Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jersey Shore 2014

This year we paid our annual visit to Avalon on the Jersey Shore with S's family. Although I'm fairly new to this tradition, over the past few years I have come to fall in love with the shore--it's beautiful, peaceful, has cool mornings and killer sunsets, and the sweetest little towns to walk around in.  Oh, and ice cream--lots of ice cream.

This year, Ellie was afraid of the beach (that one really came out of nowhere) but amid a few tantrums, we still managed to have a good time. One evening the sky turned the most beautiful shades of pink and orange and I literally ran back to the beach house (a five minute walk away) to capture it!

Sigh. There's nothing like a beach sunset!

A few more tidbits from our trip:

(We found kosher soft serve and were THRILLED! So good!)

 Cute little baby boy...

The cousins watching some TV on the couch--so cute!

All in all, it was a great week, and we can't wait for next year!

Where is YOUR favorite summer destination?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Staycation Part II

We spent the second part of our summer in Long Branch, New Jersey, enjoying the beach!

The kiddos looked adorable in their swim gear:

We found out when we got to the beach that Ellie is apparently TERRIFIED of beaches. Which led to an hour of cold, wind, and hysterical weeping by Ellie, so we left.

We did get ice cream instead!

The next day, in lieu of another traumatic beach visit, we headed to Jenkintown's Boardwalk, where Ellie fell in LOVE with all of the kiddie rides. It was such a cute place and we had a great time!

We had a great time and can't wait to head back to Long Branch again!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Ninth of Av

Today is the Nine of the Jewish month of Av, or Tisha B'av--the saddest day in the Jewish year. Thousands of years ago, the First and Second Temples were both destroyed on this day. The Bar Kochba rebellion failed on this day, as well. Many years later, when Spain expelled its Jews in 1492, the date the Jews had to be finally out of the country guessed it, the Ninth of Av.  And there are more sad events, too many to mention here.

Today, the situation on the Ninth of Av doesn't feel too different, as Israel buries its fallen soldiers and we wait and pray for this war to be over, knowing that it's just one in a long, bloody history--a battle that will almost certainly not end in my lifetime, or my children's.

On Tisha B'av, we all act like mourners. We don't shower, eat or drink (unless needed for health reasons). We don't put on makeup. We sit on the floor. We take the time to look at the darker, sadder parts of life, the ones that we often want to ignore.

I read a quote recently that stopped me in my tracks: Grief is joy inside out  (George Vaillant)

Intense emotions are hard to engage with sometimes: they require stepping away from the computer, putting down the to do list, and making ourselves vulnerable. But if we don't really engage in grief and pain, than we can't really feel joy--and what a waste of our lives that would be!

So today, I'm taking time to sink into the pain. The grief, and then later, the joy.

How do YOU engage in the harder and sadder aspects of life?

P.S.--If you're worried, this blog is not turning into a political and religious one. But it's about me and what I'm thinking, and lately this is what's been on my mind. And as always, I care so much about hearing what YOU have to say.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What It Means to be a Jew in the United States when Israel is at War

I had planned to write about the rest of our staycation today--but I'm all about blogging from the heart, and that just wouldn't be from my heart right now

What is on my heart today?

This place. Israel. My family is there...right now. My cousins are preparing to go into Gaza to relieve troops that are tired from fighting. My friends dot the country, north to south. But even without all of those personal ties, I quite simply love Israel. And when you love something like that, watching it go through this is heart-wrenching.

So what does it mean to be an American Jew during this war?

It means...checking the CNN every twenty minutes or so for updates. And then double checking on Google just in case something even newer is up.

It means...checking Facebook because you desperately want to talk about what is happening, and then feeling frustrated at some of the talk you see.

It means...walking around on eggshells, distracted for days.

It means...reading the names and stories of the dead, and then seeing their photos--and the images of the normal, mischievous boys that could have easily been my husband or brother or son hit you like a slap in the face.

It means...feeling very different from the rest of the world, that continues on as if everything is normal.

It means...feeling frustrated. And angry. And alone.

It in one place while your mind and heart are thousands of miles away.

Libi bamizrach, vi'anochi b'sof hamaarav
My heart is in the East, and I am at the end of the West.
--Yehuda HaLevi

A few more photos of the country I love:

What are YOU thinking about today?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Staycation Fun

This past week, we took a little vacation. A staycation, to be exact. I decided that traveling a long distance with two young children and then being cooped up in a tiny hotel room for several days was not an experience I was looking forward to, let alone willing to pay for:) Thankfully, we had a fun time exploring our own next of the woods!

On Day 1 (Sunday), we headed to the zoo!

Little Miss was super excited beforehand, but wound up being a little (read: a LOT) scared of the animals. Sigh. She did look super cute in her sunglasses, though!

(Baby boy was rockin' the sunglasses, too!)

(It's basically impossible to get decent family pictures of us in this stage of life, but I try!)

Day 2 brought a trip to the Jewish Children's Museum in Brooklyn, which was really informative and fun!

There was a new floor of exhibits since I had last visited with Biblical history and a tour of modern Israel!

On Day 3, we left the kiddos at daycare and went to get massages and have some lunch, plus tour NYC!

Our delicious lunch!

 Raspberry creme brulee...

 A couple selfie on Wall Street:)

We also headed to Popbar, a make-your-own gelato place I've been dying to try! You choose your gelato or sorbet base, your chocolate or yogurt dip, and nuts, candy, coconut, etc, for a topping.
SO so good.

And then, on Day 4 we packed up and headed up to the beach!  Stay tuned for Part Two of our staycation!

Where is YOUR favorite place to travel to?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Memory

I had a whole other post planned for today--but in light of the news, it doesn't feel right.

Today, Israel buried three of our boys. And even if we never knew these boys, even if we weren't physically within Israel's boundaries today, our whole community has been in morning.

As one of the eulogists pointed out, we have lost more than children--we have lost future grown men, sunny wedding days and starry nights, newborn babies, and a whole life full of memories. Three lifetimes worth of experiences that should have been had but will never be.

May G-d comfort their families--and give us the strength to continue to create light in this sometimes dark, dark world.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five on Friday

I'm back with a June edition of Five on Friday! Here with some fun finds I'm loving lately:)

Linking up here with a bunch of other bloggers--check it out!

With all of the gross, rainy weather we've been having lately, I went in search of a pair of rain shoes that would match most of my outfits (my current pair of purple Crocs weren't quite doing that:)). I came across these Cole Haan Manhattan waterproof flats, and I quickly fell in love. I now have these in both black and nude, and I wear them all. the. time. They are a bit pricey, but if  you're looking for a comfortable pair of shoes for everyday, that are also rain proof, these would be perfect!

And they come in nude as well!

Continuing the shoe theme, these Born flats are possibly the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever owned. When I'm not wearing the shoes above, I'm wearing these:)

Any of you scrapbookers out there have probably heard of My Mind's Eye's new line, Market Street. It's one of my favorite scrapbooking lines in a long time--just gorgeous! 

But even non-scrapbookers should take note of this, because the line includes beautiful sets of art prints that would be perfect for home decor. And the price is the best part!

Each set includes 6 prints:

Note--these images are from Jen Allyson, the line's designer's beautiful blog!

You can find the prints here and here--they are only $5.99 for a set of six prints!

This is related to #3, but I've recently discovered the Scrapbook Generation online store, and I'm a huge fan! Great customer service!

Over the moon in love with this heart print from Minted--can't wait to input some photos on this one!

So there we are! What is one thing YOU are loving lately?