Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where's the PAUSE button?!

Do you ever get the urge to put time on pause so you could get through a mountain of "to-dos" and, then, hit play when you're all caught up and ready for the world to keep turning? Ah, well. Maybe it's just me ;)

Monday, July 16, 2007

No one likes the pushy salesman.

Makes sense. Just be yourself - a good Jew. Torah sells itself.

Breaking news!

Dovid, after a grueling 7 hour oral exam, has passed and gotten his smicha. We're very proud to have a bona fide rabbi in the family!

These were given to me in lieu of a Yerushalayim shel zahav (Jerusalem of gold). Cheapo ;)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ready or not.... it comes. The truck is due Wednesday or Thursday. I've been packing continually and it's just starting to look like I've made a dent. You can't imagine the amount of stuff we have managed to accumulate in this small 2-bedroom apartment! The playroom and living room/dining room have been one and the same for five years now. It'll certainly be a nice change to live in a house with a playroom that has a door that can be closed in case of need. Perhaps I'll even be able to successfully establish a no jumping or eating on the couch rule! And we'll even have a lawn and our very own palm tree. Check it out:

I am so serious when I say anyone is welcome to crash at our house. Think about it: free stay on Palm Beach island - home of the rich and famous, just one block from the beach in one direction and a block from the intracoastal waterway in the other. Just look up the Mays in Palm Beach.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Procrastination: trial

cartoon from

My moving truck is coming in a week and a half. I've been blog-browsing for over an hour. Procrastinating? Oh yeah. Guilty as charged - big time.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Mordechai (who's having trouble falling asleep so I let him come out to read) just handed me a little gift. It's a piece of paper folded first accordion-style and then folded in three. On the outside are printed the words USA MAP. When unfolded, you see a drawing of the U.S. with many (mostly rectangular) divisions indicating states. Texas and Florida are fairly true to shape. Actually, on second glance, Florida is very well drawn. He was beaming as he watched me unfold it and made sure to point out, "I even folded it like a real map!"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Calendar Calculations

It was a week or so after Shavuos and the kids and I were out when I met a friend who had recently had a baby. As I congratulated her, I asked her how old the baby was. She answered that she was just about seven weeks old. Barely a few seconds passed and Mordechai piped up, "Was she born on Pesach?"

So many boys, so little time

Sari is blessed with many eligible bachelors who are vying for her hand in marriage. The two front-runners at the moment are Yisrael and Ben. In truth, Ben, who is a good friend of Sari's, was not a consideration until recently when the match was suggested by Mordechai. Sari immediately dismissed the idea saying, "Oh, I can't marry him because he's younger than me." Mordechai pointed out that their aunt is a few months older than their uncle, her husband. Sari was skeptical at first and asked me for corroboration. When I informed her that, indeed, it was okay to marry someone a bit younger than her, her face brightened perceptibly and she started dancing around the house singing, "I'm going to marry Be-en! I'm going to marry Be-en!"

Some "alone time" for Mom and Dad

Mordechai and Sari wanted to go to Meema (their grandmom) for Shabbat. Discussing it, I cried out in mock horror, "Who's going to stay with us?"

Sari answered matter-of-factly, "Mommy will stay with Daddy and Daddy will stay with Mommy." Mordechai chimed in, "You'll get to spend time with each other."

Isn't that sweet?

Wrong foot

Ada (2 1/2) is all too familiar with the experience of trying to put her shoe on the wrong foot. She usually figures it out when she realizes she is having way too much trouble than would normally be expected from a harmless velcro shoe. The other day she was trying to put on her sock by herself and the sock just didn't seem to want to cooperate. She turned to me in frustration and asked, "It's the wrong foot?"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ugh. No words.

As Seraphic Secret suggests, you must see this: an adorable play put on by adorable children in Gaza.


You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.

--William D. Tammeus


Ada's into the stage where she loves to reminisce as in, "'Member when we went on the train and we went 'round and 'round and I had a buckle...?"

"Dreh-fis" = breakfast in Adaspeak.

p.s. I packed my first box of dishes! This move is really going to happen.

p.p.s. Anyone want to donate a high riser or twin beds to the Cuties?

p.p.p.s. I was just remembering how we used to think it was the epitome of cleverness to add numerous post scripts to letters. (How 'bout the kids that did it wrong by writing p.s.s.s.?)

Sibling dynamics

It's so not fair for Sari. She's at an age when hearing "I won't be your friend if you won't let me have your (insert toy/candy/article of interest)" from Mordechai leaves her with no be'chira (choice). Meanwhile, she could say the same thing and Mordechai responds with a shrug and a smirk. It irks me so. And I hate when Mordechai devises a "trade" agreement to swindle her out of her property. I've instituted a no-trades-allowed-without-maternal-approval rule which also includes an all-trades-can-be-reversed-if-regretted clause. Is that silly of me? I'm just trying to level the playing field.

Speaking of little parenting questions, let me run this one by you. Say, for example, Mordechai wants to lie down in Daddy's bed. If he gets permission, then everyone wants to lie in Daddy's bed. (Yes, this does get ridiculously out of hand too many a time. I told Dovid this was going to happen years ago.) So sometimes he asks if he can go to Dad's bed after the girls fall asleep. Since this is really not a problem for Dad, it seems like the perfect solution. Obviously, though, there is that element of deceit. So, good or no good? Or how 'bout the simple, "You can have another cookie but don't let Ada see it."? (Ack! What is up with that punctuation? I'll research it some other time when I get a round tuit.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Just a sampling

Mordechai's rebbe talks the yeshiva talk with the kids which they love. They feel like they're in really serious shiur. Mordechai tries to insert these "learning" phrases into his vocabulary whenever appropriate and it's adorable. At one se'udah on Shavuot, we had the whole Queens branch of the May Fam over. There was some lively conversation going on and I was agreeing with my bro-in-law, Yoni, about something or other, and said, "That's exactly what I always say!" Mordechai made a mock show of being very impressed and said, "Ooooh. Yoni was m'chaven to Mommy!"

For the last se'udah we ate out (after three meals hosting numerous guests, baruch Hashem). After the meal, the kids were all enjoying way too much candy while I was lounging in the other room flipping through books. I called out to the kids that that was enough junk food for the day. Just a few minutes later, Dovid found Sari and her friend Shayna, sitting hidden away at the bottom of the backyard stairs. He asked her why she was hiding there and she replied with a twinkle in her eye and her irrepressible smile, "I'm hiding from Mommy because I got another taffy!"

Ada has a wonderful method of self praise. As she's cleaning up a game, she sings, "I like the way Ada's cleaning..." Today she requested some participation from me. She turned to me and said, "You say 'Nice job Ada'."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Who is rich?

The conversations during carpool are so amusing - when the kids are not arguing at the top of their lungs, that is. A snippet of today's discussion:

Mordechai: My father is so rich. He's probably the richest in the class!

Friend: Oh yeah? How much money does he have? A hundred? A thousand? A million?

M: I don't know exactly but I know it's a lot.

F: My father is so rich. I know because every week, when he pays the babysitter, he gives her a hundred dollars.

M: Yeah. Well my father pays my babysitter two hundred and fifty dollars!

Well that settles it then, doesn't it?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Oh, brother!

Mordechai was wondering about Mothers' Day and about how the whole thing got started. I explained to him the whole Hallmark thing. He then asked, "Why don't they have Brothers' Day?"

"Well, um, I don't really know," I replied.

Mordechai shrugged and said, "It doesn't matter anyway because one day I'll be a father."

UPDATE: I was telling the story over to Dovid when Sari piped up to say, quite matter-of-factly, "On Mothers' Day all the non-Jewish fathers take the mothers to a fancy restaurant."

Got that Dovid?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Ada has been walking around telling everyone she meets that she's going to "Acamy Palm Beach" and she's getting a "napsap" in which she'll put her "shtraw cup with milk" and a notebook. For those of you who haven't yet heard the BIG news, here it is:

We're moving to Palm Beach!

You heard right. We're headed down to sunny Florida, to the island of the palm trees. Dovid has been appointed by the Judy Steinberg Hebrew Academy of Palm Beach as head of school. (That is the "acamy" to which Ada refers.) There is currently a preschool and we plan to open Kindergarten and Grade 1 for the coming school year. And so, a new Jewish day school is born in an area that has the fourth-largest Jewish population in the U.S.! Sadly, only about 32 percent of the county's Jews are affiliated with a synagogue. And with the number of Jewish children there having increased over 60 percent in the past ten years, we have our work cut out for us. I will be Director of Curriculum Development and will be splitting my time by teaching our first grade class.

So how do I feel? Thrilled and excited about this wonderful opportunity and the purpose we aim to fulfill. Happy for my family to be living in a place that is more laid back. Sad for my family to be living so far away from our family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) in New York and Pennsylvania. Proud that my family will become a living kiddush Hashem, with His help. Nervous about adjusting to living on my own without the huge support system I currently enjoy and about managing the logisitics of a long-distance move almost single-handedly (Dovid is going into seclusion as soon as yeshiva lets out in June to cram for his semicha test this summer.)!

Thankfully, with all these powerful emotions threatening to turn me into a pile of useless overwrought nerves, I have very little time to feel or even think too much. I have been so insanely busy working for the Hebrew Academy, I have little time for anything!

One thing I do know: The Hebrew Academy of Palm Beach will be the most awesome school in the county. We're aiming for - and will stop at nothing less than - academic excellence and character-building. We care about each individual child and working with families as partners in each child's Jewish and secular education. I am quite confident that our children will love to learn and learn to love their rich Jewish heritage.

I'm off to Palm Beach next week for a few days. Don't miss me too much while I'm there. Ha! As if! ;)

Monday, April 16, 2007

So literal

At the hotel, in the children's dining room, as I'm bringing some chicken over to Ada (2 1/2):

Me: Ada, look! I got you the best chicken in the house.

She (laughing at the "joke"): Dis not a house!

A short while later...

Me (hugging her to pieces): I love you, baby doll.

She (looking at me like I'm an idiot): I not a doll, I'm a Ada!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

On Thursday, March 29th, the last day of school before Pesach vacation, Sari was telling me about her day at school. The class had held a mock seder with crackers and grape juice and all the fun things that happen during the seder. She said, "We had a geshmack seder at school today!"

"Oh?" I said. "What's that?"

She was pleased to be ready with her reply, "It means a pretend seder."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Future blogger?

My school was giving away some (really) old iMacs. Not one to turn down a freebie, I figured I'd bring it home for the kids to play with and learn to type on, etc.. They were absolutely overjoyed when they saw it. As I was putting it together, they were dancing around me excitedly. When I turned it on, Mordechai caught his breath in a little gasp and looked at me with shining eyes and said, "Does this mean we can have our own blogs?"

Looks like I'm headed down the same road taken by the PT family. G-d help the blogosphere.;)

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Sari and Ada went down the hall to visit Penina. Apparently she wasn't home because no one answered their knocks. Sari came back to the door and was holding it open, urging Ada to come back home while Ada was stubbornly holding her ground. After a moment or two of this, Sari called out:

Mom, I need some assistance.

Me (surprised to hear her use that word): Assistance, eh? Where did you hear that? Who says that?

Sari (with a mischievous twinkle in her eye): Daddy says that to you.

Me: He does? When?

Sari: When I'm not going to bed!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Suicide jumper

If you have a weak stomach, then don't click on this. It is a picture of a suicide jumper taken shortly after he landed. It shows him with his insides now on the outside. The looks of horror on the faces of the bystanders are quite graphic.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I Hate Socks

I have yet to do a load of laundry where each sock is paired with a matching sock. I keep the loners in a special singles' bag hoping that they'll one day find their zivug hagun (proper match). The crowd grows and grows and the singles problem is getting out of hand. These socks need shidduchim desperately. And I am losing my mind!

That's all. Just had to get that off my chest.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ever since she discovered how to use the camera phone...

Several weeks ago, Mordechai celebrated with his class and rebbe upon getting his first chumash. A proud day, to be sure.

More recently, Mordechai didn't suck his thumb at night for a whole week and so he was due for a prize. His first request was for a guitar. I suggested that, since he has only recently started learning how to play the keyboard, he might want to spend more time mastering that before moving on to another instrument. Besides, it was out of my price range. His next idea was much more reasonable moneywise. He wanted ten dollars to take to school to buy a chumash just like the one he has in school! I gave him the money and he ran to the closet, got an envelope to put the money into, and sealed it shut. The next day, he came home with two dollars change and a brand new chumash to call his own. He couldn't have been more thrilled! (I don't think I could have been, either:))
The girls were wearing matching dresses the other day (my babysitter gets such a kick out of doing that), so I thought it would be great if I could get a good shot of them together. Clearly, Hashem had other plans, because I could not manage a single moment with both of them smiling and sitting normally. I've gotta' hand it to them, though. They tried. Especially Ada!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More fingerprints

Ada tripped outside today and scraped her knee a bit. Really just a graze. She totally flipped out and flew into a fit of hysteria that lasted much too long for anyone's taste. She wouldn't take a single step. When we got upstairs, she continues to scream as I treated the scrape with neosporin and a bandage. That usually does the trick, but, this time, even that didn't cut it. She insisted on being carried around all evening and talked in this pathetic little voice as if to say, "Can't you see that I'm wounded and need extra attention?" (For those of you ready to call ACS and report me for child neglect, I did trick her into taking some steps and putting weight on her legs. She was fine.) Seriously, if ever I saw such a drama queen...!

When I recounted my tale to my mom she had no sympathy for me. She said that I had been just like that. She distinctly remembers a time when I cried and carried on for over an hour in the car on the way home from some trip because I said my knee was hurting so badly from a fall. When we finally got home and I pulled off my tights, I stopped crying and started giggling in relief. "Look, Mommy! There's no blood!" My pain had miraculously dissipated.
Mordechai's rebbe met up with Dovid today in yeshiva and told over the following conversation he had had today with Mordechai:

Mordechai: Is it okay to ask a rebbe when his birthday is?

Rebbe: The Torah doesn't say you can't but it's not so nice to ask older people because it's considered a private question.

Rebbe: Why? Does it make a difference?

Mordechai: Not really. I just wanted to know your birthday so I could tell my mother to bake a cake.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Genetic fingerprints

When my younger brother, Mordechai the Elder, was in fifth grade, his rebbe offered the class a challenge. Any boy who memorized all the mishnayot in masechet Yuma would get a set of Mishnayot to own. This was announced on Friday. Mordechai decided that he wanted that set of Mishnayot. I can still see him in my mind's eye, sitting at the top of the stairs all Shabbat afternoon with sefer in hand, memorizing away. He earned his beautiful big set of Mishnayot in school that very Sunday.

I could not say that I was that way. Not that I wasn't determined to do things, I just tended to do things at the last minute rather than doing them early and getting things out of the way. My idea of being a conscientious student was waking up the day of the final at 7:00, meeting my good buddy Malky at Dunkin Donuts, enjoying a chocolate cream-filled donut, and reading through the notes at warp speed so we'd at least have read it once before our 9:00 exam. Hey, it worked for us.

Fast forward to 2007. Six Flags offers a free ticket to students who read 6 hours for pleasure independently. They require each student to submit a form that includes the dates, books read, time spent, and signature of parent or teacher. Back in December, when Mordechai first brought home the form, he calculated the days until the date the form was due and how long he would have to read each day to fulfill the requirements and earn a free ticket. He got to work enthusiastically that night reading a pile of books. Somehow, that initial enthusiasm had faded by the next day and the whole program was forgotten.

Until last week.

The form was due February 2nd. Mordechai came home on February 1st and announced that he planned to read for 3 hours and 30 minutes that night. I was a bit skeptical that he would manage that. He insisted that it was no problem. I pointed out that even if he did get the ticket, the chances that anyone would actually take hime to Six Flags were rather remote. He said that he already worked it out with a kid in school whose mom had said she would pay the fifty dollars for her own ticket and take them to the park.

As soon as his homework, keyboard lesson, and dinner were out of the way, he buckled down with a book. He chose a book I had bought him (at his request) about the United States' presidents. He did not understand a word he was reading and mispronounced a good deal of them, but he was reading. After an hour(!) or so of that, I suggested he read something that he might understand so that it would be a bit more interesting. I compiled a collection of books for him that were more age-appropriate. He did not spend a moment that night without a book in his hands. Every so often he would ask me how many minutes he was up to. He went to bed with a book and was still up reading when Dovid came home at around 9:15. Finally, with twenty minutes to go, I made him go to sleep with the promise that I'd wake him early so he could finish in the morning. He was up an hour earlier than usual to make sure he'd have enough time and then he woke me (*!@#$%) to sign the paper.

Mission accomplished.

Anyone wanna' take a really cute and determined 7-year-old kid to Six Flags this summer? (Some restrictions apply.)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hee, hee. (for geeks only)

“God’s omniscient justice is, to our limited understanding, almost indistinguishable from randomness.”

I just found this quote at a blog I discovered tonight. Really hits the nail on the head, doesn't it? The blog is a collection of divrei Torah. The blogger tells his readers:
The Internet is treif, but you might as well see a good Dvar Torah while you're here. Heh.

I actually found that one through another blog upon which I stumbled tonight.

Speaking of blogs that have newly come to my attention, this one has become a regular read for me. I think the blogosphere is at its best when it's used as a medium for giving support and advice. I think it's wonderful when you're given the opportunity to have meaningful conversations that can't or won't take place in your real life for whatever reason.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Here's an interesting clip. You'll need about 9 minutes, though.

Hat tip: ayaldatova


It is rather gratifying to know that some people have actually missed me. I'm not sure what exactly precipitated my blogging slump. Things were hectic and stressful around chez May for a while. In fact, they still are, pretty much. :)

As far as the kids go, they're as adorable as ever. Ada just blows us away with her total cuteness. She is convinced that she is in charge and everyone should bend to her will. She is at her cutest when she's in the midst of some pretend play.

Sari is so sunnily cheerful that she is truly a pleasure. Her teachers absolutely adore her. They say she's the model student: follows directions, gets along with everyone, sings by circle time, cleans up by clean-up time, participates in every activity with genuine eagerness. And, when she comes home, she unfailingly bounds in with a huge smile and begins to rattle off all the exciting things she learned that day! Her retention and recall of the material is amazing, too.

Mordechai is so grown up, it's crazy. He had a mesibat chumash (celebration upon the occasion of beginning to study the text of the Torah) a few weeks ago. Of course, I cried. Am I a weirdo, or what? He's doing well, b"H. His strongest area is still math. He just gets it. Really gets it. He adds and subtracts multiple digit numbers in his head. He has been dabbling in multiplication. (I was doing a puzzle a few weeks ago when he asked me if 15 times 20 is 300. I was totally shocked and then he explained how he knew that. He had counted the pieces along the width and length of the puzzle and realized that by multiplying those numbers he would get the amount of pieces in the puzzle. Then he just had to look at the puzzle box for the answer!) He can calculate the price of several items, decide what to give to pay for them, and calculate the change he gets. He also knows how to exchange money. I'll challenge him by, say, telling him I have no dimes or no nickels or that I'd rather save my quarters for the meters and have him work around that. He's been telling time for at least two years. By telling time, I mean he can read a standard face clock, with or without numbers, to the minute. He can also tell you how long it will take to reach a specified time. This becomes very useful when he's counting down the minutes till Dad comes home.

Mordechai has taken up keyboard lessons, sponsored by his Savta (my mom). He really likes it. However, he does not like to practice what he's supposed to, ie. what is assigned by his teacher. He basically likes to play the songs he knows well over and over. I think it's the perfectionist in him (genetic, you think?). I actually discovered that he does practice new things in the morning when he wakes up before I do. I have been making a huge effort to restrain myself from reminding him to practice, practice, practice. After all, this is supposed to be about fun and enjoyment, not about pressure and tension. Also, it's the classic case of trying to make up for your failings by living through your kid. I was actually pretty good at the piano (which, when I think back, my parents must have scraped to afford just so they could provide me with the opportunity) but I quit after a year or two of lessons because I was "too busy." Mmhmmm, too busy. Right.

A couple weeks ago, Dovid and I took a huge step and went away for a weekend for the first time without the kids. It actually was more of a business trip than a pleasure trip. I was so nervous about leaving the kids. Turns out, they were just fine. Mordechai had one rough breakout on Friday night when he started flipping out that Ada was gonna cry and scream when Savta would put her to bed and Savta wouldn't know what to do, etc.. It took a little while (and a bribe) to get him to relax. He didn't truly relax, though, until after Ada was sound asleep. By some miracle, Ada actually went to sleep without so much as a whimper, which is rather uncharacteristic as of late. Only then did he allow himself to joke and enjoy his time. My brother and sister-in-law were so thoughtful and came over to my mom for Shabbat so that my mother would have extra hands and the kids would entertain each other. Sari and her cousin Devorah (will be 3 in the spring) were inseparable. They had a perfect relationship going. Sari basically directed and Devorah readily complied (I'm the mommy, you're the sister and so on). Ada, who was my biggest concern, was actually quite manageable. No major tantrums or meltdowns to speak of. Of course, my mom insists she ate nothing all weekend but Mom is not so reliable when reporting about that department. I've seen her feed kids two servings of chicken, half a sweet potato, and a half cup of blueberries and then shake her head in despair that the child didn't taste a morsel of food all day. I kid you not. As far as Dovid and me, we missed the kids more than they missed us. Friday night kiddush was the worst. I actually had tears in my eyes when it came time to bless the kiddies. It took a while for the lump in my throat to subside, too. On Sunday, at the end of our weekend, we couldn't wait to get home to the kids.