Your Name: Elizabeth Braatz
Children: 5-year-old twins and a 2-year-old
Work: Cycling instructor for the YMCA and JCC Milwaukee, freelance writer and domestic dictator of my household
Favorite part of being a mom: Little voices saying "I love you momma!"
Least favorite part of being a mom: POTTY TRAINING
Famous for: Being a vegetarian who can make a killer tenderloin.
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I am heavy into purging everything in my house that we don't use - like going through each nook and cranny. The items that can go to good use, I've had veteran organizations pick up and I've consigned my clothes. Sadly, I don't think I'll ever fit into the size 25 Joe's Jeans that I wore easily before I had a set of twins (and then another baby to boot). Now, I'm on to selling anything baby, as my "baby" is now almost three.
It's often hard to be the Jew in a Christian world, especially during the holiday season. I grew up in Jewish home with a Catholic dad and Jewish mother. I always envied my friends who got to decorate their Christmas trees and eat candy canes. Further, I often felt like I wasn't part of the Christmas cheer that overflowed at every store, maybe anywhere in the U.S. It's Christmas mania the day after Halloween and that hasn't changed since I was a kid. In my home, we only celebrated Jewish holidays and then we celebrated major Christian holidays with my dad's family. When I was 11, my dad chose to convert to Judaism.
My five-year-old twins were invited to a birthday party yesterday at a play center for a classmate of theirs. I observed something that I had noticed at a previous birthday party and it really irked me. There are two girls in the kids' class who are particularly mean to my daughter. In fact, on several occasions, she came over to them and asked if she could play with them and they responded with: "No, go away Emma!" At times, my daughter Emma would quietly stay around them until they told her to leave again or she would walk off and go do something else. She didn't cry and yell back at them and she always remained calm. However, I was ready to freak out on these girls. Since when did new five-year-olds bully their classmates?!?!?!?
The holidays are almost here and I'm already feeling the anxiety. I know that this time of year is supposed to be fun but it often turns into "you must be here at this time" or "you must find this present for this person." There is nothing fun or festive about feeling pressure to meet obligations. As Thanksgiving approaches and we are expected to be at three different meals (yes, three), I've started thinking about excess and how it relates to the holiday season.
Today was a really nice, Autumn day...50 degrees and sunny. The wind was brisk but nothing unmanageable. I picked up my older two kids from preschool and with the younger one in tow, we headed to the zoo for maybe our last jaunt until 2015. The 10-day outlook is cool (okay, it's downright cold), so I wanted to take advantage of the mild temperatures today.