Did Somebody Say Potty Training?

My little Yaeli is coming of age. Toilet seats are ordered, underpants are coming soon and our Sunday schedule is cleared. The potty train is leaving the station.

What we are planning on doing is to spend the day focusing on the bathroom. Ask her every 15 minutes or so and hopefully she'll figure out that her bodily functions should only be performed on the potty. Rivkah and I plan on tag-teaming her so that neither of us goes crazy. Also, I think we will be starting only with day training. Neither of us has the energy yet to wake her up all night. We already don't get enough sleep because of Sophie. The girl won't go to sleep before midnight, ever, and usually not before 2AM.

Any suggestions, comments, tips or tricks you have for this important step would be greatly appreciated.


Learning From My Daughter

Lately, Yaeli has been asking for things she wants by saying "I need that". We've been trying to impress upon her that she doesn't need it, she wants it. But she got me thinking, as she so often does.

There is a concept that when you see faults in others you are really seeing the fault in yourself. Having a toddler has driven this message home better than any teacher I have ever had.

Now that Yaeli has been saying this phrase for a while I was trying to think why she might be talking like that. She must have learned it from someone. So I came to the conclusion that Rivkah and I must be saying it without even realizing it. Lo and behold, I can think of several examples off the top of my head where we tell Yaeli that we need a particular item if we want her to give it to us. "I need that diaper", "I need that pair of pants", "I need your plate in order to give you more food".

This is just another reminder of how careful we need to be when interacting with our daughters, and everyone else for that matter. We are her teachers. She looks to us for guidance on almost every aspect of her life. Language, motor skills, independence. You name it, she's learning it from our example. So I need to strive to provide the best example possible.

Have a great day!


Thankful for a Thanksgiving Family Day

The last two months have been incredibly busy at work, especially in my department in preparation for our peak sales time. The time between Black Friday through Christmas, and really beyond that into January and February, is when my company does most of our business for the year. Therefore, the IT department strives to "freeze" our code during this time and refrain from making changes so that it lowers the risk of breaking key functionality.

Sitting in Starbucks this morning doing homework was incredibly relaxing and I'm really thankful to have the time to do it. Putting in extra hours at work, getting called during school for work related issues and getting up incredibly early for production releases has been taking its toll on me so to finally have a lazy morning is a welcome relief. Looking forward to the many changes that are in the works in the weeks and months to come to get our practices back in order at work.

This afternoon, my sister in law Slaya and brother in law Baruch came to hang out. Baruch really just came for coffee but we liked his company. After Baruch left, Slaya and I took the girls to the park. Yaeli had a blast running around between the slides, swings and the firetruck. She impressed me yet again with her problem solving skills. She wanted to swing on the regular swings instead of the special little kids ones. Then she fell off and started crying and insisted that she wanted to go on the little kid swings. So smart. I had a really good time chatting with Slaya. She really is like my sister I never had and when we get a chance to really talk it's always enjoyable.

Tonight, after the little ones are asleep, Rivkah and I have a romantic turkey dinner planned. We got a beautiful set of tapers from the candle factor in Tsfas this summer and haven't had a chance to use them yet. It will be our first dinner date in a few months and I'm really looking forward to it.

And of course, Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete if it wasn't capped off with some football. Patriots vs. Jets tonight. I think I'll be siding with New York tonight but I'm pretty sure they'll get destroyed.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm so thankful for my wonderful family and for having all of you to share these stories with.


Call Me Crazy, I Still Can't Wait To Live in Israel

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suicidal or anything. I don't have a death wish for myself or my family.

You know the feeling you get when a family member is sick and in the hospital and all you can do is be there for moral support? You want to show them that they are not alone. That you are taking time out of your life to visit them, rather than to just call or leave them a message on their Facebook timeline. When my brothers and sisters in Israel are in danger, I feel guilty that my biggest problem is not getting enough sleep and waiting for the NHL lockout to end.

I have also come to terms with the fact that my daughters will serve in the IDF. I would be lying if I said that that idea doesn't scare me to death, but why should my kids be different than the other kids over there. I can only hope that terrorist organizations are no longer operating in Israel when we get to that point but, I will send them off with pride and welcome them home with joy and admiration.

I am a firm believer that a large number of Palestinians don't want this violence. I believe that they would like nothing more than to live peacefully and to end this insanity. When we were in Israel this summer I was grocery shopping at Rami Levi next to Arabs. They were buying the same cereals, yogurts, produce and candy that I was there to purchase. They were right there next to me, living their lives and allowing me to live mine. If I had to guess I'd say that they hate Hamas and the PLO as much as any Yishuvnik.

So, while this battle wages on, I want to leave my comforts here in America now more than ever.

A Letter to my Two Year Old

Dear Yaeli,

Today is your second Hebrew birthday. You are two years old now. Congratulations, we made it! I feel privileged to be your Totti and I absolutely love getting to know you better and better every day.

Thank you so much for enriching my life. You are the one who made me a father and I absolutely love fatherhood. I am so grateful for your zest for life and excitement. I may get tired out from it but I am so thankful that you have that excitement.

I want you to know that I love you so very much. I love when you wake up in the morning and call to me to take you out of bed. I love having breakfast with you and getting to spend the early morning together. I hate having to go to work and not see you all day long. I really hate when I have school and can't see you at night before you go to bed. I love that you and your Papa have a super special relationship. You two are the best of friends and, while I had and have a good relationship with my grandparents, I never had what you have. I love putting you to bed at night and saying Shema with you. And my favorite time is the weekend, when I get to go to shul with you. I love that the most.

I am looking forward to seeing your growth from here. You have already mastered so many skills and you can only go up from here. The amazing ride of life is ahead and you are just getting started. And now you have a little sister to share with. You two are already so happy together. I hope you stay close for the rest of your lives.

It is said that a picture speaks 1000 words. Please enjoy the 31,000 words below that show off your amazing growth the past two years, wonderfully highlighting your unique personality, individuality, spunkiness and happiness.

I love you so much.



Routined Two Year Old

Having a two year old can be pretty tough. They want what they want and it's pretty hard to convince them otherwise. Thankfully, Yaeli is an incredibly scheduled little girl so, while mealtimes can be challenging, bedtime is not. She often asks if its bedtime and almost always around the same time every evening.

Bedtime takes a total of about 10 to 15 minutes. Pajamas and a new diaper. Brushing teeth (Totti first, then Yaeli gets to brush too). Then, in a really cute voice she says the first two lines of shema. I say the third paragraph, tell her good night, and then leave the room. Easy peasy.

ברוך השם


Weekend With Refugees; Upcoming trips

Shayna and Yair came to visit from New Jersey this weekend. We always have so much fun when they come. Shayna got to hold Sophie a lot and Yaeli really took to Yair. He should feel privileged because she doesn't usually take to people so quickly.

November and December are going to be traveling months. Thanksgiving weekend we are going down to Maryland to visit my mom. Then on Christmas weekend we are going there again and New Years weekend we are going to visit my Bubby in Delaware. It's going to be really tiring but it's always so much fun to see the family.

שבוע טוב


Elections 2012

Today was Election Day. President Barack Obama vs. Senator Mitt Romney. As usual, we haven't stopped hearing about the upcoming election for the last 10 months or so. I'm glad it's just about over and we can all move on with our lives.

When I went to vote today I intentionally left the Presidential selection blank. I'm really underwhelmed by both candidates and, as my vote would have been a lesser of two evils type of vote, I just voted no to both.

I realized something interesting a few weeks ago. Yaeli was born on November 11, 2010. Which means that she will be turning 18 on November 11, 2028. 2028 is a Presidential election year, and the election will be on November 7, 2028. She'll have to wait another 4 years to vote in a Presidential election. Poor girl. Won't have to deal with all of this until she's 22. Of course, she'll hopefully be voting with an absentee ballot anyway.

Looking forward to finding out who will be leading our country for the next 4 years. I'm pretty ok with either choice.

יום בחירות טוב


Of Brachos, Bedtime Love, and Great Big Sisters

Man, Friday was a hectic day at work. I only got home about 15 minutes before candle lighting. Thank heavens Rivkah was home all day because the house was pretty much ready for shabbos when I walked in the door.

I quickly set up her candles and she (and Yaeli) lit candles. Yaeli doesn't actually light them but she exuberantly covers her eyes and says "Lehadlik Ner Shel Shabbos!" Then she uncovers her eyes and, laughing the whole time, yells "Good Shabbos!" Such a cutie.

It was time for Yaeli to go to sleep right after candle lighting but we promised her "special shabbos grape juice." I sat her down and started helping her with the bracha. I said "borei"and she said "minei mezonos." I then said "no, borei peri" and she yelled "ha'adama." So I said "no, borei peri hagafen." She got it right that time. It's so cool that she is so excited about brachos.

Ok, two more quick stories.

1. After kiddush I told Yaeli to say good night to Mommy and Sophie. She ran over to Rivkah and gave her a really big hug and kiss. Then she ran to the couch and got right up in Sophie's face and said "Good night Sophie, I love you!" I think our hearts melted.

2. Today, after I got home from shul, Yaeli asked if she could hold Sophie. I said ok and told her to come sit next to me on the couch. She held Sophie for a good 3 or 4 minutes, an all time high. She really loves being a big sister.

שבוע טוב