Sunday, August 31, 2014

179 Seconds in The Life Of A Two Year Old

Some posts don't need many words as the pictures speak stories which may have not happened in your actual home but take place in your daily life as you raise your healthy two-year-old. 

Can you relate?

 Angry, defiant, challenged, relieved, silly, quirky, happy, loved. From 0-100 in 179 seconds.These images shall serve as testimony to the many emotions two-year-olds experience which we often can connect to but don't always have the freedom to express as mature adults. As a parent, I always try to relate to my children and remind myself that as young and little as our children are, their emotions are as genuine as ours and their feelings deserve the same validation, recognition and response that we expect from compassionate adults. 

Thank you, Rivka, for being the cutest little person outstanding in your ability to express your sassy little sweet and strong self!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Brotherly Sisterly Love

If I had to depict the beauty of sisterly love and the special bond that siblings so deeply share, these photos would be my top 3 of the day.


I 'd love to state something really fluid and poetic about sibling bonding and Shaina, Chava, Moshe, and Rivka being model sisters and brothers. That never fight. Like real girls. Or name call. Or reserve every toy as theirs. I want to say that it's easy. I don't have a license for that yet, plus I think those kind of statements provide mom audiences with major conflicts because we all know how hard it is to attain those moments. Raising children, molding their character, modeling the proper behavior is the hardest work. And for those patches of time, which I DO see my children looking out for another, helping, caring, compromising, complimenting and being happy for each other; those moments fill me with the greatest most genuine happiness.

I was fortunate for the first time in many years to be on home turf this summer and really bond with my children. I love and thoroughly enjoy their interactions. The squabbles and conflicts; they are what make a family perfect. Those moments provide us the material to teach our children to work with another and put their needs or wants on the side. It's growing-up stuff. I have watched Shaina and Chava turn the house upside down to help Moshe find his microscopic Playmobil basketball; watched with great excitement as Moshe ran to hold Rivka's hand at the beach when she was scared of the waves, and observed a very strong willed two-year-old learn how to share and really give in to her siblings when she had the choice to be as two as two can be.

There is a tremendous reciprocal joy, fulfillment, & pride measured out to our deep investment placed in raising our children to love, respect and care for each other.I'm so excited for our new little person to join our family this November.
(As is Moshe.Can you tell?)

People ask me, "How do you do it?" 
We nurture each child, one (okay, we started with two) at a time and grow with the responsibilities and privilege of raising a large family.

I look at female CEOS of huge corporations and wonder the same, "Hey, how did you get there? How do you juggle everything? How do you succeed?" and I know they started small and slowly climbed up the corporate ladder of success. Slowly learned from their mistakes, built on their successes, familiarized themselves with their strengths and weaknesses and if they really believed in what they were doing and worked hard, succeeded.

I think us moms are taking the same route, wherever we are in our journey of raising children. We have to keep aspiring to get to the top. When I see my children being the best siblings they can be, no matter how much work I have to do in my parenting, it's a sweet little taste of success in the Richler corporation.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Celebrating Mosh - Happy 4th!

Moshe legally turned four on July 4th and today we celebrated his Hebrew birthday - it's always great to party twice!

The threes to the fours was a miraculous joy-filled journey. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the progress and growth which took place this year. I am trying to write just one of those blog posts that usually come so easily to me, but words would are limiting; they can't pack in the emotion and the oh gosh, yes, tears, (yes, I am pregnant) that would just wrap up an entire year filled with genuine hard work, patience, frustration, progress, set-backs, ups and downs, but really, mostly love, so much love, and so much joy and pride into an untangible on-screen blog post. So I won't but I will.

I will tell you that Moshe is an incredible little person who never ceases to blow my mind with his creativity, wit, love of life, joy, persistence, and energy.

I admire Moshe. We all know how hard it is to change who we are. We all have struggled with fine-tuning our weaknesses into strengths. Can you imagine having to change almost everything about yourself - the way you talk, the way you might not talk, not being afraid of things that might terrify you, complying to something you totally just don't get, staying calm when you feel like you have to explode or everything around you is out of control, dizzying? It's hard work. Especially when you are only three years old.

When a child reaches a milestone, it's fairly easy to recognize the people who were involved in every step of the way. It's not hard to be gracious. And honestly, it feels really good to recognize the pay off of my personal investments as a parent as well. Sometimes though, I fail to focus on the efforts of my child. He changed something. He did it. He overcame an obstacle. He did what he thought he could never do. He conquered a fear. He met demands. HE did the hard work.

He makes us proud.

Today I celebrate Moshe. 

I celebrate the most lovable little boy who never stops. His award winning smile, trying-to-be-silly moments, the way he writes his name with dots on each connecting line. His passion for basketball. His rationale. His sense of direction and independence. His gentle side which melts my heart.

I celebrate his siblings who have showed him, loved him, appreciated him, and - put up with him - of course - as all sisters must do!

I celebrate his purity, simplicity, ingenuity, talent, and uniqueness. I celebrate my Moshe.

And as my mother once said, "To know Moshe, is to love him." Couldn't have said it better!

Happy birthday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Snow Days

My husband's intense travelling schedule has ingrained an appreciation for snow days deep within me. Somehow, as the two events always coincide I am faced with contrasting feelings of relief, anticipation and a teeny nagging bit of fear. Relief because I don't have to get homework done, kids to bed on time, three lunches along with each child's 4 healthy snacks for the day packed, and out the door at a half decent time with half-decently dressed kids (NO! You cannot wear that! Yes, you must brush your hair!) It is really daunting to do all that on your own.

Anticipation because I know I have to come up with a schedule of fun activities so my children won't wither away watching videos all day. They turn into little media monsters and fight more when they are perched in front of the screen.

Fear, because I know my very best set of parenting skills, creative resources, and patience will be put to the test. Here is where I suck up the fact that I will work on being organized forever and thank G-d for my laid back nature. Yet, even the relaxed folks have what to fear when the snow comes down.

The other week, after a long day and even longer night, I duly checked my phone at midnight to see what the weather would be bringing us the next day. Avi was travelling to upstate NY and leaving at 4am, so when I saw the "snow" icon in a straight succession until 2pm, I breathed away my deepest anxieties associated with a solo morning routine and happily went to sleep. My feelings of content were solidified when the next morning, I heard squeals of, "It's snowing! Yay! It's snowing!". Well, of course it's snowing, it's been snowing every other Monday. I calculated the million dollar -"Is it worth it to sleep in to wake up to a mess or get up and have a clean house" question and went with the sleep. No brainer. Except, when I woke up, I saw what kind of snow my kids were psyched up over, the slow flurrying non-sticking kind. "Mina, you trusted five-year-olds?!" was really all my husband could say!

So, with all the snow days, I have learned some great coping mechanisms which I have been accumulating into one solid blog post. Yesterday, we went to Target and bought "craft stuff" along with lots of other "Stuff" which you can only buy in Target clearance "stuff" sections. I decided to have a "I'm gonna be a good mom crafting day" and hence, here is my blog post. The pictures will tell our story and the "Ten ways how to keep your kids entertained during snow days using household items under $10" will have to wait snow day!

 The many things you can do with tomatoes. The nights before the snow days usually are good indicators for what the day to come will hold.

 Another one of Moshe's creative basketball creations.

 Moshe has endlessly been sneaking hamantashen. I am up now at 2am inbetween laundry loads and I have no idea whether Moshe overate hamantashen, has a stomach bug, or that pink bead he claimed he stuck up his nose on Friday night is not agreeing with his digestive system. 

 We start our snow days with smoothies. It creates a tropical sense of unrealism.

 We head out before the storm and make sure to get some fresh air because I dont go out in the snow and cold. I leave that to my Canadian warm-blooded husband. Needless to say, my children have been deeply deprived of outdoor snow play. Last three storms found Avi - stuck in Trenton, overlooking the beach in Florida, and in the Holy Land of Israel. (And I'm genuinely happy for thetimes he missed it.)

 These are the days I appreciate my girls' extensive doll collection.

 This is the look of a day of trouble brewing.
 I appreciate Moshe's basketball creation hobby for the few moments of quiet they  provide.

 Crafting with our Target "stuff" which was actually really fun fruit and junk food-scented paint.

 Moshe started mis-using paint.Time-out didn't seem to cement any messages.

 The threes are truly a defiant age and stage but it comes packed with so much cuteness.

I decided to up our painting experience and put in some shaving cream having seen some great projects on Pinterest by moms who have containable children.

 Rivka watches everything with her huge eyes and takes it all in. And then decides what to do with all the information.

 Moshe is our seasoned instigator.

 "Ice-skating" - Moshe

 I ran out of the room for five minutes.

And that my friends, is a glimpse into our snow day.

My children had a warm colorful bath. The water was a deep shade of blue...ahh, the Caribbean illusion. They actually had to have two consecutive ones to get all the paint out again. We had more tropical smoothies. Moshe is sick. Avi is landing in 2 hours. My playroom smells like shaving cream, blueberry, licorice, bubblegum, and pineapple paint. My children said, "This was the BEST day ever!"

We did homework. because tomorrow....shall not be a snow day!

A small giveaway in the spirit of the snow - $10 Target Gift Card for the winner.
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Post in comments below- A: How do you spend your snow days with yourself or with your family?
B- What can YOU get at Target for $10? I just scored two toss pillows to add some color to my living room. Share your Target joy!

Some of you have complained that blogger "eats up" your comments and I apologize for that. I have found that commenting with an open id/ url (you dont have to fill out the URL blank) or as an anonymous poster is the safest way to post without comment deletion. If you have a google account, you can try that option too.