see if I can keep this up and for how long. I really hope it works.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Progress Report

Although I had been doing really well, yesterday I slipped up again. I started being really stressed out and took out all the negative energy on my poor kids. Being home all day is not easy. Talmud Torah didn't split the afternoon up enough. Today I was better but still not great.

My daughter has had diarhea for a few days now. She also caught a cough from the girls in her playgroup. At 4:30 she said her stomach hurt and curled up in her stroller for a nap. When she woke up I saw she had a fever and after seeing it was 100.9 under the arm, I gave her akamoli. It took a while for it to work and she was in a lot of pain. Once it kicked in she was back to her energetic self although a bit tamer. Luckily she went to sleep and in fact all the kids are asleep. My husband is urging me to go to sleep as well.

He wa so helpful tonight. He stopped off on the way home to buy a new Imim L'binah calendar and also bought some kugels for shabbos. I told him how much I appreciated that and how it lifted off the burden of having to make side dishes. I feel like all the pressure of preparing for shabbos is gone. Tomorrow, we'll have to take my daughter to the doc, cook the chicken, and clean. It should be interesting. We'll see how much I get done with baby in one hand and sick toddler kvetching all day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Little Frumhouse on the Prarie has a sad post about a woman talking on her cell phone to a shadchan. She lies about her daughters dress size so that she'll have more of a chance to succeed in shidduchim. I think it's so sad.

B"H I didn't have to withstand this test. I am overweight and don't know what I would have done in the world of shidduchim. The whole shidduch world has gotten very ugly. Why do they need to know a girls dress size at all much less as the first thing you ask? What happened to middos, hashkafa, where she wants to live (E"Y or America), etc.? Aren't there so many things that are much more important? What if she's a size 2 but she's annorexic? Isn't it better to marry someone who is sane and is a much larger size. Isn't shalom bayis more important than a trophy wife?

This whole topic is very disturbing to me. There is so much wrong here. Why is it that today people feel that they need to lie in order to be successful in shidduchim? 1-the shadchan shouldn't be asking dress size 2-the mother shouldn't be revealing that 3-it shouldn't be important to the bachur. The fact that it's important to him shows that he's lacking something. Where are his values? She can be the greatest baalas middos but she doesn't have the right dress size so the shidduch will be dropped. That's nuts.

My friend one time went out with a guy who had seemed very excited when she spoke to him on the phone. At the date she sensed that something was wrong. When he broke the shidduch off she wanted to know why and he said that it was because he had thought that she was much skinnier and couldn't face the fact that she was overweight. He couldn't see past the pudge to the person. It was as if her fat blocked him from seeing who she really was. He didn't see her wonderful middos and her love of chessed and people. I couldn't believe this when I heard this story. All of my friends dieted when they were in the shidduch parsha (and unfortunately some still are). This friend was shocked as well when she heard his reason for dropping the shidduch. Clearly we both understood that it wasn't meant to be and that he was a very shallow person.

B"H both my friend and I married guys who we knew before we started shidduchim. She and I both met our husbands in NCSY. My hubby was my advisor and hers was a guy two years older than her. My hubby didn't make a move until I came back from seminary. He knew that it was meant to be (as did I) and so he asked me out. The rest is history. With my friend it was different. She went out for a while with other guys. She even inquired about this guy to see if he was dating and available. He kept saying no until one day he contacted her. They knew as well that it was meant to be. When you kind of know the person before from a more relaxed setting you don't have all of the pressure from shidduchim. We didn't have to get engaged by the third date or any other crazy things. B"H we are both happily married. I just had my third kid and she is expecting her second.

When I hear shidduch stories I can't help but offer a prayer of thanks to Hashem for allowing me to find my bashert quickly and easily. I also feel very pity towards my friends who have had it much harder. I wish that I could help them but since I didn't go out with tons of guys I can't really set them up. I do daven for them all the time. May Hashem listen to our tfilos and help them all find their bashert with ease.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Follow up Post

I'm doing much much better thank goodness. My kids are all sleeping and it's pretty early so I'm taking out some time for myself to blog a little. Yesterday I did much better. I tried very hard not to constantly call my husband at work and not to be overly negative. It's very hard for me because I really do complain a lot. I also tried to be calmer at home. I've pretty much given up on doing any housework and I've focussed on sleeping whenever possible. Unfortunately, this didn't work. The baby didn't sleep all morning until 12. After grabbing a bite I layed down for a short nap and then picked up my son.

He recevied a note from the Rebbe that his reading was on a very low level. Of course I don't think he realized that the note said that. I know that he's behind the other boys. Part of this is because he's an English speaker who was in an all English environment until he was 3. Part of it is because he's younger than the other boys and they push them to know how to read at a very young age. Part of it is also because he isn't surrounded by Hebrew all the time like the other boys. We also don't practice as much as we should just because there isn't time and he ususally doesn't have the strength. His history of acheiving reading can be another post.

So, I called my husband about that and hopefully we'll talk to the Rebbe tonight and see what's going on. I devoted time to my son when he was home because the baby was sleeping so I could give him undivided attn. Then it was time to pick up my daughter, the real challenge. We went to the makolet where she grabbed some chocolate and wouldn't put it back until she ripped it open. I wasn't so happy but I think I handled the situation well.

What really broke up the day nicely was taking my son to Talmud Torah in the afternoon. This is a program that we have to pay for on a monthly basis where a rav from the yishuv teaches them about the parsha. They get a treat at the end. It's organized by age. After picking up the kids from gan we rest a little and then head out to the shul where the TT takes place. There is a playground outside where my daughter can run around and get out all of her energy. It was nice to be outside and not cooped up in the house all day. This made a big difference.

The hardest part of the day is dinner and bedtime. She gets overtired and hyper. She pulls my son into her games and he also starts acting wild. They get into mischief together. Like I said, I was able to pretty much keep my cool and control my reactions. I was too tired from kvetchy baby to be able to blog last night.

Today, baby again didn't want to sleep in the morning. Luckily for me, he took a nap around 12:30 and slept until 2:45. This gave me a chance to rest as well. I left my kids at a babysitter until 3:30. Again, taking the kids to the TT really breaks up the day and is helpful in keeping me sane.

What I really need in an ideal world is someone to take my kids out and someone to clean up (do dishes, put away toys and other things my kids place on the floor, sweep up etc.) I am not getting to the housework and it's starting to pile up. My husband doesn't get home until after 8. Then he learns until he goes to sleep. He helps a lot with the morning routine but basically I'm on my own.

I guess I forgot how hard it is to have a newborn. My nutty daughter was the best newborn ever. She didn't cry until she was 6 months. She slept through the night at a very early age and in general did everything early. I always said to my hubby that I feel that she was never a newborn. That is part of the reason that it's harder this time. They are 2 3/4 of a year apart and my daughter is toddler. She is very active and demands a lot of attention. She was not like that as a baby and so I probably thought that having another one would not be too difficult. Boy was I wrong. I find myself nursing all the time and barely resting or getting anything done around the house. My son also nursed lots and very frequently so I remember what that's like.

Right now I'm just trying to stay positive and to realize that all of this is normal. This isn't easy but that's okay. Life isn't easy and G-d doesn't give you a test you can't pass. Hopefully I'll be able to prove to Him that I can pass this one.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Don't worry. I don't think I'm clinically depressed although I've been in a very meloncholy mood lately. It's strange b/c I was on such a high after giving birth but I guess I had to come crashing down at some point. That point has come. I've been having a very hard time managing with my three kids. I can deal with one of them at a time or even with two at a time but the middle one is quite a challenge and it's one that I'm not meeting.

I've been going to Miriam Adahan classes about parenting. I have been reluctant to implement her system in the house because of my husband who doesn't like shtick. He just wants me to improve myself without his input and help. Unfortunately I need a lot of help. He just fails to see this. He sees that I'm really really messed up. He's sees how negative I am and that I'm never happy. He doesn't see why he needs to help me be happy. He doesn't see what a huge role he can play. He refuses to play any role.

I have come to the realization that I must change something and I need that change to come quickly. I need to change the way I relate to my kids. I need to change my outlook on life. I need to become happier and to value all of the good that is given to me. This is very much against my nature. This is my avodas hachayim, the work that I'll need to complete over the course of my life. I need to figure out how to take the lemons that life hands me and to make lemonade. I need to find a way to keep smiling throughout the day. This is just so hard for me. It's especially hard since I just had a baby and am not getting so much sleep.

Normally, I'd say that as long as I'm sleeping well and eating at least three meals a day I should be pretty okay. Under those circumstances I really wouldn't have a good excuse for not being thankful and happy. My husband says that I call him too much at work and that every phone call is a complaint about something else. I'll admit that I knew this. It's not news to me. I like to involve him in my daily life. He doesn't want to be involved. He just wants to come home to a house that's filled with sleeping kids, a happy wife and a ready made meal. (wouldn't I like the same)? All of my interactions with my hubby are negative. I can't stop the stream of negativity.

I'd say that the same is true with my kids. I can't withhold my criticism from them. Even if it's something so minor. I always need to tell them that they shouldn't do this, that or the other thing. I always need to show them how something could be done differently. I always need to attack them verbally. I wish it could stop. I feel so out of control.

I guess I really wanted to tell my hubby abt this so he could help me but instead he seems to be saying find your own way to get through this. He perfected himself already prior to getting married since he's older than I but I got married young. I still have a lot to work on. I have a whole huge amount of Jewish guilt resting upon my shoulders. I wish I could be a better mother and wife but I am doing the best I can. I feel so unappreciated and unloved. It could be that if I were in constant contact with a super optimist I would be able to work on myself more easily. Doing this alone is so hard. I feel so helpless and hopeless. I feel like I have a huge mountain to climb with nobody to help me. It's all up to me. And if I am able to do this, in the end I will get sooooo much reward for the hardships involved.

The problem is that I don't know where to start. Every day I think about how horrible I acted and what I can change but the next day I fall into the same exact trap. I speak the same way and act the same way. I can't seem to do anything to change. Sometimes I just feel like yelling, "What's wrong with me?" But I'm affraid to hear the answer which may be very long. Sometimes I just feel like I need a hug or a good girlfriend who I can talk things over with. Being away from my best friends and family makes that hard.

For tomorrow I will try to limit the number of phone calls I make to my husband. I will also try to limit their content to neutral or positive things and to things that are not trivial. I'm sure there will be lots more updates following this post.