Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out Takes, Take One

I usually only post the creme de la creme of photos. My not so secret process involves taking hundreds of digital images to get one decent photo. With triplets plus one there is little you can do to ensure a professional shoot is going to go smoothly.

Laura from 2Q Studios was put to the test. My kids were seriously out of control on the day of the appointment. They were high on life or kiddie crack because it was pure insanity in the studio. Somehow, by the grace of G-d, Laura was able to knock my socks off with her style and professionalism.

In the process of getting the GOLD, we had many do overs and out takes.

I wanted to show you that this is what it takes to get the good stuff. These are the images that truly show you life with four kids born within 19 months. We take triplets plus one and add two older kids and a goofball husband to round out the chaos and increase the swearing.

I will treasure these images too, but for now, not so much. In the future, I will find these hilarious.

Ahhhhh, the fun filled times of photographing my entire fam damily. I will share the amazing final and finished photo winners tomorrow so you can see the good, the bad and the not so ugly. After seeing these you know the really phenomenal ones are yet to come!

Out takes- Take One and DONE

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Birthplace of Aviation is Lame

Sandals one day, snow boots the next! This should be on the OHIO license plates because our effed up weather is just that interesting. We currently have birthplace of aviation. B-O-R-I-N-G!

Don't you think the shoe scenario is more catchy than birthplace of aviation? We could even get shoe designers to underwrite the cost of the plates with their logos- great advertising and product placement. Hey, come to think of it, Designer Shoe Warehouse is based here, perhaps they should lead the movement to get our license plate motto changed to, OHIO- sandals one day, boots the next!

Two days ago, I was strutting around town with my Via Spiga 5" wedge platform sandals on- freshly self polished toes, Prada sunglasses perched on my face to shield me from the bright glare, windows down on my super sexy minivan, and a refreshing breeze blowing through my Great Lengths weave from the sun roof. Life was good. That was two days ago.

Today, it snowed. FML.

We got the whole enchilada too. Howling winds, slick roads, white powder on the foilage and yes, I had to wear BOOTS. I crammed my pretty pink toes into opaque matte black jersey microfiber tights and into my knee-high Donald Pliner black boots with the stacked heel and rubberized lug sole. The boots were made in the mountains of Italy, which is where I wished I was today.

That is the one thing about living here, you can never second guess mother nature, which is another kind of muther-- if you know what I mean.

Here is the mukiwara board a few days ago,
when Jeff and the kids were outside enjoying the pleasant temperatures in short sleeves. Today, the mukiwara board is snow capped

along with all of my spring bulbs and budding bedding plants. So much for a colorful border garden this spring. Gahhhh, I probably won't have a single tulip or daffodil left after tonight, when the low is expected to hover around 25 degrees.

In short, the birthplace of aviation is also the land of four seasons- all in one week. Maybe that should be our motto? I am voting for DSW to help me change Ohio's image, one car at a time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do not Pass-over the Gluten Free Options

This is the time of year when the Passover foods are in full bloom. Most grocery stores, especially the ones near a Jewish population, will be stocked with all kinds of Kosher for Passover products, a ton of which are gluten free.

I always stock up on the gluten free extra wide egg noodles. These are made with potato starch and when cooked, drained and shocked into ice water to stop them from over cooking are excellent. I make a mean chicken noodle soup with these. The trick is to cook the noodles and shock them with cold, drain them and add them back to the soup just before serving. I reheat them in the hot soup enough to serve, otherwise; mush. Potato starch is a thickening agent so if you cook them in the soup you will end up with a pot of gelatinous broth and mushy noodles. Been there, done that.

Take a gander at what your favorite grocery store has on the Passover shelves now. Make a mental note of who is carrying the egg noodles, who has the Dr. Praegers Broccoli pancakes, and who has the coconut marshmallows. Wait until the middle to end of the Passover holiday when the store is clearancing these things, and stock up. Remember when I did that last year? I am get prepared this time, and I know what is on my ultimate hit list.

My friend Dana found gluten free gefilte fish on line. The minimum order was four jars with free shipping, so we are splitting that like some kind of weird cult of Gluten Free Kosher for Passover co-op. First, I was brokering gluten free flour, now Dana is in charge of stock piling the gefilte fish. Fortunately, Jeff likes the stuff because I won't be touching it. I am hoping the CJ will enjoy eating it as part of our traditional Passover Seder meal.

In other news, my parents are coming for Passover while the triplets are on Spring Break from the Chanel School. The kids are so excited. Much like the countdown to Aaryn and Moshe, we are now onto the countdown to Nana and Papa.

Passover....the kids are out of school for ten days. I can hardly wait. (sarcasm)

In the mean time, I will be preparing the house for the spring cleaning, this includes not passing over any gluten free options, like gefilte fish.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weighing In

I was thinking about weights today. When CJ got out of the shower tonight he had a real tush on him. A round, delicious, hamburger bun shaped tush and I almost started crying when I saw it. This micro preemie was so scrawny at birth that I feared he would never get a real hiney on him.

From Peanut to Pisher I tell you.

I could not recall CJ's lowest weight from the NICU days. I have no memory of that, probably for a reason. After finding a Polaroid photo of him, I turned it over and the nurse had written 678 grams on the back. He was about 9 days old and weighed (according to the conversion chart) One pound, eight ounces.

Perhaps I was reflecting on weights because Jeff is on weight watchers and is measuring his food for portion control. We have a digital kitchen scale and when I saw it computing the food in grams I had flashbacks.

Perhaps this will put it in perspective:
CJ weighed as much as 6 sticks of butter. OMG, I had not realized he was that tiny. I only remember telling the nurses that I did not want any photos of him taken because he looked to helpless and frail. I specifically stated that I did not want to remember him that way.

One of my nurses took the Polaroid with the staff camera after CJ had a blood transfusion- she wanted me to see how much bigger and better he looked afterward. 678 grams. Can you imagine what he would have weighed before they gave him more blood? Oy vay. I am just now freaking out.

Of course, I had to obsess a little tonight I had my own warped sense of fun weighing ordinary things on that blasted gram scale.CJ did not weigh more than three apples. Now, he is a strapping 35 pounds at age five and half. He is my peanut. Always will be my tiny peanut.

And as for those hamburger buns of his.....they are gluten free and I can't resist pinching them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday at Starbucks with Charlotte

Here is a follow up post to Mondays with Moshe. Today, I got the pleasure of parenting Charlotte for three hours, all alone-- just us. Natalie was at a birthday party, the boys were with Jeff and it was lovely.

Welcome to my Sunday at Starbucks with Charlotte.

Since it was Charlotte's special day, she got to pick the plans. This three year old does not skip a beat, and she knew starting our Sunday morning at Starbucks would be fun. I allowed Charlotte to order us a drink. Instead of asking me about the choices, pointing to this or that, or ordering a milk or juice box, she told the barrista, a big, big, big. big, big Dolce Cinnamon Latte. For real. Then, she scooched over the pick up area and stood there waiting. Monkey see, Monkey Do?

I called Charlotte back to the register, and asked her if she wanted a treat from the case. Keep in mind I never, ever get snacks at Starbucks, but this time, it was special. Contrary to all my healthy food choices at home, I do allow the kids to eat crap once in a while. In moderation. When it is affordable.

I knew before I asked her to make a pastry selection, she would choose the mini pink donut. Charlotte surveyed the baked goods, pointed to the little donut and said, I will have the Barbie Donut with Diamond Sprinkles please.

And she did just that! That's my girl!

We sat, she played, she did the wooden puzzles, I read the paper and clipped coupons. We shared the venti latte and she posed for the obligatory photos. In fact, she even suggested I make a movie of her on her Mommie Only day.

How could I resist that? Someday we will reflect back on her passion for fancy coffee drinks at age three. Like Mother like Daughter!

Ahhhhhh, Sundays at Starbucks with Charlotte. It does not get any better than this!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Update on Abbie Dorn and her triplets

It has been a while since I first posted about the outrage I feel/felt for my fellow triplet mother, Abbie Dorn. I knew there were recent stories about her court case because in the last three days, I had fifteen new comments on the post I wrote back in July of 2010. and the flurry of activity was the result of google searches to learn more about the updates.

I am pleased to update my own blog readers, Jewish women, triplet moms and anyone who has a heart. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick C. Shaller rejected the contention of Abbie Dorn's former husband that it is not in his children's best interest to see their "unfit" mother now. Shaller said in his temporary order that Abbie Dorn, who lives with her parents in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, must be able to see the triplets, who turn 5 in June, over five consecutive days each summer. The order also provides for a monthly online visit via Skype. While this is not an ideal situation, it is a step in the right direction, in my opinion.

The media is covering this story without the personal bias that I have. In all of the articles I have read, the facts are the same, but the comments underneath each web article are overwhelming. I can't imagine the pain the Cohen family experiences every day, yet alone the crazies that come with the media circus. For the most part, people all over the world are cheering for Abbie and her children to be reunited, allbeit under supervision, but every step, even baby steps are progress. Baby steps for now, since the Friday ruling is technically considered temporary, pending a full trial in the case.

"The court finds that even though Abbie cannot interact with the children, the children can interact with Abbie -- and that the interaction is beneficial for the children," Shaller ruled. "They can touch her, see her, bond with her, and can carry these memories with them."

Shaller ordered Dan to set up a shelf or table that is "open and available to the children 24 hours a day, 7 days per week in his home devoted to the children's mother" and to place photographs and other mementos of her on it.

"The children would benefit from having these photographs and important items as symbols for the presence and existence of their mother," Shaller wrote, "and it would reinforce in the children that [Abbie] is part of their lives."

All of these rulings are clearly what should have happened long ago, without the prompting of attorneys and judges. Since this is my platform to express my opinion, I firmly believe that had Dan Dorn had any shred of compassion he would have done these basic things on his own. I am sorry that it took a judge to convince him to do the right thing, but all along Mr. Dorn has made choices that I can not fathom on any level. Divorce? Child Support for her malpractice monies? Keeping the triplets away from their mother. Shudder!

This case is heart wrenching and painful in every way. I find myself tearing up at the thought of my children in a similar situation to hers. These circumstances could happen to anyone. Abbie Dorn was at Cedars Sinai, not some rinky dink hospital in a third world country. If nothing else, this case should bring an open discussion between couples on the what ifs. Planning for the worst and hoping for the best is my policy, and after you read about the Dorn case, I would bet it should be yours too.

Sadly, the outcome after the damage was done was at the sole doing of Abbie's husband. I have not walked in his shoes, but I can tell you that if the tables were turned, there is no way in hell I would make the same decisions he has made. The comments underneath my original post share the feelings and outrage from others, and help me see that I am not alone in my digust over how this "Orthodox Husband" has treated his former wife.

Of course all of this brings me to back to how lucky I am, and how blessed I feel to have survived my own high risk pregnancy and delivery. It does not hurt that I married a Jewish man with a heart of gold.

Clearly, this is a story that will not go away. This is only the beginning. I hope for additional updates and possibly more heart warming news as the triplets finally learn to know and love the mother that has loved them all along.

I can assure you, I will hug my own triplets a little tighter tonight!
Shabbat Shalom!

I have peppered this post with some of the google images that I found on line. While the facts speak volumes, I am a firm believer that putting a name with a face brings a certain power along with the words.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh HAIL, yes!

Welcome to spring time in Central Ohio. The weather is an unpredictable as my mood. One day sweet, sunny and warm, the next day, cold and sour. Every day is an adventure of science and nature, not always in a good way.

We got pounded with a heinous hail storm. Argenida and the kids had never witnessed this type of weird weather. Once the pellets of hail started falling, they picked up speed and size, and by the time I got my camera, we were in the full wing of the storm.

The kids love any kind of wildness. Hail is wild.

The kids were howling and carrying on along with the hail storm. It was difficult to determine which was louder at one point.

When it stopped falling from the sky the deck and yard looked as if it had snowed.

We got a fair amount of marble sized hail. It was not scary until I thought of the damage. My van was in the garage, check. My gas grill was covered, check. My newly popped plants, not so lucky. As for the roof, we will have to wait to see if it was affected by the hail. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Spring is here. Oh Hail yes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gluten Free Berry Explosion Muffins

I have been baking just about every other day to keep up with demand. With lunch boxes to fill, and a house full of people, a batch of gluten free sweets goes quickly. After my major haul of fresh produce from Costco this week, I had berries out the wazoo. Here is my after school project, baking muffins with four helpers.


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose GF flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in muffin pans.Break up any fighting between siblings as they argue over who filled more than the other.

Wash, and remove the stems of the berries. Chop strawberries into bite size pieces, setting the berries aside to drain/dry. Police the clean fruit to keep small hands from swiping and sampling the goods. Repeat until all kids have been warned and banished from the bowls of ready berries. Check their pockets for berries, as I can whole heartidly advise after the incident of last summer.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggsone at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the berries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Allow children to lick the mixing beaters

only if you do not fear samonella poisioning from the raw eggs. After the video yesterday, where Natalie licks the inside of the Sesame Teriyaki sauce cap, then replaces it onto the bottle, surely this mixing beater stunt is nothing. SHUDDER!

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.This is when the hungry kids go ape shit crazy waiting for their creations to cool enough to remove them from the pans.

If and when there are any muffins left, proudly display them on a cake stand and time how long it takes for all the hard work to be devoured. In my case, I squirreled some muffins into sandwich bags and stashed them into the freezer, which allows a stash to be out of sight, out of mind- and will assure there are in fact muffins left for the above mentioned lunch box.

Watch for signs of samonella poisoning, pre-treat the berry stained clothing with oxy-clean, and spend half an hour picking up shards of paper muffin tin liner scraps.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Four Foodie Freaks

I have known for a while that my kids are weird. Jeff and I have a varied palate, and we dine at home for dinner almost every night. Since I am not a short order cook, I have implemented the TEWWE parenting philosophy when it comes to meals. They eat what we eat.

Oh sure, I could whip up some gluten free chicken nuggets with ketchup. I could feast on fries and burgers every night too, if I were a lunatic. Instead, I make a meal that suits me, and the kids just go with the flow. They are my four foodie freaks. They really do not know any better.

Have you ever seen a kid, yet alone four of them, that willing eat their dinner with a choice of three sauces? Tonight, I experimented with some fresh steelhead trout, grilled with a hint of olive oil and sea salt. I served it up with steamed rice, broccoli florets and green grapes. The kids snarfed it up and were quite pleased with their dinner.

We had a sampling or tasting of the sauce choices, and my gourmands each picked their fave. There was a roasted raspberry chipotle bbq, sesame teriyaki, and the sweet chili sauce from Panda Express and the score at Big Lots. It was funny to me that they had so much fun deciding on which of the various sauces was the best.

While this post is extremely sarcastic about these kids and their love of all things fresh food, it is also my post to recognize that kids do as they see. People have asked me how I get them to eat such an adult geared meal- I always say the same thing. They eat what we eat, or they can sit and watch us. It is about making choices, and I choose to cook one meal for all of us.

As much as I brag about my kids eating habits, I must say that I am truly grateful and proud that this is one area where I have not failed. It is one area.

Perhaps my four foodie freaks will inspire some tough love at the dinner table in your house. Monkey see, monkey do, monkey eats steelhead trout too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mondays with Moshe

First, there were Sundays in the Park with George, then Tuesdays with Morrie. Today, I am pleased to bring you the blog post titled, Mondays with Moshe.

He's baaaaaack! Aaryn is too, but now that Moshe part of the package deal, the real excitement over the visit is about the boy. Buy Aaryn, get Moshe free! Such a deal, no?

My kids have been counting down the days until Purim. Then, they added an extra day to the remaining days to indicate how much longer it would be until Aaryn AND Moshe came to visit us. The arrival was the day after Purim so it was like a double simcha whammy. When you are five years old, this is like waiting for Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny- only for real.

The kids are completely gaga for Moshe.
I think they want a baby brother. Not that this will be happening anytime soon, but having a tiny toddling cutie in the house is pretty precious. I am getting my baby fix eventhough Moshe is 18 months old and technically is a toddler now. Wahhhhhhh, he is growing up so fast.

He talks. He walks. He chases. He laughs. The kids can't get enough of him. Aaryn made this video before bedtime to show everyone how much fun it is to have four triplets and an eighteen month old sibling.

The noise level is only increased slightly from what my ears are used to, Aaryn, on the other hand is practically hearingimpaired now. Those signing times videos will come in handy.

It took me until Tuesday to post the sights and sounds, but Mondays with Moshe are priceless.

All the Rubin readers can breathe a sigh of relief. Moshe has not lost a single drop of cuteness, in fact, since the last visit, he has gotten even sweeter- and those cheeks, OMG, I can hardly stand it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Makiwara Board or Makiwara Bored?

My husband has built a makiwara post in our backyard. Since you read my blog to learn things, let me give you a quick lesson in Japanese and Karate. The Makiwara board is a training station

where fighters learn to toughen up their strikes by whacking the shit out of a plywood post.

Sounds like fun, right? If you are not bored yet, keep reading and you might just learn the answer to some random Jeopardy question, or perhaps you will be able to participate in a conversation with your sushi chef.

Speaking of sushi....Maki means roll. Wara means wrap- so the literal meaning of this structure is wrapped roll. Here is a link to an internet site that can give you even more facts about the latest addition to my backyard landscape. In case you are, in fact, that bored.

This was my view from the kitchen bay windows eariler today.

I documented the construction of the makiwara for Jeff, but secretly I knew I could mock him on the blog, so I was selfish in my photography. You will notice the kids stealing his tools
while he was engrossed in the building. Be sure to pay close attention to CJ who managed to sneak away with a hammer and nails
while Jeff was supposedly supervising the children and bonding with them over this project. It was a good thing I was there with my digital camera to provide additional eyes and ears. I feared we would be plus one makiwara and minus some fingers.

After the construction was complete, Jeff was searching the garage for some padding. He finally settled on this make shift system
using a ski glove to bring some cushioning to his work out. Welcome to the makiwara improv. I doubt this is how it is done in Japan, or anywhere else for that matter. I thought an ace bandage over some stay free maxi pads would have been a better choice. The pads have adhesive and are cushiony. Besides, if he used my system, he would have a first aid kit built in- the pad could absorb all the blood, and the ace bandage could keep the pressure on the wound until the ER could stitch him back up. I might be on to something here. First, I invented Man-Spanx, now this.

I am the makiwara warrior!

All this talk of Japanese and Maki has me hungry. Perhaps I will let Jeff go out tonight and work up an appetite on his makiwara board. If I do not die of boredom, we will go out for sushi when the bleeding stops.

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