Friday, December 31, 2010

Caught by Surprise

2010 was a fantastic year.

I had no idea that I was going to write that. As many of you know, I haven’t really enjoyed our big move to Delaware. I was happy that Matt landed a good job in his field and I wanted to support that in anyway I could, but the move was hard on all of us. Alyce was eight months, and I was home with her while teaching an online course and trying to restart my dissertation after a year off. We were living in a house we hated, isolated from any sort of community, all while missing my Toronto home and friends. I was still going back and forth between the U.S. and Canada, but I was mostly in Delaware. And I was sad. Matt had a new job to figure out all by himself and a sad wife to contend with.

That was 2008. 2009 wasn’t much better. You may have heard, but I wasn’t enjoying my dissertation.

But this year, out of nowhere, things have turned around. I gave birth to Shira Clementine and became a mother of two. After much lollygagging, I left graduate school. We moved to house that isn’t evil. I found a great group of mums affiliated with our Birth Center. I met a couple of really incredible people who have since become my good friends, and who, most importantly, didn’t run the other way when they saw my eager face approaching. I tried to play it cool, but it was pretty obvious that I missed having in-person friends.

I also became a happier wife. Since Matt and I spend A LOT of time together, this has been an important development. I think Matt liked 2010, too.

Initially I thought I would look back on this year with a bit of apprehension. While I have made the decision not to finish my PhD, and though I have an idea of what I’d like to do next, everything is still up in the air. I’m right smack in the middle of starting something new, but I’m not entirely sure what this new thing will entail.

I guess this is what makes 2010 so wonderful (that, and those two kids). Because of my 2010 decisions, 2011 has so much potential. It’s like one giant Monday! So instead of feeling a bit paralyzed by the unknown, I’m running with, like a new best friend! See, I’m eager!

I wish the best 2011 to everyone, and I hope you are all celebrating the way you like best (say, in bed, fast asleep, by nine). Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ten Things I Learned Yesterday

The Event: a thirteen-hour drive from Canada to Delaware
The Players: Me, Matt, Alyce, Shira, the Kia*

1. No matter what I have said in the past, I want a minivan. There, I said. We have two young kids, we're thinking about having some more. Since the law requires that each be strapped into their own huge, protective bubble, there is no other option. I wish it weren't so. But more than driving a hip, non-minivan car, I want my legs not to touch the dashboard, which they did, for eleven hours yesterday. So I'll make the minivan hip if it's the last thing I do.

2. It's best not to start your trip having to turn around because you forgot Alyce's purple milk cup. We'd only driven a few blocks, but it was six-thirty in the morning and it really hurt morale.

3. Whining sounds even whinier from inside the Kia. We tried our best to ignore the whining, but trapped inside the car, we were weak. Alyce could smell our vulnerability.

4. That even in the middle of an exceptionally hard day, it's fun to steal a moment in the car with Shira. Matt and Alyce were inside the service center finding dinner, while I breastfed Shira in the darkened car. She was delighted to be released from her seat, I was happy to turn on NPR (oh how I'd missed you), and we both enjoyed some peace.

A little moonlight milk

5. I am going to google the creators of automatic flush toilets, find out where they live, drag them on our next car trip, and make them take Alyce to the potty.
I could live my whole life without ever seeing another automatic flush toilet. I know, we've all said it before, but this time I mean it.

6. Knitting helps to take the edge off.

7. All those times, long before having children, when I'd looked down my nose at the notion of DVD players in cars? We didn't need those when we were kids. Why can't people just read or listen to music--or maybe even have a conversation--instead of turning on TV yet again. I'd like to go back in time to kick myself, hard, for thinking I had any idea what it is like to take a long road trip with kids. It's shocking that no one ever beat me up.
Watching Tinkerbell.

8. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is capable of murdering your soul. And they make you pay for it, too.

9. It turns out, I'm not above calling my three year old insane. While I didn't say it to her face, I said it near her face.

10. I have never loved Delaware more than I did last night. We have our differences, but last night me and Delaware were alright.We made it home. FINALLY.

*the Kia is a teeny tiny hatchback we purchased when we lived in Toronto. We thought a small car would be perfect for city driving (it was) but we failed to consider that Alyce's car seat would take up 96 percent of the car. We certainly weren't thinking about Shira. To be young and stupid.

Monday, December 27, 2010

An Important Introduction

I have a very special introduction to make.

I am very excited to announce that I am now the proud owner of my very own, shiny, fantastic sewing machine. As usual, I have been very spoiled by my mum. Thanks, mum. Now, to be clear, I don't really know how to use a sewing machine, but I'm not letting that stand in my way. My mum showed me how to thread the bobbin, the needle, and how to turn the power on. I'm all set!

I'm actually lined up to take a couple of sewing classes at here, so I'm hoping to learn a bit more. What's my sewing dream? I'd like to make some clothes for myself and the girls, maybe some curtains, maybe even a quilt (gasp)! I don't quite understand the evolution of it all, but it seems that finally making the decision to leave my Phd has unleashed my inner craft. I have been drawn to working with my hands, maybe in response to all those years working inside my head and arguing on paper. Whatever it is, I'm loving it.

I discovered my first project on The Purl Bee:

These barrettes are exceptionally cute, and the are modeled here by my Shira and our good friend Scarlet. Once I got used the feel of the felt, they didn't take long at all--maybe 30 minutes per barrette. I've been making them here at my mum's so it's hard to gauge how long they take amidst the coffee drinking, treat eating, the celebrity gossip and chasing after grandchildren.

Any suggestions for a good craft blog? I've found a few great ones (see reading list), but I'm sure these are the just the beginning.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm Going to Count to Three

It seems we have a different Alyce on our hands these days. Well, that's not entirely true. She's still the same grinning, dancing, singing kid I adore. But she's also being defiant and exceedingly strong-willed, and by strong-willed I mean that 50 (or 95) percent of the time she just flat-out refuses to listen to us. I expect that much of this comes from her most recent birthday. Being three, I imagine, comes with a lot of challenges, particularly in the form of mean parents who try to make three year-olds do things against their will, like getting dressed or not colouring on the bedsheets (and the floor, and the walls, and the couch, and her Mama, all in one weekend).

A side of Alyce we are seeing a lot of lately--the back of her as she turns away from us.

Turning three is tough, but turning three in December, right smack in the middle of Hannukah, followed by a trip to Canada to celebrate her Nana's Christmas, is even tougher. Alyce has always been an easy-going kid who didn't ask for much. She enjoys the little things, including the very occasional treat, usually on Shabbat. She loves to receive gifts, but doesn't have a room packed with too many toys. But December has showered Alyce with more treats and presents than anything she has ever experienced. She's gone from a kid who treasures the smallest gift to one treated to cake, chocolate, parties, presents, cocktails (no, wait, not cocktails), and sparkles on what seems to be an hourly basis. I can't tell you how many times this week alone that I have watched Alyce open a gift only to immediately ask where the next present was. Or tell me that she doesn't want dinner, only chocolate.

Glorious chocolate.

I must admit that I've always felt proud that I've never had to leave a store because Alyce was having a meltdown, or listen to her beg for candy. Silly, silly me. Of course this day has come, because, you know, she's a kid. But in the moment, when Alyce is losing it on me for the tenth time that day, and all I want to do is hide, it doesn't matter that she's just acting three. Sometimes it's just hard. I am trying, though, to remember that it's hard for her too. This little girl of mine is trying so hard to figure everything out all at once, and it's a lot of work for her too. I'm sure she'd rather that I was more of an easy-going, go-anywhere kind of parent that wouldn't insist on things like manners and not painting the dog.

Maybe she's got her own blog where she complains about the trials of being three, made all the more difficult because of her crazy Mama. Maybe she writes long-winded posts in which she goes on an on about life as our kid. I bet she posts everyday. Great. Now she's not just driving me crazy, but she's also a better blogger than me.

My eager kid, showing off her new jammies.

Night everyone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Day in the Kitchen

I didn't leave my mum's house today.

It was a lovely day, one of those stay-in-comfy-pants and cook and read magazines kinds of days. Matt gets a little anxious with all those lost hours of productivity (he likes to own the day, so to speak), but I think Alyce and Shira were into it. I know that I was.

But even if we didn't own the day, we did produce some excellent things:

1. Martha's Lamingtons. Mum has been making these for four years and while I was suspicious at first (I take my sweets very seriously), I ended up falling pretty hard for them. I think I even requested them in place of my usual birthday cake one year. Mum tells me that they are fussy to make but worth the work.

2. The best chocolate chip cookies Ever. Though they were intended to serve as hostess gifts over the next week, they likely won't make it out our door. None of us are perfect.

Tomorrow we'll tackle something else. Or we won't. We might be too busy eating.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Right, I Have a Blog

I had such high hopes, and I still do. After all, it is Monday.

Last week got away from me, I admit. It started with my going to bed at six-thirty on Wednesday. It turns out that it is hard to get things done when you're sleeping! And before I knew it we were packing up for the long drive to Canada, where we are spending the next ten days with family and friends. We are happy for the break and the good food and wine (and the the dates Matt and I wills surely sneak out for now that Nana is around for babysitting).

So I'm back, and here is what you missed last week:

Alyce getting ready for Shabbat.

Shira has finally gotten used to a bottle while I'm at work three mornings a week. And she seems to be enjoying her meal times with Papa.

Oh, these lips.

A twelve hour drive to Canada. With stickers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Mall and Other Places to Keep you Busy

I hope everyone is somewhere warm tonight. I just returned from the mall. And why did I brave the mall in the week before Christmas? Because I'm just that ridiculous. But I did make a few excellent purchases, including some stretchy, pull-up jeans for Alyce. However I feel about jean leggings for grown-ups, I think it is a brilliant idea for little kids, especially for kids whose regular jeans won't stay up now that diapers are a thing of the past. I'm looking at you, Alyce.

So now I'm mall-tired and I'm off to bed. But I'll share a few of my favourite reads from today before go. Because you don't already have enough to read:

1. The first thing I read this morning was this article over at Salon. The author tells us about her decision not to have children (at twenty-seven she had her tubes tied) and how her preference not to parent is challenged by most everyone she meets. I admit to being one of those annoying people who just doesn't understand her decision. It's not that I think she's wrong or that I think everyone ought to become parents--by all means, why should anyone sign up for this job if they don't want it?--but the finality of her choice stumps me. Last December, when a good friend of mine revealed that he had had a vasectomy at age twenty-seven, I was similarly stumped. I'm sure I asked him every annoying question that the Salon author complains about, some panicked
cry about changing his mind later. He was comfortable with that risk in a way I just can't imagine. A year later, I still think about his decision.

2. All week I've been following a debate over on Raising Kvell. It started with a post by Mayim Bialik about her decision to breastfeed well into her children's toddler years, and I loved the way she defended her decision without sounding defensive. Some people weren't convinced and wanted Bialik to be more upfront with how hard it can be to continue breastfeeding so long. In particular, a fellow Raising Kvell blogger accused Bialik of not being authentic and, in turn, serving as a crumby model for other mothers. Bialik responded to these criticisms today. What do you think? Personally, I often get suspicious when people start using the authenticity card because it so often leads to fruitless arguments about who is "more real." What does that even mean? I get that mothers are often relieved to find space in which to discuss what's hard about being a parent, where they don't feel the need to pretend that being a mother is all smiles and rainbows. But this shouldn't limit parents to only talking about what's challenging, and it certainly doesn't mean that Bialik can't write about extended nursing (and the exhaustion) with a smile on her face.

3. And now we come to the food: I want to make these. I know some people either love mushrooms or loathe them, but I adore them. These will fall nicely into the category of vegetables that I roast in quantities sufficient to feed four, but that will only be eaten by me, usually in one evening. This category includes brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and now, mushrooms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Habit of Writing

Me and Pomegranate, trying to start our day.

I'm never alone. Ever. Even when Alyce has left for preschool with Matt, who then heads off to work for the day, and Shira is napping (finally), and I sit down to work on a post or answer the emails I've avoided since yesterday, I am never alone. Without fail, one of three cats appears, incapable, it seems, to be more than one foot away from us at all times. So I work with it, because as much as I fantasize about it some days, they aren't going anywhere. And so it is that I begin my Tuesday morning writing, supervised by Pomegranate.

(See how I managed to write a post without actually saying anything of value, but still in keeping with my brand new habit of posting every day? I come by it honestly. I remember driving my grade six English teacher crazy with my poems and short stories about absolutely nothing. Poor Mr. Allison was often subjected to limericks about broccoli or a story about my shoe, simply because I liked producing quantity. Maybe even then I realized that developing a consistent writing habit would pay off.

Not likely.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Falling Off the Wagon

It's Monday, and you know how I feel about Mondays. So much possibility.

I needed my Monday today. I'm feeling as though I'm falling off wagons a lot lately. There are so many things I would like to accomplish, whether it's a relatively small, short-term project or a much longer, habit-changing goal. Me and habits, we're tight. I develop one and before you know it I am one hundred percent committed. Or addicted, whatever you prefer. Some of my habits are good, most aren't the greatest (smoking was the hardest one to break up with). Once I've found a habit, it's smooth sailing, so to speak.

But finding my footing in a new habit? That is not so easy for me. New habits often require that you relinquish old habits, and like I said, I'm close with my habits. So in spite of my Intentions, it can be really hard for me to start new things. Since this is the year of new things, I need some new strategies. Maybe I can bribe old habits?

One of my biggest reasons for sharing all these personal details with you, on this blog, for all the interwebs to see, is to document this new year of mine. These conversations, so to speak, give me some space to try out some new thoughts and contemplate the new actions that might follow. This blog is many things to me: a place to talk about parenting, share some of my favourite things, all while trying out some non-dissertation writing. But what all of these things have in common is my attempt to move forward. In many ways I've been stuck for the last few years (even as I've grown in other ways). Time to un-stick.

This is all to say that I keep falling off one particular wagon: to post everyday. Gretchen Rubin over at The Happiness Project has written at length on the topic of posting every day. She argues that while it might seem easier to commit only to posting three or four times a week, posting every single day is actually the easier habit to develop. I've been skeptical of Rubin's suggestion, mainly because I'm exhausted much of the time (or lazy), but I think I might be coming around. She's awfully persuasive, and what I'm doing isn't working for me.

So here's to my new wagon. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three Happened

Three years ago I gave birth to my first daughter, Alyce Mary, named after my crazy wonderful maternal grandmother, Mary Alyce. Alyce was this tiny present we received for Hannukah and Matt and I were goofy with excitement to have her all for ourselves. All those Decembers ago, we returned to our apartment with our two-hour old baby girl and showed up for our first night as parents. While this might fall under the category of the annoyingly obvious, our lives changed forever that night.

Fast forward three years, and Alyce is running into our bedroom, having found the birthday crown I had made for her the night before, declaring that it is her birthday. Even the cats could taste the excitement in the air. Our little Alyce was now a preschooler. Not a tiny toddler, learning how to maneuver around the furniture or grasping at words she didn't yet understand. No, things had changed that morning. She was now a potty-using, self-dressing, dramatic monologue-giving preschooler. And she knew it. This was big.

Opening her new princess shoes, that both flash and sparkle. Oh yes. I said princess.

We've been building up to this day for a long time. I love birthdays and I'm certain that I've passed down my fondness for celebrations to Alyce. This time it started with my birthday in October, which was closely followed by my mum's birthday in November. And I can't forget my little brother and sister (seven and three, respectively), who also celebrated birthdays this fall. Alyce and I mailed many handmade birthday cards, tasted birthday cakes, and wrapped many presents. You see where I'm going with this: she was excited, and on that Saturday morning, she was asking for cake by seven. She knew was was due her and she wasn't ashamed to ask for it. I can respect that.

Cereal always tastes better in a crown, no?

What I love about birthdays is the chance to just get really excited and to enjoy the people I love. It doesn't matter whose birthday it is really, it's just the day I love. I enjoy spoiling people with good food and little things that make them smile. I also enjoying being on the receiving end, for sure. One year I woke up on my birthday and found that Matt had wrapped up the cats (not very well, but it made me smile all day to think of Pomegranate's sour face framed by some great polka dot paper). I love birthday breakfasts, lunches, and coffee dates. And some of my favourite memories are those great birthday dinners with friends, a tradition I was introduced to by my roommates at university, that I think I can say with some certainty, I have perfected as I've gotten older. Birthdays give you a chance for polishing your celebration skills since they happen every year.

Still waiting for that cake. It's coming any minute now.

So I want to begin these traditions for Alyce. I want to start small--she is only three after all, and there is no need to stress out the poor girl with a giant party with clowns (shudder). So this year it was about the little details: the birthday crown, the fairy garland hanging above the table, the chocolate cake, and a little party with her nana and a couple of grown-up friends (for our sake). It was a wonderful, wonderful day.

We took this picture of the three of us while we waited for our few guests to arrive. We aren't just the three of us anymore, but sometimes we need to take just a moment and celebrate just Alyce.

p.s. One week later, she's still singing happy birthday to herself at least once a day. Happy Birthday Alyce. Love, mama.

I think she has the excited part down.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dinner Eggs

We pick up Alyce from preschool around 4:30, and so begins the evening madness. I fret about getting dinner together (I am the lone cook in this house, though Matt occasionally makes a delicious salmon), and Shira inevitably wants to nurse again, and I've usually become preoccupied with something earlier in the day and so forgot to clear my mess from the table, and you get the idea. But the chaos is all mine and I love it.

And I think he does too.

Last night we ended up having breakfast for dinner, which we end up doing a lot around here. Alyce is currently petitioning Michelle Obama to include maple syrup on the list of best foods for kids, and so we find ourselves having pumpkin pancakes or french toast more than we probably should. This time we feasted on dinner eggs, which look remarkably similar to breakfast eggs. But they were delicious. Alyce even helped to pour the orange juice, which I did not capture on film as I was too busy helping to clean up spills.

And just one of these days, Alyce will stay in her chair long enough to eat her dinner. Or, most likely, we'll find a glue strong enough. To be fair, though, Alyce was busy providing the evening entertainment: she can elicit belly laughs from Shira like no one else. Now if only she could do that from her own seat.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Still Waiting by the Email

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the anxiety of hitting the send button on an email to my dissertation adviser. It was a big email, wherein I explain that I am taking time away from my graduate program to explore some new opportunities. It was a difficult email to write, cowardly even. I realize that I should have called her, even if our relationship has always been email-only. Do you think that is why she has not responded? Not even a tiny bit?

That's right. I'm still waiting to hear back from her. Maybe she doesn't think my email was worth a reply. Maybe she read my note and thought to herself, "Well, finally. I knew she wasn't committed," and then forgot to reply. Or maybe she's annoyed that I've wasted her time.

Whatever the reason, I'd really like for her to acknowledge my decision. Perhaps I should call her? Probably not.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Recovering Grad Student Seeks New Forms of Torment

As a teacher. A high school teacher, that is.

So this is my big plan. Disappointed? Hoping I might have really thought outside the box and opted for a new career as a secret agent, or maybe a mad scientist? I don't have the wardrobe to pull off the secret agent job and I have no business being a science-y scientist (or, as it turns out, a social scientist. Moving on then.)

Nah, I think I'll make a great teacher instead. I have been teaching in universities for five years under the title of Adjunct Lecturer (and no, I don't know what that actually means). I have taught various classes in Religious Studies at two universities and it has been, hands down, the best part of being a graduate student. My first class was an intensive summer session course on world religions. It was a chaotic mess and I was utterly unprepared, but I enjoyed myself so much and I think many of the students did as well. Before I knew it was teaching regularly at a couple of different universities, in that grand old tradition of hiring graduate students instead of actually hiring (and giving benefits to) tenured professors. I can't say I minded, though--I loved getting the teaching experience and the extra money.

When I would return to my own research and writing after a semester of teaching, I would realize quickly that I missed the classroom. I'd miss the chance to talk and listen, to engage with an actual human rather than another online journal. I had landed in academia because I like ideas; I was now learning that I enjoyed ideas most when they were alive in a classroom discussion. I found myself more and more weary from the isolation of research. What I'm saying is that this seed was planted a long time ago.

And then I had kids. Isn't this how so many stories begin?

My daughters have changed me in so many ways. For one, I'm really tired now. I don't ever remember feeling so tired. In fact, it's just after eight and I'm having to prop myself up in front of my laptop. In my head I'm negotiating between an eight-thirty and a nine o'clock bedtime as I write this. Second, I can carry a lot of things at once. I can remember myself complaining about having to lug a bag of books home from the library, on the subway no less, every week. Now I can carry my two children, my bag, fourteen toys, and a bag of groceries in from the car. And I usually only drop one of those things, and it isn't usually a child.

But mostly having my girls has changed the way I want to live in the world. I'm feeling charged to work practically in the lives of kids (and not just my own). Academics can be a lot of things, but in my chosen discipline, practical was not one of them. For many people this is a great thing, and I salute their ability to stay the course and analyze/translate/critique/argue. Of course I could have become a teacher with my PhD, but that would have required that I finish and defend a dissertation I did not want to write. I would have had to analyze/translate/critique/argue, and my heart is just not there. But that charge I feel leading a classroom, of working each day with kids who are learning to explore the world, this, I think, is where my heart is.

Perhaps I am romanticizing the daily life of a teacher. Perhaps. But I've been close with many teachers and I see how hard they work. I've seen the emotional ups and downs of becoming invested in the lives of their students, and how they so often struggle against that large brick wall of educational bureaucracy. No, I don't think being a teacher easy. Nevertheless, here I go.

Because we don't know where we will be living next year, it is difficult for me to dive right into this new path of mine. I can't start an education program or look for work until we, say, pick a state. Or a country. But I can still move forward this year in preparation of these bigger steps. Since I have a few (cough) years of secondary education I am able to cobble together the pieces of an almost-English major, so I am enrolled in a few more English courses next semester to fill in some holes. I'm peeking around at jobs, testing the waters for when I'm ready to actually begin. I'll use the rest of this stolen time to work on my writing. Not a bad way to spend some time, don't you think?

This post is far too long. Night everyone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Thought You Would Never Ask

Anyone interested in Shira's birth story? An essay I wrote about her birth has just been published on Kveller, a Jewish parenting site. So if you are dying to know about Shira's water birth (as you most surely are), you can find the essay here. Shira was born at The Birth Center, in Wilmington, Delaware, on May 11, 2010.

Thanks, Kveller!

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Been a Big Week

Mostly, it's been a birthday week. My mum is leaving tomorrow and I'll be back with some details about her visit. But let me just be clear: Alyce likes her birthday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can't write. Must clean.

So my mum arrives tomorrow and we're all very excited. Alyce's little head might just pop off with excitement: Hanukah+birthday+Nana? You get the idea.

You can also probably imagine what I am doing today, right up until I need to leave to pick up mum at the airport. You got it: cleaning the house like a madwoman. My mum always tells me that I don't need to clean up for her. You know what I say to that? Don't Even. Of course I do. As a kid I remember finding her singing to herself while she windexed her washer and dryer. And then there is her mother, who does about fourteen loads of laundry a day. That last part might be an exaggeration, but trust me, she does a lot of laundry.

Speaking of laundry: There are four people in our house and I might need to secure some extra employment in order to cover our laundry-induced utility bills. I know we have small (messy) children and we use cloth diapers, but even still I am floored by the ever-expanding laundry piles. On a regular day we are always at least one load, but then you throw in just one child with a stomach flu (I'm looking at you, Shira Clementine) and a visit from my mother and all of a sudden I'm doing seven loads of wash in one day. Oh, but wait--those seven loads were done before I picked up Alyce from preschool. I almost forgot about the eighth load I had to do when we got home after Alyce dropped her new stuffed unicorn in the mud. Naturally he needed washing before bedtime.

OK, I'm done with that now.

Back to general cleaning. I'm not actually stressed about it in that stereotypical "mymother'scomingandshe'sgoingtojudgethedustontheblinds" kind of way. My mum only really cares about her house. If I don't have my mother's verve for all things spotless, I do like a clean house, even if it will only remain clean for thirty minutes after her arrival. I've at least cleaned the bathroom. Oh, and have I mentioned the laundry?

And finally, Happy Hanukkah everyone! We lit the first candle tonight and enjoyed a wonderful evening together. Alyce enjoyed her new fairy paper dolls and Shira fell asleep. The first night of Hanukah is very special to us because three years ago Alyce was born about twenty minutes before the first candle lighting. We were home two hours later, lighting our candles with our new daughter. We have a photo of the two of us standing next to our hanukkiyah (menorah), holding Alyce, with the biggest, goofiest, most tired grins on our faces. After two days of labour, my eyes are almost closed and I look like I had just pushed a baby out. We are both deliriously happy. Fortunately for you, I can't find that photo right now. You'll just have to trust me.