Wait, What Day Is It?


Moadim l’simcha! Gut Moed!

Tishrei is always a busy month. I was explaining to someone recently that I basically make the equivalent of about eight or nine Thanksgiving meals this month. And that’s not including Shabbos. And that’s just the meals, not any of the other cooking/cleaning/planning/whatever that also need to happen.

Some years there are a bunch of three-day Yom Tovs, which have their unique challenges, and other years present the Everything is Erev Something challenge. That’s this year.

For the past month, it seems, every day that’s not a holiday or Shabbos has felt like either a Sunday (coming down from a day of resting) or a Friday (preparing for a day of resting) or both (so confusing!!!)

Somehow in my planning for what I was going to cook, I neglected to include plans for the Shabbos right after Rosh Hashana, and also the one in between Yom Kippur and Sukkos, AND also the one chol hamoed Sukkos.

Because, come on, that’s a crazy amount of food and planning, am I right? Yes, yes, I am.

Thankfully, when I was going on my cooking rampage before the holidays started in earnest, I made a bunch of sides (yay kugel!), so that takes the edge off what cooking I still need to do. And I found some very easy chicken recipes, and a roast is also pretty easy to make. So I realized that I’m not as stressed as I thought I  should be.

This was a revelation.

I suppose that’s the beauty of experience. Somehow over the past decade or so, I’ve gotten into a rhythm which has made life much smoother, especially during this busy season. Yes, I still get stressed out sometimes, and I have been forced to really find ways to be and stay organized to maintain my sanity. Overall, though, I’m able to do a lot more in a lot less time.

If only it were so easy when it comes to relationships and parenting, right? Hahahaha, alas, those things take a bit more effort than learning how to make an easy chicken recipe or some quick kugels.

Ruchi Koval recently mentioned Shalom Bayis 911 and then one of my friends told me that I absolutely must sign up for the emails because they were aMAZing. So I did. And they are! It’s nice to get a daily email (even if I don’t always open it) with tips on how to connect to my husband and how to keep my marriage at the forefront of my mind, because, well, for me that’s not such an easy task (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this feeling).

Okay, I have a bris to go to this morning and then other stuff to do, and then, you know, more cooking (ahahahahaha).

Have an amazing chol hamoed, I hope everyone has great weather and is able to eat in their sukkahs, and I hope everyone’s last days of Yom Tov are great and full of simcha, and full of good company and food and the energy and motivation to make it through to Chanukah.

That Time I Thought I Could Be a Fashionista


Some women are eternally stylish, effortlessly fashionable, always chic no matter the setting. I have never really been one of those women. I was the girl in high school who found her prom dresses at the thrift store, and rocked caution tape for a sash at Winter Formal. I have never really understood the mystery that is seasonal fashion, or why certain fabrics work best in certain seasons, or why some things go together when others don’t.

Usually I don’t care. I’ve reached a point where I wear what I wear, and it’s mostly flattering (though I will occasionally get tagged in a photo and realize that NO that shirt is NOT FLATTERING at all, and promptly donate it), and I’m more or less comfortable with my style.

And yet, every once in a while I will get in the mood of reinvention, and start trying to be, well, more stylish than I typically am.



My last fashion frenzy coincided with my taking Facebook off my phone. I went a little nuts with Instagram, and started posting my daily outfits. I totally got into it.



I discovered that if used the timer feature on my camera app and propped up my phone on a stroller, or the swingset, I could really get a decent angle. This worked well as long as I wasn’t too anxious that any of my neighbors would see what I was doing. Because that would be mortifying. I mean, I don’t normally lean casually against the side of my garage while staring pensively off into the distance. And the more pictures I took, the more I tried to channel my inner fashionista, striking dramatic poses in my kitchen because I don’t have access to cool graffiti-sprayed alleyways.

After a couple weeks, though, I was no longer capable of taking myself seriously. How all the real fashionistas can post so many selfies (or pics of themselves taken by a real photographer) and not feel cripplingly self-conscious about it is a mystery to me. Kudos to them! I don’t have it in me. Plus, I ran out of interesting outfits to photograph.

My creative streak did take over, though, when I figured out I could make pictures like this:


Now that’s what I’m talking about. This is likely the adult expression of buying prom dresses at thrift stores.

I will continue to enjoy the Instagram accounts I follow that are by people who do actual fashion, because it’s pretty. But I will enjoy it in my maxi skirt/comfy shirt combo, sitting on the couch and possibly eating ice cream, until the next time I get into the mood of being a little fancy.

Stop Looking At Other People’s Grass Already And Plant Your Own Garden


I love connecting with people. I enjoy the stimulation of reading the articles my friends post, seeing what others are up to and laughing at the brilliant silliness that can be found online.

But at some point a darker emotion edged in. It snuck up on me as I saw a website launched that I thought I would have been a natural fit for, but wasn’t invited to join. Or when a group of writers got together, without me. Or when a friend’s post would get traction and shares while mine languished.

Yes, I was jealous. I was jealous of the successes of my peers, my friends. I would open my computer and watch all the creative, exciting, innovative things going on, while I sat there, mindlessly scrolling, my feelings of frustration and self-pity mounting.

Uch, it’s so embarrassing, but there it is.

As I saw the rising stars of other people’s successes, I felt more buried under the rising levels of parenting, laundry and housework in my own life. The needs of my family were growing, and with the move to a new city and the reality of my children home with me most of the time (they are still not in school as I type this sentence), what precious free time I had was spent decompressing, not creating.

And that was so difficult for me. Despite the wise counsel of a friend who urged me not to have high goals until my baby was a year or so old, I found myself caught in a cycle of wanting to create, not having energy to, and then being envious as I saw others achieve successes.

It’s petty and dark and mortifying.

So I closed the computer. I shut it down. I stopped opening it to “just check something” or “just send an email.” I took Facebook off my phone (though I kept messenger and the app for my blog’s Facebook page on there). We visited my parents, who don’t have wifi (the horror!), and I didn’t go on Facebook for ten straight days. After we returned from that trip, I barely opened my computer at all, and when I did, I tried not to go online.

The results were pretty immediate. I found that without opening my laptop or just taking a quick peek on my phone (and when is that peek ever truly quick, am I right?), I was surprisingly content with the work of keeping my house humming along. Dinner was made more or less on time, our family’s schedule was consistent and comforting, and I didn’t feel distracted and irritable when parenting my children. I felt very present, very centered, and very happy. My desire to share and post and contribute to the online community waned.

But entrenched habits linger, and over the past couple days, I found myself scrolling through that familiar feed, and those dark, icky feelings began to resurface. I saw friends who were posting intelligent, thoughtful, helpful words. Whose thoughts were welcomed with a flood of likes. I became snappish with my family, impatient and dissatisfied. I looked at the piles of dishes on my counter and instead of seeing the natural consequences of a wonderful Shabbos meal, I saw a roadblock to my own creativity. I saw restriction, burden, imprisonment. It brought me down, way down.

Yet while I was floundering in those heavy feelings of sadness, overwhelmed with my fear of missing out, of somehow become irrelevant, I had a flash of clarity:

This is exactly where I’m supposed to be now. This place of petty jealousy and mountains of laundry together with my underlying desire to create, to matter. But while I am supposed to be here at this moment, I don’t have to stay in this place. And I shouldn’t. I can take my dissatisfaction and angst and convert all that negative energy into something beautiful, something positive and tangible and constructive.

I’m fairly certain that when I succeed in reframing my view, in flipping the switch (climbing the mountain is probably a more realistic metaphor) from negativity to positivity, I will find joy and pleasure in the success of those around me. I will continue to find satisfaction in the domestic work that this stage of life brings, but find time to create as well. I will recognize that it is a process, a struggle, and that there are times of abundance and times of inactivity.

I look forward to this new year, which will hopefully be one of creativity and mutual celebration, where I will be able to find the balance between being centered in my real life and engaging with those I enjoy who I have never met in person.

K’siva v’chasima tova.

Ugh, Blogging Burnout


Oh my gosh, you guys. For the past seven or so years, I’ve been able to keep up this blogging business, writing posts up and uploading pictures, and it’s been, more or less, fine. Some of my friends have asked “how do you do it?!!” and I was all, “oh, I don’t know, I just do it.”

Now I no longer know how to do it.

We were away for about ten days, visiting my parents and then some cousins in Wisconsin who we hadn’t seen since our wedding (it was a GREAT trip and my husband and I both asked ourselves why we didn’t make that trip sooner, seriously). Preparing for the trip and now decompressing from the trip is no joke. No joke, I tell you.

Now I’m sitting cross-legged on my couch, spooning cold leftover quinoa and black bean (and cilantro!) salad from a chilly Corningware dish, feeling the pull of blogging barely edge out over the pull of all the other things that are beckoning. Like the mountain of Shabbos dishes. And laundry (ten-day trip, remember?), and the various projects that need attending to, like unpacking, or figuring out where the fall clothes are, or hanging pictures on the walls of our new house, or going through my email inbox, or the many forms my childrens’ school has sent for the upcoming school year.

Perhaps I’ve reached the tipping point of my domestic duties versus my creative wants. And the somewhat embarrassing reality is that I feel a need in my blogging to only write Very Important or Popular Posts, ones that touch on Truth and will ideally be shared a bazillion times on various social media sites. I used to just blog to stay in touch with friends and family, to keep them appraised of what’s going on in my life as I moved about the country.

Sometime along the way, I became enamored with this idea of reaching as many people as possible. I suppose it’s my competitive nature kicking in, seeing the blogging word evolve, and feeling like I need to be at the top, the best, the most viral posts, to get Freshly Pressed etc. But I never got there, and so I feel this little twinge of, I don’t know, frustration? Boredom? Something like that.

Again, it’s a little embarrassing.

I also feel that with the extremely limited amount of free time I have (Again, free being very relative. I should really be doing other things right now and will likely regret this in the morning), I feel like I should be writing articles for sites that, you know, pay money (though not much money, but, whatever, it’s still payment), or maybe doing something musical.

It seems that I’ve lost my connection with why I’m blogging while also finding that I need to devote more time to running my house in a way that is more satisfying and effective. I find it unlikely to be a coincidence.

So, whatever. This post is not earth-shattering in its content, and I used a ton of slopping writing and I rambled and well, that’s just gonna have to be okay with me. Because to do a whole post in the way that I would like to do it, with linkies and pictures and all the trappings is just beyond my capabilities at this point! Alas! This may be the end of an era! Or maybe not. I don’t know.

But I do know that Yom Tov is coming, and there’s a ton to do to prepare for that. I do have some Quick Thoughts for Elul up on my Facebook page, if you want to check those out.

And now, it is late and I must sleep.

Of Interest – August


Remember how excited I was that all my kids were in camp? And my assumption that I would be able to do the All The Things with all the free time that stretched out expansively before me?


I seem to have underestimated how much time taking care of four children and a house in a new (old) city requires. Especially when my really adorable, wonderful, delicious baby essentially stopped sleeping for more than three or four hours at a time. Teething, j’accuse!!

That’s right, it’s been a lot of survival mode, and the energy I do have has been dedicated to keeping my house from sliding into entropy, to making sure I have actual dinners to feed my family (more or less. I do count noodles and cheese as a completely valid dinner option), to treading water with the laundry situation, and to enjoying and relaxing with my children as they play in the yard after an enjoyable day at camp.

It’s been really great, actually. I get a lot of satisfaction out of domestic work, which is something I plan to write about when my time is not entirely consumed by domestic work. Whether there’s legitimately no time for creative ventures or I’m just not prioritizing it is up for debate, but I’m fairly certain that until my sleep deprivation situation gets a little less extreme, my priorities are solid. Especially since it took me from early morning until mid-afternoon to make this post.

If I’m soooo busy with my life stuff, what has brought me to all of you today? Besides missing you, OBVIOUSLY.


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The Up Side to Losing my Temper at My Kids


I love motherhood. I do. But the biggest challenge, I find, is not losing my cool. It is not easy to stay calm in the face of little screaming, whining people. Cute little people who are pulling on my skirt and asking a trillion questions, repeatedly, incessantly.

Whenever I would lose my temper, I would berate myself for it. I had read enough parenting articles, books, attended enough parenting classes to have internalized the horrible side effects of getting angry at my kids.

So not only would I get angry, but then I would feel despondent immediately afterwards. Fun!

I wrote about how I dealt with those difficult emotions, and how, even though I’m not finished with my work to minimize my anger, I can see a silver lining to losing my temper. It’s up over at Kveller today, so go read it and let me know what you think!

anger's silver linings

Why I Love Restrictions


Yesterday I saw an advertisement for a vacation to Tasmania. It extolled the beauty of the land’s rugged landscape as well as the friendliness and easygoing disposition of the local population.

When I read about far-flung places, I image what it would take for us to go there. The logistics of traveling with four small children notwithstanding, just thinking about if it would be a possibility. How tricky would it be to eat there? Would there be any anti-Semitism which would necessitate being very incognito?

Going through this mental checklist caused me a moment of angst. For a moment, a too long moment, I felt frustrated. I wished that I could just pick up and go visit anywhere in the world that I wanted to without having to worry about kashrus or Jewish safety issues.

I’m very happy with my life and with the choices I’ve made. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t have twinges of not exactly regret, but a second cousin to that emotion. After the feeling of frustration at the restrictions I’ve brought upon myself mellowed, I thought about the trade off.

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