Tuesday, November 18, 2008


"Whoever says I love you the most will live forever." ~ Kiki Dekel

Kiki, Abba, and I were playing the "I love you" game the other day, when Kiki decided the rules would be "whoever says I love you the most will live forever". I thought this was so profound for a 3 3/4 year old (just ask her how old she is, she'll tell you). It's true, isn't it? The people with the most open hearts do live forever in the spirit of those they touch.

Kiki also declared that because she has "two grandmas, Savta and Meemaw, I am a very lucky girl". She is lucky, and so are we for a countless number of reasons.

One of those being a recent visit from Savta and Saba from Israel. It was so nice to have them with us- Kiki reveled in the constant attention- and to have the chance to connect and talk in person. We love when family comes to stay, and Saba and Savta are a lot of fun to have around as you can see from the pictures!

Another reason we consider ourselves lucky, beyond blessed actually, is that, God willing, we will be expanding our family in the Spring. Another baby girl no less!!!
It's been a really good couple of months with trips to the beach with our neighborhood family, and a trip to Disney world with Meemaw and our cousins, and, of course, our visit from Savta and Saba.

And, we have more family to look forward to over Thanksgiving when my Uncle Glenn and Aunt Jane are coming up, and then in December, Amir's Uncle Hanoch, Aunt Shoshi, and their children Mickey and Ronnie will come!

So very lucky...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kiki's Marriage Proposals

I Tried to Teach My Child with Books;
He Gave Me Only Puzzled Looks.
I Tried to Teach My Child with Words;
They Passed Him by Often Unheard.
Despairingly, I Turned Aside;
"How Shall I Teach this Child," I cried?
Into My Hand He Put the Key,

"Come," He Said, "Play with Me."
~ Author Unknown

I think a lot about being a good parent. Wondering if I am one. How can I be better? Will it make a difference? Do I pay enough attention? Do I pay too much attention? Does Kiki suffer because I don’t always want to play? How much do my actions, thoughts, feelings affect my daughter? Do I even deserve this beautiful child that has entered our life?

It seems like Kiki went from being two to being three in the blink of an eye. I feel like I missed a year somehow and want to do my best to make the most of the time we spend together. I want her to enjoy most moments in life, to be a good person, to respect others, and to respect herself. I want her to be thoughtful, educated, humble, relaxed, and confident. Not too much to hope for, to strive for, is it? How will we teach her?

Not every moment is going to be some profound learning experience, but she is always watching. We spent the weekend visiting with Meemaw (fun trip to American Girl), planting a tomato plant, and attending a “getting to know you” brunch with her new friends from next year’s class at school. Simple, but fun. She does see how we interact with (and treat) other people. How fun it is to be with family. How we can't get everything we want. And, the magic of the word please.

Which brings me to Kiki’s marriage proposals. A few weeks ago, the mother of one of Kiki’s great friends at school told me a funny story. Her son, Jed (on the seesaw with Kiki in the pics), was asking her if he would get married someday. She told him she hoped so. He asked her who he might marry. She said she didn’t know, they’d have to wait and see. He asks, how about Kiki? She said sure!

At the brunch, another mother whose son is in Kiki’s class told me she had a very similar conversation recently with her son. He also asked if he could marry Kiki :-D.

So, with all the worrying, I suppose we must be doing something right. By the way, we’d be very happy with either suitor, but Kiki has declared herself too young to get married ;-).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's Been A While

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.~ Albert Schweitzer

My friend Eric (Allyson’s hubby) cut out this cartoon (if you click on it, it will come up larger so you can read it) for me which is funny on it’s own, but even funnier to me because he is always teasing me about putting up blog posts almost every day.

He told Allyson she didn’t need to see me, talk to me on the phone, or even email me, because she can find out everything that is going on in my life just by looking at the website. I like sarcasm :-D. Really.

So, it has been a while, for me anyway, since I’ve written anything. We had another international visit this weekend from one of Amir’s oldest friends and his family. Amir and Oren served in the army together and spent many months in tents on the border of Lebanon. I guess that can bond you pretty quickly.

Elanit joined their group early on, and is generally the only girl allowed when their guy friends get together in Israel. Guy and Joey round out the family and are amazing kids. Such a cool family- I'm glad I inherited them with Amir.

Today Kiki had her first visit to the Dentist. It could have gone either way- heaven knows we struggle with getting her to brush her teeth- but once again she was a complete pro.

She went with the Dentist without Mommy, and he said she did everything they asked without even the littlest fuss.

In fact, she really enjoyed it, and everywhere we went after (including a willing trip to the medical doctor) she announced that she was a big girl who went to the dentist today!

She also told everyone that she and Mommy are twins (we were dressed alike, but I don’t think they bought the twin theory ;-D).

Kiki decided to become a photographer today as well. The pictures of the two of us from today, she took. One of them you can see we are holding hands. That’s because she told me “I want to take a holding hands picture of us together”. So sweet! I also have a gazillion that she took of just me and “her” new carpet, but won’t bore you with all of those ;-D…

She had me smiling and laughing all day- euphoric at times. Do you know what I mean when I say that today was one of the best days of my life yet nothing extraordinary happened? That’s what children do.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sophie Spends the Night

If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good. ~ Dr. Seuss

The girls have been asking us for another sleepover, so Kiki had Sophie come spend the night on Friday. We started off the evening with a trip to Lorraine's house for a children's mani/ pedi. How lucky we are to have the toddler charmers (aka the Loomis') just a few houses down!
Let me backtrack for a second to Thursday night when my husband decided to become a lawn guy and got a terrible allergic reaction to something outside and spent the night in the ER. Turns out it was a spider bite and his toe now looks like a three-fanged monster took a nibble out of it. Check out his blog for the whole saga. Thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, he is fine.

So, as I mentioned, after Amir recovered, we were ready for Sophie's visit. First came the nail painting, then we had a make your own pizza party, followed by a video, bedtime story, and finally, sleep!

The girls nearly came to blows over what movie to watch. Kiki wanted Caspion, Sophie wanted Ariel. Both ocean creature stories- don't see what the problem was! They decided on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Other than that, they got along famously and generally teamed up on Abba and I. You'll see from the video all the fun names they came up with for Amir, and during my attempt to read them Fancy Nancy at bedtime they pretty much went nuts. I'm sure I was jumped on at least 45 times.

Kept reading though- I can't think of anything more fun! Really.
After the story attempt, Amir and I left the room to let them sleep. Of course we hear some giggling, more jumping, some talking, then some yelling (for Abba- when did I become second choice again???), and then some crying.

We ran up, Kiki insisted a REAL person sleep on the air mattress with her, and Abba obliged.

They both fell asleep shortly thereafter, and we didn't hear from them again until the heart stopping "COCK-A-DOODLE DOO!!!!!!!!!" we were awakened with in our ears in the morning. It was soooo funny even at 6:39 am.

Saint Amir got up with them and let me sleep in a little. Then, Meemaw came over, we met the Balzuweit's for lunch, and sadly gave them back their daughter.

A great evening for great friends, and we look forward to next time as much as Kiki and Sophie do...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's a Small World After All

When a woman comes home from a long day of shopping, you should always tell her she spent too little. ~Nehama Dekel (toast during our wedding)

Today we had the pleasure of visiting with Amir's Aunt and Uncle (Nehama and Haim) from Israel. They had a full day layover in Atlanta on their way back home from an Alaskan cruise. As you can see from the quote above, Nehama made an impression on me from the start :-D.
Amir and Kiki saw them just last week in Israel, and today we got to see them in Atlanta! Unbelievable how quickly we are able to transverse continents. Haim and Nehama have been to Holland and Germany and now North America just in the last two months.

We took them to the Aquarium (it is the largest in the world) and to Atlantic Station (shopping and Rosa Mexicana). It was wonderful to see them, especially for me since I did not have the chance in Israel. They're already back to the airport for the final leg of their trip, and I am reminded once again that although we can visit, it's not like living close.
Finally, just a funny story about Kiki. Amir and I both were putting her to bed the other night, and she decided it isn't fair that she sleeps alone, and we get to sleep together. So, she was telling us she doesn't want to sleep by her own self, and I thought I would solve everything by giving her a beloved stuffed animal to sleep with.

By the way, she never had any "attachment" item. Never took a pacifier, never had a blankie, never sucked her thumb, etc. That's a whole other story.
Anyway, I gave her the animal, she throws it back at me with an incredulous look on her face, and tells me "No Mommy! I want to sleep with REAL people!". How is it that children become so smart so fast?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

All is Right With the World

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it. ~George Moore

Amir and Kiki made it home Tuesday morning. Finally, peace, in the form of a toddler and a husband, has returned to my home. Go figure. Kiki didn't miss a beat. She went to bed and woke up at her usual time the very first night, and even insisted on going to school the next day.

Although, Kiki does keep telling me she wants to live in Israel, not just visit there. I know she loves her grandparents, and cousins, and aunts, and uncles, and it's FUN to be with everyone. If only we could live closer.

I'm elated to have them back, but can't help feel some sadness for them both (and myself) that half our family lives several continents away.

Today we had lunch with two of our close friends and their daughters who also live far from their families- both sides. It occured to me that this is the American condition. People get transferred for work, or go away to college and stay, or simply feel like moving for an adventure (or an escape). Most of our friends are from somewhere else without any family nearby. Thankfully, we have Meemaw.

It's hard and sad to be apart, but we do turn friends into family, and can build community and security for our children if we try.

Still, I wish we were closer and could see each other more...

Monday, July 14, 2008

7 Hours and Counting

The purpose of our lives is to be happy. ~Dalai Lama

Kiki and Amir are on their way home!!! They've had the most amazing trip ever. Kiki has declared that Israel is so much fun she wants to just stay there and have Mommy and Meemaw come over. Bitter sweet I guess...

Here are some of my favorite pictures from their trip. I'm sure Amir will put up more stories and videos during the week after they've recovered some from the jet lag.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Project No. 5 Complete!

The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn. ~David Russell

I’ve never been big on second chances. Don’t know why- it’s not some philosophical decision I made, more of a natural reaction. Generally, I just don’t have the time or energy or desire to go another round in most situations. I guess I was more inclined to burn all the bridges than to try and figure out which might be worth crossing.

I’m starting to see that may actually be an immature reaction, and I’m thankful that, lately, I’ve been open to second chances in a few areas of my life. People have been very forgiving of me in the past, many times when I didn’t deserve forgiveness. It’s my turn to learn to forgive and to accept forgiveness, and luckily I’m still growing.

I’ll keep the most personal aspects of this growth to myself, but will share that in a business situation, the second chance turned into a beautiful house that is going to make someone a beautiful home.

See the before (left) and after (right) pictures below.