Blood Donation (The After-Post)

It took me a while to find the correct building for where the blood donation center was located. Basically, we got lost driving across the street (it's a 10 building corporate complex so you can forgive me, I guess).

I timidly walked into the center, heart pounding. I'm not going to lie, I was so afraid. And I told them so. I checked in and then answered about 50-something questions. I was secretly hoping that one or more of them would disqualify me. 

"Have you traveled out of the United States in the last 3 years?" Yespleasedontstickme! 

"Have you taken anything containing aspirin in the last 48 hours?" Ihavenowletmego!

"If male, have you ever had any sexual interactions with another male since 1977?" Um...what???

Well, nothing disqualified me so they pricked my finger to get an iron reading and then put me in the chair. I popped my headphones in and pulled up Top Gear on Netflix. They asked me how I was feeling about every 30 seconds. I must have looked really bad. Iodine on the arm, blood bags hung on the chair. All that was left was the needle. I almost said stop but I quelled the urge and powered on.

Pain! Probably not physical pain as much as my brain screaming at me that something was all wrong. The phlebotomist left the needle in for a bit to get things started. And then moved it around a bit. And them played with it a little more.

They couldn't get a good stick. They informed me that they were going to pull it out and didn't think it would be a good idea to try sticking me again. That came about 3 seconds before I was going to tell them I couldn't handle it anymore. I was almost relieved that this one was on them.

And that was it. I drank some water and ate an apple. I called my co-worker to come and pick me up. And I went back to work. My arm still hurts, my blood is still all in my body.

I'm really glad I tried this today. As of right now I don't see myself trying again any time soon. Maybe I can talk to my therapist and figure out a way to conquer my fear of needles. In the meantime, I feel proud of myself for making the effort. I really wish my body and brain wouldn't react like this. Intellectually I know that I'm safe.

Well, I think that's all I have to this story. Until next time.

Blood Donation (The Before-Post)

Today I am donating my blood.

It's easy, right?


Even though I know there's nothing in this process that can really cause me harm, I have always been so afraid of needles. It's a primal, physical reaction that causes me to get lightheaded, nauseous, and panicked.

So, whenever I've heard about blood donation I've thought "wow, those people are really brave. I could never do that!"

And then, in August, my friend Romi shared on her blog that she dealt with the same fears, and she had avoided giving blood for many years. But, Stella needed a blood transfusion and that helped Romi overcome her fear and go out and donate blood, despite her reservations.

Well, if Romi can do it, so can I. And if Stella can face her impending death with grace and courage, then I think I can handle giving up a few pints of blood.

I'm scared right now. I'm leaving in about 10 minutes to go to the donation center. I'm having a co-worker drive me there and pick me up in case I'm not up for driving afterwards. And I'll have Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond to help distract me from my fears.

Best of all, I'll have Rivkah "holding my hand" from her work.

Wish me luck and stay tuned for the follow-up post.


The Man in the Yellow Hat

When I was growing up, my parents asked a friend of my family named Harold to play the role of bedtime police one night. He came in and told me and my brothers that he's the policeman that parents call when their kids don't go to bed.

Over the years, Harold has been many different personas to us. One time during a Pesach Seder he went outside without us knowing and my father passed the Kos Eliyahu out of the window to him. It took us years to believe that Eliyahu Hanavi didn't actually drink that cup of grape juice. Another time he "lost" his name somewhere in my house. My brothers and I spent hours trying to find it until we decided he must be called No-Name. That name has stuck throughout the years.

Today, he took on yet another persona. Yaeli and I were trying to think of people to call and wish a Happy Chanukah. She kept naming people we had already called and then, finally, said she wanted to talk to the Man in the Yellow Hat (as in, the character from Curious George). I immediately thought of calling No-Name to play this character.

Unfortunately, Yaeli didn't take the bait. At first she thought it was her uncle Yossi. Then she decided it was her Zeighdee. Throughout the whole phone call she kept saying it was all a big mistake. There's no fooling her. So I introduced her to No-Name and she finally stopped mocking me for trying to pull a fast one on her.

She's good.

Happy Chanukah and Thanksgiving everyone!


The Craftiness Is Back!

My dear wife Rivkah has always been a very artsy and crafty person. You should see the scarves she crocheted for my family and the berets she crocheted for herself. Her projects are always pretty cool. Unfortunately, new motherhood and new mother-of-two-hood has pretty much trumped her time over much of the last 3 years.

Not anymore!

With the cold weather coming on, Rivkah decided she was sick of cramming the kids into their carseats with big poofy winter coats. We'd also read that big poofy coats makes carseats a bit less safe.

So...she went online and found a blog post by someone who made fleece ponchos for her kids. You buckle the kids underneath the poncho and they stay warm. See below for the amazing results!

I'm so glad Crafty Rivkah is back.


Where There's a Will...

...there's a relative. Or so my father always says.

This week, Rivkah and I are finalizing the process to have our Wills written and notarized as well as our Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney. This has been a project I've had on my to-do list since Yaeli was born and now, three years later, we have finally almost completed it.

The whole process has been pretty difficult. Writing a Will comes with a lot of difficult questions and discussions. You have to face your own mortality right in the face and think about what you would want to happen when you die. Coupled with what's been going on recently and it's made for a pretty depressing two weeks in the Miller household.

However, now that we've had those discussions and now that this process is almost done, I feel very calm. I feel like I can package up these documents and put them away and if, chas veshalom, something happens, at least Rivkah and the kids are taken care of.

I hope I just threw away all that money.


Things I've Learned From Yarden

Ever since Stella got sick we haven't stopped hearing stories that tell what an amazing person she is. How Stella so courageously carried the entire Stella's army on her back throughout her whole illness, even while we should have been the ones to carry her through it.

Well, I think someone very important has been overlooked. Yes, that wonderful man named Yarden. If it were up to Stella, we would all have been shocked to find out that she had passed away yesterday because she wouldn't have wanted anyone to know she was even sick in the first place. So, here's a list of things I learned from Yarden through this whole ordeal:

1. It's ok to talk about cancer.
2. Cancer is scary, and that's ok too.
3. In times of need, it's not a sign of weakness to reach out for help instead of doing everything yourself.
4. It's possible to be there for your children though the loss of their mother, even when you feel bleak and lost yourself.
5. Strength means standing up at your wife's funeral and telling everyone there that they should be jealous of you.

Yarden, Stella was the cause, but you were the one that has kept us all in the loop. You asked us to share jokes and stories at every chemo appointment. You let us know when you had good weeks and when you had bad weeks. You raised more money from a crazy bike ride than many people make in an entire year. And all throughout this, you helped take such amazing care of Stella and your children.

Stella had a fighters spirit, and I'm sure that was a large reason for why she lived so much longer than any doctor could have expected. But I think she also lived so long because she had your love to keep living for. You showed us all how much it is possible to love someone. You could have given up and said it was too hard. But you didn't. You provided her with such amazing care, comfort, and love that she had so much to live for.

Yarden, today and forever more, YOU are my Rock Star too.


The World Lost an Amazing Soul Today

The world lost one of the most amazing and courageous people I know. Her name was Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah. Most knew her as Stella. Many more knew her as Yarden's wife. I knew her as many things. Jordan's wife. Max's mom. Miriam's mom. Rivka's mom. Yedidya's mom. BaChan's and GiChan's daughter. Scott's sister. Jerry's and Anthea's daughter in law. The second mother to me and to my brothers when we were growing up next door back in Potomac.

Stella faced a death sentence two years ago with amazing grace and poise. She beat the odds and battled it longer than anyone could have expected and brought so much light and happiness to the world. The jokes, tzedaka, prayers and blessings of love and healing poured in every day from all over the world.

I had the privilege of meeting up with the Frankls last summer during Stella's brief period of remission from this awful disease. I'm glad that our last meeting was on such a happy occasion. We had a few hours of peaceful conversation, catching up, a wonderful barbecue dinner and an ice cream finale that ended with Yaeli just covered from head to toe.

(UPDATE: I found the picture from that day.)

Stella, if you are reading this from heaven, I didn't really get to say goodbye to you so I'll say it now. Thank you so much for being such an important part of my life. I feel incredibly blessed to have known you and have learned so much from you. You taught me how to make sushi. You taught me how to read books really quickly to my children when I need to get other things done. You taught me how to take something I'm afraid of and face it. I won't say fearlessly because I know you were afraid. But you didn't let the fear take you over. You taught me how to give without asking for anything in return.

Stella, I miss you so much. I hope you have a really comfy seat right next to G-d.

Stella, I love you.


The Stella Frankl Lending Library

I have always had an affinity for reading. I am pretty sure I was an early reader and I used to tear through books like nobody's business. In elementary school we had a 600 minute reading challenge every year where kids who read 600 minutes got a free pass to 6 Flags for them and a parent. I often read 1,200 minutes.

So, naturally, I've accumulated a lot of books over the years. Kids books, teen books, young adult, and full size novels. I've estimated that my collection of books is upwards of 500 books, possibly close to 700. I've held onto a lot of books that I will probably never read again but I kept them so that my kids can enjoy them as much as I did when I was younger.

When we move to Israel I'm not sure we'll be able to find English literature in abundance like you can here in America. I never really went to any libraries when I was there but I didn't see any either. I decided about a month ago that I would like to share my books with more than just my kids when we move. I want to share them with anyone who would like to sit down with a good book.

I reached out to my community here in Pittsburgh asking if anyone had books they could donate to my cause and I got a bunch of responses. I'm starting to stockpile books now and catalog them so that when we move we can offer a lending library to the Yishuv we end up on.

And why am I doing this in honor of Stella? Because Stella embodies Ahavas Chinam (baseless love). Stella gives and gives and gives without ever asking for anything in return. The decision to grant public access to my personal library was not an easy one, nor one that I made lightly. But Stella has inspired me with her giving nature to give a little of myself.

Besides, have you ever heard Stella read books to kids? It's like listening to a story on fast forward. One of the funniest and most enjoyable experiences and I will cherish the memories of those book readings forever.


Fun at the Children's Museum

As a joint birthday gift to both Yaeli and Sophie for their birthdays, Rivkah and I purchased membership to The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. For a pretty good price we now have a year where we, my mother and Rivkah's father can take up to 3 children as many times as we like. Since the girls spend the days with Rivkah's father, this will be most useful for him.

When we went yesterday the kids had a blast. While Yaeli and I worked together in the arts and crafts room, Rivkah and Sophie went upstairs to play with toys appropriate for a 1 year old. Yaeli got to make a painting using marbles covered in paint. We put a paper down in a large bowl and put the marbles on top and spun the bowl around. The ensuing painting looked really neat. Then we moved on over to make a painting by cutting out shapes using newspaper and then painting over it and lifting the clippings. This left an outline of the shapes. Then we went and made some (not-so) scary masks.

We then went to join Rivkah and Sophie. We found them upstairs where Sophie was enjoying eating sand and playing with a light-wall. After Sophie proved that all she wanted to do there was eat the sand, I took her downstairs to play in the "garage" room. We all ended up there for the remainder of our stay.

I'm looking forward to using the heck out of this membership. I've always had fun there so it's nice to have an excuse to go. I hope the kids have fun too.


Expectations Ahoy!

The year the Pittsburgh Pirates took a giant leap towards repairing their abysmal image in professional sports. For the past 20 years they not only had never gone to the playoffs. They had never won more games than they had lost either. Their collective record over the last 20 seasons was 1374-1796 for a mere .434 winning percentage. That's just horrible.

This year, however, they went 94-68 for a .580 winning percentage. That didn't just break their streak for them. It smashed it. It showed that they weren't just good enough. They were GOOD.

So when they made the playoffs and won the wildcard game, the expectation was that they could go to the World Series and really have a shot at winning it.

Instead, they got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. It was crushing. In the back of my head I knew that I should be happy that they gave me a great season of baseball to follow and a thrilling playoff run. I even got to go to one of their playoff games (a 5-3 nail-biter). But I wanted them to win more. I wanted them to win it all. So I was disappointed for a time.
Setting expectations for ourselves can be very important. We expect to do a great job at work. Great job parenting our children. Be a great husband, student, runner, hockey player, son, brother. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes, though, we do a really great job and still fall short of our goal. I finished the race I entered but fell short of my time goal. I passed my test but only got a B. I washed all the fleishig dishes in the house and then found a small stack on the dining room table. There are so many examples of things like this. The important thing is to celebrate the success and continue to push for perfection. When I get wrapped up in the 5-10% of what I didn't accomplish and don't celebrate the 90-95% of what I did accomplish, I lose my drive to succeed.

The same thing goes with parenting. I have very high expectations for my children, based on what I know and feel that they can accomplish. Sophie started walking at 9 months old. That's an amazing accomplishment. I can't focus on the fact that she falls down a lot. I have to celebrate her success and keep helping her get better. When Yaeli doesn't let me help her put on her shoes, I should celebrate the fact that she knows how to put them on her feet (not tie them yet) and not get so upset that she's making us late.

The lesson here is simple. Keep setting goals and celebrate the successful parts while still pushing to complete the whole thing.



No, not llama! Lamah. Why?

Yes ladies and gents, we've reached the age of "why?".

"It's time for bed." "Why?" "Because it's already 8:30."
"You can't have that cheese because you just had a hot dog." "Why?" "Because that's not kosher."
"You can't jump on Sophie's head!" "Why?" "Um....REALLY?"

I know that kids naturally start asking this question around the age of 3 so Yaeli is pretty much right on time. However, I didn't think she'd be asking why in such a pointed way. The examples above show that she's not just asking why to be a pest. She really and truly wants to know the answers and I'm very impressed. It will be my challenge to make sure to answer her in a truly informative manner. If she's going to internalize it I need to make sure she's getting the right message. And she often internalizes it the first time we answer her. Well, except for the one about climbing/jumping/shoving her sister. She still likes to do that one a lot. Of course some things will need sugar coated, but you can't really expect a 3 year old to understand everything.

On the topic of speech, Sophie is beginning to say some words too. She's been saying Mama and Papa for a while. The other day she said "Hi Bob" to her uncle Bob (Baruch) and then walked away with her face on her hand saying some version of "oh my goodness gracious!" (my father in law, Papa, says that to the kids a lot and that was one of Yaeli's first phrases too). And just yesterday when I went to pick them up after work, Sophie came running over to me with a huge smile on her face, gave me a hug and said "hi Ta"! Oh it was just so yummy.


Just One Word

It's just one word. Six little letters. Two syllables. Some words are more powerful than others. This one is, arguably, the most powerful of them all.


One of my dearest friends has cancer. I've known her almost all my life. She's not my mother but when I was growing up I considered her to be almost like my second mother. There were days when I stayed home sick from school and she took care of me. When I first arrived in Israel back in 2005 she made me my first meal there (hamburger soup, pita, chummus, maybe a fruit?). She's Stella, and she's one of the strongest people I know.

And yet, cancer is trying to steal her from me. From her husband. From her children. From her myriad of friends and supporters.

Her battle has had some ups and downs. Last year her husband raised somewhere around $40,000 in a solo charity bike ride. Cancer may be evil but on that day, cancer brought thousands of people around the world together in an overwhelming display of charity. Take that cancer!

As I've said before, I've been running lately and have already done a 5K race. I'm going to be dedicating my running career to Stella. Some day cancer may take her from us. But she will always live with me when I run.

Two years ago I read an amazing poem about cancer. I'm going to share it with you below. Please credit the author if reproducing it.

Cancer affects everyone. I can't think of anyone who remains untouched by this wicked disease. Who are you "running" for?

Just one Word
With just a word
A day could change
From great into despair

Or one small word
Could change a mood
From down to in the air

With just a word
The news it brings
Can kill or it can save

A tiny word 
Can build me up
And make me know I’m brave

Or one small word
Can break my heart
And know that I will lose

With one small word
I may be asked 
To be the one to choose

Just one small word 
Can say I love
Or fill me full of hate

Yes one small word
Can crush a friend
Or serve to elevate

With one small word
The time we have
May seem too short to spend

With one small word
I may find out
Our time is soon to end

Yes one small word
Can make or break
My outlook on the day

Oh God 
Please make the word I heard 
Be gone from yesterday

-Elana Miller 4/28/2011


That's Just Peachy

Yesterday a family that we are friends with contacted Rivkah in the morning and invited us to come peach picking with them. We didn't really have any solid plans for the day so we said sure. We restructured the day a little to make sure the visit to the farm fit into what we needed to accomplish.

So, we packed up our lunches and hit the road. The kids fell asleep within 5 minutes of leaving the house. We arrived at the farm about 35-40 minutes later and had some peace and quiet before the kids woke up.

After we had lunch we drove over to the peach orchard and started picking. It was a lot of fun finding good peaches and making sure they were ripe. We bought a peck box (not quite sure how much that is) and spent about 20-30 minutes filling it up. Yaeli got to pick a few of the peaches but wasn't really tall enough so she ended up being the relay person, taking the peaches from me and from Rivkah and putting them in the box.

The farm also had a petting zoo. Yaeli got to feed some sheep, goats, ducks, a turkey, and a pig. She was really brave and wasn't afraid of the animals at all.

When we got home Yaeli and Rivkah took naps and Sophie pretty much played by herself in the living room. I put on my brand new, handy dandy chef's coat and got to work. I made a peach salsa that the kids and Rivkah really enjoyed and then started into cooking our food for the rest of the week.

I really like the idea of supporting local farms. Even though this farm is a bit far from our house, I think we are going to try and get out there once a month or so and pick or buy some fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies. I hear they have good pumpkins in October. The produce is worth the drive.


It's A Date!

As is indicative by the fact that I haven't posted to the blog at all in almost a month, you can probably tell that I have been extremely busy and not making time to catch you all up. Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm sorry but I'm not going to. I've learned that playing catch up on a blog is a really great way to burn out of writing to it entirely. Own the fact that you haven't posted for a while but when you pick it back up, pick up where you are now.

Ok, there's my little blogging lesson for the day, now to the good stuff.

On Sunday, Rivkah and I went to a wedding at Phipps Conservatory. It was truly a beautiful wedding and we had so much fun there. One of the best parts was that we went without the kids. We met a lot of our parent-friends there who also were there without their kids and we were all reveling in getting "date time" with our spouses, in the middle of the day, dressed up nice and fancy, and barely a child in sight.

At first we parent types were feeling slightly guilty for feeling like this. How could we be truly happy that our children weren't around? But the truth of the matter is that our date time away was so refreshing. We got a chance to breath fresh air. We talked about wedding stuff and sunglasses and how good the iced coffee tasted. We did NOT talk about the color/smell of poop, food on the carpet, vomit in the car or anything else child related.

I've found that even if it's just for a few hours, getting out of the house away from the kids is imperative to a healthy marriage. Add in the part about getting to dress up and then also getting to leisurely stop at a coffee shop on our way to pick up the kiddos and we had a very good Sunday.


My First 5K

As I wrote in my post back in June, in addition to all of the health benefits derived from working out on a regular basis, I started running a month ago to show the Boston Marathon bombers that they can't keep me down. I'm an American, this is my country, and if I want to run in a race I can do so without fear. I set my sights on 5K (approximately 3.1 miles) and started to train.

At first I could barely run a half mile. I was wiped out and needed a 20 minute break before I walked home. I realized that I was running too fast, at an unsustainable pace. I was basically training for a distance run by sprinting. Not a good idea. So I slowed it down and within a couple of weeks was running about 2-3 miles in a session. Training in Squirrel Hill is tough because of the elevation changes but I've pushed through the challenges. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy.

I mentioned to my coworker Chad that I was starting to train and he was really excited. He's a runner as well and gave me some tips and we even ran once during a lunch break. When I told him I signed myself up for a 5K he said he'd come with me, even though he was scheduled to run another 5K five days before mine. I told him I wanted to complete it in 35 minutes or less. He laughed and said we'll beat easily. I wasn't so sure.

How poetic that my first race was on Independence Day. Just about a month after I first began training I was running my first 5K and I got to celebrate my freedom as an American by giving those bombers a big middle finger.

My brother and I got up early and arrived to pick up our tracking chips with about 1.5 hours to go before the race started. It was really quite intimidating to drive down the race course and see it lined with chairs that people had set out the night before. I knew that people would come out to see it but I started getting a little nervous about how many people would be watching. Sponsors started to set up shop around the square and my friends who I'd be racing with started meeting up with me. We headed up to the start line with about 20 minutes to the starting gun and soon enough, we were off.

We started slower than I'd thought since there were over 2000 people running. It took about a minute before the crowd thinned enough to really start running. Once we picked up the pace though we didn't look back. My brother took off ahead of me but I knew Chad was going to keep pace with me the whole time. He had an app going on his phone that was telling him our pace every two minutes. It really helped me keep a pace that wasn't too fast or slow. We kept up a solid pace for the first mile and a half before I started to tire. I never stopped because I knew I might not start again but 4 times I slowed to a walk for about 20 to 40 seconds. These walks were immensely helpful in my finishing the race. They allowed my legs rest just enough to keep going.

As the finish line came into sight, my legs were screaming. I just wanted it to be over but I also had a sense  of "am I really finishing this thing? Chad started pulling ahead of me. I knew he wanted to sprint the last little bit and I told him to go on ahead of me if he wanted to. Then my Miller blood kicked in. I wasn't going to let him leave me in the dust like that. With about 20 feet to go I gave it all I had and run full out. Chad looked back just in time to see me blaze past him. He tried to catch up but I'd taken him by surprise. I flew past the finish line one step ahead of him. The time read 31 minutes, 29 seconds. I had done it. I had run a 5K and I beat my goal time by a full minute and a half.

I'm now a 5K runner. It feels great knowing that. I accomplished something huge and I am not stopping here. The end goal for me is not a race, it's just the beginning. I am looking for the next 5K I can enter and I'm going to start training to run in a 10K next year. Who knows, maybe by the time I move to Israel I can run a marathon with my runner friends there. Only time will tell. I just need to stay committed.

To see a map of my run with some statistics follow this link.


See What It Is, You Might Feel Better

...or you might not.

Lately Yaeli has been watching Daniel Tiger, a spin off cartoon show based on the Daniel Tiger from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Daniel encounters real life scenarios and helps teach children how to react and grow from those experiences. Lessons include potty training, getting shots, apologizing. For each lesson there's a short little ditty to go with it.

This week, Yaeli decided to learn a really important lesson from Daniel. She is now afraid of bugs and anything that might look like a bug. Of course, the real lesson was supposed to teach kids to inspect things that they might be afraid of and see that they are not really scary after all. Yaeli decided she didn't like that part of the story so she's now constantly talking about how moths, flies, spiders and any other insect you can think of.

Gotta love selective hearing, right?


Nice Try Mommy

Back in April when I was in Toronto I stopped at Niagara Falls on my way home and got souvenirs for Rivkah and the girls. I got Rivkah a nice pair of socks, I got Sophie a mug with her name on it and I got a T-shirt  for Yaeli.

Rivkah loved the socks. Sophie isn't old enough for her mug yet. And Yaeli refused to wear her shirt. She didn't seem upset by it, just would not even entertain the thought of wearing it. No explanation given. 

Initially I was crushed. How could she do this to me? I went out of my way and spent my money to buy her a gift and she flat out rejected it. Eventually, Rivkah helped me get over it but for a few days I tried pushing the shirt on her at every turn. 

Fast forward until this week and Rivkah decided she would "doctor up" the shirt and make it more appealing to Yaeli. She chopped it up a little and added cute laces and bows and we set it out for Yaeli to wear the next day. 

The next morning Yaeli came out from her room and we excitedly told her that her shirt looked brand new and awesome now. "Cool!" she said. "Do you want to wear it today?" Rivkah asked? 

"Nice try" was her cheeky reply. 


Commitment to Exercise

Back in May I wrote a post about my healthy way of eating and that I've been following that food plan for 5 years. During the last 5 years I have definitely gotten to a much healthier way of living and I've been at a healthy weight too.

Exercise has never really been a part of my "thing". I play ice hockey but even at my peak I never played more than once per week. Outside of hockey I have not done any other types of exercises. So, the other week I decided that exercise needs to be a part of my weekly schedule. I am getting tired of the flabby skin that has been hanging around as a tribute to the weight I lost and I am tired of my terrible endurance when playing sports. I shouldn't be completely gassed at the end of 1 period of hockey.

In came running. I actually got the itch to start running shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing. For some reason I felt a desire to stick it to the bombers and show them that they didn't scare people away from running. It's taken me a long while since then to actually get my act together but I've finally started to run regularly and I've mapped out some routes to run around my neighborhood. I signed up for a free online service called MapMyFitness and have started to track my workouts there. It even has a really cool iPhone app that tracks my runs via GPS and allows me to share them. Here's an example from my first run logged with MapMyFitness.

In order to help keep myself accountable and to share my workout success with my friends and family I've put a direct link to my MapMyFitness profile in the menu of this site. Notice that at the top of the page there is now a link called Yehuda's Fitness. Please feel free to check it out and see how I've been doing.

I hope to be able to keep up the work and run 2-3 times per week. I have already felt a difference in my endurance when playing hockey since I started running. Hopefully this commitment to not just eating healthy but exercising too will help me reach the fitness and health goals that I want to achieve.

As a parting thought from this post, I challenge all of you who have said "some day I'd like to exercise regularly" to make that day today. Just put on some sneakers and go for a walk, a run, play some basketball at a local park. Do something TODAY to promote better health for LIFE.


My First Father of Sophie Day

This week marked my fourth (if you count when Rivkah was pregnant with Yaeli) Father's Day that I've celebrated. It is, however, only the first since my beautiful Sophie was born. I'm the father of two amazing little girls with amazing, and quite different, personalities. And they both gave me quite a special day.

I woke up in the morning with Sophie asleep on top of my blanket, basically on my lap. She was so cute there that I just let her snooze for a while and keep me trapped in bed. Rivkah was planning on serving me my breakfast in bed so I texted her and asked her if she could get started. Sophie woke up within a few minutes and she and I had some really nice snuggle time. I swear she new it was a special morning because she was just smiling and cuddly from the moment she woke up. 

Yaeli came and joined us shortly. She and Rivkah had been up early (I don't remember why) and were watching Hercules. She made sure to be gentle with Sophie on the bed (she has a tendency to accidentally hurt Sophie when they are on a bed) and I had the perfect start to my day, made even better when my breakfast was served. 

Rivkah took the kids shopping in the morning which gave me time to do some organizing at home and to do some laundry/dishes. Of course my main win there was watching an episode of Game of Thrones during the day. Hard to watch that show with kids around. 

We had some very special friends come and visit in the afternoon and had a really great time catching up. They left Pittsburgh several years ago to move to Canada and since then traveled India and Nepal for a year. They had some fascinating stories to share. The visit ended way to quickly but they got to meet both the girls and we had a blast catching up. 

From there we went to the really nice wedding of some friends. We got all dressed up and and fancy and Yaeli decided she was going to marry Rivkah. I'm not so sure about that one, she'll have to fight me for that privilege. The wedding was really nice but the kids were melting down by the end of the chuppah. We basically bolted as soon as the chosson broke the glass. Came home for dinner and bedtime and the kids didn't really give us trouble with either one. 

To cap off a day like that I went out for a run in the evening. I jogged and walked a combined 3.57 miles and it felt great. I was pushing the limits of my distance a bit but I made sure to pace myself and walk if I needed a break. I took a much needed and refreshing shower when I got home and then said good night to cap a very special Father's Day. 

Thanks so much to my wonderful wife and my beautiful girls. Every day is special when they are in my life. 


Playing for a New Team

In the summer of 2010 some friends and I got together and formed an adult ice hockey team. We called ourselves the Net Crashers (I came up with the name) and began our first season at Ice Castle, going 0-10. The team has gone through many different players and seasons in the least 3 years. We've had a wholesale jersey redesign from red practice jerseys to blue ones with our logo. I changed numbers in the middle from 36 to 46. We've never had a winning season and somehow we kept on chugging along.

Tonight, that story of my hockey career ends. Tonight I take the ice as a Net Crasher for the final time. In the next couple of months I will be starting a new season with a team called Lokomotiva Hockey Club. We'll be competing at a higher level than I've ever consistently played in before. Our jerseys are going to look amazing. We even have a team website that I run (www.LokomotivaHockey.com) with a link to our schedule, player bios, and a running blog where we will have the latest updates from the team such as game recaps, point totals etc. All in all it's pretty a pretty exciting move in my hockey career.

After tonight the Net Crasher will live on. They may not even miss me very much. They certainly won't be retiring my number of anything like that. But tonight, I'm going to go out there and leave it all on the ice. I'm going to give it everything I've got and have fun doing it.

It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh!

Spontaneous Combustion

This afternoon at around 10 minutes after 5 Rivkah called me at work to ask if we could have a spur-of-the-moment afternoon barbecue. The weather was perfect, she was going shopping and could pick up some chicken, and we already had a bunch of veggies and a pineapple just itching to be roasted on a grill. I, of course, said that sounded great. I even invited my coworker and best friend Yosef to join us.

I got home around 6 and by 6:30 had the fire going and delicious food smells started filling the air. Rivkah set us up out front with a table and we already have a park bench in front of the house. The food was done shortly after 7 and Yosef arrived just as we were finishing our preparations. We even brought Sophie's highchair out so she could make a huge mess of herself with meatloaf.

We had an absolute blast. Conversation flowed, Yaeli made us laugh, Sophie made a mess. It was just a wonderfully spontaneous way to cap off a pretty tough day at work. I think this will be the first of many outdoor meals we have this summer. If you live in Pittsburgh and you'd like to join us maybe we can have a picnic in the park sometime.

Happy summer everyone!


Nasal Storage

Just a quick little cute story: On shabbos morning Yaeli finds a little screw in her room. Rivkah asked her to put it away. Yaeli says "Can I put it in my nose for later?"

Also, Sophie is now pulling herself up to a standing position and cruising everywhere she can. Great stuff.


Can You Please Say Bless You?

This weekend we went up to Wilmington, Delaware to visit my grandmother. My brother came with us and was a great help in the car helping to entertain the kids. We left early Sunday morning and got to Delaware around lunchtime. The kids napped a bit and generally did kid stuff.

We ate lunch when we got there and my Bubby finally got to meet Sophie for the first time. My mom came up as well and Yaeli had some trouble remembering who was Bubby (my mom) and who was Bubby-Bubby (my grandmother). Zeidy Murray (my grandmother's husband) was there too and everyone just loved seeing the kids.

After lunch my mom and Rivkah took the Yaeli to a nearby park. I stayed home with my Bubby and we spent a good hour just catching up and chatting. Sophie showed off her crawling and cruising skills and then ended up falling asleep on me lying on the couch for over an hour. It was delicious. At around 5:30 Rivkah and I went out to Brew-Haha coffee for a much needed date. As part of our date I looked up the store on Yelp and we left a really nice review, alternating writing each sentence.

After our date we went back and put the kids to bed. Yaeli slept on a pull-out sofa which my mom later joined her on. It amazes me that she'll sleep in a bed with my mom but not with me or Rivkah. Sophie slept in our room in our bed. There wasn't room for us to set up a pack-and-play.

In the morning Yaeli actually stayed in her bed reading until I came in to get her. She was very careful to be quiet and not wake up her Bubby. So cute. My cousin Jesse and his wife Erica came and hung out around 11 and we all had a lot of fun just talking. I added Jesse onto my family Photo Stream too. I'm slowly adding my whole family to it.

We packed up the car and got on the way at around 1. The kids were a little antsier this time and after a couple of hours my brother and Rivkah switched places so that Rivkah was in the back with the kids. Sophie was clearly tired of being cooped up in her car seat and screamed bloody murder until she finally fell asleep after about an hour. Yaeli wasn't too bad. She took a nap and was a little loud when she was up but for the most part was well behave.

Then...all hell broke loose...

As we were going through the tollbooth getting off of the PA Turnpike, with 15 minutes to go before we arrived home, Yaeli gave us 3 seconds warning and puked her little guts out. It was one of the most horrible scenes/smells I've ever experienced. The poor kid was so traumatized that she fell asleep about 2 minutes later. Sophie must have through it was really funny because she stopped screaming and started giggling instead. She giggled the rest of the way home.

Thankfully my dad had made dinner for us and came over to my house where we all ate. One thing I realized during dinner was that Yaeli started requesting polite responses from us. She sneezed and then said "Zeidy, can you please say 'bless you'?" It was so cute and she's been saying a few different things like that too.

Well, that about sums up our trip. Going to wait a little bit for the next long road trip.

Til next time.


Why Shouldn't They Serve? My Kids Will

In Israeli news recently was a story about a protest by the Chareidi community against being drafted into required military service. This was in response to the governments plan to stop allowing Chareidi men to be exempt from military service.

I'm having trouble understanding this mentality. I'm not really been a fan of pushing my problems off on someone else. It's one thing to delegate but to say that a task is beneath me is not part of my lingo. So when I hear that a group is pushing off the responsibility of protecting their country to someone else because it will disrupt their quiet peaceful lives it gets me a little ticked off. Don't they understand that they only get those quiet lives because the military is doing their very best day in and day out to protect them and provide them safety?

When it comes time for my daughters to join the greatest army in the world I have no plans to try to find loopholes and exemptions for them. They will do their duty and serve the country that has been providing them their home. This is not to say I won't be scared as hell. Of course I will be. But I'll be mighty proud of them and the work they'll be doing to keep us all safe.

So, remind me again why you shouldn't serve? My kids certainly will!


Mother's Day 2013


On this Mother's Day I'm reminded of how amazing of a mother you are. I actually have a constant reminder on a daily basis of how good a mother you are because of how amazing our kids are. They both resemble you so much and I love that about them. Yaeli and Sophie both have your beauty, both inner beauty and outer beauty. They both have a lot of your personality too.

I know it's not easy being their mom sometimes. Yaeli is so frustratingly independent (not unlike you sometimes) but you handle her with patience and grace. Sophie wakes us up all the time at night (not unlike you waking up and talking in your sleep) but you never deprive her of anything she needs.

I love that you love our girls so unconditionally. They may frustrate you at times but they both express their love for you day in and day out. I'm proud that you are their mother and proud to call you my wife.

Have a great Mother's Day.



Getting the Aliyah Ball Rolling

As I have stated previously, the initial intention of this blog was to document my family's aliyah experience. As time goes along and that dream becomes more of a reality, that message will start to play a bigger and bigger role in these posts. In the meantime, please continue to enjoy the stories along the way.

That being said, this will serve as our aliyah kick-off post. No we aren't in contact with Nefesh B'Nefesh yet. No we aren't about to leave any time soon. But there are things we are already doing now to get the ball rolling to set us up for a successful aliyah.

One such thing is our cell phones. As you know, though it is highly contested, in the United States most cell phone providers lock users into a 2 year contract. Well, as we'd like to think about leaving within the next 2-3 years we made the decision that after Rivkah's next available upgrade in the summer we are not allowing any more 2 year contracts on our plan. We have 6 lines on our plan currently and if anyone wants to extend their plan they'll just have to wait until the contract is up and get their own plan. Once our two contracts are done we'll take them month to month the rest of the way.

The other thing we have been doing is working with a financial planner to get our finances in order. Cut back on spending where it's not needed, purchase proper levels of insurance (life, auto, renters), invest some money, and most importantly, start to save up an Aliyah nest egg. I've always heard that to have a small fortune in Israel you need to move with a large fortune in America. I don't know if that's 100% accurate but we definitely need to have some money stored away for the move.

So, for all you nay-sayers who want to keep us tied down here, I'm terribly sorry but this is happening.


Don't Tolerate Different People

Recently, an NBA player by the name of Jason Collins came out and shared with the world that he is gay. Sports Illustrated had a whole section devoted to the story and I read it end to end. Something about this story caught my attention and intrigued me to no end.

Why should I even care? I don't know Collins. I don't even like basketball. In fact I pretty vehemently don't like basketball. Clearly this wasn't a basketball story. So is it a sports story then? I spent the whole weekend wondering and thinking about it.

Probably because of all the testosterone and adrenaline involved, professional sports has made little room for homosexuality.Until Collins came out there had never been an out gay person in major professional team sports in the United States. The article in SI mentioned that while Jackie Robinson was the first black person to play in a major league team sport, Collins is definitely not the first one to play. He's just the first one to come out. In fact, there are apparently four players in the NFL who are contemplating coming out as a group at some point soon. These people are out there, just hiding who they are.

This line of thinking brought me to the topic of tolerance. Do I have tolerance for gay people, black people, women? Of course I do. I have some very good friends in all of those categories. In fact, someone who I was in school with as a kid, who was "straight" then, is living today as an out gay man. And that hasn't changed how I view him and it doesn't change our friendship.

But is this really tolerance? I don't think it is. Here are a couple definitions of tolerance as defined by merriam-webster.com:
1. Capacity to endure pain or hardship
2. The act of allowing something
Is this what I am really describing above? It's not a hardship or pain for me to be friends with a gay person. It's definitely not a hardship or pain for me if someone I've never met and will never meet is gay. And who am I to say that I allow or don't allow someone else to be true to themselves, even if it goes against what my religion tells me? Even if it's what their religion says! That is not my place. If my religion tells me not to do something, then I need to be the one to implement that into MY life.

I want my kids to grow up with a respect for other people. For their beliefs, practices, religions, whatever. I don't want them to tolerate differences. I want them to embrace differences. If they aren't comfortable with something they can discuss it either with one of their parents, or better, they can discuss it in a healthy conversational manner with the person themselves. Get the answers directly from the source. No antagonism, no accusations, no negativity.

If we just tolerate differences we are still in the mindset of segregation, and that can be very bad.


Toddler Bed Adventures, Sophie is Crawling

After months of almost being able to do it, Yaeli finally got hysterical enough to climb out of her Pak n' Play. She just kinda hoisted herself up on the side and flipped over the side. I was so proud of her. I put her back in and put her down for her nap and when she woke up she asked me to help her climb out. So now we were in a bit of a predicament.

My rule has always been that when the kids climb out of their cribs is when they can transition to the toddler bed. This is a pretty good rule for the most part because it keeps the kid in the room for as long as possible. The downside to this rule is they can learn to escape at any time and we don't have time to plan for it.

So, that night we pumped Yaeli up to sleep in her toddler bed. We made sure to tell her that she's such a big girl now and that we are proud of her. We put her to sleep, closed the door, and prayed. Prayed that she wouldn't fall out of bed. Prayed that if she woke up at night she wouldn't come creeping into our room. Prayed that she wanted to sleep in the big bed.

Well, after almost a week in the toddler bed she's been fine. She slept through the whole night in bed and has only fallen out once. The main issue is that we can no longer just plop her in her room and leave her crying because she'll follow us out. Bedtime has gone from a 10-20 minute process to a 30-45 minute ordeal. I'm sure with time we'll get it down to a system but for now the bedtime process is a little grueling. I took my final final for the spring semester last night and I have the entire summer off so I should be home most nights to help with bedtime.

In Sophie related news, she is in fact crawling. Getting all over the place now (although sometimes she gets there backwards). It's really amazing watching the progress jump so much every day. I'm hoping she waits a few more months before walking. I'm not really ready for her to be getting into our stuff. Time to break out the baby gates again...


Dear Friends, I Have a Food Addiction

Those of you who have known me for a long time will not be shocked by this. For those of you who have not known me that long, I used to weigh well over 200 pounds. I did some pretty crazy things with food and was overall an unhealthy person. I was pretty miserable with myself. Even though I put on a pretty good show for the world to see, I was not a happy person most of the time.

Five years ago, on May 1, 2008, I began the long journey towards a better life. I joined a 12 step program called Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA). I found a sponsor who had long term success losing weight and keeping it off and asked him how he achieved it. He gave me a food plan which included giving up flour and sugar 100%.

Since that day it's been quite a ride. My life has gotten better in almost every aspect. I met and married, I have kids now. I got my first professional job and have built up a bit of a resume and have a great job now. Oh yeah, and I lost and have kept off close to 90 pounds.

I will definitely not go so far as to say my life is perfect. A great saying I've heard is "Life sucks better sober", meaning life is still going to suck sometimes, but it'll suck less than if I'm wallowing in active addiction. One thing I can say is that I no longer let external things affect how I eat. Now, no matter what emotion I'm feeling, no matter where in the world I am traveling, my food stays exactly the same. Life has taken me to Israel and New York, the births of my two children, the divorce of my parents and my wedding (not in that order). As a matter of fact, if you were a guest at my wedding and had the dinner, you had an FA safe meal (you just didn't know it).

Today marks half a decade since I began this journey. I am the happiest I've been since my earliest memories; I am in the best physical shape I've been in my entire life; I'm the most fiscally responsible I've ever been in my life; I have a wonderful wife and family. You may look at my food and wonder why I "eat that way". To that I'll just say "I eat this way because I want all of this." Who I am today is in no small part attributed to the way I eat and through working the twelve steps.

I don't often share this aspect of my life. I feel that it's important to let others know that if they are in a similar situation that there is hope. And, if for nothing else, the more people who know of my addiction means the more people I am accountable to. I cannot do this alone. I have the strong support of my fellows in the program and the support of my family and friends is important too.

Have a blessed day!

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


Bring Your Kids To Work Day 2013

Last Thursday was Bring Your Kids to Work Day at GiftCards.com. Yaeli and I had been looking forward to it all week and the day did not disappoint (Sophie came too but she doesn't know where she went). Traffic that morning was quite bad but we got there around 8:15. Breakfast went until 9 so we had plenty of time and we weren't eating the bacon and eggs anyway. As soon as we came in we picked up the kids badges:
and headed off to my desk to put our things down. After that we went down to the breakfast and everyone glommed onto Sophie. Yaeli was incredibly shy for most of the morning so we sat at our own table during breakfast.

The kids were split up into groups after breakfast, older than 6ish and younger than 6ish. We had different activities spread out across the building including: security demonstration with our security guard, card matching game with some of our secondary gift cards, a QA activity that involved finding the differences between two almost identical pictures, skype set up between two different floors, chalk coloring on the sidewalk outside, writing on our whiteboard walls with dry erase markers and several more activities I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Anyway, the consensus over the days since is that this was the best planned and executed BYKTWD in recent history at GiftCards.com. I am very proud to have been on the planning committee and really glad Yaeli and Sophie both had a lot of fun.


My Advancing Children

Yaeli is such a parrot. It's really weird and pretty cool to hear phrases I say come out of her mouth. "Oh geez!", "Sophie, be quiet!", "I have to go to work". Pretty much anything I say on a regular basis comes out of her mouth.

Sophie on the other hand, is not talking quite yet but she has been mastering some other skills. If we sit her up she's basically able to stay sitting up for quite a long time. If we put her on her tummy she finds ways to make her way around a room without quite crawling. It's more of a backwards scootch. She gets up on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth.

Sophie is also starting to eat solid foods and, with this, Yaeli is starting to develop some care-giving instincts. This morning she tried feeding Sophie her banana. Luckily we were there to stop her but we applauded her for trying to share. Make her feel good for her intentions while still preventing her from shoving half a banana in Sophie's face.

That's it for now. Next post will likely feature Sophie actually crawling.


I'm Coming Home

I've been away from my family since Saturday night at a conference in Toronto. It's is now Thursday. I. Miss. My. Girls.

I have never been away from Rivkah or the kids for this amount of time and, while I've had plenty to keep me busy I miss them constantly.

Sitting in the visitor center at Niagara Falls eating my dinner I am reflecting on how lame it is to be here by myself. Toronto was one thing. I had a purpose there. Here in Niagara, I'm all by myself and it's pretty boring that way. I want my family to be here too. I want to share the experience with Rivkah, Yaeli and Sophie and build a memory with them.

Anyway, the PA system just announced that the building is closing in 15 minutes.

See you later blogosphere!


The Little One Said Roll Over

That's right, my little one is rolling over. Sophie has been rolling front to back and it's so cool. I forgot what seeing that was like from when Yaeli was learning to do it. Sophie is also starting to try and crawl. She is scooting around backwards and ending up all over the place. It's amazing how many different things she's learning how to do.

On the two-year-old side of things, Yaeli is learning how to procrastinate and buy time. She's asking for extra things during bedtime that have never been part of her routine. Books read twice, dancing during Shema. The other night after I put her to bed she called out to Rivkah "Mommy, I need your help!" Rivkah went into her room, even though we try very hard not to go back in once we've put her to bed, and Yaeli said so sweetly "Mommy, I need on chocolate chips!" Such an intelligent little kid.

Until next time,


Amazing Comprehension for a Two Year Old

Over the last few days Yaeli has been complaining about something that was bothering her. The details of it are not important but suffice it to say she was in pain. The amazing thing is she was able to very accurately describe what was hurting her in very descriptive terms we thought were high above her comprehension level. That alone impressed me.

What I was really proud of was that she told us. Often, kids don't speak up about issues they are having and for many different reasons. They might not know how to describe what they are feeling; they may think the adult will brush off their discomfort; they may feel like the discomfort is actually normal. So I'm glad Yaeli feels comfortable bringing up issues she is having with us. She actually approached both me and Rivkah separately.

We took her to the doctor today and got her some medication so hopefully she'll start feeling better soon.

I really love how independent Yaeli is. It may frustrate us at times (ex: if she wants to pick up her sippy cup but someone does it for her she puts it back on the floor and then picks it up again) but at times like these I truly enjoy it. Since Sophie joined the Miller team I've realized more and more how strong and independent Yaeli is.

I hope my big girl feels better soon.

שבת שלום


The Tap of a Bumper

Back in December, on a cold dark night after an extra long and stressful day at work, I headed home to finally get a chance to relax. I got in my car and made it as far as the Greentree entrance to 376 East. It's a nightmare of an on ramp and that night my fears came true. When I saw the car in front of me pull away I turned to check on the traffic to see when I could merge in. I saw my chance, hit the accelerator...and the car in front of me! When I saw him pull into traffic he'd actually only pulled up a few feet.

We pulled over and exchanged information. Turns out I hit the car of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Westmoreland Transit, so he's old hat at exchanging this information. While very firm, he was neither rude nor angry which I greatly appreciated.

Well, I hadn't heard from him and figured that, since there was no visible damage to either vehicle, this all had gone away. Nope! Got a call this week that, of the three estimates he got, the lowest one to fix his bumper was $643.40! I thought it sounded like he was trying to pull a fast one on me so I asked him to send me the estimate he got. It all looks legit. All the fixes listed are directly relating to the bumper.

Decided to pay for this without an insurance claim. Check is in the mail. Bank account is feeling a little lighter. I guess that's what savings are for. And, lesson learned: no matter how bad of a day I've had, always keep my head while driving. The next time it might not be just a bumper.


My First Solo Trip

Since the day of my wedding three and a half years ago, Rivkah and I have had the amazing fortune of never spending a night apart. Not one single night. My spiritual mentor had told me when I got married that it's very important to not spend a night apart in the first year of marriage. Since then we've worked really hard to schedule all of our trips together and turn down opportunities that would have separated us.

Tonight that changes. Tonight I leave behind my wife and daughters and travel to New York for the wedding of one of my best friends. Tonight, the streak ends, and my heart is breaking. I'm nervous, scared. How am I going to sleep these next two nights? Are Rivkah and the kids ok? All in all, Oy.

To make matters worse, I'm not going to be able to build up much of a streak when I get back again. In April my company is sending me to Toronto for 5 days for a conference. I'm thrilled about the conference but if these 2 days are scaring me, what will 5 days be like? I don't like it, not one bit.

I guess all I can do is a. pray for the strength to get through this, and b. thank G-d that I have such a wonderful marriage that, after 3 and a half years spending every night together, spending two nights apart is a nightmare to think about and not a welcome break.

I love you Rivkah. I'll miss you girls. Don't worry, I'll be back soon.


My Musical Daughters

Anyone who has met Yaeli knows that she's all about music. She's got her favorite songs that she requests from us like we are some sort of jukebox. We've got them all in a YouTube playlist and she can watch them on our iPod. And she absolutely loves to dance to them. We are considering putting her into a dance class because she just loves to get down and boogie.

Now, Sophie is obviously too young to appreciate music all that much. She does seem to be calmed a little by it but she'll appreciate it more as she grows up. However, she is providing us with some beautiful music to listen to. This week Sophie started laughing. She's been smiling responsively for a while and the next logical step was for her to express that happiness verbally but I was still pleasantly surprised when those giggles came. Baby laughter is one of the most beautiful sounds, probably because baby happiness is the most pure happiness. I love seeing her developing and growing. I forgot so much about this stage from when Yaeli was little. I can't wait to rediscover it all again as time goes along.


Brunch With Friends

I guess I'm finally accepting that I'm getting older and that I'm married with kids. Brunch??

This morning I got up with Yaeli and we got dressed, had breakfast, and then went to shul. After shul we headed home to pick up Rivkah and Sophie and we were off to Nosson and Ella's apartment for a great brunch with Nossons sister and brother in law as well.

I've found it to be so important to get out of the house and spend time with other adults, even of most of the conversation involves our kids. Our Sundays are always much better when we don't stay at home all day with the girls.

Also, I got my new iPhone 5 last night and had some fun messing around with the panorama feature of the camera. Enjoy:


Yaeli Hits the Ice

Today, January 1, 2013, I started teaching Yaeli how to ride a bike...in a sense. The american dad cannot wait to train his kids to ride their bikes for the first time. Well, I don't really care so much about bike riding but as a hockey player, ice skating is pretty important to me. So today I took Yaeli to Schenley Ice Rink, put some skates on her feet and hit the ice.

For a hockey dad, there is no bigger thrill than this. Imparting my hockey knowledge onto the next generation of Millers. We may not play together on the same line some day but hockey is such an important thing to me and Yaeli loves hockey too.

To start the event off we waited in line to pay for our ice time and rentals. Yaeli waited very patiently and even told me "I'm so excited!" Then we went down and got her rental skates (the very smallest pair they had). I made sure to tie them on her nice and tight. I threw on my skates and we were good to go. I wanted Yaeli to get a good feel for the skates so we walked around indoors for a bit so she could get rid of the wobble a little. She tore off and was quite steady so after a couple of minutes we hit the ice.

Out on the ice was a whole new ballgame, as I'd expected. Yaeli didn't really have a sense of how to keep her feet down but we took a few laps nonetheless and she started to get the hang of it. After a couple of laps we went inside to get a snack and then went back out for one more lap and pictures.

The time came to call it quits. We had a great time and, while Yaeli still has a lot to learn about skating, she is super excited which is what really counts. She can't wait to go again and neither can I. My back on the other hand...

Happy New Year everyone. Have a great 2013!