{Memories: A Time for Teshuva and a Time for Simcha.}

5775 is off to a great start! It’s been a very busy but meaningful and memory filled holiday season here at the Bobylev home!

Below is a collection of my favorite pictures from the last few weeks… it will be nice to look back and reflect on these one day. 🙂

elul

During Elul, we implemented a new tradition of blowing the shofar with the babies each night as apart of our bedtime routine.

roshhashana

We had a beautiful Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner… just us. 🙂

cards

I managed to send out New Year’s cards to close friends and family! I love writing letters.

tash1

We found a nice spot for tashlich in our neighborhood! Ori asked, “Where are the ducks???”

tash2

I held Noach the entire time because he was threatening to go for a swim!

yartzeit

Erev Yom Kippur was my grandmother of blessed memories’ 2nd yartzeit! It was an honor to remember her on such a holy day.

decorations

We had fun making sukkah decorations with some of our preschool friends!

ourSUKKAH

Our almost finished sukkah! This year we added lights, paper chains, and pictures of famous sages for inspiration!

dinner

Dinner in the sukkah with guests!

kohlet

Studying Kohelet on a rainy afternoon.

noe

Noach smelling our etrog.

noe2

…Followed by Noach trying to eat the etrog. {grin}

ori

Oriyah shaking the lulav in her very “stylish” new cowgirl boots.

sukkah

 Ori showing off her edible sukkah creation!

havdalah

 Havdalah and s’mores in the sukkah!

book

A Simcha Torah gift for the hubby… we are looking forward to reading it aloud together each week.

simchatorah

Simcha Torah candies! The kiddos loved these. Thank you pinterest!!!

Chag Sameach! I hope everyone was uplifted and inspired this High Holiday season!

Shalom,

Maayan

Oriyah’s 2 1/2 Year Update

ori

Oriyah is a big girl now. She has changed so much over the last year! On one hand, it’s hard for me to believe she was ever as little as Noach. On the other hand, I miss her being a baby so much! 

 

Ori is a fun-loving out-going toddler. Everything Ori does she does with enthusiasm from singing songs to throwing fits. She is loud, energetic, opinionated, sassy, smart, and oh so sweet. (It’s a good thing too!)

 She is non-stop and always wants to be on the go. She will literally wait at the front door and ask to go for a ride in the car. She loves interacting and playing with other kids.

 One of the best decisions we have made this year is to put her in a mother’s day out preschool program. She goes three days a week from 9:30-2:30. She loves school! She wakes up every morning asking to put on her ladybug rain boots and “pack-pack!” I can tell she has really benefited from the structure, preschool activities, and opportunities to play with friends her school has provided. A few weeks ago I went to my very first parent teacher conference! Her teacher shared how Ori is the class mom. Whenever someone is hurt or crying she tries to make them feel better by giving hugs and sharing toys! She has befriended a little guy who is slow to talk and looks out for him at school. Every morning on our way in we have to say “hi” to the goldfish in the lobby fish tank and on our way out we have to stop by the rock garden to add to our collection. :/

As far as sleeping goes… she takes naps at school but it is really hard to get her to settle down at home. She is still sleeping in her crib. I am not really in a big rush to transition her into a toddler bed. I am afraid!!!

Big news! She weaned at 28 months. I am really happy to have nursed her as long as I did but am also happy not to be tandem nursing anymore. It happened on its own without me forcing it. She is slowing venturing out and trying new foods. For a while, I felt so guilty that she subsisted of blueberries and cheese sticks entirely! She loves protein pancakes, eggs, chicken nuggets, hotdogs, mac and cheese, broccoli, peanut butter, and all fruit. At our last pediatrician appointment, she weighed in at 25.5 lbs and was in the 30th percentile. I think she is starting to fill out now and look more like a little girl and less like a baby. 😦

 Her hair has grown a ton the last couple of months. So have her feet! (Stride Rite… why do you have to be so expensive?!?)

We are working on personal hygiene. She HATES baths. I don’t know what happened but right around age 2 she started tripping out at bath time… I mean full on kicking/screaming/wailing/shaking/punching! I kept telling myself it is something that she would grow out of but it has been six months! We finally got her to brush her teeth and wash her hands at least! We haven’t started potty training yet but she is showing more of the developmental signs that she is ready. I think its in our near future.

She is a great big sister. The adjustment to having a new sibling went pretty smoothly. She loves to give Noach hugs and kisses but still needs lots of reminders to be soft and gentle.

 Some of Ori’s favorite things to do are play outside, read books, play with cars, watch Barney or Shalom Sesame, color, help cook, and make HUGE messes.

Everyday she changes. She talks a lot, asks questions, and repeats EVERYTHING.

She can sometimes be a very difficult child and I get overwhelmed or frustrated with her. When she acts out it is hard not to feel like a bad parent and stress. I try my best to respond in a positive manner and show mercy while still setting clear boundaries. It’s hard. Props to parents of strong-willed feisty toddlers who have gone before me… you all are my heroes. (And thanks Mom and Dad for putting up with my shenanigans… I have been told Ori reminds them so much of me!)

 I love her to pieces though! I like to watch her when she doesn’t notice me. You can see her little wheels turning as she plays and explores. Her little hands are always busy. I love the pitter-patter of her little feet trailing behind me… everywhere I go! Her smile is contagious. My heart melts with each of her kisses. I can’t imagine life without her!

Over the last 2 1/2 years, she has taught me what it really means to love, give, serve, cherish, trust, know true happiness, and acknowledge Hashem’s masterful creation, each time I look at my beautiful child. She has changed my life… for the better.

She will always be my baby girl.

Shalom,

Maayan

Noach’s Six Month Update

noe

My little man is six months old! Time goes by so much faster with the second baby. Not sure how I feel about that…

However, I do know that I am in love! Noach has been such a blessing and joy. He is very sweet natured and a much better sleeper than his big sister ever was!

He weighs 19 pounds, is 25 inches long, and has outgrown all his 6 months clothes. It’s funny because he seems to have stayed the same size since birth. He was huge! (I still have to write about that story one of these days.) He really isn’t chubby just big all over… (more to cuddle). His eyes are still a piercing blue with light grey flecks! He also has mini payot in the works but we are planning to have an upsherninish when he is three. I’m sure we will get lots of questions about that one!

Noach is also lovely referred to as: noe, sugar plump, gus gus (the chubby mouse from Cinderella), little sir, pooda, and baby guy.

He has recently discovered his voice. He loves to jibber jabber and says dada (although unintentional); Alex likes to rub it in. He is happiest when someone is engaging him in conversation. He is usually bouncing away in his bouncer, at my feet while I do the dishes or sitting in his bumbo, as I fold laundry. He is fascinated by his own hands and feet, scoots backwards, chews on everything, pulls hair, drools a ton, and loves to play with anything bright and squishy… like most 6 month olds. 😉

Unlike Ori, He started sleeping on his own around 5 months! I noticed that he was becoming pretty restless at night so I decided it was time to make the transition. After about a week of establishing a routine, breaking the nursing to sleep habit, and some troubleshooting he began sleeping on his own. His *usual* bedtime is around 7:30PM and he normally wakes up around 6:30AM. Sometimes I go get him and bring him in bed with me to catch up on snuggles before its time. I can’t control myself. :o) He takes about three naps a day and usually let’s me put him in his crib awake!!! I am still in disbelief. He is a tummy sleeper and thumb sucker.

No teeth yet but they are coming! Also unlike Ori, he loves to eat! At around 5 months, I noticed that he was extremely interested in whatever I was eating. He looked like a sad puppy dog waiting for crumbs to fall from the table.  After discussing starting solids with my pediatrician we decided to start on veggies at 5 ½ months. He loves it and seems to be much more content. I am happy I went with my mommy instinct on that one and didn’t make him wait. All babies are different. We did two weeks of just veggies and now we are adding fruit into the mix. 😀

He nurses about 5-6 times a day. I love that precious time with him. I will be sad when it ends. He isn’t as into nursing as Ori was. He will only nurse when he is in the mood and gets pretty ticked if I try and encourage it. I’m not sure how much longer he will nurse but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

He isn’t mobile yet but I hear that is pretty common with boys… not that am complaining either! He is starting to get leery of strangers too. A few days ago a lady came up to talk to him while he was lounging in our Costco basket. He started crying like someone was sawing off his leg! I had to get him out and calm him down. The poor guy also gets startled and poked and prodded all the time by his extremely loud and rough big sis. Between having Ori as a sibling and his size I think he might have a bright future in football. 😀

Overall, he is really laid back and I am so thankful. It is so much different the second time around! I don’t have as much one on one time with him. I don’t worry about him meeting milestones. I haven’t been as good about documenting things. But… I love him just as much as my firstborn. I don’t remember learning that the human heart can grow… but I’m pretty sure it does every time a mom has a new baby. Mine did! 

Shalom,

Maayan

“The Blueberry Bush”

blueberry

 

 

Every so often, there are those precious moments when G-d uses your children to teach you a life lesson that penetrates your heart. This is one. :o)

Before we moved, we lived on the third floor of our apartment complex. NEVER AGAIN! Lugging a car seat, diaper bag, purse, and groceries up that many stairs is not fun!

However, one of the favorable ammenties of our complex was the beautifully landscaped courtyard, complete with a water fountain and picnic tables. When Ori started walking, I would take her for walks and watch her toddle about. It was fascinating to watch her little eyes soak in the sights and explore the new surroundings outdoors.

Our walks became a regular part of our morning routine. Ori quickly become adventurous and determined to examine and inspect everything within reach. One day she discovered the “blueberry” bush. I was a ways behind her, scrolling through my e-mails. When I looked up, she was gobbling up poisonous berries from a shrub along the path. They closely resemembled her favorite fruit, blueberries! She thought she hit the jackpot. Panicked, I dashed over and swiped the berries from her hands and fished them out of her mouth. You should have seen the look on her face!

Her big soft brown eyes welled up with tears and her bottom lip started to quiver. She was perplexed at why I had done such a mean thing as to take the snack right out of her hands! I felt terrible. I dropped to one knee, drew her in for a hug, and wiped her tears. I tried to explain that *those* berries were not really what she thought but could actually hurt her and I took them away because I loved her. She still was not too pleased. I told her I had the *real deal* waiting at home for her.

Her reaction nearly broke my heart. She thought I was angry… that I didn’t love her… that I was mean, when all I wanted to do was protect her from something that could harm her.

It made me think about how G-d must feel at times!

During different times in my life, I have been angry with Him. I thought He was mean and cruel. I felt like He didn’t really love me or care because He would not let me have something I wanted. Looking back, (with the new perspective) I can see… He was protecting me from potential harm. Even though those things seemed like what I really wanted or needed at the time… Hashem knew that something better was waiting for me. He is all about the *real deal*.

 

Psalm 103:13 
As a father has compassion on his children, so the L-RD has compassion on those who fear him;

Proverbs 3:11-12 
My son, do not despise the L-RD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the L-RD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

B”H,

Maayan

~ A Baby Boy ~

BOY… a lot has changed since my last post!

I am 21 weeks pregnant with baby #2! I really meant to update you all A LONG time ago. Life is busy and full of new and exciting changes.

Just weeks after Grandma Joyce passed away we learned we were expecting. It was a bittersweet blessing. Still mourning the loss of one of my closest family members and opening my heart to welcome a new one was a lot to emotionally digest. After the initial surprise wore off we were overjoyed! G-d knew what my heart needed. We were definitely surprised to see those two pink lines… conceiving Ori took over a year with fertility treatments… this baby happened all on it’s own.

The first trimester was intense. My experience with my first pregnancy was great. I had very little symptoms and felt wonderful. This pregnancy has been SO different. Days after finding out I was pregnant, the nausea set in BIG TIME! Combined with the fatigue, I basically didn’t move for the first fourteen weeks. No fun. Now that I am well into the second trimester I am feeling so much better and have energy again.  At my 17 week appointment we had an anatomy scan which revealed we are having a baby boy! My mommy instincts were right this time around. Now that I know the gender, have a name picked, feel his movement, and finally feel human again, reality is sinking in and I’m getting super excited!

We are so blessed to be using our midwives at Nativiti Birth Center again. I am looking forward to another wonderful natural birth experience.

This pregnancy has flown by so quickly and I have so much to do before “little man” makes his big debut. I am trying to prep Ori for all the changes, pack (we are moving), begin the house hunting process, and enjoy as much time as possible as a family of three. Needless to say, we are busy and we have a lot going on… but it’s all good stuff. I’m excited and happy and looking forward to all of the positive changes. I will keep you all posted. Promise.

Shalom,

Maayan

{Oriyah’s Tot School}

Homeschooling at 16 months is mostly just for fun but I have found it helpful to have some resources on hand and activities planned for my inquisitive tot. The past few months have been very hectic for our household and we developed a bad habit of letting Ori watch too much Blues Clues and Dora. Friday, I had the opportunity to sit down and put together a new household schedule including a simple “constructive play/learning” routine to keep Ori entertained and engaged.

Torah

More than any other subject… I want to be sure and focus on Bible related activities with Ori on a daily basis.

We also recently purchased a wonderful resource entitled, Morah, Morah, Teach Me Torah – which contains multi-media lessons (songs, games, crafts, stories, snacks…) based on the weekly Torah portion. My aim is to do at least two of the activities each week with Ori.

My First Parsha Reader is currently in my Amazon wish list but I plan on incorporating that some how as well.

At this age (or any) actions speak louder than words! I can read lots of Bible stories or books on G-dly character to her… but if those things are not displayed at home it won’t matter much. At almost 16 months Ori is a little sponge listening and watching our every move. I’m making it a point to say the Modeh Ani, Blessing Over Meals, and the Bedtime Shema with her daily. She also tags along to my weekly prayer meeting. Although it can be a little distracting for me… I know it’s a great visually lesson for her.

Other resources I plan to use are:

Artscroll Childrens Books

Jewish Kids Music

Bible Character Dolls / Toys

Pre-Reading

Our goal is simply to read as many good books as we can in a day. Ori loves books! She will hold a book and flip through its pages and baby talk like she is reading to herself for long periods of time! We read periodically throughout the entire day but just before naptime is our scheduled reading time.

I follow the book lists for Before Five In A Row, Peak With Books, and Sonlight’s  ¾ curriculum.

Lindsey, of passionatehomemaking.com, also has an excellent list of must read children’s books.

http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2012/04/favorite-classic-childrens-books.html

We are a part of our library’s weekly infant story-time as well. Fun fun!

Aside from immersing Ori with good books we are just beginning to work on letter recognition.

My refrigerator now proudly displays a bunch of cute magnetic letters! (Great for keeping her little hands busy while I work in the Kitchen!)

I’m also loving Dr. Suess’s ABC Book, G is for Goat by Patricia Polacco, Eric Carle’s ABC, My First Bob Books (Alphabet Series) and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin to help introduce letters to her.

We also have alphabet blocks, puzzles, and flash cards handy.

Ori is also present for our family read-a-loud of The Hobbit.

Art

I recently put together a big container full of “baby approved” art supplies for Ori. She loves it! We pull out her coloring books everyday and let her go for it.

On weeks where there is a little more time I look to Pinterest for inspiration on toddler craft/projects… this week we are going to try our hands at finger painting!

Our library also has a toddler art session on the first Thursday of every month which we attend.

We also have several Kumon workbooks for coloring, tracing, and cutting which Ori is still a little too young for.

Music/Movement

Part of our new daily routine is a morning walk! Ori loves feeling the texture of grass beneath her little Stride Rites, racing mommy to the mail box, stopping to smell the roses, picking up fallen leaves, watching birds, digging in dirt, and admiring the pretty waterfall by the pool.

She is also my Zumba partner three days a week!

I plan on taking her to our local playground more often now that she is a big girl and the temperature is lower than the 90’s down hear in Texas…FINALLY!

For music enrichment we listen to kids songs and do motions. Ori’s absolute favorites are The Ant’s Go Marching and The Hokey Pokey.

We also have classical music for kids on CD. Ori likes to play conductor with me. When the music is soft and slow we wave our arms soft, slowly, and make small movements. When the music is loud and fast… we wave our arms wildly. When the music is high we wave our arms high and low when the music is low. She goes crazy with it!

Our latest addition is The Music Box: Songs, Rhymes, and Games for Young Children Compiled by Elizabeth Lund Zahniser. I found this amazing resource on timberdoodle.com.

On my wish list are some more play instruments for our collection. We currently have a Little Tikes Piano, Finger cymbals, maracas, harmonica, and a triangle. I like to pull those out and play rhythm games with her occasionally.

Math

We count everything!

Our current focus is learning shapes and patterns.

Some of our favorite math counting books are –

How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? By Varsha Bajaj

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz

Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm by IKids

My First Number Play by DK

My First Math Book by David & Wendy Clemson

Math Play by Diane McGowan

We get most of our daily dose of math in through playing with puzzles, number blocks, mega-bloks, and her discover toys shape sorter.

On my math manipulative wish list are the following:

Wedgits, Lacing Beads, Bean Bags, Guidecraft 3D Feel and Find Game, Wooden Abacus, and Tactile Sandpaper Numerals.

Fine Motor

We are learning colors and developing fine motor skills using Educo Colorback Seas Turtle Bead Maze.

Ori likes playing with our new Big Oball.

Melissa and Doug puzzles are our favorites!

On my wish list for Ori is a foam saddle scooter… (Chanukah?!?)

General Learning

Many of my daily lessons and activities come from these books:

Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June Oberlander

Active Baby, Healthy Brain by Margaret Sasse

Let’s Learn and Play Together by Roni Cohen Leiderman

What Your Preschooler Needs To Know by Core Knowledge Foundation

Entertaining and Educating Babies and Toddlers by Usborne Books

Flowering Baby Curriculum

Vocabulary

Ori will pretty much {attempt} to say anything you ask her to repeat. It’s so precious.

We have been using these books to help expand her vocabulary:

First Thousand Words in English by Usborne

First Thousand Words in Hebrew by Usborne

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle (Body Parts)

Animals Animal by Eric Carle

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle (Colors)

Winni-the-Pooh’s Opposites by A. A. Milne

Chores

Ori loves to “help” with chores around our apartment.

Together we:

clean out the refrigerator (she enjoys taking everything off the shelves)

unload the dryer

fold towels (a work in progress)

match big and little socks

pick up toys (… still working on increasing her enthusiasm for this chore)

washing dishes (I usually set her up with a big mixing bowl with some water and a few baby spoons or dishes to play with while I work in the kitchen… she has a ton of fun… I just have to remember to put a towel town and strip her down to her Fuzzibunz!)

brush teeth (she does it all by herself!)

We obviously won’t do all these activities done every single day but hopefully our new routine will help us limit our cartoon time to 30 minutes a day and still allow me to get stuff done!

We are still trying to decide if we should enroll her in a Mother Day Out program in January.  I would love the break and I know she would love the social interaction with other babies. My biggest concern is GERMS! If we don’t end up signing up for MDO we plan to join a MOPs group and possibly a play group if time allows.

I hope you find these early learning resources helpful. Please share your favorite toddler/preschool recommendations with me! I’d love to know!

Shalom,

Maayan

Overdue Update…

Sorry for falling off the blogging bandwagon! As you all know… life happens. “Shessh… I really wish it would stop doing that!”

I blame the lack of posts on having a very inquisitive toddler who can now reach our computer keyboard (and help type), feeling uninspired and inadequate, having a crazy schedule, and illness in the family. Bringing everything back into balance and taking time for me has proved to be difficult. The last few months have been eventful and I don’t want to miss out on any more opportunities to write about the goings on in our little family.

What’s New ….

Job Change

Alex changed jobs about a month ago. He went to work for a previous supervisor who he has a great work history and relationship with. He even gave Alex every Shabbat off! Not only is his work, minutes from home, he now has a set schedule (no more on-call!), higher pay, amazing benefits (including insurance that covers our midwives!), and will be able to go to school to become a CWI at the company’s expense! We are truly blessed.

Ori

Ori is currently 14 months and as cute as ever!  She is so smart. It is fascinating to sit and watch her play. Everyday she does something (or a lot of things) new.

Her vocabulary consists of: uh-oh, mama, dada, bow bow (she is still nursing 😉 ), bye bye, yuck yuck, num num, cheese, hot, all done, baby, ball, awww, that, Blues Clues, bubbles, no no, and ya.

She can also make these animal sounds – woof woof, moo moo, hee haa, doodle doo, hoo hoo, quackt quackt, and oint oint. (Hehe.)

She starting walking at 11 months and proceeded to run the next day.

Her current favorite things are: Blues Clues, the iPad, puzzles, her v-tech smart phone, baby dolls, colorings, bubbles, reading books, going bye bye, and story time at the library every Tuesday.

Cute things she does:  hugs, kisses, and pats her baby dolls on the back, pats Alex and I on the back when we hold her, gives us really good squeeze hugs, the hokey pokey dance, dances whenever she hears music, tries to stand on her head, and kisses the mezuzah. 😀

Not so cute things she does:

When you say, “come here” or “this way” she runs the opposite direction, tries intently to electrocute herself by putting things in power outlets (we did finally invest in outlet cover for home but when we are out that’s the first place she goes!), throws food on the floor (I hate dogs but I’m seriously considering buying one.), tries to press buttons on our printer while in use… I ended up with 15 copies of something before I realized it. (Sigh.) She also likes to pretend she is a water fountain and spew water or juice from her mouth after drinking from her sippy cup.

She has 8 teeth and currently wears 18 months clothes/size 4 shoes.  Oh and her hair is finally long enough to put in a tiny ponytail. Precious!

Me

I ‘m going through a tough season in my life.  I have been battling feelings of depression and isolation. My grandmother and aunt (my only close in-state relatives) are both going through gruesome cancer treatments, both with major setbacks. I have felt overwhelmed by the needs I see around me,  and my limited ability to meet them. I am not a comforter by nature and sometimes I don’t know what to say to them because I am just as scared as they are. Its times like these I really miss having my parents in town.  😦

The desire for community has also weighed heavy on my heart as of late. I guess with so much change within my own life and family the last few years I’m longing for something of permanence. Having a kid has also brought into perspective how crucial family and a community of like-minded believers are to support you. (Babysitters hello!) But as the saying goes, “The only thing that doesn’t change is there will be change.”

I have been making a conscious effort to spend time on mommy. : D

Recently I:

  • Enjoyed a fun night out at the Glazery (ceramic pottery place) with some girlfriends and made a Star of David Plate and Mezuzah
  • Got my nails done with my mom while she was in town (both a rare treat!)
  • Joined the book club at the library… I’m going to my first group discussion next week… this month’s literature selection is Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dofoe
  • Put together lessons plans for each book on the Before Five In A Row book list for Ori’s preschool (Call me a dork but I’m so pumped about homeschooling!)
  • Made an extensive amazon wish list for toys, Montessori preschool items, and homeschool related goodies 😀
  • Enjoyed a few thrift shopping sprees (founds some cutes things from J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Express, and great fall scarves!)
  • Hosted The Tallent Family for Shabbat
  • Discovered the most amazing condiment at My Pita, a local Kosher eatery.
  • Listened to all of Goldie Plotkin’s teaching on chabad.org (She is amazing!)
  • And soon to enroll in the Fire Fly Race with some friends (a nighttime 5k run involving glow sticks!)

Things on my to do list:

  • Organize closets
  • Sell things on Craig’s List,
  • Make a new menu plan
  • Make daily trips to visit my grandma
  • Read – an hour a day
  • Find a baby sitter to start incorporating monthly date nights for Alex and I
  • Get routine car maintenance done (Fun fun.)
  • Temporarily suppress the urge for more babies! ;D

Well that’s it for now folks…

Lila Tov! (or Maybe Boker Tov.. It’s 3 AM!!!!)

Maayan