slice of life

Terrible Tooth Fairy

I was awoken from a deep and much-needed slumber when I heard Isabelle call out, “The Tooth Fairy didn’t come!” from the other end of hallway around 6:20 a.m. 

Oh. My. G-d!

She repeated herself as she ran down the hall to our bedroom.

I looked at Marc a moment before Isabelle barged into our bedroom to relay the shocking news.

“I #%{\*^ up,” I mouthed to him.

Maybe it’s because he is a nice guy or maybe it’s because he knows how exhausted I’ve been for the past two weeks that he responded with kindness towards me.

But I didn’t have any nice thoughts for myself. I had one job to do after Isabelle went to bed last night and I bungled it. How hard is it to swap money for a baby tooth?!!? (Remember, there’s no risk of being discovered with the way I play Tooth Fairy.)

We spent the next 20 minutes assuring Isabelle the Tooth Fairy would come tonight while she was sleeping. Isabelle kept wondering why the tooth fairy forgot her last night. I kept telling her it must’ve been a busy day for losing teeth and she didn’t get around to our house. What a cruddy excuse! But, somehow, my six-year-old daughter bought it!

This afternoon, before we went out, I slipped three dollars (Two extra bucks due to tardiness.) in an envelope with an apology note that read:

Isabelle discovered the money and the note before she went to bed. It was an act of self-preservation since I didn’t want her to be up early checking to see how much money she got and then running into my room to inform us that the Tooth Fairy did, in fact, come.

Next time, regardless of how tired I am, I will remember to do my job! 

family · friends · slice of life

Blessing Bracelets

Last month, I celebrated a milestone birthday. One of the loveliest gifts I received were blessing bracelets from Lynne. Inside of the jewelry box, there was a tag that said:

This is a Blessing Bravelet. Whenever you wear it acknowledge one blessing in your life for each pearl on the bracelet. Each time you are drawn to the bracelet, silently find four people or things you can be grateful for.

Be grateful for: Your children, a flower, your dog, a perfect cup of coffee, a roof over your head – just find something. The more you wear the bravelet and the more blessings you find, the more you will be blessed.

In one year, if followed, you will be aware of a profound change in your life.

My birthday went off without a hitch. I’ve embraced this new decade of my life with open arms.

IMG_2436However, there have been some stressors that have popped up recently that are making these blessing bracelets more important than ever. (I don’t like to be vague when I write, but I’m choosing not to write about what’s been happening in detail out of respect to those close to me whose challenges are weighing on me — heavily.) I donned both bracelets this morning and touched each pearl, counting my blessings aloud.

  1. Isabelle
  2. Ari
  3. Marc
  4. My mom
  5. My dad
  6. Driving a car that works.
  7. Residing in a safe and comfortable home.
  8. My long-time friend, Alexa, who is giving me incredible guidance right now.

It’s important to count your blessings even when you’re feeling overwhelmed. As a result, I will be wearing these bracelets a lot as I navigate the next month of my life. Thank you, Lynne, for this incredible gift. These items are so much more than pieces of jewelry!

day trip · slice of life

Have car. Will drive (for homemade ice cream).

I was spoiled, when it came to eating ice cream, since I grew up eating Thomas Sweet‘s ice cream. If you’ve never eaten at Thomas Sweet, then you’re missing out on the best homemade ice cream out there. (Imagine having the ability to blend-in cookies, candy, and fruit to homemade ice cream create the perfect flavor. That’s what Thomas Sweet is about!)
There is nothing like Thomas Sweet here in Central Pennsylvania. There are a handful of ice cream places, but they all sell commercially-made ice cream. (The only good “homemade” ice cream I’ve found is at the Berkey Creamery, which is 90 minutes away in State College.) That’s fine if you didn’t grow up on Thomas Sweet, but honestly, mass-produced ice cream isn’t worth the extra calories to me. 

A few months ago I decided to search for better ice cream so I pinned an article about “Eastern Pennsylvania’s Ice Cream Trail.” When we had nothing to do this afternoon (since it was too cold to go swimming, which is what we thought we’d be doing today), I suggested we take a drive for ice cream. Marc and Isabelle were game. (Ari didn’t express an opinion.) 

Before we left our home, I called nearly all of the places listed in the article. Nearly all of them served commercially-made ice cream. But finally, at the bottom of my list, I came across Leo’s Homemade Ice Cream, an ice cream parlor 30 minutes south of our home in Carlisle, PA. A quick phone call revealed they made their own ice cream! I was giddy with excitement so I picked up the pace and got the kids ready to go. 

Leo’s ice cream was the real deal! Isabelle ordered Chocolate Marshmellow, Marc got Peanut Butter Cup, and I ate Snickers ice cream. All three flavors were delicious! Definitely worth the calories and the long drive! 

Next time I get the hankering for ice cream, I will hope in the car and drive to Carlisle! (Seriously.)

celebrations · slice of life

Let’s be honest about Mother’s Day…

We didn’t make it to Hershey Gardens this year since the line to enter was too long. Instead, we walked around the grounds at The Hotel Hershey.

I didn’t have a picture-perfect Mother’s Day. Instead, my day included a pounding headache, tears in my closet when nothing I wanted to wear would fit (Still working on losing all of the baby weight!), and too much picky eating and whining from my daughter. And, every time I heard whining, all I could think about was how many portfolios I need to grade for my graduate students in the next few days.

Even though I didn’t get the photos I wanted to get with my family on my first Mother’s Day as a mama of two, there is something that will be etched in my memory forever. Today I ate brunch with my parents, husband, children, and in-laws. As someone who lost one of her grandmothers as a baby, I do not take this for granted. My children are fortunate to be growing up with all four of their grandparents.

Ari may not be smiling or looking at the camera for most of the pictures that were snapped today. However, there are some photos my Dad and Marc captured of me with my mom, Isabelle, and Ari that make me smile.

When I look back on this day years from now, I probably won’t remember the headache, the clothes that didn’t fit, or the whining. Instead, I will remember my kids were surrounded by love. And I will also remember this was the first year my lap was full. And that is enough for me.


music · slice of life

Maccabeats Concert

We had a great view from the second row!

Anyone who has read this blog in the past few years may remember Isabelle is a HUGE Maccabeats fan. We own every album they’ve cut and have watched their videos together on YouTube (giving them what probably amounts to over 1,000 hits from our home alone). A few months ago, I heard they were coming to Harrisburg so I picked up the phone and immediately bought tickets.


IMG_9019Isabelle must have been excited about the concert since she came home from school on Friday telling me she and her friend Eli discussed it at school. She wanted to sit next to Eli so she recorded a video for his mom asking for permission to sit next to him. His mom texted a video of Eli back a few hours later saying he wanted to sit next to Isabelle too. (How adorable is that?) Luckily, the kids are in Kindergarten so they didn’t even ask to sit away from us (i.e., their parents).

We arrived at the theater about 30 minutes before the show started. Isabelle saw other kids from her class, but remained committed to sitting beside Eli, which I thought was lovely. Thankfully, Eli’s family arrived ahead of us and saved seats for us in the second row.

Selfie during “Ha Yom” when most people were using their phones as makeshift lighters.

Although Eli and some of her classmates left their seats and danced during the show, Isabelle sat beside me with her gaze transfixed on the Maccabeats. She sang several of the songs softly, clapped her hands to other songs, and applauded at the end of each one.


As we walked out of the theater, I held her hand and asked, “Did you like it?”

“Yes!” she replied.

On the drive home, Isabelle mentioned, “Ari doesn’t know what we heard at the concert since he stayed home with a babysitter.”

“You’re right,” I said. “Was it okay that Daddy and I did something with just you?”

“Yes,” she replied somewhat sadly.

“It’s okay for us to do special things with just you, without Ari, sometimes right?”

“Yes, it is,” Isabelle replied.

“You can still tell Ari about the concert if you’d like when you get home,” I offered.

She smiled, “Okay, I will.”

slice of life

A Better Morning

Like many parents, we struggle to get Isabelle out of bed in the morning. After all, no one really wants to get out of bed the moment an alarm clock goes off! Once we get her out of bed in the mornings (This job usually falls to my husband since I stay up late to give Ari his last bottle.), we need to support her through her morning routine or else we find her daydreaming. Hence, mornings have been filled with hurry-ups and more reminders than my husband and I can stand.

Madly searching for solutions, I touched-base with the bus driver the other day. I was pretty sure the pickup time was 7:15 a.m. To my surprise, I found out he changed the schedule so now Isabelle would be his second-to-last pickup instead of his second pickup. This would mean she’d be picked up at our front door at 7:50 a.m.! (I typically left the house with her at 7:35 a.m. to get her to school by 7:45 a.m. every morning.) If she were to take the bus to school, then she’d have 15 extra minutes in the morning, which could — dare I say it — make our mornings less rushed.

So we tried it today. Do you know what happened by the time she finished brushing her teeth and donning her shoes? We had time to play together! (Thankfully, Ari was still asleep, which is good since he had woken up at 5:25 a.m. for a too-early feeding this morning.)

Isabelle decided to do a page in her Puzzle Buzz book with me this morning. It was one she needed grown-up support to complete. Bonus: Now she knows how to do hidden codes on her own!

We finished the hidden code page two minutes before the bus pulled up to the house. I asked her, “Was this a better way to spend our time in the morning?” She nodded. I agree.

Isabelle has Recycling Club before school on Wednesday mornings so she has to get to school at 7:30 a.m. However, if the other four mornings can be a little more tranquil with her having an extra 15 minutes, then I’m all for it. (Plus, I don’t have to wake Ari up if she’s taking the school bus!) I have a feeling she’s going to be riding the school bus for the remainder of the school year.

music · slice of life

Music on the Radio

It all started innocently enough. Isabelle made a request:

Sure, I thought, as I grabbed my iPhone.

“How do you the ‘HandClap’ song?” I asked.

“Ryan sings it at school,” Isabelle replied.

Within minutes I found and downloaded Fitz & the Tantrum’s “HandClap.” But then the requests kept coming — in the form of one or two perfectly-sung lyrics at a time.

Before I knew it, I downloaded songs like “Play That Song” by Train and “Ride” by Twenty-One Pilots to my phone. 

I was bewildered that Isabelle knew any of the songs. You see, whenever Isabelle is in my car she always requests to listen to Jewish music like the Maccabeats, Debbie Friedman, or liturgical/holiday music. And while I have a great appreciation for Jewish wedding music, I keep telling my husband I might impale myself if I have to keep listening to the same Jewish wedding CDs over and over again. 
“How do you know all of these songs?” I asked Isabelle.

“I hear them in Daddy’s car. We listen to the radio together!”

This is because Marc is wiser than I am. He doesn’t turn on any Jewish music (even though he has all of the Maccabeats albums on iTunes).

“That’s it!” I told Isabelle. “As of tomorrow we are listening to the radio!”

“But I like listening to Jewish music in your car,” she said.

“Do you know what I listen to when you’re not in my car?” I asked her. She had no response so I continued. “The radio. Or the Beatles. But mostly the radio.”

I recalled having this conversation last summer when she came home from camp singing “Cake by the Ocean.” I tried playing the radio in the car back then, but she whined incessantly until I turned it off.

I decided to try again today. I switched on the radio for our drive to her Aerials arts class. And do you know what happened? Isabelle sang along. She didn’t ask for me to turn on the Jewish music even once.

Listen, I’m happy to play Jewish music for her. It is important for her to be familiar with it. However, it is also important for her to be exposed to all kinds of music — from both of her parents. So, for now, I’ll alternate between the radio, my iTunes playlist, and the Jewish music. At least that’s my intention.

slice of life

CAGA: Walking Along the River

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I needed to get my daily workout in this morning since Ari had a well-baby checkup (and immunizations!) this afternoon. I figured I’d walk around my neighborhood, as I usually do, when I want to take a walk. However, we have family in town this week so I suggested the four of us go for a walk along the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg. It’s been years since I’ve walked along the River. (Like y-e-a-r-s. I think the last time I walked along the River was when Isabelle was Ari’s age!)

Ari and I broke away from the fam soon after we started walking since I was walking to burn a lot of calories (and therefore had a faster pace). With him asleep in his stroller, I was left to walk with my own thoughts. I could’ve listened to music on my iPhone, but I wanted to be aware of my surroundings. Therefore, I pushed the stroller and took in the scenery.

I drive down Front Street in Harrisburg regularly. However, I rarely slow down enough to notice the historic homes, much less the fact there are poignant quotations on plaques affixed to rocks all along the River’s toe path. But today was different. Today I walked — albeit at a quick place — and took in the sculptures and memorials that dot the walking path along the River. I even found a sunken garden!

Once I walked for a half-hour, I turned back and retraced my steps. At this point, one of my family members and I found each other on the path and walked back to our cars together. Both of us marveled that this part of the Capital Area Greenbelt is a treasure! As we walked, I made a silent promise to myself not to allow another six years to go by before walking along the River again.

I’ve always seen this sculpture from the road, but I’ve never seen this sculpture from the perspective.

Sleeping Baby & Sculpture

I’ve always heard about the Holocaust Memorial in Harrisburg, but hadn’t seen it up close until today.

We made it to the M. Harvey Taylor Memorial Bridge!

I discovered a sunken garden.

I noticed gargoyles atop this building as I was walking. Gargoyles!

Look how much I walked before noon!


 My Title-Writing Weaknesses

For the past few years I’ve started slicing on the final day of February. I’m always a day ahead since I don’t want to miss a day. Therefore, I don’t have to write today. After all, I won’t even be linking this “slice” to the challenge since I’ll be linking yesterday’s blog post on today’s call for slice of life stories.

BUT, here I am. 

“I’m not a title person!” It’s something I regularly declare to the TWT co-author team (and anyone else who comes to me in search of clever wordsmithing). But somehow, I managed to craft titles for my blog posts for the past 31 days. Looking back at them helps me remember the month that was. Here’s a peek at every title I wrote for the 10th Annual SOLSC. 

Can I Play Too?

Pink Tails

Read Across America Day

The BIG Cut

The Human Body in Art

Sunday Mornings


When the End Isn’t in Sight

We have an eater!

Things I’m Pretty Sure of Today

Parental Visit

Nine Months to Take It Off

Oh Today We’ll Merry-Merry Be

I Wish You More

Picture Books to Weather the Storm

Big Sister Saves the Day

Me: By the Numbers

The Vulnerable Among Us

When the Ride Stops

In Praise of the Snotsucker

Questioning Myself (as the Parent of an Emerging Reader)

Magical Morning Moments

I Think I Need a Mommy Bracelet

Mutual Admiration Society

Ice Cream Friday Fund

Let Me Count the Reasons

Baking by Myself

At least someone appreciates my food!

Toy Day

My face is my child’s favorite toy.

Just a few more minutes…
Not too shabby, eh?

However, I’m still not a title person. Titles matter. Therefore, I still defer to the people in my life who are more capable at title-writing than I am! (It’s good to know and admit to your weaknesses, right?!!?)

slice of life

Just a few more minutes…

Something in my gut told me Isabelle was not ready to go to school (even though she already picked out her Toy Day toy and had her shoes on). I looked at the time on my phone. 7:30 a.m. We had a few minutes to spare.

“Do you want to hold Ari for a few minutes?” I asked.

“Yeah!” she said.

She folded her legs like a pretzel, stuck her arms out at ninety-degree angles, and declared, “I’m ready for him.”

I passed Ari to Isabelle, cautioning her to “hold his head.”

“It’s so heavy!” she moaned.

“I know!” I said. “But you still have to support it. Strong arms.” I reminded.

“I can’t hold his head! It’s too heavy,” she whined

“What if I let him sit with you in a different way?”

“Puh-lease!” Isabelle said.

I removed Ari from her lap. Isabelle let out a sigh of relief. “Sit back with your legs out,” I said.

Isabelle complied. Then, I set Ari on her lap so she could wrap her arms around him like a teddy bear.

Ari fell into Isabelle’s body, which forced her to lean against his car seat that was on the floor behind her.

“I love you, Ari,” she declared. “But you’re getting really heavy.”

“He’s a growing boy!” I said.

“You’re a heavy, growing boy, Ari. But I still love you.” She planted a kiss on his head.

“Want me to take your picture?” I asked Isabelle.

“Sure,” she said. And then, in a high-pitched voice, we both said, “Smile, Ari!” at the same time.


Isabelle snuggled her baby brother for a few minutes. After they got their morning snuggles in, I determined it was time for us to hit the road. This time, she seemed ready.

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