Week 2: na’amastay in Jerusalem (5/20-5/27)

Getting through the jetlag was fun(ny). For the first two weeks, our days were spent with food shopping to make our apartment filled with food/snacks to give it the home feel, walking around, sitting and trying out the nearby cafes… our nights included late night dinners and strolls, realizing how lively the streets of Jerusalem are on any given weekday. It is awesome to see couples, families, strollers, etc out and about throughout the evening. But we were really focusing on making sure Levi gets his sleep. He would take his “Afternoon nap” from 530-830pm, and we would then go out for dinner and get home by 11pm. So we really got lots of “night life” in during those beginnings weeks.

If there is one thing i learned in the past 13.5 months of having this angel in my life it is that: SLEEP IS IMPORTANT. I have never been one to “need sleep” (or so I thought), so learning the value of sleep is a major part of #motherhood, for me.

Related imageSo now, 2 weeks into our journey, Levi is sleeping 8:00PM-8:00AM, our night life is cut short and we are starting to feel more like “locals”… our nights went from wine and dine out on the town to folding laundry and doing dishes while dada works since he is on US working hours of 4PM-1AM. So, the night time is when I practice being the #housewife I want to be. Something about having a big space, garden air, and a washer/dryer in the apartment encourages me to clean happily. I love making this space perfect for the boys.

An average day is like this:

Wake up, bottle in bed with mama dada, get dressed and ready for the day. Breakfast consists of a cheese Boreka, a yogurt, and a fruit either a banana or a plum.
We hit the park and let Levi crawl around in the freshly cut green grass. Across the quiet street from our apartment is a park that is always filled with moms, dads, and babies. Levi loves to mingle and crawl around and already has made many israeli GF’s under the age of 3, and over the age or 65. He gets a morning swing time while mama does yoga and dada does work.
Then we head to our new favorite coffee spot, “Lechem Shel Tomer”, (bread of Tomer), for a pastry and an iced coffee.

We take a family walk to the shuk and occasionally go to the kotel when time allows. The thing that I love about Josh and I is that we are always down for the same thing. It could be 90 degrees but we both feel that we want the streets of the old city to be a part of our hearts, and of course Levi’s, so when one of us suggests the Kotel walk, the other hardly ever argues with it.
We make it back to our apartment by 11AM for Levi’s morning nap.
While Levi naps, Dada does work and Mama cleans up and does yoga. Occasionally I hit that park across the quiet street and get some meditation time in, my only alone time of the day.

1PM comes and it’s time lunch time for Levi, which always is based around tomatoes – his favorite. We have tomatoes, cheese, bread with jam, more cheese, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and of course CHUMMUS. We enjoy lunch and then go for a walk. We have discovered our neighborhood and love Rechavia.

RECHAVIA is a neighborhood about a 25 minute walk from the old city. Our address here is Sokolov St, right off of Jabotinsky street. For israel goers, it is right near the Inbal,  outside but near the German colony. It is filled with houses and apartments of old Jerusalem stone, lots of French speakers, and a variety of moms with young babies. I feel very comfortable here because I am shabbat observant, and I wear sleeveless and do not cover my hair. In some super religious parts of Jerusalem I am not sure i would feel so comfortable — just like in some very “hippie” parts I would feel the same– so where we are is “right in the middle” on all fronts. It is a young feeling neighborhood with anywhere from moderately to very observant crowd. The park is always filled with parents (yes, dads too) with their strollers and all the strollers are a name brand that I recognize which usually means a large part of the crowd made Aaliyah. (i think) i talk to moms here and there but since we are only here temporarily I do not go out of my way to make “friends”. It is nice to work on my Hebrew with the local moms but I just try to soak my time up by focusing on Levi and focusing away from anyone other than him. #obsessedmom.

We do some sort of long walk or adventure to a local park or water hub and end up back at our apartment by 4pm. Dada starts work (7am NY time), Levi naps, and Mama catches up on her phone. (unfortunately this is the reality….) I really never use instagram while we are walking or out on the town, but I do need to find a means of staying in touch with my friends family and realities from home. I spend time on the computer planning our trips, and by the time Levi wakes at 530pm I feel that I got a few things done. But just as any mom will say: no time flies by faster than nap time!!

Early evening Levi and I let dada be home to work and head out on our own. Sometimes I take him to a cafe and give him his dinner there while I sip on a glass of wine. We love to people watch, we love to walk, and we spend time ‘facetimeing’ or catching up with our family at home. We are home by 7 for dinner time, bath time, family time. We sing songs, read books, and do the nighttime bottle so Levi is asleep by 8pm. I sometimes go on a walk, and then we have a late dinner together with some wine and our garden door open. These are the moments we dreamed about and spent months planning while living in NYC. The feeling of “living life normally” all while being in Jerusalem. Every time it gets dark I feel a little sad that the day ends, but Josh is here to remind me that I am doing a good job in taking in each moment! I do yoga in the apartment, making sure to get in at least 10-15 minutes a day.

On Sunday we rented a car and the day went like this:

Car pick up from “Sixt Shlomo” on King George street. (across from the David Citadel).
We drove close to 2 hours to reach Zichron Yaakov – we felt like we entered California – it is up in a mountain and is a Jewish neighborhood amongs palm trees, mountains, and wineries. We had lunch at Tishbi– it was delicious.
Then we drove through Ceaserea, and landed at a secret beach of Hof Dor. it was beautiful. The water was clear as glass and very calm- a hot day with no wind, so hardly any waves.

I took Levi in and he swam! It was fun for us to see our toes through the water, something that definitely does not exist in NY/NJ. I love the ocean, Josh is from the ocean, so the love of water is definitely something we instill in Levi.Related imageWe spent close to an hour playing with the sand by the shore. (with lots of sunblock of course). The beach closed around 4pm so we drove down about an hour of the shore to Netanya.
Netanya is another Jewish neighborhood that looks like California, and is filled with French and I think Russian Jews that have money and made their home here. The apartments on the beach remind us of Bal Harbour, and the 50 Kosher restaurants and bars that are feet away from the beach remind us of Lincoln road. We can’t help but make comparisons between where we are, and what we know.
For dinner we have bread, pasta, and we enjoy the sunset over the ocean, while I am sure to get my yoga in while breathing in the beautiful view.
At 10pm we get into the car, Levi falls asleep, and we drive back to our home in Jerusalem…. it was a full and beautiful beach day.





Week 1: Traveling fam, Is Real in Israel (5/13-5/20)

its time to B. me. D. Mommy.

I’ve always loved to write – whether it be a diary for myself, a made up rap, poetry, or typing mindlessly after a glass of wine — so it is a wonder that I let so much of Levi’s life go by without expressing what’s up within through my words. I guess it is true that being a new mother is a full time job, as this past year has proven!

And, just as the old tale would say, motherhood really changes you. So here i am trying to reconnect with the part of me that loves to use words and the art of typing as a means of expression.

Deepak Chopra says: “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you”
He also says that research proves that the best way to be happy is to make each day happy.
 My husband and I are leaving our comfort zone of NYC and are taking our 1 year old son, Levi, to the other side of the Atlantic. Here will be a diary mixed with some yoga thoughts on the days we are spending on a journey outside of the comfort zone…
We arrived to Israel on Monday May 14th and I just want to jot down a little bit of what each day has been like. Moving forward i want to update this every day, or the days that allow me too, (#controlledbybaby) so the thoughts can be live, therefore real.
Becoming a new mom includes a lot of new things to learn, but during the while of studying my sons sleep, eat, and being habits, I was also planning our getaway. I do feel like a travel agent, and I love it.
“Change your location and you just may change yourself…”
 Our plan begins Sunday May 13th, a mothers day we never forget. We land in Jerusalem..
130pm departure from Newark airport, El al, great snacks and service. Levi was all set and we were even shocked that right before departure a flight attendant had seen an empty space behind us and asked the girl next to us to move. She of course happily did (gotta love Jewish airlines) and Levi was pleased to find his very own seat! The fresh pita and chummus came around and Levi was quite into it…  i may have noticed how much he is eating, in addition to the squeezies and snacks i brought him, but I know how much my sabrala boy loves chummus so I couldnt take it away. It got me hours of quiet having him eat that chummus while watching hebrew cartoons 3 inches from his face. What followed that was that he threw up! 🙁 he cried a bit , we were able to calm him down change and be all clean quickly. Thanks for the moms and sisters and bloggers that gave us the tips to pack extra!
After that we decided we can not control the flight, the flight controls us.
We made a whole bed for Levi to get his nighttime bottle and paci and go to sleep, but Mr Lev did not want to sleep. How can he sleep with exciting screens, new faces, pretty flight attendents, and ma&da right next to him?!
Levi, El al, May 2018 **Mama’s note: as you can see on my TV screen I tuned into the show “handmaids tale” which I will get to talking about. I dont often watch TV shows but this one has me kinda hooked*
so , we went with it. and had Levi in his comfortable seat/bed snoozing for 1 hour, with entertainment for the remaining 10 hours. We did great. I wore him and we walked up and down the aisles for 2 hours so dada could have some time to rest. And then dada hung with levi, let him watch TV, so mama can close her eyes for 2 hours. we laughed, we loved every minute, and we did it, we landed and left our heavenly 77th street home.



and so… we did just that..

Arrive at Ben Gurion, greeted by Eli who drove us to our home at 17 Sokolov. Learning that this area is Talbia, right near Rechavia, a town filled with gardens and buildings of Jerusalem stone.
We arrived to our new home, greeted by colored rose bushes, palm trees, and all sorts of trees that perhaps I will learn the name of. #treegoals
The trees around our apartment remind me of a yoga quote a teacher used to repeat:
“If you don’t like how things are, change it!, You’re not a tree.”
While I did (do) love every part of our upper east side life, I still applaud myself for making the trip here with my boys. I have never been good at bringing change into my life, so as I sit here listening to the birds chirp louder than my typing sounds, I wonder what part of me allowed myself to pack up and leave my dream NYC life.
truth be told: It probably was sharing a 1 bedroom with our 1 year old and a constant leaking shower, that was unfixable…
Day 1-4 has been dedicated to helping LML learn to sleep in his new home. Us parents also got affected by jetlag so we allowed it to take over… and actually took great advantage.
Night 1 he woke up from his nap at 9pm so we headed into town for some pizza…
Night 2 he woke from his nap at 830pm so we headed down the block for some schwarma…
Night 3 my cousin Estee came over with her baby and we sat outside at a cafe in the 80 degree weather, while i constantly had to remind myself that we are here and not just in SoHo.
The 3 of us (Dada Levi and I) enjoying take out from “Yizkiyahu”.. amazing in the Shuk. We got “3 of everything”, per dada… and ALL the salads and different versions of dips, per mama.
Levi was thankfully starting to adjust more to the time, and become back to my “predictable” babe, so I was relieved he napped well at 530-8pm. When we realized he was going to be up for a little, we took full advantage; finished our wines, made the blessing after a night filled with Challah and shuk-extravangzas, and made our way to the kotel. I wore Levi facing in so he had the chance to fall asleep whenever needed.
We made it to the kotel around 11pm on Friday night – our first time there since we landed– and it was warm enough to feel warm, with a breeze, and I wore Levi as we walked towards the Kotel and together kissed and touch the wall. We said some tehilim, prayed and meditated a bit, wishing for health and blessings for our families and close ones.
I remember spending times at this same spot, alone, so the feeling of watching the hands of my Lev angel on this special Friday night of Erev Shavuout.. will stick with me always.
We met back and walked back through the old city to our apartment, had some desserts and went to sleep.
We woke up when hearing Levi around 1030am (late for this babe, but getting closer to his “regular” time day by day). We excitingly had our pre bought iced coffee and got ready for shul. We noticed on our walk to shul everyone was walking back so we made it to Yeshurun (located down the block from the Great Synagogue) just in time to grab a coffee from the Kiddush. It was still nice to be in the atmosphere and watch all the people walking to/from the various shuls, lots and lots of strollers, and well dressed “young moms” making their way to other friends to share in Shabbat lunch.
We walked towards home and stopped at one of the (many) parks on the “derech” (route). Levi got some swing time, we walked and played, and made it home for his afternoon nap.
The day was spent resting and soaking up the Jerusalem sun – with our son– and then came prep for a Shavuout dinner with cousin Shimmy who arrived around 7pm.
We feasted on all the goodies we bought from the Shuk (Yizkiyahu)… spent time talking about Shavuout, its holiness, and how magical it feels to be celebrating the Holiday of receiving the Torah in jerusalem.
Levi woke at 8pm from his nap and by 10pm we hit the streets to find roads filled with all types of Jews walking to Shavuout parties! The streets were busy and Levi was dancing on me in excitement for being out so late!! Lots of strollers, all in the spirit of the joyous holiday.
I wlaked with Joshua and Shimmy to their first stop — located in Nachlaot– which Josh described as similar to the “Soho of Israel” mixed with an Amsterdam feel of small streets… definitely wouldnt fit an Uppababy.
In general, we are very glad we cold the Uppababy and came prepared with a Yoyo stroller. the lightweightness is necessary for the times my husband has to shlep Levi ni hsi stroller up and down the stairs to the Old city! (*this is why #babywearing is A+ in a city like Jerusalem)
Dada stayed out all night learning, praying, meditating, and feeling the magic of thousands of other people at the Kotel until sunrise.
Pretty cool of him… while Levi and I ate cookies and went to sleep, while reading a bit too.
Levi and I woke up at around 1030… we had to let dada sleep after his full night out! So, i popped on some shabbat attire and walked to shul with my little boy. It was another 90 degree beautiful day, with tons of young and older couples walking the streets to and from and from and to. We went to the Great Synogogue and got to hear choirs of 10-15 men singing all the zmirot of the Shavuout prayers.
Made it home by 12pm, so prepare for lunch. At 1pm Dani and Brian K. came over and began our feast of wine and cheese. Cousins Erica and Daniel K. came over closer to 2, right when Levi woke from his nap, and we all feasted to sooo much fresh cheese, dips, olives, crackers, and wine from Machane Yehuda. Lots of berries, melons, veggies, and all types of freshness were enjoyed while we sat and soaked up this Jerusalem feeling Shavuout.
Our apartment is surrounded by a garden which makes it an extra favorite spot of mine. This Airbnb thing is great so far… served us well for a feastful Shavuout that we wanted to hold on to….
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Pre-yom tov we decided to keep one day, but when Sunday night came around we werent ready to leave the magic that that holiday brought. So we kept Shavuout by not having phones, and the 3 of us explored parts of Jerusalem that felt new, finding a sweet cafe to have some ice coffe`e and sandwiches. (fresh mango orange juice with bits and pieces of our sandwiches, and some fresh pastries, for the little guy) we sat there.
My baby daddy let me enjoy and take it all in, thankful that he always encourages me to do the things that lead me closer to a feeling of zen, that I try so hard to achieve in this crazy world. Jerusalem and the smell of it helps. #basiltrees
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