The Mother Loving Brunch Bunch

by Alison Friedman in All In The Family, Mommy's Musings

Since April, Bryan had been asking me what I’d like to do for Mother’s Day. It’s always tricky for me. I didn’t want “the day off” because to me, the whole purpose of Mother’s Day is celebrating motherhood so it feels wrong to do so by not being with my children. I wanted to do something special, but also didn’t want to fight crowds or overpay for mediocrity or deal with stress of traffic or tickets to something or being somewhere on time. Then again, a lazy day at home doing nothing seemed boring to me. I so appreciate how much he wanted to make sure that my wishes come first on this Hallmark holiday, but I couldn’t even really make sense of my wishes, let alone turn them into reality.

For the past four years since I’ve been a mom, he’s always put me first on Mother’s Day, and for that he’s a true partner in parenting and marriage. That, alone, is a gift more thoughtful than any big hullabaloo we’d end up doing. And my mom has never been one to make a big fuss over holidays and has said that I should put the focus on myself and my own kids, but I couldn’t possibly imagine celebrating Mother’s Day without my own mother! So I decided that what I really wanted was just to have the whole family together at our home, even it if meant cooking for them and cleaning up after them — I’d rather do something genuine on Mother’s Day than something generic just for the sake of doing something. Plus, I’d be lying a little bit if I said I hate hosting parties.

While in Trader Joe’s, I flirted with frozen quiches and had a quick love affair as I fondled the box in my hands, and while my head said yes, my heart said no. So instead, I purchased ingredients to make them from scratch, in addition to a few other brunch favorites. And right then and there, my idea to have “a simple Mother’s Day breakfast” became “Ah! The Four Seasons will rue the day that I take Mother’s Day into my own hands and kitchen!” I might have even whooshed my cape over the frozen food section of convenience.

Some pre-baking (scones and coffee cake!) and cooking (those damn quiches) the day before allowed for a fairly easy morning on Sunday when I awoke to Madelyn at my side of the bed, in full voice: “I KNOW YOU’RE STILL SLEEPING, BUT HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOMMYYYYYYY.” Yawn.

The wake-up call, though abrupt, was probably a good thing as it got my tush in action to put the finishing touches on our table and brunch set-up, like getting the fixings to the scones (Devon cream, jam, lemon curd) and yogurt bar ready in their serve-ware straight out of a Crate & Barrel wedding registry collection. You know you’ve only been married for 8 years when you still get a kick out of playing house with your wedding loot.

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Everyone arrived at 11 for brunch and we chowed down like the hungry and deserving mamas — and dads! — that we are. Madelyn made pictures for each of the moms in the room and we all praised her for her work. Brunching at home in the aroma of fresh coffee and baked goods was such a nice and relaxing way to spend the day together. Mimosas flowed and seconds and thirds of food were served. I loved having our family gathered in our dining room. It’s why we bought this house.

My Mom and my Grandma aka Future Alison.

My Mom and my Grandma aka Future Alison.

The original mothers at the brunch get first dibs at the buffet. Ironically, on Mother's Day, the mothers are out of focus and the focus is on the food. There is deeper meaning to this photo after all.

The original mothers at the brunch get first dibs at the buffet. Ironically, on Mother’s Day, the mothers are out of focus and the focus is on the food. There is deeper meaning to this photo after all.

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Thankfully, the living room is a few steps away, so when we were stuffed, we reclined and relaxed on the couch with baseball in the background as the kids played together. My nephew, Jordan, finally has a playmate in Arielle who is almost keeping up with him, and Madelyn loves doting on both babies. I know both Mimi and Grandma were thrilled to be with the kids, and my own Grandma came along with my parents since she’s nearby and nothing makes her heart happier than being with family and seeing the little ones bounce around and discover everything around them.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all reached the stage in life where we can sit back and let the kids do the entertaining. In no time, I’m sure Madelyn will be directing and starring alongside Jordan and Arielle in shows they all make up as we sit with full bellies and manage to find room to laugh. That’s what these family holidays are made for.

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All I really wanted for Mother’s Day was to get a few family shots with my girls. I’m so glad that my Grandma is able to join us at these little gatherings so it was important to have her in all her 92-year-old glory pose for a quick photo, too. I totally burned off all the calories from brunch while trying to get Arielle to cooperate for a picture. Babies, man. I really worked for that (digital) Kodak moment.

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Mother’s Day was such a nice day this year. The novelty of my first Mother’s Day remains a favorite memory, and I’ve loved celebrating preschool Mother’s Day once Madelyn became a preschooler, but there’s something to inviting the whole gang to our house to remind ourselves why we are all so special with good food and good company. There’s certainly something warm-fuzzy about cooking with my wonderful husband while our girls played together, as we prepared to welcome the people who brought us together and put us in the middle of generations.

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Also, the quiches from scratch were delicious.

  1. Grandma
    5/10/2016 7:18 PM

    Yes, yes they were! Thank you for a wonderful day!

  2. sharon siegel
    5/10/2016 5:43 PM

    What a wonderful day!
    From kids to quiches, from babies to bagels—it was all very delish and fun being together.
    Thanks for hosting and honoring us Moms.
    Love you!

Why is This Year Different From All Other Years?

by Bryan Friedman in All In The Family, Daddy's Corner, The House

With apologies to T.S. Eliot, April is the sweetest month for me. Spring is my time – it’s my favorite season because it means better weather, good strawberries, the return of baseball, and…Passover.

For those who have a love affair with all things bread (like my wife for example), it is sometimes hard to understand why I love Passover so much. Even as a kid it was my favorite Jewish holiday. Of course the obvious choice here would have been Chanukah – presents, latkes, dreidels, chocolate, all the bread you can eat. But somehow I’ve always preferred the other eight-day Jewish festival. Maybe it’s the sweet, sweet charoset. Or the buttered matzah. Or the reclining at the table?

I guess for me it always kind of felt like Jewish Thanksgiving except you replace turkey with brisket, cornbread with matzah, football with baseball, and pumpkins with strawberries. Those are pretty much all upgrades in my world. (Except for the cornbread I guess. I mean I do love matzah, but let’s get serious.) Sure, it may seem like a slog through the Haggadah before the meal – but I love the story of Exodus and all the seder plate symbolism. Plus that’s the whole point right? Remembering that “once we were slaves, but now we are free.” Then we eat. (It’s a familiar Jewish holiday pattern.)

When I was little, we did seder at my mom’s house for a lot of years, then eventually just did it with our old congregation (before Alison and I joined the one we involved with now). But after Alison got pregnant with Madelyn, I decided it was time for us to start a new tradition. It was time for us to own Passover. Thanksgiving at Mimi’s house. Chanukah at Grandma’s. Passover at our house. That’s how it would work.

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Luckily, Alison loves me so much, she jumped on board. Plus she makes the best charoset around, a totally mean (and easy thanks to the crock pot) brisket, and amazing matzah ball soup. (Hat tip to my own Grandma’s recipe – the trick is to use seltzer water in case you didn’t know.) So we started the tradition and we’ve kept it alive. Sort of.

In 2011 we had our first annual Friedman Family seder in our old condo.

Then in 2012, Madelyn’s first Passover.

In 2013 we were in the process of moving so we had no dining room table and even though we made everything, we had the seder at my mom’s house instead.

2014 marked the birth of our current dining room for our first seder in our new house.

And then in 2015 Arielle was born like 3 weeks before Passover started, and I had to travel for work, so we had to forgo having our traditional seder last year. (But Alison threw me an awesome impromptu surprise mini-seder complete with a seder plate of Madelyn’s toy food.)

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This year though, I was determined to get our tradition back on track. Plus, we now have a total Passover pro in our household this year. Madelyn came home from school one day and recited all four questions flawlessly then explained what all the seder plate foods represent. Jewish preschool for the win.

The festivities for us started on Friday night, the first night of Passover, when Madelyn and I watched “The Prince of Egypt” together. I love the music in this movie and also its version of the telling of Exodus. Two years ago we also watched it together, but I don’t know if Madelyn really got what was happening. This time, since she already knew about everything – Pharoah, Miriam, the burning bush, the plagues – she totally followed along. It was really fun to analyze it with her and answer the tough questions like “Did God really talk to Moses?” and “Is it all just magic?” I definitely want to make a yearly tradition out of watching this together, and I can’t wait for Arielle to join the fun.

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The next day was our seder. While Mimi and Poppa were in New York this year having pizza instead of matzah, we invited Gigi to join us as well as Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie Alison, Uncle Michael and Cousin Jordan. A perfect amount at our dining room table!

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We had all of Madelyn’s Preschool Passover pictures and assorted artwork on display for everyone to admire. I led the Haggadah reading, handing off sections to everyone at the table to get them all involved. Madelyn even asked the four questions herself in English before we all joined her and sang the Hebrew. Arielle and Jordan did their part too, eating charoset, soup, matzah balls, brisket, and everything else in sight. The seder is the peak of my Passover happiness. Food and family. Hungry but humble. A Jewish holiday at its finest.

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We ended the night with strawberries and Cool Whip and a lovely flourless chocolate cake courtesy of Auntie Alison. (Delicious enough in fact that no one thought to take a picture of it first.) And of course, Maddie found the afikomen since she doesn’t have very worthy competition yet and this garnered her a whole $2.50 – paper money from Gigi and Grandpa and a half-dollar coin from Daddy. Now she’s really rolling in [matzah] dough. She was very happy to get “money” to put in her “purse.”

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I kept things going for one more day as Maddie and I made matzah brei the following morning. She was so confused about soaking the matzah first, but she liked breaking it up. Girl loves her matzah. Like father like daughter I guess.

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While we’re sitting at the table eating this Passover breakfast, she turns to me unsolicited and says, “You know what my favorite part of Passover is?”

“Matzah?” I said.

“Nooo. (Well yes I love matzah too.)” she answered.

“What’s your favorite part then?” I asked. I was really curious now.

“Family and prayers,” she says.

Family and prayers! Are you kidding me? Who is this kid?

She’s my daughter of course. I couldn’t agree more, Madelyn.

  1. 6/5/2016 1:05 AM

    above on the contact page we do not do farm tours. Besides, we are not doing slaughter on farm yet either as we’re still working on building our butcher shop. I would suggest you contact as she is an authority on the topic. Good luck with your school project.

  2. 5/24/2016 10:52 PM

    This piece was cogent, weillwr-tten, and pithy.

  3. 5/5/2016 5:44 AM

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your blog.

    You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good
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    I’d absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.

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    Kudos!

The Name Game… Again

Just a little over four years ago, Madelyn had her baby naming at Temple Adat Elohim and it was perfectly planned and timed for an age when we were comfortable with keeping her out and up late. We made the date months in advance, I bought a new dress, and we carefully orchestrated the day around what was to come later that evening.

For the second time around in this first of of Jewish lifecycle events, Arielle’s baby naming took place in December. A month before, we realized she was nearing her first birthday and the holidays were about to explode all over the calendar, and we scrambled to get a date that worked for our families. It was so last minute, and while I did get to buy a new dress, it was out of necessity because nothing in my closet was fitting and I was suffering lots of breastfeeding problems that were causing engorgement (enjoy the photos below. Holy boobs).

From the minute we arrived, Arielle and Madelyn acted like they owned the place.

From the minute we arrived, Arielle and Madelyn acted like they owned the place.

Is it just me do the photos you deem most important usually come out most awkward? I so wish I could change a million things about this photo, but this was life in that very minute -- a teething baby, a distracted Madelyn, an exploding and painful chest...  Memories, folks.

Is it just me do the photos you deem most important usually come out most awkward? I so wish I could change a million things about this photo, but this was life in that very minute — a teething baby, a distracted Madelyn, an exploding and painful chest… Memories, folks.

To say that we threw Arielle’s baby naming together in a huff is an understatement, though our wonderful cantor and dear friend, David Shukiar, walked us through the brief ceremony and picking out her name. And repicking out her name. And picking it out again.

You see, selecting a name for Arielle was definitely not a fly-by-night part of the process, which, I suppose, is the actual most important part. We knew for certain we’d be honoring my mom’s dad, Jules, but weren’t sure how to go about doing so. Would we use his actual Hebrew name and call it a day? (We didn’t love it). Would we just use the first initial “J”? (Hard to do, since there’s no “J” in Hebrew). Would we go by the literal meaning and use the name that matches the definition? (Not as easy to match). Just when we’d found a combination with a meaning that worked, we didn’t necessarily like the way it sounded. Well, maybe that was me. Bryan was a lot less picky (shocker), but I was getting hung up on all kinds of little details because pronunciation is important. But with Hebrew, pronunciation can be hard.

And I know her Hebrew name is mostly only used for ceremonial purposes; we won’t be calling her down to dinner using her Hebrew name and she won’t be answering to it when she raises her hand in school. Still, though, I wanted it to sound pretty while also maintaining the integrity and memory of her great-grandfather.

At the baby naming in December, Bryan and I brought up our darling 9-month-old to the bimah and took turns sharing these words:

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Generous and with the best smile. That’s how people described my Grandpa, Jules Kaplan, and Arielle Jane’s namesake. He was generous with his heart. His 3 daughters and their families always received such thoughtful gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Hanukkahs, and other simchas. He was also generous with his wallet, often giving to charities that he felt were important. (When cleaning out his office desk, we had found piles and piles of return address labels and wall calendars and other chazerai from all the philanthropies he gave to). He was always most proud to donate to Jewish organizations and projects that supported Israel.

The other remarkable trait that everyone commented on — from his dashing young army days to the end with his family by his side — was his smile. He was a very handsome man, and he always smiled at everyone from strangers to his 3 daughters that made him proud. He always had smiles for Madelyn, who he knew for 20 months. I can even remember my own school friends growing up and hanging out with my family, remarking on my Grandpa’s smile. If you were lucky, you even got a wink. Happy and joy oozed from that smile.

Two of many things that made my Grandpa smile: Cheering on his family members as he did when he came to see me in action at a UofA football game; and going to Dodger games with my dad -- he loved baseball.

Two of many things that made my Grandpa smile: Cheering on his family members as he did when he came to see me in action at a UofA football game; and going to Dodger games with my dad — he loved baseball.

While Arielle’s middle name, Jane, is in honor of her great grandfather Jules, we knew that we’d also want to incorporate these two traits of his in giving her her Hebrew name.

Semecha is the Hebrew word for Happy or Joyous. It just so happens that Arielle is one happy baby. She hands out smiles like candy and flashes her gums for anyone who catches her eye. She is full of joy, and in return, brings so much joy to us as well.

Netanya is the Hebrew word for Gift. The gifts that Alison’s Grandpa gave to everyone through his generosity is also parallel to the gift we have in Arielle. Every day with her feels like a present, and we know she’s special and unique like the best gifts are.

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Arielle, we wish more than anything that you could have met my Grandpa. I know he would’ve been dazzled by your gorgeous smile with your scrunched up nose and sparkly eyes. I also know he would be proud of the person you will become, gifting people not only with your wonderful presence – the best present – but with your generosity and commitment to do your part to heal the world. We wanted you and waited for you, and in March you arrived, our perfect, little, joyous gift who completes our family. Your two great grandmothers, your four kvelling grandparents, your overjoyed mom and dad, and your partner in crime for life, Madelyn, could not be happier about the gift that you are to us and your community. We love you.

After the ceremony, we shared the rest of the Shabbat service and a Hanukkah candle lighting with our family and friends, surrounded by the community we’ve surrounded ourself with at temple. It was so nice to see so many of our friends from preschool, members from various committees we work with, and fellow chairs who are on Board of Directors with me.

So thankful for the friends I've made through Madelyn's preschool.

So thankful for the friends I’ve made through Madelyn’s preschool.

Also so thankful for lifelong friends whose special events we share together.

Also so thankful for lifelong friends whose special events we share together.

And especially thankful for this guy who is a devoted friend and shares his sweet family with us too, while also being a leader without whom we'd be lost. His beautiful voice, his poetic words, and his fountain of knowledge keep us coming back for more. We love our cantor and friend, David!

And especially thankful for this guy who is a devoted friend and shares his sweet family with us too, while also being a leader without whom we’d be lost. His beautiful voice, his poetic words, and his fountain of knowledge keep us coming back for more. We love our cantor and friend, David!

My Grandma and Grandpa created a big, beautiful family, and I’m so glad that my mom and her sisters were there to hear us speak about their dad. It was nice to have most of us together as another feather of remembrance in my Grandpa’s cap.

Four generations represented in this photo. My grandpa would've liked it a lot. It's just missing a few cousins and my uncle.

Four generations represented in this photo. My grandpa would’ve liked it a lot. It’s just missing a few cousins and my uncle.

Madelyn has asked a lot of questions about her baby naming and is already so interested in and proud about all the holidays and symbols she’s learned by being part of her Jewish community. I’m excited to watch Arielle connect with her version of this community over the years, and she hit the jackpot having her big sister to show her the way.

  1. Mimi
    4/17/2016 8:15 PM

    Dear adorable Arielle,
    I am so happy & grateful that you carry a part of Grandy with your Hebrew & given name. We will share lots of stories about him with you & you’ll know what a generous person he was. I know if he was still here he’d always flash his handsome smile at the sight of you & your big sister.
    You are so loved! <3
    Mimi

Arielle Is One!

What the heck happened to the first year of my baby’s life? It went faster than my legs on their way to lunch at In N Out (that toasted bun, man). I legit could not keep up with all events and milestones and monthiversaries. And the minute I wanted to really slow down and soak it all in, my household was sick with a bug during the days leading up to Arielle’s birthday.

It didn’t help, too, that I was stressed out from planning a party while nursing Bryan back to health and crossing every bone in my body that I didn’t get sick, too. I am proud to say that I never did, but Madelyn did get fevers that were more fickle than ping pong balls at a tournament, and finally ended up with an ear infection. So, enjoying those final days with my baby as a baby was pretty difficult. I wallowed, yes, and even though I knew Arielle would never know that her actual first birthday on March 4th pretty much sucked, I was sad that memories of her first days with us were upstaged by thermometers and popsicles being juggled through the house.

We did enjoy a “happy birthday” song at preschool after I dropped off Madelyn. Arielle and I sat on the bimah and Madelyn was her spokesperson (business as usual), sharing her name and age with the crowd. Arielle didn’t have a total meltdown during her 15 seconds of fame, so I call that a win. That was the highlight of the day.

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Shortly after, Madelyn came home from school with a very sudden fever and I yelled a lot of swear words about that. There was no special outing or birthday dinner for Arielle. I don’t think I even had time to get emotional like I normally would because I was so busy Florence Nightingale-ing it up. Maybe that’s a good thing. Thanks, germs, for the distraction.

I will share that on her first birthday, Arielle woke up with 2.5 teeth and those teeth are really helping get that food to her belly, because the chunk was finally starting to roll out. Her weigh-in was 19.5 pounds and while she’d once been a petite lil thing, she jumped from 9-month clothes to 12-month clothes almost over night.

By 12 months, her crawling was non-stop with no desire to choose to walk instead. Shrug. Whatevs. When Arielle climbs up the stairs on all fours, she swears she’s reached the top of Mt. Everest.

Blowing kisses and clapping and waving and giving high-5s were all of her mastered party tricks. She also suddenly became aware of bows and headbands on her head (boooo) and started to show her dissatisfaction with these accessories (Madelyn went through the same thing at the same age and now look at her! Accessory whore! She doesn’t want to take off a tiara to wash her hair).

At 12 months, Arielle’s favorite foods are fruits, veggies, grains, dairy, and fats. Yes. The entire pyramid. The girl is a bottomless pit. She just does not stop eating. One day she may become a picky eater because I’ve seen this movie before, but right now, she just loves food. I do too. But the rolls on my thighs are not nearly as cute.

I managed to get a few snaps of Arielle on her first birthday.

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Two days after her birthday, it was party time. Bryan was finally recovered and Madelyn’s fever couldn’t make up its mind about staying or going. She had no other symptoms other than a fever that I would later find out was due to an ear infection. I quarantined her to her room for most of the party just to be on the safe side, and we were all so sad about it. I wanted to celebrate my littlest baby, while wanting to ditch the party to cuddle with my biggest baby who was devastated to be missing out. Thankfully Princeton was like, “I’m fine. You’re welcome.”

Arielle loves to jam to music. Since the beginning, her little body has always grooved to any beat she hears, so I thought it was fitting to have a music gal come and do a big toddler music session. Amy Tibert of Rise & Sing put on a great little show and had all the kiddos dancing and playing. And since Arielle is such a bright and cheery presence, I threw together a loose rainbow hearts theme with the decor. It was a fun and crafty party for me to design. Lots of paper decorations and lots of sprinkles!

Party recaps are best done through photos, but these parties are always a labor of love and I secretly love-hate these big ones. I love having our family and friends together to celebrate my kiddo, but the work that goes into it makes me a crazy lady. I so appreciate my mom swooping in to lend me a hand when my usual party-planning partner was down for the count the week of the bash.

Who needs sleep when you can be making this sign into the wee hours of the night three days before the party?

Who needs sleep when you can be making this sign into the wee hours of the night three days before the party?

So, I have this thing for banners.

So, I have this thing for banners.

Salty and sweet  (just like the birthday girl) pretzel treats left my house sprinkles-y for days, but we/Princeton handled it just fine.

Salty and sweet (just like the birthday girl) pretzel treats left my house sprinkles-y for days, but we/Princeton handled it just fine.

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And P.S. — note to ovaries: thanks for deciding to get us pregnant in June and giving us a March baby which makes party planning a total nightmare because the battle of Indoor vs. Outdoor is uglier than anything you’d see on Game of Thrones. I was a wreck watching the weather, which, by the way, was gorgeous and perfect and sunny and in the 80s for two weeks before the party and then did the whole “Oh! It’s March! I forgot it’s supposed to be El Niño! Here’s the rain I must deliver!” So, indoor party with children and sugar … I’m such a glutton for punishment. I will say, though, that everything was fabulous, and everyone had a great time especially the little birthday girl herself.

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The music was so fun for the kiddos as they played with different instruments and puppets and a parachute. Even the big kids were dancing and showing the little ones what to do.

Arielle got to sit in the middle of the parachute and she loved the breeze whooshing through her incoming wispy hair as we all sang “Happy Birthday” to her.

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Madelyn observed from the balcony seating aka the stairs outside her room while Poppa and Grandpa took turns keeping her company.

Madelyn observed from the balcony seating aka the stairs outside her room while Poppa and Grandpa took turns keeping her company.

Madelyn was fever-free and seemed to brighten up a bit, so she came down to check out the party just as Amy, the music leader gave all the kids a chance to sing “Happy Birthday” solos on the microphone. It was so sweet how a lot of Madelyn’s adorable preschool friends performed for the birthday girl who they all know and adore. I wasn’t sure if Madelyn was feeling the vibe, but she not only asked to sing, she did a rockstar job!

Hey, Seacrest. Get back on TV. We have a new American Idol!

Hey, Seacrest. Get back on TV. Dim the lights. We have a new American Idol!

Once the music portion of the party was over, it was chow time for most of the guests and I finally got a chance to schmooze with all of our fabulous friends. I love having all my favorite people in our home to celebrate good times. There’s really nothing that makes me happier than fluttering around and visiting with all the wonderful families we’ve met in recent years from preschool and baby groups, or people we’ve known for what seems like forever from college or theater or our expanded family. It was during this portion of the party that I realized all the hard work was worth it.

Cousins Arielle and Jordan enjoy lunch with the original Friedman ladies.

Cousins Arielle and Jordan enjoy lunch with the original Friedman ladies.

Meeting new moms with Arielle has been so enjoyable. We have a good little group with cute kids and fun mamas.

Meeting new moms with Arielle has been so enjoyable. We have a good little group with cute kids and fun mamas.

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And then it was cake time. Or, as Arielle might have described it: BORINGZZZZZZZZZ. She was quite underwhelmed.

That’s right. Who participated in the most disappointing cake smash ever? Arielle Jane Friedman. Yup. She looked at her cake like, “Oh how nice,” and then couldn’t be bothered to dig in. The girl who shoots up milk like she’s a Breaking Bad character and the girl who can’t. stop. eating. bagels was negative 72 enthused about eating sugary bread with sugar goo and colorful sugared crunchies. So for anyone who considers first birthday cake smashes a spectator sport, this was a disappointing display. Instead, my generous babe dipped her finger into the frosting and tried to feed it to ME. I mean, I didn’t mind, but I was fresh off a Whole30 and didn’t want to steal her spotlight with my own personal adult cake smash. So instead, we looked like a couple on their wedding day, delicately feeding each other cake. Oh and since she hardly touched it, I spent the next three days finishing it myself. (Whole30, what?)

She didn't understand why we light our food on fire.

She didn’t understand why we light our food on fire.

Perhaps it was because I was  emotionally unstable and losing my mind while singing my girl "Happy Birthday" with 70 of our closest friends and family that Arielle was silently judging me.

Perhaps it was because I was emotionally unstable and losing my mind while singing my girl “Happy Birthday” with 70 of our closest friends and family that Arielle was silently judging me.

Sentimental she was not. Arielle was all business.  Fun fact: this is the only photo of the 4 of us from the entire party.

Sentimental she was not. Arielle was all business.
Fun fact: this is the only photo of the 4 of us from the entire party.

"VAT EES THEES DEES-GUSTING SHTUFF EEN MY FEENGERS? SAVAGES! GET ME A VIPE."

“VAT EES THEES DEES-GUSTING SHTUFF EEN MY FEENGERS? SAVAGES! GET ME A VIPE.”

After this, we went to Hawaii on our honeymoon.

After this, we went to Hawaii on our honeymoon.

Eventually she got a little more into it once she realized that cake is really delicious. Thank goodness. I was about to start doing DNA tests to make sure she was actually my daughter.

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Then the bride baby cheated on me and did romantic cake exchanges with Bryan.

Then the bride baby cheated on me and did romantic cake exchanges with Bryan.

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And that’s that. The infancy stage of motherhood is over. No more babies in this house. To say I was super emotional about that for weeks before her birthday is an understatement. But now that we’ve crossed the other side, it’s fine. She didn’t turn into a toddler overnight. In fact, Arielle is still very much a baby since she isn’t walking and doesn’t have any words for communication yet. She seems to be on her older sister’s heels of developmental milestones, and I’m OK with that. She’s on Arielle time, and for now, it’s still baby o’clock. And as long as she’ll let me, I’ll kiss her and nuzzle her and enjoy her soft skin and clean perfume.

A year with Arielle has been a delight and even though she keeps us on our toes with a feisty attitude and a decisive sense of determination, she’s still our silly little cuddle bug who’s brought so much joy to our completed family. Happy first birthday, Arielle. We are all crazy about you.

  1. Mimi
    4/12/2016 9:47 PM

    Happy 1st Birthday, adorable Arielle! Not only do I LOVE you, I’m crazy about you too! ? Keep dancing & singing like its 2016!

Months in Double Digits and Almost a Single Year

by Alison Friedman in Amazing Arielle, Monthiversaries

Arielle got her big juicy recap and then even more time flew by. Seriously. Why does time do that? I am not capable of accepting this reality.

But here she is at 10 and 11 months and only a few days shy of turning ONE!

31 days and a zillion heart beats of love between these two photos.

31 days and a zillion heart beats of love between these two photos.

By 10 months, she had both her bottom teeth finally in and the Niagara Falls of drool told me that her top teeth were near.

Crawling became a regular thing, with unequal leg strength giving her a funny waddle to her scoot. But nothing stopped this rugrat from wanting to grab her favorite things like iPhones, uncapped tubes of diaper cream, and dirty shoes on the floor. The toys and other baby-approved items? Pish posh. If it didn’t have germs or danger or inconvenience all over it, she didn’t want it.

Ten months is also when she picked up on similar eating habits of high school football players or the guys at the Coney Island hot dog eating contest. Arielle has become a bottomless pit for food. She can go through puffs and bananas and blueberries and pancakes and yogurt and roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli and scrambled eggs without even taking a breath. I am getting tendinitis from the constant mechanics of the feeding motions. If I don’t spoon something in fast enough, I see steam come out of her ears like she’s doing her best Donald Duck impression. I would say I have no idea where she gets this, but I’ve spent 10 years with her father, so I know where her love of food comes from (and who am I kidding? I have a strong, um, appreciation for food, too).

Arielle, 10 months

Arielle, 10 months

By 11 months, Arielle was mastering what she started to discover at 10 months.

Her crawling really finessed and her weaker leg seems to have caught up a little more so that her leg work is more balanced.

Diaper changes are officially wrestling matches. All she wants to do is roll over. Right now, she is small enough that I can hold her down with my one palm spread out on her belly to stabilize her, but if she keeps growing like a weed (all thanks to her eating frenzy), I’m going to need to call in for reinforcements. The absolute worst is when she has a diaper blowout situation and I have to manage her rolling while trying to avoid a mess. This is especially fun when we are on the go. I think that the evolution of man should include extra arms for moms. Ya hear, Darwin?

We are also now giving Arielle standing ovations for standing! She pulls herself up onto anything just to get a better view of her world around her. When she first started doing this, it was darling to see how proud she was of herself. I think her mastery of standing up has also helped to strengthen her legs for her expert crawling status. Developmental milestones working together for the win!

She also has her party tricks that are fun. In addition to doing “The Face” on command (when she wants to), she also loves to clap hands, wave hello and goodbye, and give kisses. Her wave is borderline Rose Parade Queen-worthy and her kisses are more like a mouth-to-mouth press (Dear Strangers: Please do not ask my child for a kiss), but with every new trick, I realize that she’s becoming more of her own little person.

Arielle 11 months

She’s almost 12 months old, and I’m having a hard time letting go of this “baby” stage. The problem is, is that I think she actually looks much younger than her other 12-month-old counterparts. Maybe she’ll enjoy looking young when she’s 45, but for now, I am tricked into thinking that she’s still only 8 or 9 months old. The calendar says she’s basically 1, my eyes say she is more like 8 months, and my heart says she’s forever my little baby.

She’s had quite a few adventures in recent months that I can’t wait to write about, and with the first birthday coming up this Friday, I am thankful for this special year as a mom. It was the fastest one ever, and bittersweet to boot. Everything this year was “the last” — the last first time trying new foods, the last time carrying an infant car seat, the last time a favorite hand-me-down from Madelyn gets worn. Everything with Madelyn was always about her firsts. Everything with Arielle has been all about our lasts. Her firsts are our lasts. These feelings parallel my feelings in the final days of what we knew would be my last pregnancy, so while it’s all happy things that we are fortunate and lucky to enjoy, they’re also fleeting. That’s hard for an emotional wreck gal like me.

Next time I update about my baby girl, it will be about her 12th month and a whole year that’s zoomed by. We say “this too shall pass” in regards to difficult phases and stages (“I’M SO TIRED OMGGG” — this too shall pass. “MY BOOBS ARE KILLING ME!” — this too shall pass. “SHE WON’T STOP THROWING FOOD ON THE FLOOR. STAAAAHP.” — this too shall pass.). But all the happy moments pass, too, before new happy moments happen, and they shall, but not without me being a little weepy and sentimental about it.

  1. 2/28/2016 5:44 PM

    I can’t believe she’s going to be one so soon!! Ahh our babies will be toddlers!