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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

2012 was one heck of a year for us.

Beautiful. Surprising. And crazy. I think I can handle a year like this every few years, or so:)

When January opened I was looking like this:

and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the little munchkin we called "bunny."

Ellie/bunny wasn't due until Feb 15, so I planned on getting organized and packing my hospital bag exactly two weeks beforehand, on Feb 1. The problem was, on January 31 in the middle of the night, Ellie decided to make her appearance unexpectedly early. And my labor was unexpectedly fast. Which is how I spent a good chunk of my labor dictating a birth plan and packing list in between contractions (and a little bit of yelling. Ahem.)

But, in any case, on February 1st, two weeks before her due date, at 12:12 pm sharp, Ellie made her way into the world!

We spent February getting to know her and falling in love with her.

Not to mention filling up her closet with lots of PINK!

In March, we had a little "meet the baby" party for family, and celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim. I started to feel a little more back to normal, and went back to work while S spent his paternity leave watching Ellie.

We started to feel like a real family:

April was momentous. We kicked off Pesach (Passover) by checking our house for crumbs of leavened bread:

And then we wound up buying a new house!

In May, we watched our peanut grow,

and renovated like maniacs.

June brought our move to the new house

and July lots of fun times settling in to this new life:

and seeing family.

August brought Ellie's first trip to the shore!

and meeting baby friends!

We vacationed in Montreal in September, and had a blast!

Our little girl grew and grew....

And spent a lot of time getting stuck under furniture:)

When November came along, we were trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy and stay warm.

December brought grief over the Sandy Hook shooting, and joy over Ellie's first Chanuka:

It's been quite a year. Reliving it makes me awed at how much has changed, and glad that after all this change, I feel so happy and settled right now.

What was the highlight and lowlight of YOUR year?

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Chanuka Recap

Chanuka 2012--our first one in the new house, and the first one with a baby. Chanuka is not such a big holiday in Judaism (definitely not as major as Christmas is for Christians), but we still have parties, hang out, eat great food, light candles, say blessings, and think about the meaning of the day.

I love bringing out my trusty menorah:

And on the first night, I hosted a party for ladies in the neighborhood. Below you can see some sufganiyot, aka jelly doughnuts--a traditional Chanuka food and one of my favorite parts of the holiday:) Ha!

I was a chilled-out hostess and only made a few things, like these peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses....

and chocolate dipped Oreos--yum!

Later in the week, we did a small family party with a fun stack of presents (we don't do big ticket items really, just a few fun treats!)

And a closeup (ignore my last minute/"creatively" wrapped gift. At least E likes packing paper!)

Ellie was intrigued at the concept of Chanuka presents.

And then happy:

And then she got to business, tasting her gift:

The days went by all too quickly and the candles filled up.... (we light one more each night)

All too soon, each and every candle was burning bright.

It was a bittersweet Chanuka--I enjoyed the celebration, but could not stop thinking about how much darkness there is in the world. I spent most of the week thinking about the victims and their families from the Sandy Hook tragedy. Just when I thought I had to have read, or heard or seen the worst, some other interview came out in the news, sadder than the one before.

I've been trying to think what I can do to honor the victims, and decided I would take on a mitzva ("commandment," a spiritual growth) in their memory. I also see that a few million beat me to it, dpoing 26 acts of kindness in memory of those lost.

What do YOU think would be the best way to honor their memories? If you were to take on something in their memory, what would it be?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Words.

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

That is what they say, but it can be so hard to do. I can't stop watching the coverage of the school shooting, can't stop feeling the horror of what happened. It's funny how this world can seem so safe and ordinary and so incomprehensible in the same day.

So I will try to love my family, my husband, and my tiny baby, and love each day that I am lucky enough to have. And cry for the families who have so much darkness to wade through.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I was going to post something light, and bright, and happy today.

But I can't stop thinking about those children. My heart is aching for their families, for the light that has left this world because they are gone.

Jewish tradition teaches that one person is a whole world. twenty-seven worlds have been lost this week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Festival of Light

Chanuka, one of my favorite holidays of the year, is right now.

I love Chanuka. Why? Well, happy music and sparkling candles aren't a bad start. And a holiday celebrating oil, with a particular focus on donuts? Sign me up!

But even though it can get lost sometimes in the chaos of this season, the meaning of Chanuka is so beautiful to me. It's about the miraculous. About that shock and surprise, when what you need and hope for the most, but you really don't think is going to happen for you, is suddenly there. 

G-d's miracles are sometimes big productions, like a ragtag Jewish warrior group winning the battle against the entire Greek army. And sometimes they are so cleverly hidden you could almost miss them--like a candleabra that burns for eight days, or a healthy pregnancy, or a sweet, small girl that continues to grow healthy and happy.

Wishing you a happy Chanuka, and a year full of miracles.

Check out some of my past Chanuka posts here, here and here

What are YOU hoping for this year?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lovely Girl


Ah, that hobby I used to enjoy for something like forty minutes EVERY DAY. 

Wasn't that long ago. But man, it feels like a while!  Adjusting to this new scrapbook-every-once-in-a-while-in-between-working-on-project-life thing has been tough. Whenever I start a layout, it feels a little rusty at first, since it's been a few days (or weeks) since I've had the pleasure of pushing around the pieces and making them feel "just so."

And the biggest adjustment? Is learning that I can't buy supplies to the level I used to. It's just too overwhelming to have so much stuff, and since I'm making way less layouts each month, more things are sitting around. So I've lowered the 'ol scrap budget, and have been trying to show restraint:)

Today I do have one of those few and far between layouts to share! 

Here's a close look:

And the full shebang. I titled this layout my lovely, lovely girl which is something I like to whisper to my E when she's drinking her bottle at night. 

The photo is a faked instagram--I wanted to get the look, but didn't have a smartphone just yet, so I used a fun filter online, cut the photo into a square, and backed in with black cardstock. Voila!

I love the soft colors in this layout--I think they're so "me."

How often do YOU get to scrapbook?

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Well, it happened.

After about five or so years of dithering, I finally decided to get an iphone! Granted, it was a birthday gift (in August) and I finally got it in November, but who's counting?


Here's a photo of my beauty:

Going from a phone with no Internet to a phone that can automatically figure out where I am and tell me the weather? Pretty much awesome. I love having a camera in my phone that actually works decently, and the Instagram filters are too fun!  If you want to follow me and see a variety of baby/selfie shots, I'm keshetstarr.

Since I got the phone, I've been taking a fair amount of selfies:

And shots of pretty things around the house, like these new sparkly shirts.

Ellie's been getting in a few of the photos, too:)

I love watching her "getting in trouble" face recorded:

And her "I'm so happy I could sing" face

And that's just a smattering of what we've been up to.

If you want to follow me and see a variety of baby/selfie shots, I'm keshetstarr.  :)

Do YOU insta-gram?

Monday, November 26, 2012

I love you near and far

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  I'm here today to share a recent layout with my favorite blog readers:)

I created this layout a few weeks ago with a pretty, girly Studio Calico kit. I wrote about my feelings as a working mom. The main message I wanted to get across was how much I love my girl--near or far, rain or shine.  I hope that if she reads it when she's a mother, it will remind her that these decisions are not black and white and never easy.

I used lots of girly embellies here, as usual. Not sure what I'll do if I have a boy one day!

I had so much fun playing with the supplies here--the sequins, the plain wood, the textured Thickers, the soft colors....love:)

I love how scrapbooking lets me write to E in the future even though she's so little right now. 

What's one thing YOU wish you could tell someone today?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So Thankful

For this sweet baby

And this handsome guy.

For a happy daddy-daughter relationship (love how her face lights up when he walks in).

For family.

And old, be-yourself-and-laugh-until-it-hurts friends (too many to photograph!)

For pumpkin cinnamon buns (make them--recipe here. Then you'll be thankful too.)

For mommy-daughter dates on Fridays:

(and for Fridays in general).

And for the fact that I get to spend my time with this little face:

On my first Thanksgiving as a mother, I just don't want to forget what it was like before.  I hope she always knows how much she was wanted, and how much she is loved.

Thankful for yesterday--even though it was hard. And for today. And for watching her grow tomorrow.

What are YOU thankful for today?