Pesach with Snow!

matti_pesachGreat news! Daddy has started driving himself to work again this week! After 15 weeks things are definitely improving. Last week he got rid of the crutches as well as the boot. It will still be some time before he is back to “normal” for even though the bone is healed up the muscles in the leg had not been used in 3 months and not only does he have to strengthen the muscles, he has to make sure not to fall or twist his ankle in the process. He is getting there! I will miss those few minutes twice a day when it was just the two of us, but I am glad that I will have those few extra minutes with the boys again in the mornings. For some unknown reason no breakfast jobs get done if I am out of the house. Can’t quite figure that one out, but with me being home at the time breakfast jobs need to be done, they are more likely to get done. 😉

Pesach is definitely around the corner and it has been cold and snowing outside today. We are almost finished the inside of the house, but the car, I am not quite sure when we are going to do it for it’s been cold last week and it will be cold for the rest of this week! However, as I like to say, it will somehow get done. Other than the kitchen, I have just the boy’s room to do plus 5-10 minutes of work in a few of the other rooms. The progress has been decent considering that we have not done most of our secular work in almost a week, but I do not let that bother me for this is part of our real life learning which is important as well. I have to keep reminding myself that yes, the actual “textbook” (so to speak) learning is very important and is most of we have to do, however, never forget the importance of knowing how to live. It is hard for that is something they do not really do in a school so one can feel guilty about doing it at home. Yes, they might study about it, but they do not “learn” about it in school. The learning comes from the actual doing. When my boys move out they will need to know how to clean for Pesach and how important it is. Nothing beats seeing Mommy clean and them physically having a hand in the cleaning. This is all part of the learning process and when they physically do something it gets ingrained into their beautiful minds better.

I actually have quite a few different things I was going to talk about but I think I will save some of them for a different time. This past week or so has been one of those teary eyed times in teaching and parenting – you know, those moments you want to frame and save. Those moments in which you see your child has grown – at least for a few seconds here and there.

I realize that if I want to engage my children into learning things like good habits or the love of mitzvos with little or no struggle, the solution is for them to see me do it. For example, if I would like them to give tzedakah, I give each of us a coin and we all pass around the tzedakah box. Our cleaning was not going so hot to begin with so, instead of giving each boy some chore somewhere in the house to do (while I clean somewhere else,) I decided we were all going to clean in the same room.

The room we all tackled first was the basement. It was not that bad to begin with but it did need to be cleaned. We got a lot done with the cleaning when I realized it was class time with their Rebbe (I have made sure they still attended their kodesh classes.) “Boys, class!” There are still times when I don’t know whose class it is, but the boys know and that generic call will get the proper boy to the proper class. They always do enjoy going to class, however this time the reaction was extreme. Boom boom boom boom boom boom across the floor. “MY CLASS!” “MINE TOO!” Were they excited about class or wanting to get out of cleaning? I cannot tell you for sure. 😉 I do know that the excitement they showed did put a smile on my face no matter what the cause. True they were not running to learn with me, but they were running to learn Torah and no matter what the reason for the added excitement for that day it will always put a smile on a parent’s face to see that kind of desire to learn Torah.

There was another one of those moments this week. It was today. Rabbi Resnick posts texts and pages in the classroom so that everyone can read along with him and no one needs to purchase or print off anything extra if they do not want to or cannot do. Today I was sitting across the room and watched as one boy got up to get the physical gemora so he could read along with him from the source, all on his own accord. This is not the first time he has done this. He will go get books for class on a regular basis. What was so special about today? I am not sure. I might have been more in the mood for teary eyed situations to begin with but for some reason it just dawned on me what this really meant. All parents worry about their child(ren) and all parents wonder if they are doing the right things for their child(ren). This particular boy and his parents are no exception. “Are we teaching them the right way? Are they going to stay along the path of Hashem?” This one little act of getting a sefer on his own accord to learn from is not going to guarantee anything, it does however tell me that perhaps we are on the right track, and with our continued prayers to the Almighty and our continued guidance, he is headed along the right path and will IY”H stay there.

As I drift into Lala Land and try to picture that Spring really is here while it is below freezing and snowing, and dream about the food I need to buy and make sure I have all the frogs and hail and wild animals ready for next week, I just have to smile at a conversation I had with a boy today. “Um, (beautiful boy), what is on your neck?” “Red marker. I put it on and wiped it off so it will look all red.” And he smiles as he points to his arm as well. (His wiping it off smudged it all over so it was an even red tinge.) You see, he wanted to have a red neck… Redneck… Yup, that is my boy. He is a real keeper.

Wishing you all a Happy and Kosher Pesach!


purim_5773_smallI hope everyone had a wonderful Purim! It was so nice to have it on a Sunday. It is so much more fun when Daddy can be with us and be a part of the whole Purim affair. We had a WWII General as well as General Robert Lee – Confederate he is quick to tell you, a spy, and of course the famous kohain gadol.  We were honored here this past Shabbos with the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Lau. The boys came to the Oneg Shabbos with him, but just Mommy and Daddy went to hear him speak Motzei Shabbos. Now, on to the next climax of the year, Pesach cleaning! Yes, the most anticipated time of the year, the one that people are talking about even in October (yes, I have friends who were actively discussing it in October…..) I was smart to make our new library chometz free from the start and smart to know that the new boys room was not going to stay chometz free so I did not even bother, but yesterday I attacked my bedroom and surprisingly enough got most of the way through it. I should be able to finish it tonight. The living room was attacked last week, couch moved and cleaned up under and inside, but since Daddy’s chair is now in the kitchen it is not really used much which does make it easier to clean. It really should not be so bad this year. Ask me in 2.5 weeks if I still think so!

This morning I sat in the car a few minutes before coming home from taking my husband to work. I watched a 2 minute video. I ended up showing this video to my boys before we davened. One of my beautiful boys is constantly having a “bad day.” This video was very short but the message was very strong. (I strongly recommend taking the 2 minutes to watch it before reading further.)

Sometimes you try things and they don’t work. I get frustrated and wonder why the kids just don’t do what I want or why everyone is seemingly so against me! Maybe it is not them. Maybe it is me. Maybe I have to change. Change your words, change your world. Whenrabbi_lau_airport things go wrong, perhaps we need to rethink what and how we are doing things. My little one has decided over the last little while that he does not want to daven with me, not even for “his” kind of davening. It is a struggle to get him to sit for anything, and honestly, there have been days that I have decided not to fight him and have not davened with him. With the older boys, for Adon Olam, I pick a boy to give a tune – it gives them a chance to be connected just a little bit to the davening and is something they all look forward too (this morning there was an argument from all boys as to who I chose, except the one I chose (of course! 😉 ) Mr. Little Big wanted so bad to choose the tune, but he was not even dressed yet. It was so hard this morning to be 3! Mommy did not choose him to pick the tune for he was not dressed! He did not want to daven with me, so I decided to change. He needs to daven and he used to like davening with me, but he needs a change.

The boys and I had talked about the video. We talked about the difference between the two signs. It is hard to know what it is like to be blind if one has never been blind, however, we can all relate to having a good day, or the day outside being beautiful. When we can relate to something with someone we can have a connection with them. Once we have made that connection we can feel for someone. This is how we make friends. This morning I had to make that connection with my son, I had to relate to him. I told him that he could daven on my phone with the davening video I found online. (For those who like a “cleaner” YouTube and not have the suggested sites listed on the side, try loading up this YouTube Sanitizer and entering the following link the box: )

rabbi_lau_signingOff he ran to get his clothes. A few minutes later, all dressed with tzitzis, he was ready. He even waited patiently while another brother was finishing his reading on my phone! I then sat him down. He paused the davening to go grab his torah when it was time to sing Torah Tzivah Lanu Moshe, as well Little Torah. After sitting intently and listening, he watched the entire thing all over again. And yet again! I told him in the middle of the third time that that was it for the day. 🙂

I really can’t complain about it. It does not matter what path we take, the goal was achieved. Change your words, change your world. It might not be how I wanted it, but when I see him listening to intently and enjoying everything, I remind myself that is what I want – I want them to enjoy living, Hashem, and love doing His mitzvos. The goal was not to do it my way, the goal was to get him to daven – and to enjoy it. My way was not going to achieve this goal. I changed, I made that connection with him and the goal was achieved.
Now, on to start the rest of the day.