Category Archives parenting

Vote Today and Always

The day is finally here. Election Day 2016 has arrived for those of us in the United Stated. We are unable to vote early in New York State, so it is the time I can go to the polls and let my voice be heard.

 Vote Today

For what seems like forever, we have been listening to constant chatter and more about this big presidential election. I think this is probably why I was burned out and over it before the day arrived. Most years I have a plan for when I will go to vote. This time around I didn’t. Then, my nine year old son begged me to take him with me. He wanted to go and witness a presidential election.

This is the same child that sat on my bed working on homework last night. He was distracted by the television commercials. He kept hearing things that he didn’t understand and asking me questions. It was my own fault for leaving the television on, but I explained about political ads and how hateful they can be. I shared that rather than explain why you or your candidate is right for the job, they shame the other person for things they claim they have done in the past or will do in the future. It’s a lot for anyone to understand, no less a child in elementary school that does not recall another big election in his life. Let’s be real, there has never been an election quite like this one in anyone’s life.

We are lucky being in New York State because most of the political ads are for local races. The ones we watch are not even for races that we are able to vote in. There are occasional ones for the presidential candidates, but usually at odd hours. One of the best things for our family was getting away before Halloween. We were able to escape from most the nasty end of this presidential campaign. Sure my smartphone buzzed with news updates, but I was able to ignore them. Of course, our get away for a conference and vacation was Florida. This key state in the presidential election was swarming with ads. If we put the television on for a moment, hate oozed across the screen in one ad after another. If this wasn’t enough, sky writers were out for some candidates as well.

All I can say is I am done. I can exhale because I did my civic duty and voted. I may be conflicted with some circles that I filled in on my ballot, but I am going to live with my choices.

My son reminded me of what this election is about. It’s about keeping the United States a democracy. One day, I want to watch him go into a polling place to let his voice be heard. I want both of my boys to be excited to have the right to vote once they turn 18. Yes, I was that geek that was more excited to turn 18 and vote than 21 to drink. It was finally my turn to be an adult and have some say in those that we elect.

While my heart may not have been into voting this year, I know the feeling of pride in being American and having the freedom to vote. Tomorrow I hope that half of this country will get up and move forward no matter what the outcome of this election is. I know it will be hard to swallow for either side, but we must work together. If we continue to divide this country more I fear what the future will be for our children and generations to come.

Please take a moment today to get out and vote if you have not done so already. Oh and please get a sticker. Apparently we never have them here and I feel cheated!

It's Me

Share:
Share on Facebok
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest
Share on Google+



Ticktock the Bar Mitzvah Clock

Thirteen years ago, I was planning for the birth of my first baby. Now, as my son is about to officially become a teen, TechyDad and I are planning something very different. In about five months, we will have NHL’s Bar Mitzvah. Apparently, I should not only be counting down the days, but I need to make lists, get concrete plans, and lots more before the special day. Oy to the vey!

 Ticktock the Bar Mitzvah Clock

While I am a Type A personality that loves to plan and make lists, I just can  not focus on this. For some reason, living in the moment and keeping up with every day life is enough right now.

Bar Mitzvah List

NHL started his official Bar Mitzvah lessons with our cantor months ago. Almost every day, we hear him reciting different parts of the Shabbat service. Thanks to technology, we have digital copies of prayers/portions for him to practice while at home and on the go.

As we get closer and closer, everyone asks me for details about our plans. The honest truth is that we are still not entirely sure about a lot. We need to chat with NHL about what he wants. As an almost teen, he does get to have some say.

I have met with members of our synagogue to talk about some options that are available. As NHL and TechyDad frequent Shabbat services, they seem to have a few more preferences on things.

There are a lot of questions on my mind and I know we will figure them out. Some include:

  • When do we need to order invitations for family and friends?  Related to this – Where should we order invitations from?
  • Does NHL still prefer a low key extended Kiddush luncheon?
  • Where does NHL want to celebrate instead of having a party? For quite a while now, NHL has said that he wants to go away and only cerebrate a little with friends the weekend of his Bar Mitzvah.
  • What do we do beyond the actual Bar Mitzvah to celebrate with out of town family and friends?
  • Where do we order kippahs from and how many should we get?

We now have a meeting to sit down with our rabbi to chat again. There really is a lot to do, yet there really isn’t. While I could/should be stressed about everything, reality still has not hit about how close NHL is to becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Perhaps as we talk to family about honors during the Shabbat service things will become a bit more real.

If you have planned a Bar Mitzvah, what else should be on my list? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

It's Me

Hard to believe that the last time I wrote about this process was in December 2014 when we were asked to pick a date – Planning a Bar Mitzvah

Share:
Share on Facebok
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest
Share on Google+



Twelve Years

Dear NHL,

Please slow down! You are growing up way too quickly before my eyes. It seems like when I blinked you went from being a child to a teen. The little boy in you is pretty much gone and I see an amazing young man emerging.

 Turning Twelve Years Old

Last summer was bitter sweet. I watched you move on from elementary school and sent you off to middle school. I held my breath for many days unsure of how this huge transition would go. Big changes are never easy and we tried to preset you as much as possible in a positive way. Moving from class to class, having multiple teachers, and being in a huge school could have been a disaster. Much to my surprise, you loved middle school. Each and every day, you woke up and wanted to go to school. This was new for you and after a few months, I was able to exhale.

You were so blessed to have been in a school with a team of sixth grade teachers that were so dedicated. You witnessed teamwork in action and, thanks to this, were able to spread your wings. We also saw you become more responsible and mature. We were proud of your grades, but you wanted more. You set your mind on making gold honor roll third quarter. You told every person at school that this was something you wanted. We watched as you worked so hard to accomplish this goal. You studied hard and stayed after school when you wanted to make sure you understood aspects of the book you were reading. When it came time for honor roll to be announced, you were so proud of yourself. You were beaming and I was so thrilled for you. Now if you ever give up on something, I will subtly remind you of your ability to set goals and accomplish them.

Eleven was also the year that you went to the local science fair with your project. Your passion for science really took off this year because of a dedicated period each day with a teacher that inspired you through hands on learning. I can no longer assist you with your math because you are too good at it. For now on, you will be my guru for all things related to numbers. For NYSSMA, you asked your band teacher to allow you to try timpani drums instead of the usual snare drums. Once again, your determination to challenge yourself paid off.

This year, your braces came off and we learned about life with retainers together. Seeing your beautiful smile made the last pesky weeks of your metal mouth worth the stress. Outside of school, your interests have changed a little. You are still our geek in training earning lots of respect for your knowledge of Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, card games like Munchkin, and so much more. Video games are still a huge part of your life, whether apps on your tablet or on the Nintendo WiiU. You also overcame a huge fear and learned how to ride your bike. Seeing you head off on your own thanks to a great program with role models that inspired you was so wonderful to witness.

 Birthday Boy and Brother on Bikes

The year ahead of us is going to be a busy one. You are off to seventh grade where they will challenge you academically. In addition to this, we have a Bar Mitzvah to get ready for. While I am in denial about this, the special day is just around the corner. Please remember that no matter how busy we get, I am always there for you. I will be your advocate and cheer you on as loud as I can. While you may not need me as much as you used to, I will always be ready to stand by your side.

Love,

Mom

Past B-day posts to NHL:

Share:
Share on Facebok
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest
Share on Google+



World Autism Awareness Day

Autism is part of my world. As the mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum, I am an autism advocate. I not only want people to be aware of autism, I strive for complete autism acceptance. Part of the way to do this is to work on educating others about autism so they understand more.

Autism Awareness Jamberry Nails and Bracelet

A very smart person once said, “If you know one autistic person, you know one autistic person.” 

We are very lucky to have an amazing Autism Community in the Capital Region. We have programs like Friday Knights at the College of Saint Rose that is for the entire family. The Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region is also a fantastic local resource. Now we also have Puzzles Bakery & Café which is a wonderful new restaurant that hires adults with developmental disabilities. More coming soon about our lunch at Puzzles.

Puzzles Bakery and Cafe

If you have a loved one that has a new autism diagnosis, please look for local support in your area. It can be a tough time, where you can feel lonely. Connect with others who will have tips and tricks in your area for places to go that are friendly to individuals on the spectrum. We know and share what works for us and what may have been something to avoid because of potential sensory overload. The more information you have, the easier it will be to get things into place to assist your entire family. Previous posts related to autism may be found here.

It's Me

If you are interested in the Autism Awareness Jamberry wraps, I am a Jamberry Independent Consultant. You can find the style above and a new one released today on the Commitment to Charity Page. You may also request a sample to see what Jamberry is all about.

Share:
Share on Facebok
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest
Share on Google+



Planning a Bar Mitzvah

From the moment my oldest son was born, there were milestones that we had to think about. First was his bris when he was ten days old. Since we knew we were having a boy, we were able to plan a bit ahead of time for that.

Next up, was getting NHL ready for school. PreK and kindergarten came quickly and required school adjustments along the way. Of course, he also started going to Hebrew School.

Then, as we eased into elementary school the focus shifted toward getting ready for middle school. While that was a major priority in my mind, there was always something else making my thoughts race at times.

Bar Mitzvah Time Traditions

Middle school means getting close to the teen years. This is a huge milestone in the Jewish religion. Boys start to focus on their Bar Mitzvah preparations at about the same time. Hebrew school is not enough and shortly individual lessons with members of the clergy will begin.

As NHL turned eleven this summer, I knew the two year count down was on. Of course, with my internal count down and major denial shaking it off, I had to embrace the reality check. His birthday seemed to signal questions from some family and friends. They wanted to know if we had a date, time, location, and other details to share.

No, we were hyper focused on getting the kiddo adjusted to middle school. The here and now trumped something two years in the future. In passing, I spoke with the rabbi about it and he told me to get in touch after the high holidays.

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the rest of the autumn holidays came and went. Denial was strong.

We have talked to NHL about his Bar Mitzvah. He has preferences and has made it clear that he does not want certain things to happen. He has also made a specific request.

A reality check happened shortly before Thanksgiving.

I saw the phone number of our synagogue pop up on my phone. What I was not expecting was our cantor to be on the line. *GULP* It was time to talk about his Hebrew Birthday. That is the magical date that is the first day we could even consider having his Bar Mitzvah.

My brain was racing and TechyDad was still at work. I was not expecting the call, so it caught me off guard a bit. In the end, we found out the first day in 2016 that is acceptable for us to consider. We also know a day that someone else has selected that is out. What I never thought about was the likelihood of needing this big day to be right at the start of the school year. It now appears that we will have to think about juggling a Bar Mitzvah with the start of 8th grade.

While I am sure NHL will be ready for this big day (whenever it is), I am not sure that I am ready for the planning, saving, and chaos that go together.

If you have planned a big event for your child, like a Bar Mitzvah, how did you tackle it? One thing we have decided is to keep a lot of details quiet for as long as possible. We do not want disagreements to pop up like they did with our wedding

It's Me

FYI, if you were curious about the picture above, that’s a photo of my father when he had his Bar Mitzvah.

Share:
Share on Facebok
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest
Share on Google+