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Happy Me
This is an every day account of love, life, faith and loss.  It's not always happy, but I try to be optimistic. 

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Howdy-do, friends

Happy Me

I am posting by grace of my new Samsung Stratosphere, which is a particularly nifty toy. You see, various commitments have called dibs on basically every one of my waking moments. It's become rather tiresome. I long for a stretch of time which demands nothing of me, but until then, I have my fancy pants phone with its metallic fuschia cover to present me to you in verbal stereo while my kids take a bath.
Another great relief to the tedium of the densely scheduled life is the fact that we have booked our Disney Trip! This gives me license to navel gaze to my heart's content when I'm feeling fed up with reality. I can even wander over to Excel and work on one of several planning spreadsheets that help me feel like our trip is two months longer than it is (while simultaneously making me a huge tool, but I'm totally OK with that).
I keep hitting wrong buttons on my phone and accidentally opening Google or a Siddur. Amazing how this little phone does waaaaay more than the first several computers I owned.
In other news, the boys are pretty amazing (duh). Moo is doing great in school, reading sentences in both English and Hebrew, but while he has the entire Alef-Beis and all the nekudos down, he is more slowly acquiring the complexities of English phonetics and just beginning to work on blends and hard vowel sounds. In math he's just mastered single from double digit subtraction and has been working on skip-counting. I'm so thankful that he's in a school that allows him to work at his own pace according to his abilities. He's very proud of his progress (obviously, so we are we). Most rewarding is how his Yiddishkeit has blossomed. He's so firm and comfortable with who he is; he's really an inspiration, like a living, bright blue-eyed Yetzer Tov, KAH.
Izzy is growing like Alice on candy hearts, physically and cognitively. He has about a bajillion words, give or take.  He's working on his two year molars (Yerachem!), and he's kind of interested in the potty, which is kind of a funny situation. He totally gets what's going on when it happens, but doesn't get any advanced warning, not even enough to go pantsless and keep a potty handy. He also isn't receptive enough to read and understand "Time to Pee" or the like.  Maybe he'll do well with training pants and timing? IDK, we'll figure it out. Izzy has also finally managed to grow enough hair for a ponytail. Now I just have to train him to say, "I'm a boy."

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Let me make this very simple for you.

Happy Me
Love is the only way to bring Moshiach.
Happy Me
This morning, I had a muddled revalation that resulted with me in tears over, apparently, my hair.  I want a sheitel that looks perfect on me that I love and I want to take the sheitels that I own and burn them.  Burn them till they die.  They either don't fit or need repairs or are the wrong color or any combination of the above and not the cut that I want.  To a woman, this is actually a pretty serious (first world) problem and I ended up crying.
A lot.
Till half my mascara came off.
And I got a headache.
I really just wanted some ice cream.

It wasn't until 20 minutes or so later, walking down the street (wearing one of these masterpieces of future firewood) that I realized that maybe, just maybe, something else was bothering me.

There's way more testosterone in my surroundings than estrogen. And it's starting to get to me.  I am married to a man, I am raising two sons. I am the only woman in my department.  I am one of four women on my floor.  At any given moment, no one in my immediate vicinity thinks on the same wavelength as I do.  Not that I wish to speak ill of the quality of my marriage, but Hubby and I do think in different ways and approach issues from different angles - that's why we're complimentary and we make a good team - but at other times I wish he had a little more...ovaries.

The fact that I spend 40+ hours a week surrounded by men doesn't help matters, but again it's not an situation I care to change.  I'm suited to the work I do and it's a great company, it's just lonely and alienating through no deliberate fault of its own. I've tried to make my own little corner as comfortable for myself as possible - I have a little teapot (short and stout), with super girly pink flowers painted on it and gold trim.  I have a sweater and slippers (my feet swell from sitting all day.  I'm so old).  Softening touches though they may all be, none of them is empathetic.  I can call none of them friends, only collaborators in making my environment more tollerable.

Which is not to say I don't have any female friends, just no time to actually see them or nurture those relationships.  I don't have daytime access to facebook, I can't pop out for lunch, really and by the time I'm home in the evenings and on the weekends, I just want to see my family. Of men.

So, that is one of many reasons I'm praying for another daughter.

I'm not trying to bemoan my lot, just lay it all out and make it make sense.

My Brain is Full.

Happy Me
It really is, y'all.  I mean, I don't have an above-average amount of stuff on my plate.  I work full time, I'm a mom, that's about it.  And that, my friends, is all I can handle.  I don't care about politics, I don't care about current events, I DO NOT care about CrownHeights.info, and I actually backwards care about celebrities.  Like, I care so very little that there is actually a mystical force in the universe that forces them to care about me, a little bit.
That's why I have nothing to write about.  My job is pretty mundane, and that is A-OK with me.  I actually misplace my cellphone for days at a time and when I find it, I have no missed calls.  Friday was sort of interesting in that the store got SO MUCH internet traffic that it borked our internal systems (or something?) and our intertubes were down for an hour and a half.  On a four hour day.  Nice.
My kids are awesome, but everybody thinks their kids are awesome.  I mean, I know I'm actually right and my kids really ARE awesome, but still, it doesn't make for super interesting writing, but I'll give it a go anyway.
Izzy is little and delicious and hillarious.  His pronunciation is getting better, but he still has baby malapropisms like calling Mickey Mouse "Bickey Moff," and the Mickey Firetruck that plays the MM March is the "Bee-tee-why, Bee-tee-why."
Moo likes to try to tell knock-knock jokes like,
Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Mister Mister Underpants!
Mister Mister Underpants, who?
Mister Mister Underpants in the eyeball.
And then you have to pretend to laugh.
Izzy wants to do everything his brother does, so he tells knock-knock jokes too.  They go like this:
Ock-nock.
Who's there?
Oo dare? Booeykeeyee uhhh.
Blueberry Kitty, who?
Hi Tatty!

While Knock-knock jokes might not be  Moo's forte, he's doing really great in school.  At parent teacher conferences, his Morah's said that for reading groups, both English and Hebrew, they have like 25 mins allotted to learn the lesson. The only problem Moo is encountering in school is that it only takes him 5 minutes to absorb the lesson, and then he's bored for 20, which leads to behavior problems.  They can't move him ahead yet because he is learning basic phonics in both languages and he needs that in order to go onto the next group.  My kid's too smart.  Woe is me. 

And there. I've run out of interesting things.  I'm tired and spaced out and that's about it. 

Well hello there, internets

Happy Me

So, I've been busy.  I've made the transition to working full time days.  I grew up with two working parents, so it's like I'm finally starting a regular life.  BH, I'm happy with my job, the work is good, the benefits are good, the money is good.  Good, good, good.  And then, when I get home at the end of the day, I'm SO HAPPY to be here and see my kids and give them all my attention.  Which reminds me, I have to make Moo's lunch and snack for tomorrow.  He asked for popcorn.  I also have to draw Pigeon on his lunch bag.
The boys are both FINALLY settling back into a normal routine after Sukkos.  They were up late every night for either meals or Simchas Beis HaShoeva or going to Shul. 
Moo was an absolute joy over Yontif.  As he grows, his perspective fascinates me.  See, I chose this life, and I choose it again every day, but Chasidus is the world Moo's given, and yet, he chooses it.  It is not simply his default of practice and function, but his concious decision to seek a mystical relationship with G-d.  I can put him in Tzitzis, I can teach him yiddishkeit, but I can't make him love and desire G-d, that comes from within him.  Over Yontif I saw it in so many ways. 
He learned the Bracha, "Asher Yatzar," which we say after using the bathroom, and even though he doesn't fully understand the words, he is conscious of thanking G-d for making his body and making it work.
He shook the Lulav with such plaintive determination.
At Shul and at Simchas Bais HaShoeva, watching him dance was transcendant.  He was of course enjoying the experience, but there was a light shining in him that clearly glowed with divine simcha. 
We went to 770 on Simchas Torah to kiss the Rebbe's Torah.  The line was long and crowded and it was dark and dinner time, but he waited it out eagerly for a split second by the Rebbe's Torah. 
I can't do justice to what I saw in him, I just can't.  I can tell you "he did this, he did that," but there aren't words for the pure faith and love he has.
I was also going to write about the stuff we did, like Ya-li-ya-lipa and the Zoo and all the meals we went to...but that seems boring compared to Reb Moo the Mystic.


O HAI INTERTUBEZ!

Happy Me
When last we left each other, I was moving out of Manhattan.  We are now firmly implanted in Crown Heights.  Pictures are hung, carpets are laid, everything has a place.  Moo is loving school and making friends.  I'm digging the neighborhood and have yet to encounter the real-life horrors that magazines and the internet have me on shpielkes over. Hopefully, they will continue to be the stuff of paranoia.  I've actually found myself very warmly received and had a great time socializing on Shabbos with heretofore total strangers.  Shabbos, was just overall awesome.  Hubbs and Moo found a Shul with a kids' program and had a ball.  Izzy was upset because he wasn't going, too, so after a while he and I went out for a little shpatzeer on our block and we found some little kids outside with their moms.  Izzy had no qualms about ingratiating himself upon the kids, which made for a comfortable introduction on my part and he had a great time playing while I got to chat. After they went in, Izzy didn't want to go home without Hubby.  I said, "Let's go home" and shook his head and said "Tatty? Tatty?"  And since there's no eiruv, if Izzy doesn't cooperate, we ain't goin.  When Hubby came along, Izzy was laying on the sidewalk, crying.  But he very gladly got up and followed his Tatty and big brother home to have lunch, but he was so worn out from playing and tantruming that he fell asleep in his highchair.  In the afternoon, Moo and I went out to my friend's house.  She had a bunch of ladies over, who all happened to have 4 and 5 year olds, and she had a back yard.  Everyone was in heaven.  The kids were outside having a ball and the mommies were inside kibbitzing.  Moo didn't know what to do with himself because he doesn't quite understand the concept of a backyard.  He kept checking on me to make sure what he was doing was ok and I wasn't leaving without him.  To be continued...
Happy Me
It's moving day!  The movers have been here a little over an hour and they're almost done with the downstairs, it's kind of insane.  They are doing all the packing, too, because I'll be darned if I'll be living in boxes for two weeks in 700 square feet (Yeah, that's right. We measured.  I can't believe I used to think this apartment was big) with two little kids and one big, clumsy dog.  One of our next door neighbors is ALSO moving out today.  So that's 2 apartments, one fourth floor walk-up, two moving companies, two trucks and....one staircase.  I am pretty sure there has been a slapstick comedy written about this very situation.  I want Martin Short to play me. 
I sent the boys out with a babysitter and the instructions, "Head to the bagel place for brunch, on the way there, you'll see a playground, after bagels, go there and stay there all day."

Homeward bound/New lease (on life?)

Happy Me
Since I started a new job a month ago, I had very little liberty to take personal time.  Hubby has, therefore, taken the initiative to find us a new apartment.  We ultimately chose to move to Crown Heights because we already have friends there, we know the neighborhood, the commute to work is easy and we found a great school with space for Moo.  Hubby has taken several days to go look at apartments, dealing with disappointing spaces, flakey brokers, and too-good-too-be-true listings, he finally found a great broker who found us just the right place.  Judy at ABBA realty showed Hubby a big two bedroom with an eat-in kitchen, foyer, AND living room in a nice building.  This afternoon, we signed the lease and two hours later, I saw it for the first time.
Trust.  We has it.
The space is great, in fact, I have more space than I know what to do with, quite literally.  The foyer is probably 10x10 - a full size, usable room, but what to use it for?  We have a full size living room.  The foyer is the first room you see when walking into the apartment, so I want it to set the tone for our home.  Massive wall mural of the Rebbe and Mickey Mouse?  Cardboard stand ups of the Baal Shem Tov and Data? 
Anyway, I am kind of excited to be moving back to the shchuna - as I said, we have lots of great friends there, in fact, walking around today, every time I would see someone approaching, I thought, "Oh hey is that - " but it wasn't.  Shopping will be easy.  Eating will be easy.  Davening will be easy.  I just have to get over the fear that Kingston Avenue is like a real-life ImaMother and someone will just walk up to me and tell me I'm parenting wrong or not being Jewish enough.  That doesn't happen in real life.  Right?
Right?
IYH, we move on Sunday.  The movers are packing us, BH, but we are starting to prepare the house, nonetheless.  Everything is organized (even moreso than normal), and we'll be packing a suitcase out of which to live until Hubby gets us all set up.  I already packed Moo's school bag because he's going to be starting Kindergarten (Holy COW!) next Wednesday and I don't want him to have to scramble through piles and boxes to find what he needs. 
I hope he and Izzy will be happy there, I think they will be.  There are tons of kids and it will be nice to not be the only Chasid in his class.  I wonder how long it will take for Moo to stop walking up to every kid on the street in a Yarmulke and introduce himself.  I hope the honeymoon lasts.

Life on the cube farm

Happy Me
I keep wanting to write about life nowadays, but I am just so busy and tired that I haven't had a sufficient stretch of time during which I could write cogently enough to enunciate the particulars of my recent existence.  I started work at B&H on August 1st.  I proofread product SKUs before they go online.  The work itself varies anywhere in a range from puzzlingly interesting to mind-numbingly boring, but there is quite a lot of it to do, I am pretty good at it and keep getting told so by my boss.  This is a particularly attractive aspect of the position, as I am not used to getting such frequent, steady positive feedback from my employer.  The company itself is really the berries when it comes to employee-friendliness, as well - plenty of time off, cheap insurance, close early Fridays and closed and paid for all Jewish holidays.  Also, there is always milk and bread in the lunchroom. 
I have my own little cube-desk with a computer with two monitors.  I sit and do my work and listen to Grooveshark all day.  Even after three and a half weeks, I'm quite unaccustomed to single-tasking and sitting still.  I get up about once an hour to stretch my legs and enjoy the benefit of being a well-hydrated multipara.  Still, sitting all day has my body aching and I don't know what to do about it.  I'm considering getting an exercise ball to replace my desk chair for at least some of the day, but I don't know what kind of ridiculous looks that will garner.  I bought a heating pad, which has made the situation a great deal more comfortable, but I am still in pain, my lower torso aches as though I were hugely, heavily pregnant...and I'm not even a little bit pregnant.
I am the only woman in my section, which is quietly awkward.  Everyone is very, very kind, but it is difficult to socialize, not only with men, but men who are not my contemporaries.  There is one man my age in my group, and we actually do have a lot in common, but it is obviously very important to me to maintain a respectful, tzniusdig boundary.  There are more women in other departments on other floors, but I don't really have the courage to go looking for friends.  So my weekday existence is kind of a lonely one, made moreso by my pining away for my boys. 
I imagine after some time with my evenings free (starting next week), I'll grow used to being gone all day and I imagine I'll come to enjoy a "normal," schedule.  But for now, I still miss my old life.  I miss the playground and running errands and cooking and keeping house and laying down with Izzy and all of it.  I feel like this is a totally different kind of mothering and I just haven't gotten settled in it yet.  My nails have grown long because I'm not buckling the stroller or pushing a swing or building legos.  It is a hard adaptation to make, but I imagine it will get easier once things have settled.
We are still looking for an apartment.  We've decided to move to Crown Heights for the school and community, now we just need a place to live.  The uncertainty coupled with the transition to working full time has me more than a little on edge, but I'm trying to focus on the excitement of yay, new job! New house (IYH)!  New school!  Old friends!....Tishrei?!!