I am a writer and a Mommy. I am a devout Jew. These are the most important books I have read: The Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell translation. Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford. Living Inspired by Akiva Tatz. My kitchen would suggest I'm a closet carny, as would my love of Branson.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Olaf Cake

I did it again.  Another specialty birthday cake.  I am really talented.
Come on!  How cute is that?  Made entirely of vanilla ice cream plus a little frosting and a starburst nose.  


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Vaccine Problem

When my older kids were born there was talk about vaccines possibly causing autism.  We asked the pediatrician to explain the risks to us.  He was very soft-spoken and an extremely logic-oriented person who gently pointed us to studies showing there was no possible link between vaccines and autism.

He gave us the statistics regarding the chance that our kids would have a bad reaction to getting vaccinated.  It seemed like the risk was fairly small.

Years later, I'm back in a pediatrician's office with a one-year-old baby, faced with giving him is first live vaccines.  He might get a little sick from these in 7 to 10 days.

Two weeks after he got these vaccines he did get sick with a high fever and it was really scary.  The Dr. said it was probably from a virus and unrelated to the recent vaccines because the timing was wrong.  Plus his little throat was very red.  And really, we had just brought him to the California Science Museum where he certainly put every germ imaginable in his mouth.

The difference between back then and now is that enough people have stopped vaccinating their kids that eradicated diseases are coming back.  I just read there is a whooping cough epidemic here where I live.  And Jacob's pediatrician had to take a stand on this matter - he will not take patients who don't vaccinate.

I think about how I would feel if something terrible happened to my baby because of giving him a vaccine.  I don't know how I would feel but I believe in the science behind herd immunity.

Especially after hearing this woman: http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/please-help-me-keep-my-children-healthy/.  Her kids can't get vaccines.  They rely on everyone else getting them to stay healthy.

It's really, really scary to give your baby shots.  It's scary to make any choice that has an effect on your child's health.

We live in an interesting time too - on the cusp of understanding so much more about the human body and how it works than we have ever understood.  So it is right to think that science isn't perfect and that the facts change.

But vaccinating your kids is something you can feel really good about because it has proven results and you are doing something for everyone, not just your kid.

Sadly, we know for sure what happens when enough people stop vaccinating.  We see the come back of diseases that were simply gone.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm

I support my pediatrician for refusing patients who don't vaccinate and I believe that anyone who gets an MD should follow this model to ensure we all get back on track.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Dinner

My Mom came out and showed us love via her cooking.  Our fridge is full of food and leftovers so I made that for dinner plus pad Thai.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dear Jacob

Dear Jacob,
I think a lot about what your life must be like.  You are the youngest of five brothers and sisters, but you are also the oldest and first born to your Mom and Dad.  You have three older sisters who adore you and want to Mommy you but you are also an only child.  You have a big brother who loves you, but to you he will always seem like he was a grown-up by the time you can remember.

I don't stay home with you and play with you, take you to the park and on play dates.  There is no Mommy and Me.  You don't get to play with other little ones your age.  Every morning I come get you with big smiles, hugs and kisses and then you see me yell at your brother and sister about this thing or that.  You don't like it when people are complaining, crying or fighting.

I leave you with people who only speak Spanish and I think you love them and I think they love you but I don't know what it must be like to hear two different languages every day.  You seem to prefer Spanish and I think that is great.

You are almost one years old and becoming a toddler right before my eyes.  I'm getting to know your personality and I really like you.  You are full of passion mainly.  You laugh easily and like to play but you get furious if something doesn't go your way and you cry like something is really wrong when it isn't.  Even though it doesn't get you anywhere.  That's just how much you feel it.

Since you were only a few months old you would clench your fists and and all your muscles and hold your breath and shake with excitement when something really awesome was happening - like you getting some good food.  You have stopped doing this because we try to get you to do it and we always laugh.  You are very funny but you don't like it when people laugh at you at all.

You love music.  You started humming yourself to sleep as a newborn and you often talk yourself to sleep. You love to dance and sing and I'm happy because your brother and sisters love music and singing and dancing too.  They let you play the piano sometimes and I like that a lot.

Your Dad and I agree that you are lucky.  I hope you will feel like this too as you grow up.
Love,
Mommy


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Baby Blues

Having a baby at 40 must be something like having your first grandchild.  The feeling of love and wonder has a different taste from the birth of your children at a younger age.  There are other questions on your mind when you look at this child.  I taught my first two kids not to fuss so much, not to cry when they were babies, but this one knows someone will pick him up if he cries.

What do very young people think about when they have a baby?  I remember really wanting to have children when I was in college, wanting to have my kids in my early twenties and I think it would have been great.

I had tons of energy and a fountain of hope for my future.  I was very focused on being great at whatever I was doing.  But the love of my life was otherwise occupied and I got very, very far off track.

When I finally had my first kids I was 29 and 31 - I had much less energy and very little hope.  By then I was lost deep in the woods and unsure what it was I'd hoped for before.  Every year that passed saw me walking further away from whatever I'd wanted - except being a Mommy.   That always suited me.

Yet I think about my first two and the mother they had as babies.  I liked to play with them and show them the world - I think they got a great sense of adventure from an early age, but I was often unhappy and I was like a child myself, looking to my husband to take care of all three of us.  He did for many years.

Feeding them was a chore, bathing them was a pain.  Bed time was Dad's job.  Any responsibility that came with the joy and beauty of those babies was something I happily pawned off on someone else.  It is a miracle I breastfed those kids.

Jacob has a different mother entirely.  I cherish each moment with him.  Cleaning his poopy diapers, feeding him, listening to his yells or squeals, giving him baths, getting him to bed, getting him up in the morning.  He is almost a year old and I still look at him and can not believe that I get to be his mother.

Most of all it's the ways in which he is like his Dad that choke me up and make me fall in love with him.  He sings to himself, just like his Daddy.  He loves music, claps to it, dances to it.  He curls his toes under his feet.  He put his hands into fists and squeezes all of his muscles in excitement at times when he is overwhelmed with emotion.  He laughs easily and loves to play.  He gets scared easily.  He is a huge flirt.  He reminds me so much of his Daddy and I love him for it.

Once I really got the hang of it - when the kids were 6 and 4 - I usually felt two kids were very manageable.  Those two were my buddies in life and I enjoyed being with them - the two days a week I had to share them with their Dad were often unbearable to me.

But there are many more kids now.  I don't know that I have learned how to manage five kids yet or even three kids.  I can see it on the horizon though.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Violence in America

What has happened today?  Late this morning my husband told me there was a shooting at the JCC in Overland Park.

I have not sorted through all the emotions I have gone through today.  Grateful for Facebook.  Sad for my Jewish community.  Devastated for those who lost loved ones today. Heartbroken for all of us.  

Every single day I dropped my babies off at the J I worried something like this would happen.  I prayed that it would not.  They were there for six years all year round.  KC has a gem in the JCC.  I admit that I took it for granted - I did not fully appreciate what it meant to me until I moved a thousand miles away.

Today we talked to the kids about what happened and we explained about guns in the US.  The truth is that no group of citizens, no matter how well armed, stands a chance against our government.  There is no reason that we continue with our right to bear arms.  

I have dear friends who love their guns and my husband and his family like hunting.  But forgive me, if I had the power I would take away all your guns.  

I am so far away from all the people I love in Kansas City so I'm sending you what's here with me: the sunshine, the ocean.  I'm sending you the sound of waves crashing endlessly onto the sand.  My heart is with you always.




Monday, April 7, 2014

Highway 1 Brewery

This is the best place to eat after visiting the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo.

Pot roast sliders are the reliable favorite but this is one of those places with a chef because everything on the menu is delicious.
The boys had Cheez it Mac n Cheese and the chicken pot pie.
The crepe of the day was amazing.

They have only been open for a year or so but I think they are going strong.

Baby Jacob is getting ready to become a toddler.  He likes to chat back and forth with people and is trying to stand up on his own, stand on his own and even takes a step before falling flat.

He has no interest in his toys but wants to play with anything that isn't for him.  He is simply adorable.