Category: Motherhood

Our kids’ caregiver came down with a terrible cold and so, like any other working parents of young children, we made the best of it. Evan and I are fortunate to both have flexible working schedules, allowing us to work after the kids go to sleep, and share parental responsibilities during the day in a pinch.

This was the first time however that childcare was only needed in the afternoons (now that the girls are both in school). While nervous as first, I quickly realized that minding a pre-schooler really just meant lunch followed by a nap and, once that was over, so were my core business hours.

However brief that lunch was, it was the sweetest thirty minutes that I can remember in quite some time. Picking up your child from school midday and walking home hand-in-hand while catching up on their day and even my own morning is extra-ordinary. We talked about science class, dance parties on rainy days, and how someone’s hair clip was confiscated because she fiddled with it. Lunch was quiet because learning at school is hard work. Last and most intoxicating is the brief but unforgettable cuddle which we shared right before nap.

I quietly patted down Eliza. Gingerly descending the stairs back to my computer, I was greeted by the emails, messages, and meeting notices it held safe and sound for me. And as I walked down to the kitchen I couldn’t help but envy any mom who has the luxury to eat lunch with her children and tuck them in for their nap, listen to them retell stories of their morning as soon as it’s over and not try to pry it out of them when they’re tired and hungry for dinner. These are luxuries that most people can’t afford and not always because they’re financially precluded from doing so. How I wonder about parents who can’t wait to ship their kids off to school — an inevitable eventuality.

That being said and smarting from the the sting of envy I remembered that, one day, when the girls are just a bit older and have their own lives making them not be available for pre-school lunch dates, I will be there in the evenings and weekends. And … and I will be me and not just “mom”. And “me” works because it fulfills my drive for making something with my own hands that improves the lives of many other people.

Food For Thought Life Motherhood


Two hands. The minimum number of hands required to demonstrate your age. Six is big to a little girl. It a even bigger to us parents. Sophia’s embarked on her seventh trip around the sun and I’m stunned with disbelief. I feel as though we just celebrated her fifthfourth, and even first birthdays.

On the one hand I’m in no rush to see Sophia (and Eliza) grow up but, on the other hand, I’m curious to see what kind of people they’ll become. Sophia is warm, intelligent, substantive, kind, mild-mannered, and responsible. She’s also temperamental, insistent, awfully stubborn, and witty. Above all, she’s loving.

We celebrated all weekend long with two parties. The first was a gymnastics extravaganza at a local little gym and the second a picnic with very close family. The weather mostly held off for the picnic and we made the best of the slightly damp conditions. The kids, however, clearly enjoyed themselves with carousel rides, a round of Spooky Minigolf, and much, much time at the playground. These diversions were just the reason we decided to hold the party at a park instead of our home. Public spaces become natural extensions of the home as urban living, for most, doesn’t lend itself naturally to hosting 20+ people.

More pictures below.

Life Moments Motherhood

Everything including the Sisters Forever necklaces was just so for our evening outing on Easter Sunday. We, and what seemed like a thousand other people, thought ourselves none-the-wiser in venturing out to Franklin Square for a carousel ride. The place was packed which, admittedly, did not diminish our enjoyment though we did retire to a quiet oasis of a park nearer our house and played tag. Something about spring, the blooms, and the warmer weather makes everyone restless and excited to stretch their limbs on the green grass.

The blog has been quiet inversely reflecting the freneticism of our daily lives and, still, there is not much to write about despite the busyness. Instead, I’ll share some recent verbal bloopers which had us in fits of giggles.

Eliza: “Mama, does this ipress (impress) you?”

Sophia: “If you don’t give me this, you and I won’t be besties ever again!”

Eliza: “I am so glad our family is back together again!”

Sophia: “Mama, were you a princess for Papa at your wedding?”

Life Moments Motherhood


This past weekend was supposed to be amazing. I had grand plans for the three days at home catching up on rest and relaxation. Except that just as Sophia was getting over a stomach bug, Eliza came down with it and Sophia somehow, somewhere picked up the common cold.



In the end, we did enjoy some of the weekend despite all the time spent nursing the girls to health.

My sister hosted a beautiful dinner to celebrate the Fourth of July and we baked a Danish dream cake to accompany our singing her a very Happy Birthday. I took the girls to a woodworking gallery where we ogled chairs which cost $10,000.


Evan and I cooked; we made ice cream, lamb chops, burgers, chicken cutlets, kugel, and a peach and blueberry crumble, too.

And although we would have done just fine, we appreciated all the help my parents lent us this weekend. My Dad came in on Sunday to spend a bit of 1×1 time with Sophia and then, the girls both spent the better part of the day at their house on Monday.

More than the hands-on help or the blintzes and chicken soup, what we got was just what we needed—support. When you’re up in the middle of the night with a baby who is so warm that you’re sweating holding her and are not sure if you should head to the ER, it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.

All the reasons we moved back to Philadelphia and our decisions to uproot our life in Maryland are justified each time we see our family.

Cookery Culinary Adventures Delicious Food For Thought Hubby Cooks Life Moments Motherhood Uncategorized

Can I confess something to you? Some days I glance at the clock and its 3pm, and I look around my office noticing my long to-do list staring at me and picture the goings on at home. I have yet to get there, of course, and some days I have already been to work twice once after dropping off Sophia at school and again after I picked her up at noon and delivered her back home.
Rewind four years ago when I would walk into my office anytime before 9:30 AM, spend my lunch hour (I actually had a full lunch hour back then) catching up with friends over salad and unsweetened iced tea and came home to cook dinner at leisure. I slept in whenever I wanted to on the weekends and it wasn’t unusual for Evan and me to spend the day watching movies, playing board games, going out or anything else that we decided to do … just on a whim. Date night used to occur on any evening and sometimes, on a beautiful fall or spring day, I would pick up a coffee and just walk around the city taking it all in. Those were life’s little luxuries.

These days, I am needed almost every hour of the day. Who else is going to pack Sophia’s snacks, pick out her outfit, put her hair into pony tails, serve fresh-made ricotta pancakes for breakfast, change diapers, wash clothes, build fortresses and princess castles out of blocks and keep little Eliza from climbing every surface of the house? That’s before and after work, too. I’ll be the first to admit that my life is quite un-luxurious these days.

While I, like most other mothers/parents, have certainly lost a lot of my freedoms to the demands of mothering young children, I still cling to a very tiny subset of luxuries. These are the moments that I hold on to dearly on the days when life’s a little too chaotic. These luxuries provide small flashes of sheer delight and in doing so recharge my human batteries.

Every day when the kids go to sleep, I reach the pitch dark kitchen, turn on one small light, exhale and wash up the kids sippy cups. I wipe the counters and plan what I will do with the next hour of my life. Often times, I will wash up some fruit, sit down in my bedroom, put my feet up and read the news while snacking on whatever is in season.

Every morning after I drop off Sophia at school, I call my mom, we talk and I share the latest/greatest on what the kids are up to. Not every evening, but many evenings, Evan will take the kids to the pier for an hour. As soon as they have left, I rush around packing snacks and cleaning up after dinner so that I have just a little bit of time to unwind. Then, I pour a glass of water and call a friend. We don’t connect with people anymore so I am changing that one call at a time.

These days, I am focusing more on little and less on luxury. I steal these moments unabashedly, fight for them, rationalize that the hour excursion which Evan takes the kids is good for them and absolutely necessary for me. That one hour will make me a better mom for the rest of the evening, the rest of the week. How? I am not sure. It simply does.

Motherhood is seasonal; it is always changing and at times, we find ourselves with many freedoms and at times with none at all. There were times when (especially when the kids were infants), I couldn’t leave them for two hours and there are times when I have left them for a day knowing full well that they’re fine and that I will be, too. Perhaps the best part of motherhood is learning to balance, to be selfless, to put other beings before yourself but not forgetting yourself either.

Food For Thought From the Rocking Chair Motherhood

Mother’s day is not just a celebration of the mothers in our life but of all the people who help care for our children. This year, I wanted to show our sincere gratitude to someone who helps us very much. In thinking of what would be the most appropriate gift, I realized that taking care of kids is a labor of love and the only way to show our gratitude is to gift something that is also a labor of love. And so, the idea for a textured shawl was born. Hours, hours and endless hours of work went into this piece and I am very pleased with how it came out. The yarn was beautiful and lent an unbelievable texture and color.

Shawl2

Shawl1

Sometimes, the best gifts are from the heart, the ones that are made with your very own hands.

Crafts Life Motherhood

In these motherhood series I endeavor to share perspectives from mothers of various ages, at various stages in their lives, and parenting. Judi is a strong and passionate mother of two and grandmother of two. She is outspoken, engaging, caring, and fun. Judi’s zest for adventure and values have passed along to her children.

Tell us about yourself

I am a wife, daughter, sister, mom, aunt, and grammy.  I have always mothered my dolls, younger brother, other’s children (babysitting, camp counselor, teacher), our children, nieces, dogs, and grandchildren.  I have always had a love for early childhood education and pursued degrees through the masters level.

Tell us about your mom, your childhood

As an infant, I am told, I was very active, so much so, that I needed to be pinned into my crib so that I would not climb out. I was apparently a good problem solver.

My childhood was filled with doll play, creative crafts, and lots of outdoor imaginative play.  Dinnertime was family time.  My mom would prepare iced tea, salad, a vegetable, starch, and protein. When we got hurt there was lots of TLC and bandaides.  When we came home from school there was a snack of a big glass of milk with a Hershey’s kiss at the bottom.  Our maternal grandparents were always visiting or we visited them.  My paternal Grandmother Elizabeth, from Miami Beach, would stay with us for the summer.

What are Evan and Sara like?  

Evan has grown into a wonderful, knowledgeable, caring, and responsible son, husband, grandson, brother, and father.  Sara has matured into a beautiful, knowledgeable, self-sufficient, responsible, outspoken, daughter, wife, granddaughter, and sister.

What were they like as infants?

As an infant, Evan was alert from the second he was born.  He would immediately cry if his dad or I were not the ones holding him. Evan was not the best sleeper, colicky, not requiring much sleep, and needing to be close to me away from his crib.  Evan was a very happy, focused baby.  He was content and curious about the world around him.  At 6 months, Evan started saying simple words like hi and ball.  He loved going in the car and seeing everything.  He was the fastest crawler and walked at 12 months old.  Evan was not a big eater, picking at food here and there and enjoyed nursing.

Sara was a happy, content, and easy baby.  She would go-with-the-flow as long as she was with me.  Sara would sit, and be very content, at 6 months, enjoying talking to her toys.  She had a full vocabulary in sentences by 12 months and she would singing entire songs. Sara loved her crib and sleeping in it.  Sara was very focused in her play and could sit with her dolls engaging them in play.  Sara was not very advanced in her gross motor skills, preferring to sit, to talk, and play.  She walked when it was demanded of her at 15 months.  Eating solids was fine for Sara though she also preferred to nurse.

What is one thing that your kids have said, something that surprised, amused or impressed you that sticks out in your mind?

Too many surprising, amusing stories.  Both children had imaginary friends that kept us busy.  Evan had Stucka & Nancy who lived in Oil Town, and Sara had Sally Rislan & the Patoota.

What has given you the most joy as a mother?

Seeing both children evolve into happy, caring, and self-sufficient individuals.

Is motherhood different than you imagined it? If yes, describe how so.

Not really!  I had spent so much time babysitting and reading about child development that there were no surprises.  The biggest challenge was overcoming the media-driven perception that all infants sleep all day and the mothers chat and sit around drinking coffee.  Evan was born in December and it was very isolating having to stay inside, by ourselves, when it was cold.

Do you think it’s easier or more difficult to be a mother now than when you were raising your children?

I think that it is much more difficult for moms now with social media.  Everyone knows what everyone else is doing or how “advanced” someone elses child is.  The world is more accessible and there are more stranger dangers.

It is also easier in many ways. There are many external support groups for moms and parent/child programs.  Back when I was a new mother, the supermarkets and stores were not open early in the morning or on Sundays. There were no parks with nice playgrounds, so all we could do was walk around our neighborhoods.

What is it like to be a grandmother vs. mother?  

Being a mother and a grandmother is a joy!  Being a mother is constant “being on high alert” and constantly tired.  Being a grandmom is much more relaxing and the grandchildren grow up faster!

Any advice or comments for women who are soon to become new moms?

Get a lot of sleep now and try to relax!  Join parenting groups so that you can see that other parents are going through the same things that you are.

Motherhood

In these motherhood series I endeavor to share perspectives from mothers of various ages, at various stages in their lives, and parenting. Anna is a driven, hard-working, and loving mother of an amazing boy. She is easy-going, honest, passionate, and most of all, incredibly loyal.

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Tell us about yourself

I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and an aunt. My son Alex is eleven years old and is an amazing child. I love reading, traveling, a good chocolate desert, and do not mind when all three are combined together. I love to learn, laugh, knit, cross stitch, watch the Olympics and Soccer World Cup. Traveling to new places with my husband and my son is something I look forward to and our adventures have formed great memories. Software Engineering is my passion and I’m proud to be working in an exciting and ever-changing industry that is predominately dominated by men. Balancing a full time career and being a parent is not an easy task but I’m grateful to have a truly equal partner in David and for all of the help I get from our family.

Tell us about your mom, your childhood

I grew up in a loving and close-knit family. My father was in the military and so we moved around more often than other families. My mom always eased my adjustment to a new place by instilling the importance of family and time spent together. As a child, I have spent many hours with my mom in the kitchen baking, making jams, and helping with everyday kitchen chores. I can still vividly recall the fragrant smells of freshly made cherry jams or her famous strudel fresh from the oven. The aromas of freshly baked goods filled our flats and made each one instantly feel like home.

My mom took on the lion’s share of childrearing and it was she who taught me to read when I was 5.  She also instilled in me a passion for the arts by taking me to the theater. She passed on to me her love for needle arts, something she learned from her own mother, and we continue this passion through the years.

Watching my mom pen letters to her parents is one of my earliest and most beloved memories from my early childhood. Reading news from our family and sharing details and highlights of our own life made us feel closer to our loved ones and to look forward to family reunions and vacations.

What is Alex like? What was he like as an infant?

As an infant, Alex was a very easy going child. He brought nothing but joy and contentedness into my life. As a pre-teen, Alex is smart, caring, curious, funny, passionate and relentless. His pursuit of excellence in all areas makes him a hard worker at school, and a good team player. And while he showed an interest, and an aptitude, in science and technology at a young age, Alex is able to strike a balance with his interest in art, history and mythology.

What is one thing that Alex has said, something that surprised, amused or impressed you that sticks out in your mind?

Alex’s positive outlook and an unstoppable desire to bring joy to people touches me. I remember discussing with Alex, when he was 6, the appropriateness of making jokes during class and his reply was so innocent: “But Mama, I want to make people happy”.

Growing up, Alex has managed to say and do his own share of amusing and interesting things. It is normal for all kids and all parents enjoy and cherish those moments. But there is one thing that does stick out in my mind — kindness and respect he has shown towards the elderly. He always makes sure, without being prompted to do so, that his great-grandmother is comfortable and goes the extra mile to help her.

What has given you the most joy as a mother?

My biggest joy is seeing the world through my son’s eyes and sharing experiences with him. It is incredibly refreshing and, I think, makes me a better person too.

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”

Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match

Is motherhood different than you imagined it? If yes, describe how so.

I can’t say motherhood was different than what I imagined it to be. I helped my Mom to raise my sister (who is 10 years younger) and I think I was prepared for challenges and sacrifices all parents make. As a matter of fact, my sister has often had to remind me that I was not her mother. I guess I was acting like one 😉

Any advice or comments for women who are soon to become new moms?

Cherish every single day. Don’t rush time – enjoy today and make it matter.

Motherhood

In these motherhood series I endeavor to share perspectives from mothers of various ages, at various stages in their lives, and parenting. Luba is a loving mother of two energetic kids. She is spirited, passionate, and caring. Luba has been kissed by wanderlust and is instilling a sense of adventure into her little girl and boy.

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Tell us about yourself

I am a former teacher, turned stay-at-home mom of two children. Raising my children has been my full-time job for nearly nine years.  Each day is filled with trials and challenges, but also coupled with joys. I consider raising my children the most difficult, yet the most important, job I will ever have.

Tell us about your mom, your childhood

My own mother raised my sister and me with traditional values.  She believed in the importance of raising hard working, well-mannered, respectful children.  My mother and father immigrated to America in their early 30-ies with a three year old and two month old in tow. Looking back, now that I am also a mother of two, on what this stage of life must have been like for her, I am in awe thinking about how difficult it must have been.  Both my parents worked hard to continue their education, grow in the corporate world, and most importantly, raise my sister and me.  My mother balanced all of this while instilling strong, respectable values in my sister and me.  These very core principles form the core of who I am as a person, and undergird the values my husband and I work to instill in our own children .

What are Ethan and Rachel like?

In a word, wonderful!  In another word, impossible!

What were they like as infants?

I’ve blocked many of those memories, at least for now ….  But in all seriousness, Ethan was a difficult infant who ate under protest and slept against his will.  When he did sleep and eat, he was a precocious bundle of joy who kept us laughing and made us marvel at his abilities. Rachel, on the other hand, was a trouble-free infant — she slept well, ate well, and always had a smile on her face. Her fun-loving personality appeared quickly showing a happy mix of adventure and “give me what I want or else.”

What is one thing that your kids have said, something that surprised, amused, or impressed you that sticks out in your mind?

This is an impossibly difficult question to answer because both of my kids have impressed and surprised me every day of their lives.  For example, Ethan has a memory like no one I’ve ever met, and even as a very small child would remember small details others forsake. Rachel is amazingly street-smart with a personality that lights up a room.

What has given you the most joy as a mother?

Watching the discovery of the world through my children’s eyes is by far the biggest joy I continue to experience as a mother.

Is motherhood different that you imagined it? If yes, describe how so.

Motherhood is different because it is much more difficult than I imagined.  I’m embarrassed to admit now that I used to believe that rambunctious children were a direct result of poor parenting and well behaved children were a result of good parenting.  After having my own, I understood that children are just born with their personalities and there’s only so much shaping that we can do.  That said, what we sometimes see as challenging traits will serve them quite well later in life, only to be labeled as a positive quality.

Any advice or comments for women who are soon to become new moms?

If you haven’t already done so, discover wine…to help you endure the whining!

Motherhood

In these motherhood series I endeavor to share perspectives from mothers of various ages, at various stages in their lives, and parenting. Florina is a caring, loving mother of two amazing boys. She is driven, athletic, and most of all, incredibly empathetic. She has a big heart and has instilled beautiful values in her amazing boys.

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Tell us about yourself

I’m a suburban, working mom of two young, active boys, transplanted from an urban lifestyle and carefree Jersey shore summer days in my 20’s.  I’m married to a big-hearted, loving, hard-working man that never stops giving and doing for his family.  I enjoy an active lifestyle and have a love/hate relationship with running. I have always been goal oriented and still feel my best when I check things off my list. I love photography and received my most favorite (material) gift to date, my Canon DSLR camera, right before my first son was born. I love how pictures can capture a simple moment and transform it into a timeless, priceless documented memory. I am gender-wise outnumbered in my house and loving life as a mom of boys, trying to “enjoy this time while they’re little,” as everyone tells a mother to do.

Tell us about your mom, your childhood

My parents brought our family to this country when my mom was at an age younger than I am now, leaving most of her family behind in the former Soviet Union.  I still cannot fathom the strength and will it took to leave everything she knew behind for so many unknowns with a mere $400 in her pocket (not to mention a painful case of pancreatitis with subsequent emergency surgery).  She has always believed in hard work and dedication, and with an additional year of school in this country, became a licensed pharmacist.  My mom is loyal by nature and worked in the same hospital for over 25 years until her retirement a couple years ago.  She is very loving and worries to a fault about everyone she loves.

My childhood was full of countless weekend games of hide and seek, open-ended lego building, neighborhood Super Soaker water fights, Nintendo 8-bit Super Mario Bros., and endless summers running through sprinklers and homemade slip ’n slides.  My sister and I went to overnight summer camp for many memorable years, traveled overseas and spent countless summers with our beloved grandmother in Brooklyn. I still joke today that I only had 6 toys, which is somewhat true, however, I never felt deprived. My imagination probably flourished more than it ever could have with countless battery-operated Fisher Price and Little Tikes tchotchkes.  I think it was good for me to want many, many things but only get a few.  I worry that supplying our kids with much more than we had will be detrimental in the long run.  I hope the life skills we provide them and their natural temperament will keep them grounded; not entitled as many Millennials are today.

What are Jaxon and Dylan like? What were they like as infants?

Jaxon (4) and Dylan (2) are opposites with a splash of core similarities.  Jaxon is incredibly sweet, sensitive, thoughtful, silly, bright, loving, and quite adaptable. Dylan is a strong, smart, assertive, warm, playful, stubborn, and animated goofball.  Their friendship is growing before our eyes and is so warming to our hearts.  I hope they are best friends for life.

As infants, Jaxon was a fairly easy baby minus the crazy vomiting the first year.  His sleep was beautiful as he started sleeping through the night conveniently as soon as I went back to work; his first proof of his amazing thoughtfulness. Dylan was a shell shock to our unit his first 6 weeks on our team.  His cry was piercing and he was just louder than Jaxon ever was at his peak, as if Dylan knew the second child needed to be heard.  I went back to work and he still woke up once or twice at night.  But, similar to his brother, he was sleeping through the night soon after.  Now I’m just holding on to the fading dimpled hands of my youngest and taking all the hugs and kisses they will give and take!

What is one thing that your kids have said, something that surprised, amused or impressed you that sticks out in your mind?

This is a tough one. There have been countless funny “Jaxonisms” and newly found “Dylanisms” — each day there is something new they do or say that amuses or amazes me.  Just today, Dylan took the toy abacus for the first time and counted to 26, counting each single bead.  He hammed it up, too.  He loves the spotlight. Jaxon has peaked (I hope) with the potty humor so I’ll keep this “G” rated.  But here’s one story that was told to me that impressed me: Jaxon and Dylan both slept over my parent’s house the other weekend; Jaxon’s only time sleeping over there since he was 7 months old.  Jaxon woke up bright and early before anyone else and quietly went downstairs by himself.  When my mom found him a short time later, she asked why he didn’t come wake them.  He answered that he didn’t want to wake Zeyda because his back hurt (he threw out his back the day before).  That was a proud mom moment.  In general, child development amazes me.

What has given you the most joy as a mother?

I get the most joy seeing my children learn and grow into their unique selves and in turn teach me more about myself.  I see specks of myself and my husband in each of our sons, which is consequently a blessing and a curse.  Sometimes I look at them in awe thinking “wow…we made that.”  It is still hard to grasp the miracle of them and their existence.  Of course, the spontaneous “I love you, Mommy” with endless kisses and hugs galore are tough to top.  My boys are cuddle bugs and it makes the hard days more soft!

Is motherhood different than you imagined it? If yes, describe how so.

Yes and No.  I expected it to be the most difficult, thankless, 24 hours/7 days a week job I would ever have full of worry, trial and error and lack of sleep and privacy.  What I didn’t account for was how it would change ME completely as a person.  Completely.  I can’t watch the news involving a child without breaking down with total empathy for the mother and child as if I knew them personally.  I hear stories of gun violence, child abuse and drugs and although it always affected me, it now gets me to the core.  Any story involving a child, I immediately think, “what if that were my child. I can’t imagine what that mother is going through.”  I think of our world and the future differently than I used to, wanting to help change things for the better and believing every small part will help.  When I became a mother, I became a better person.

Any advice or comments for women who are soon to become new moms?

Let go of any judgements you hold of other moms for then you will not be so hard on yourself.  When the time comes (and it will), let go of the guilt.  It will come hard some days…it doesn’t matter if you work full-time or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, use cloth diapers or generic brand diapers, buy organic food or what’s on sale, co-sleep until they’re in elementary school or put them in a crib from day one, attachment parent or helicopter parent or don’t know what either one means.  You will know what works best for you and your family.  The rest is just noise.  The Beatles said it best…all you need is love.  Of course, extra “me-time” would be awesome, too. (Note: If you picked a good partner, you get almost enough of this.)

Motherhood