All posts by Avivah

So much to do!

Really busy but not stressed – well, mostly not!

We have just under a month before Tehila’s wedding and then twelve days later Michal will be getting married!

A number of their friends have commented that I must be stressed out planning for two weddings so close together. No, I’m not. :)

Having said that, I’ve been conscious about creating space inside myself to keep centered. That means recognizing what is necessary and what isn’t. So even though I technically have time to write here, there’s been a longer lag than usual since I’ve been choosing to leave myself some time that isn’t filled with activity in the evenings.

It’s not just planning for the two weddings but also the time of year that it falls out that adds to the intensity of what needs to be done. Of course there’s the week of sheva brachos celebrations nightly following each wedding – I didn’t know until my son got married that it’s the sheva brachos that really wipe you out!

The second wedding will be right before Purim; then we’ll celebrate Purim, and the next day we’ll go right into the Shabbos sheva brachos we’re hosting. When people hear the specifics of the dates they look at me and ask with great intensity, “But HOW are you going to do that???”

I tell myself (and them) I’ll just keep it simple and it will all get done. That works to keep me from getting stressed about it all.

A couple of days ago, someone said to me, “All the work you’ve done on yourself for years is going to come into play right now.” She’s a life coach – can you tell? :) She’s right, though. Years ago I could have done everything that needed to be done, but not without stressing myself and everyone around me.  I wouldn’t even have had the goal that I have now, let alone the internal tools to meet that goal – to enjoy this very special season of life and to be emotionally present and relaxed.

So much to do!

So much to do!

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Here’s an update on some of the non-wedding stuff I’m busy with this week:

Right now we’re working on making different school arrangements for ds15. The new program he was in hasn’t actualized in the manner it was originally described. Good people and good intentions, but different than what we signed him up for and not a match for him.

I’m starting the process of registering Rafael for a specific day care for the coming year – this day care has a special inclusion program and there’s a lot of demand for the very limited spots. I met director yesterday, got the registration form, and toured the facility. In a couple of days the evaluations and letters of recommendation I requested last week from different professionals should be ready.

If you’re wondering why I’m putting Rafael in day care since I’m home with the other kids… there are things I need to do because he’s a foster child. I was initially told he needed to start day care this past September when he was nine months but I pushed for him to be able to stay home with me for another year. My goal is to find the best option for him; I have a good feeling about this particular program and think it will be a good match for us.

Speaking of educational plans for next year, I’m also beginning the application process for Yirmi to attend a gan safa (kindergarten with a language focus) in the coming September.  Though it seems incredibly early to be thinking about next year,  it’s not! This is exactly when all the applications start to go in for the next school year. This week I’ve been working on getting his paperwork together and hope to open a file for him with the municipality this week.  I’ve been told that I’ll need to advocate strongly to get him in to a gan safa since they prefer to place children with T21 in lower functioning frameworks rather than with ‘typical’ children with language delays. But there are enough parents who have already done this that it’s not blazing a new trail to get this accommodation.

It might seem ironic or confusing that I’ve just spent all this time and energy to procure an authorization to homeschool him for the current school year and here I go turning around to get him into the school system for next year! It’s actually because of the positive experience dealing with the bureaucracy that I feel ready to deal with this gan process. Prior to this, I was concerned that if Yirmi was in gan safa (which I think he would LOVE!), I would be refused an authorization to homeschool him the following year. Now I’ve decided to take the advocacy for him one year at a time and not worry about what will happen too far down the road.

Oh – and I didn’t mention that Rafael is still waking up in the middle of the night, did I? Not loving that very much. 2 am looks much better to me when my head is undisturbed on my pillow. :) Actually, 7 am looks much better to me when my head has been undisturbed from my pillow at 2 am. :) So goes life!

Avivah

 

One year old - hurray!

Rafael is one!

Our little Rafael is growing fast and just celebrated his first birthday!

It’s been ten months since he joined our family. Ds11 told me he doesn’t feel like it’s been that long – on one hand, it feels like he’s always been with us and on the other, time has flown by!

Here’s a picture of Yirmi (then 4.5) and Rafael (2 months) in the first hour after he arrived home.

Yirmi holding Rafael on his first day home

Yirmi holding Rafael on his first day home

Here they are again, ten months later!

Yirmi (5.5) and Rafael (1)

Yirmi (5.5) and Rafael (1)

Rafael is super active, cute and generally a very happy little guy. We appreciate that except at 2 am, when we would rather he sleep. :)

One year old - hurray!

One year old – hurray!

Grateful for this little member of our family and we look forward to many more birthdays to come!

Avivah

visions

The joy of watching dreams manifest in my life

Two nights ago we had the official engagement party for Tehila and Meir. The only thing missing was that we didn’t get a family picture with our new couple. :(  It wasn’t for lack of wanting one! Fortunately, the wedding is in just seven weeks so we’ll make up for that soon. :)

I’m happy to have a picture of our lovely new couple, though!

Tehila and Meir at their engagement party

We are so deeply grateful and happy to welcome Meir to our family. It’s a very special thing to watch your child find the person she wants to spend her life with, and we all like him almost as much as she does!

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Several months ago, I was contacted by a writer for Mishpacha magazine. They were planning a new column that would come out monthly over the course of a year, interviews with women who had fulfilled a dream. She wanted to know if I would be willing to be interviewed.

At that time, I shared with her about my most recent vision that had come true, of Rafael joining our family.  They held off on printing my interview since they said I was too well- known and didn’t want me to be featured in the beginning of the series.

My interview for the Dreamscapes column came out last week in Mishpacha’s Family First, right in the middle of this very special season of celebration for our family.  And as this issue came to print, I’ve been thinking a lot about the manifestation of a different vision that has been very close to my heart for years that is unfolding right now.

In February 2011, I spoke to my husband about the possibility of making aliya that summer, with nine children ranging in age from 2 – 18. To say he was lukewarm to the idea would be putting it mildly! One of the things I told him then was the following:

“In another five years, our kids will be dating and getting married. We already know that the older two girls want to live in Israel when they’re married. It’s not likely that Baltimore will be very compelling for any of them.

We’ve invested so much in our family and that connection is very important to us, but over time our kids will end up living in completely different parts of the US and even the world.  The older our family gets, logistically it’s going to be very hard to continue to physically be there for one another.  But if we move to Israel now while all the kids can make the move with us, hopefully by the time they’re ready to get married, they’ll want to stay in Israel. And hopefully being in the same small country, we’ll be more able to be physically present for one another even after they’re married.”

It’s a huge credit to my husband that he agreed to make the move, despite his hesitations. We shared the vision of continued physical proximity and connection as our family expanded, and it continued to be an important factor in our decision making process when we moved from Karmiel in the periphery of Israel to much more centrally located RBS less than three years ago.

I don’t take it for granted for a second that we’re been able to be present for these moments in the lives of our adult children. And I don’t take it for granted that each of our three couples is starting their lives here in Israel. What I feel is a very deep sense of humility and gratitude for Hashem’s kindness to us.

Avivah

 

tehila and meir engaged

Celebrating Chanuka, a birthday….and another engagement!!!

Dd22 celebrated her 23rd birthday on the first night of Chanuka in a very special way – by getting engaged!

We are delighted to announce the engagement of Tehila to Meir Samberg of Memphis, TN!

tehila and meir engaged

The l’chaim was at our house last night (the first night of Chanuka).

For Michal’s lechaim exactly two weeks ago, I shared a picture of the expanded Werner ladies group.  Below is the expanded Werner guy group. :)

L - r: ds11 months, dh, ds24, Meir (dsil1);

L – r: ds11 months, dh, ds24, Meir (dsil1);ds15, ds11, ds18, Amitai (dsil2), ds10; front: ds8 and ds5

Dh and I with our three couples!

Dh and I with our three couples! L- r: dh, ds24, dsil2, Meir (dsil1), Tehila (dd23), dd21, ddil1, Avivah

I can’t tell you what a beautiful feeling it is to watch one’s children find their soulmate! Each and every one has chosen such a special person who is uniquely suited to him/her. Really, it’s remarkable. And so exciting!

The engagement party will be this Monday evening from 8 – 10 pm in RBS at the Bais Mordechai shul. If you’re reading this and are local, please consider this an invitation!

Avivah

pic taken after the meeting was finished, l- r: me, ds5, dh, ds8 (behind), ds11, ds10

Our meeting with the Ministry of Education officials and the results

It’s been so busy with the engagement and wedding preparations, but I wanted to share with you about the meeting we had at the Ministry of Education.

We got to the Ministry early but were refused admittance since the guard said he didn’t have authorization for us to enter that day; he refused to call the people we told him we were meeting with and told us it was our problem to call them ourselves. Since I had never had direct phone contact with any of those who would be on the committee, I was stumped as to how we were supposed to do that.

He also refused to let us sit on the bench on the opposite side of the checkpoint just two steps away. Finally, ds5, exhausted after traveling two hours to get there, lay down on the floor and put his arms under his face to use as a pillow. Then the guard let me sit with him on the bench. :)

I decided the only thing we could do was wait for them to let us know we were late and call in an authorization for us to go in; fortunately it wasn’t much longer before I received a call from the secretary asking if I forgot that we were supposed to meet that day.  Just as I answered that call, an experienced guard came in who knew how things were supposed to be done and directed us to where we were supposed to go (the new authorization wasn’t waiting there, either!).  Not the most auspicious beginning for an important meeting!

We entered the room where three officials were waiting to meet with us together with all of the children we are homeschooling, and I right away noticed their eyes fall on Yirmi (ds5) and linger there.  While they were asking us about ourselves and we were responding, Yirmi went over to one of the officials, tapped her on her arm and asked her for paper to draw. The woman was quite warm and friendly to him, and he returned happily with his paper to his seat while we continued the meeting.

Then they started questioning the kids. Ds11 felt the most pressured; as the oldest sibling present, most of the questions were directed to him.  Some of what he was asked: if he wants to homeschool, if he wants to go to school, doesn’t he think it would be better if he could do what his friends are doing, does he think he’s on the same level as his friends….

Ds11 responded that he was happy homeschooling, he wasn’t interested in going to school, his friends in school don’t especially like being there and aren’t learning more than he is.  As she kept asking and asking, I could see in his eyes that he couldn’t understand why she kept asking similar questions to those he had already answered.  It felt like she was working to elicit a negative response from him.

She asked him what he would do if I let him go to school for one week; he answered but at this point, I decided this line of questioning had gone on far enough.  I asked rhetorically, “If a  child wants chocolate for breakfast every day, should I give it to him?  I’m the parent and I’m the one who will decide what is right for my child educationally.”

She disagreed, and told me that an eleven year old is mature enough to make these decisions for himself. Clearly we have a different perspective. :)

They asked each child all about what his academic schedule, extracurricular, friends. When one of the officials pulled out a book in Hebrew and pushed it toward ds11 to test his reading, I saw another son’s face blanch. He is reading in English and Hebrew, but due to dyslexia it’s not yet on the level of what is typical for a child his age. He’s doing amazingly, though, and we all see huge progress on that front! (I shared about the approach I’ve taken and the materials we use for him here.) But understandably he didn’t want to be tested out loud by strangers.

I motioned to him reassuringly and told him aloud that he didn’t have to read if he didn’t want to. I felt it was really important for the security of our children that they knew that I would protect their boundaries.  Another son also said he preferred not to. The official was about to put away the book and I told him he didn’t ask Yirmi if he wanted to read! Yirmi loves to read books and of course he enthusiastically agreed!  He isn’t reading aloud yet and there’s no rush on our parts; our focus is on input, input, input and not on testing the output (ie testing).  We’ve recently started Hebrew with him – because he sees his brothers learning with dh and is constantly requesting to learn with him as well – and we’ve been doing flashcards in English for years.  But he looked very cute looking into the book studiously and then beaming up at them.

There was extensive questioning about how I would address Yirmi’s educational needs, and didn’t I  know how much benefit the child and the parents get from the special education system? My focus is not on expressing negativity about a different system but on what I feel I can offer in the home environment, and that’s what I shared.  I added that I don’t feel I have to know everything and am quite comfortable reaching out for support and help when necessary.

When the  meeting was finally over – it was probably about an hour long – as soon as we walked out one of the boys right away asked if they’re ever going to have to do that again. They hated it! And I hated that they had to do it – it’s an intimidating process even for adults and too much pressure for a child.  Afterward I found out that legally I could have refused to bring them but I thought that it was mandatory since the school year had already started. (That’s what I was told.)

Dh and I felt the meeting went as well as could be hoped for; they were clearly charmed by Yirmi and him being so natural and comfortable lightened the atmosphere for everyone.  Overall I felt comfortable with the officials and so did dh.

The next day dh happened to pass one of the officials who was waiting outside a building he passed, and the official told us they had all been very impressed with us. That was hopeful but nonetheless, I didn’t jump to any conclusions about what the outcome would be – particularly about Yirmi. I’ve been told it’s very difficult to receive approval to homeschool a child with special needs, particularly if those needs are immediately apparent (like with Trisomy 21). And this is where my main concern about this outcome lay.

When the email came, I held my breath while I opened it. There was an individual file for each child, and after opening the first one, went to Yirmi’s.  It said the same thing as for all of his brothers.

The results? We received authorization to homeschool each of the following children: ds11, ds10, ds8 and ds5.

Yes, we received the first authorization (as far as I know) in the State of Israel to homeschool a child with Trisomy 21!!!

pic taken after the meeting was finished, l- r: me, ds5, dh, ds8 (behind), ds11, ds10

After the meeting, l- r: me, ds5, dh, ds8 (behind), ds11, ds10

I feel like writing a bunch more exclamation marks and jumping up and down and can’t think about this without tearing up with happiness.  We were ready to go to court to appeal if we were denied permission, but I kept picturing a peaceful and pleasant outcome of our meeting with the Ministry of Education officials. My mantra I repeated to myself over and over again was, “It can be easy, it can be easy.”

I have to add here that this was a huge personal victory for me. I had so much anxiety about this process for so long, and once he got to age 5, finally put my concerns to the side and did what needed to be done. My thinking had caused me to feel disempowered and threatened, and I consciously worked to release the fear I felt about dealing with these officials. They’re only people.  It’s so easy for fears to grow and grow, unless we recognize them and let them go.

What does this mean for now? The approval is for one year, which means it will need to be renewed for the coming school year. Since home visits are part of the homeschool requirements, we will be seeing one of these officials another two times this year when she comes to visit. One positive outcome of having a social worker regularly come into my home as part of the foster care process is that I’ve become much less sensitive about having officials in my home.  I don’t agree with having home visits as part of the homeschooling oversight process and think it’s invasive and inappropriate, but I’m not threatened by it.

We’ll take it one year at a time and trust that things will continue to work out for the best!

Avivah

Family picture 2017:
Back row, l-r:  Front row:

Engagement party and staying calm behind the scenes

Saturday night was the official engagement party, and we feel so blessed to have been able to share our simcha with friends and family!

There wasn’t a lot of time to prepare but we wanted to have the engagement party while Amitai’s parents were here; they flew in from the US and are here for just a week.

My primary goal was to stay calm and keep our home environment relaxed. Too many times, when people are preparing for events, the spirit of the event gets totally lost in the stress and strain behind the scenes. I didn’t want to be that person yelling at my family to hurry up and do more – and then smooth a smile onto my face as if everything was wonderful all along when the guests arrived.

We made all the food ourselves; the older kids weren’t around much so there was a lot that I needed to do. When I finally had someone around to stay home with the younger kids so I could go out to do some needed party shopping, it was already Friday morning. This isn’t the kind of thing I would have usually pushed off until this point but you can only do what you can do!

Then with my loaded cart paid for and ready to get home, there were no taxis in the entire city available – and the dispatcher told me there would be no taxis anytime before Shabbos! It was a very unusual situation, one I’ve never experienced before, and I was kind of smiling to myself at the Heavenly opportunity I was being given to practice staying calm. My husband called a friend who came to my rescue and I got home after a 40 minute delay. By then it was 1 pm, with less than three hours to do the final party preparations as well as finish cooking for Shabbos.

My personal experience is that my thoughts are what create pressure, not the external events. For a long time I thought it was the other way around – I was pressured because I had so much to do – and I’ve been working on shifting in this area for quite a while.  It’s a good thing I’ve made this a conscious effort because otherwise there’s no way it would have been calm and pleasant for anyone behind the scenes!

I have to admit that for about 30 minutes after I got home, I felt a lot of pressure because there were so many things vying for my attention. I didn’t act on that feeling but the feeling was there. My mother and her husband arrived during that time (they came from the north to be here for the engagement party and spent Shabbos with us), the groceries needed to be unpacked and everyone needed to be directed to get involved and help, while I needed time to just figure out what to do next. And some others in the family who understood how much there was to do and how little time there was to do it were stressed.

The party was on Saturday night; everyone in our family who was able to pitched in and it all got done! Most importantly, I was able to enjoy the preparations and enjoy the party itself.

m engagement food 1

 

Dd22 baked this cake for her sister

The heart cake (along with a number of other baked goods) was made by dd22

Here’s an updated family photo with our wonderful new couple!

Family picture 2017: Back row, l-r: Front row:

Family picture 2017: back row, l-r: ds18, Amitai, dh, ds15, Michal, ds24, ddil1, dd22, me
Front row, l-r: ds10, ds11, ds8, ds5, ds11 months, dd17

(For those who are wondering what my abbreviations are, here you go! Dd stands for dear daughter, ds is dear son, and the number that follows is the age. Dh is dear husband. Ddil1 is dear daughter-in-law/love 1 – married to our first son.)

The feedback from my children was that the party was really nice – and both the older girls told me how relaxed it was. I heard one telling her friend on the phone, “It was so relaxed and that doesn’t even make any sense because there was so much to do!”

Very grateful to be busy for such a good reason!

Avivah

Dd21 is engaged!

I am so happy to share with you that our daughter Michal (referred to here as dd21) is now engaged to Amitai Zaroom from Brooklyn, NY!

Michal engagementAmitai’s parents flew in today from the US.  They met Michal and right afterward both sets of parents met.  Really lovely people – no surprise, since their son is such a wonderful guy!  The l’chaim took place soon afterward at our home!

We are so filled with gratitude to experience this continued expansion of our family!

The four Werner girls - (l to r): dd17, dil1, dd22, dd21

Our expanded Werner sister group at the l’chaim- (l to r): dd17, dil1, dd22, dd21

The engagement party will take place in RBS-A this Saturday night at the Bais Mordechai shul on Nachal Luz from 8 – 10 pm.  If you’re local, please consider yourself invited! I’d love to see you there!

Avivah

loss of family

A sobering guided imagery exercise demonstrates the power of family

At the end of last week, my husband and I spent two very intense days at the mandatory foster care workshop that we were supposed to attend before bringing a child home. Obviously since Rafael has been with us nine months, that requirement was deferred but we made a commitment to complete the seminar before a year went by.

The room was filled with eleven couples who had passed the rest of the foster care screening process; attendance at this seminar was the final requirement before receiving approval to foster. Two of us already had children with us, nine didn’t. My husband and I were both impressed with the caliber of the couples there – really solid parents with good communication, stable families and a strong desire to give. In almost every couple, one spouse worked in the education or psychology fields.

The last seminar that was held took place the day before my son’s wedding, so attending that one wasn’t an option. I went to this because I had to, but I didn’t expect to learn much. Since this intended to prepare parents for fostering before bringing a child home, I thought it would be two very long and boring days of lectures about a topic that wasn’t really relevant to me anymore.

I was wrong. Although a lot of the content didn’t directly apply to our situation, I found the presentations very interesting and thought-provoking. Of course I love hearing about anything having to do with any aspect of child development! I made notes on a number of the activities they did but as much as I want to go through each one and share my thoughts with you on how it applies to parenting in general, I know I’m not going to have time so I’ll share just one!

This is the activity that I found the most powerful and it really deeply affected me. It was a guided imagery exercise. Sounds relaxing, right? It wasn’t.

As you read this, I suggest you imagine being in a deeply relaxed state and pause at each point that I say there was a pause, and consider the question being asked.

It went something like this:

“Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place in your home that you love and feel relaxed.” I don’t remember if she said to imagine those you love around you or not, but I pictured myself in my garden, watching one of my children swinging. I felt very relaxed and peaceful.

(Abrupt sharp knocks on the door.) “I’m here because we’ve determined you can’t stay here anymore. There’s another family that very much wants a mother just like you and can’t wait until you come. They’re so excited that you’ll be coming! You need to get ready to leave now.”

She randomly called on people to answer, with their eyes still closed – I was the lucky first one to be called on – and asked: “How do you feel right now?”

You know how I felt? A huge pit in my stomach.

She continued. “You have thirty minutes to get your things packed up in this bag we’re going to give you. You can’t take anything big with you; it all has to fit in this bag. I don’t know when you’ll be able to come back here.” Pause.

Question to participants: “What would you take with you?”

Responses from every single person: “Photo albums, momentos to remember those I love.”

“You’re now in a car driving to your new family. As you drive, you notice the neighborhood you’re in is nicer and the homes are larger than your home.

Question: What are you thinking about right now?

Some answers: “How long it will be until I can go back to my family?” “What will the new family think of me/expect of me?”

“You get to your new home and the new family is so excited and happy to see you. Your home is beautiful and filled with many things you never had in your old home.”

Question: “How long do you think it will take you to adjust?”

Some answers: “I don’t want to adjust – I want to go back to my family.” “I’m never going to adjust.”

There were a couple more parts to the guided imagery, and then after a pause, everyone was brought back to their relaxing state, before being opening our eyes and ‘coming back’ to the room where we were.

My husband fell asleep in the middle, and as we opened our eyes, smiled at me and said, “Wow, that was great – I got a good rest!” I look at him with a pained expression and responded, “Oh, my gosh. That was a nightmare.” Feeling the loss of family, the dread, fear, loneliness, uncertainty, more fear..it was really intense.

During the discussion afterwards, we were reminded that however powerful what we experienced was, we are mature adults with a healthy self image and have had a lifetime to develop our emotional coping strategies. Young children don’t have that.

This exercise brought home to me in a deep way how much connection a child feels to his home, however imperfect and even painful it may be for him to live there.  As adults, we look at a new foster home and think how lucky the child from the troubled home is to now have a loving and stable family, a room of their own filled with toys, regular meals and clean clothes. The foster parent can understandably look at himself as saving this child, being a hero of a sort.  But for the child, it’s all frightening and unfamiliar, and often unwanted.

Even in the most unstable homes, there is emotional attachment to parents or siblings, and the familiarity of what to expect.  What this two day workshop brought home to me was the depths of loss that a child experiences, and how extraordinarily difficult it is to fill that hole.

I spoke to a number of the parents during the seminar, and every person but one told me they are reconsidering if this is something that want to do or can do. They were all discouraged and hesitant about continuing the process. The illusion of being a savior was definitely smashed and the difficulties were made very clear.

At some point during the second day, it was feeling very heavy and discouraging.  I spoke up in the middle of a session and shared my belief that the point in understanding the loss is to not to get stuck in it, but to ask how the loss can be mediated, how the hole can be filled. Yes, holes can be filled.

It doesn’t mean that the loss didn’t happen and you may not be able to completely ever fill that hole, but there’s a lot that a parent can do to create a positive and supportive environment for the child experiencing loss. Later a number of parents told us that they were very encouraged by that.

Another thing this seminar brought home to me is how extraordinarily difficult it is for anyone else to do what you do as a parent every day for your child – even these very wonderful parents who are the cream of the crop.  The power of the attachment you and your child feel for one another is so deeply significant and can’t be understated. Especially in a field in which children are constantly losing their attachment figures, the importance of those figures is so clear.

I’ve been asked a number of questions about foster care in Israel by parents considering beginning the process; if you ask your questions in the comments below, I’ll try to respond to them!

Avivah

 

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Lentil Rice Mushroom Loaf – recipe

Several readers requested the following recipe. Here you go!

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Lentil Rice Mushroom Loaf

  • 1 c. cooked rice
  • 1 c. cooked brown/green lentils
  • 1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
  • 1 c. chopped mushrooms (I used canned sliced mushrooms and don’t chop them)
  • 1/3 c. shredded carrots
  • 1/4 c. broth (I use chicken broth)
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 1 t. parsley
  • 1/2 t. basil
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 2 eggs

Saute the onion, mushrooms and carrots.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.  The spices are just a suggestion, add whatever you like in the quantities you like.

At this point I like to pulse the mixture with a immersion blender so that it holds together well when it bakes. Pour into a pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake in a greased pan at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes.

Eat and enjoy!

Avivah

Pictures from our oldest son’s wedding!

Can you believe it’s been five months since my oldest son got married?!?

I hope it’s not too late for you to enjoy these wedding photos!

I expected to have some official photos to share with you quite a while ago, but there was a delay in the discs getting to us. We got them a couple of days ago, and as I promised right after the wedding, here are some of the pictures!

Our beautiful daughter in love!

Our wonderful daugher-in-law

Our oldest son on his wedding day

Our oldest son on his wedding day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family photo (Rafael wasn't feeling well)

Family photo

All of our children (except Rafael, who wasn't feeling well)

All of our children (except Rafael, who wasn’t feeling well)

The oldest seven boys

The oldest seven boys

Ds23 with ds18 at chassan tish before wedding ceremony

Ds23 with ds18 at chassan tish before wedding ceremony

Dh and ds23

Ds23 with the best father in the world at chassan tish :)

Ds15 helping ds23 put on kittel before bedeken

Ds15 helping ds23 put on kittel before bedeken

Bedeken ceremony

Bedeken ceremony

Bedeken ceremony

Bedeken ceremony

Dh and I walking ds to chupa

Dh and I preparing to walk ds to chupa

Dh and I with ds at chupa waiting for bride to arrive

At chupa waiting for the bride

Sharing a smile under the chupa

Sharing a smile under the chupa

Immediately after wedding ceremony - my son, the married man - so emotional

Immediately after wedding ceremony – my son, the married man – so emotional

Dh and I with our lovely new couple!

Dh and I with our lovely new couple!

Our full family photo with our newest addition!

Our full family photo with our newest addition!

It’s so nice to share these family milestone events with my blog readers, who after so many years together here are almost like extended family!

Avivah