Simchahs A Baltimore Jewish Times Special Section
Must-Haves For New Moms What first-time parents can’t do without
Celebrating Life’s Milestones October 12, 2012
Plus: Excercising With Baby Love Thy Neighbor Electronic Invitations
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From choosing the right stroller to the best car seat, selecting baby gear can be quite overwhelming for moms-to-be. It wasn’t so long ago that I myself was befuddled by all the varying product recommendations and ratings. In this issue of Simchahs we come to the rescue by outlining all the must-have new born essentials. You’ll also find tips on how to whip yourself back into shape post childbirth, plus much more.
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inside… 22 Exercising With Baby Helping your child grow into fitness
24 Love Thy Neighbor Two couples share the joy
For New Moms
What first-time parents can’t do without
34 No Invitation Required Electronic invitations are a growing trend, but many still want traditional paper keepsakes
Editor Laurie Legum Art Director Ebony Brown Assistant to the Editor Michael Marlow Production Manager Erin Clare Production Andrew Perlin, Heidi Traband Cover Photo of Malerie Meister by Justin Tsucalas
Erika Bloom frequently jogs with 5 month old son, Micah, and dog, Jackson, around their Lutherville neighborhood.
Exercising With Baby There are new articles all the time about the importance of being fit. “Watchyourcalories,”onepublication will warn. Others will instead talk about the benefit of being active. It is not easy, however, to become an exercise lover overnight. For that reason, many parents today are starting early with their little ones —tobenefitthemlaterinlife,and alsotobenefitthemselves.
22 iNSIDER/ Simchahs October 2012
Erica Bloom is a new mother of Micah, at the time of this interview 4 months old. Erica says she started exercising with her son as soon as her gynecologist gave the green light. “I want him to be exposed. Exercise and the outdoors are important to Dave [Erica’s husband] and me, and I want Micah to see that part of our lives,” she says. Bloom purchased a jogging stroller with a car seat insert for long walks and, eventually, runs. She says exercising
Helping your child grow into fitness
with Micah “puts him in a good place.” He often naps toward the end or right after their walks, and he awakes refreshed and ready for more. Bloom says she will not force her and hubby’s lifestyle on Micah, but she knows, from growing up in her own Baltimore household, that raising him in a healthy atmosphere where good food choices and a healthy dose of movement are commonplace will have influence. “I’d love to see that Micah and I
Written By Maayan Jaffe Photographed By David Stuck
go for a run together when he is older,” Bloom says. Sharon Seigel, director of parenting services and outreach at the Greater Baltimore Jewish Community Center, says Bloom has the right idea. She explained that in her line of work, “We always tell our parents that the more ‘into it’ they are, the more their children gain. Children under 3 take all their cues from their parents, so setting a good example is extremely important.” At both the Rosenbloom Owings
Michele Hayunga performs a back-bend stretch while exercising with daughters Ashley, 4, and Julia, 6, in their Eldersburg home.
Mills and Weinberg Park Heights JCCs, there are many opportunities for starting children off early. Seigel says, “We start with prenatal yoga classes, have infant massage, Stroller Babies, Itsy Bitsy Yoga, and a variety of movement classes for children ages 3 and under with their parent or caregiver.” Seigel says the classes serve not only to get the children — and their parents — moving, but also as a bonding opportunity — one hour when the cell phones are turned off and there are no distractions. Michele Hayunga of Eldersburg gets creative with her children’s exercise routines. Hayunga says she and daughters Julia, 6, at the time of this interview, and Ashley, then 4, enjoy afternoons of impromptu dancing — “I dance, too!” — and games of mattress trampoline. On snow days, Hayunga will set up a makeshift obstacle course in her basement out of sheets and chairs,
and the family will spend an hour or two crawling about. It’s healthy, and it’s also a lot of fun, she says. As a former gymnast, Hayunga says she joined a play group with
a basketball net on the driveway. I remember my mom always being out there, playing with us. I remember going to the tennis club and cheering her on,” says Hayunga. “Exercise was
THE CLASSES SERVE NOT ONLY TO GET THE CHILDREN — AND THEIR PARENTS — MOVING, BUT ALSO AS A BONDING OPPORTUNITY — ONE HOUR WHEN THE CELL PHONES ARE TURNED OFF AND THERE ARE NO DISTRACTIONS. her children early on. The group often met to play soccer, swim or shoot hoops. Today, she takes her kids to yoga and aerobics at their local workout facility. “When I was growing up, we had
always fun for me, and that is what I want to pass on to my children.” Hayunga jokes that having children allows her to keep the fun she remembers going. “There are some exercises that I
couldn’t do without my children, like Pump It Up and Jump Zone. I am so glad I have kids so I can do all that fun stuff,” she says with a smile. Exercise, of course, has more benefits than just the physical ones. Hayunga says exercise builds selfconfidence, something that with two daughters is very important to her. Bloom and Hayunga both say that there is always a little guilt when they slip out to the gym or to run solo and leave their little ones behind. “I felt bad at first going for a run without him,” says Bloom. “This could be time I spend with him. But then I realized, it is OK for Micah to have some quality time with his dad and exercise gives me more energy, which means I will be a better mom.” Says Hayunga, “For moms and kids alike, it is important to take the time. You will enjoy life more!” ✧ Maayan Jaffe is JT managing editor email@example.com
Neighbor Two couples share the joy
Shari and Jerry Caplan have lived next door to Rick and Pam Frankle for 25 years.
24 iNSIDER/ Simchahs October 2012
Written By Linda L. Esterson Photographed By Justin Tsucalas
Rick and Pam Frankle say they have shared mitzvot and memories with Shari and Jerry Caplan.
Call it coincidence. Call it beshert. Or just call it Jewish geography. But whatever you call it, Owings Mills neighbors Pam and Rick Frankle and Shari and Jerry Caplan are connected for life. In both cases, the couples were set up on a blind date of sorts. Jerry’s cousin was set to marry and visited Caplans’ Deli, the restaurant owned by his family. Jerry learned his cousin’s fiancé had a sister and arrangements were made for their first date in August 1984 to Buddy Chips restaurant in downtown Baltimore. All of the stars were aligned, and the sparks flew immediately. “We knew when I opened the door,” says Shari, then 22. “We looked at each other and we knew it.” They were engaged a year later and married on Sunday, March 30, 1986, at the Pikesville Hilton. It was a rather warm day for March, and the hotel staff needed to use the air conditioning to keep things cool. Just a few hours earlier, Rick and Pam said their “I dos” at Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase. Pam, a nurse, worked at Sinai Hospital and met Reva Frankle, who was working as a private-duty nurse.
Reva approached Pam’s co-worker and asked if she could arrange for her niece to meet her son, who had just ended a relationship. As the conversation progressed, Pam interjected, “What about me?!!!” Reva had Rick call Pam and they dined at City Lights in Harborplace in late May 1985. They dated through the summer; Rick, a “lifer” at Camp Airy, spent his days off with Pam. She also came to visit him, staying in with Reva, who was a camp nurse. Pam was impressed immediately, in part due to her future mother-in-law. “I knew that if she was so nice that her son had to be nice,” says Pam, then 24. He was more than nice, and the couple was engaged that September. So what’s the likelihood of these couples meeting each other and becoming friends? First, they had a cousin in common. Rick’s first cousin left his wedding early to attend the Caplans’ wedding, in which her husband was a groomsman. Months later, Rick’s brother and Jerry’s brother both bought lots at Old Mill Estates in Randallstown, and both the Frankles and Caplans did as well. As their homes were built, they were at the lots taking photographs in late
1986. They met taking photos of the progression of their houses, which were next door to each other. By February 1987, both couples had moved into their houses. They became friends and had their children around the same time: Seth Frankle is 25, Ashley Caplan is 24, Hilary Frankle is 22 and Blake Caplan is 20. They bought a swing set together and erected it between their yards. “We decided that if anybody moved, whoever stayed got the swing set,” says Pam. “We had said if we decided to move, we would let the other know.” Instead, they both got to keep the swing set. When a few neighbors moved out, they decided to look for lots … together. They moved to Owings Mills, the Frankles in late 1990 and the Caplans in early 1991. Their houses, located off Ashley Way, are again next door, and the swing set again overlapped their yards. Their relationship has spanned 25 years, with a normal neighborly rapport that one would expect. They have keys to each other’s houses. They borrow snow blowers and sugar and share lawn equipment. They are each other’s emergency contact for their See Love y Neighbor on page 26
Oheb Shalom FOR YOUR NEXT
Wedding Bar/Bat Mitzvah Reception Party
The Caplans, then and now
Meeting Their relationship has spanned 25 years, with a normal neighborly rapport that one would expect.
Love y Neighbor om page 25
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alarm companies. They call each other when they forget if they’ve closed the garage. They also have plenty of history. Pam worked in the hospital nursery, and when Shari went into labor, she was requested in the operating room for the C-section. They’ve shared mitzvot, including each of the children’s b’nai mitzvah and high school graduations. They also have fun stories to share. Most are funny anecdotes involving their kids, like the time the Caplans took Seth with them to Ocean City to keep Ashley company. Both were 2 years old at the time. Ashley fell asleep in the car, and Seth talked the entire way home. Or the time Hilary moved to a regular-sized bed, and the
Frankles and Caplans stood outside chatting with the front door open so they could hear inside. The Caplans’ white Maltese, Sparkle, darted inside and ran upstairs and jumped on Hilary. She was afraid of dogs for some time. Their dogs are friends as well. Snickers Caplan is Bailey Frankle’s best friend. Add in Blazer Caplan and baby Brandy Frankle and there’s quite a mix. Bailey sits on a lounge chair at a bedroom window and watches for Snickers, who sits in the driveway. Ashley dog-sits for the Frankles, and Shari even helped train Bailey while Pam worked too far away to come home midday. The funniest story of all occurred one morning after the Frankles spent See Love y Neighbor on page 28
26 iNSIDER/ Simchahs October 2012
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The Frankles, now and then
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Love y Neighbor om page 27
a long day before at Hershey Park, Pa. They awoke to find their new glass patio table shattered, and there were rocks all over their deck. They immediately called the Caplans, asking if they saw any kids in the trees or if they heard anything. Neither Jerry nor Shari had any information for them, so they called the police. The Caplans had been out that evening also, but they learned that Blake, about 10 years old at the time, and friends were trying to see if the rocks they threw would land in the Frankles’ pool. “The funniest part was all four of us picking up glass under the deck,” says Rick, who saved one of the 28 iNSIDER/ Simchahs October 2012
larger rocks and gave it to Blake for his bar mitzvah. They’ve shared family milestones, and every year they celebrate their anniversaries together. For their 25th, they spent the day in Lancaster, Pa., and saw a show. They are content to yell over the fence to suggest grilling out together, especially since both families keep kosher. They’ve even shared butcher orders and, of course, holiday recipes and helped each other change Passover dishes. “That makes it really nice,” says Pam. “The bottom line is, we’re always there for each other,” says Jerry. ✧ Linda L. Esterson is a local freelance writer.
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Must-Haves For New Moms What first-time parents can’t do without Written By Linda L. Esterson Photographed By Justin Tsucalas
Twins Marilyn Etta Katzen and Norman Stanley Katzen settle in for a nap. Mom, Debby, recommends looking into bouncy chairs.
30 iNSIDER/ Simchahs October 2012
The big day has finally arrived, and you’re off to the hospital to deliver your bouncing bundle of joy. Excitement abounds as you prepare to add a new member to your family. But what happens when you come home? For the first weeks, it’s all about feeding and trying to get sleep. After that, when the baby is awake increasingly longer, what do you need to make life easier with a newborn? The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association reported the U.S. market for juvenile products — everything for baby from prenatal to preschool, excluding food and apparel — was approximately $2.8 billion in manufacturer sales for 2009, up from $2.7 billion the previous year. “A lot of things depend on the child and the family,” says Pam Meister, who gave birth to Malerie on Dec. 27, 2010. Pam recommends consulting the book “Baby Bargains,” which serves as a guide to major products, where to find them for the best value, and safety ratings for items including strollers, car seats, clothing and toys.
All graphics ©iStockphoto.com/JungleOutThere
“People go crazy in advance and end up with a lot of stuff they don’t need.” —Mother, Pam Meister
“It’s a good start for research,” notes Pam, who lives in Stevenson with husband Craig. “You could go crazy because there are so many products out there.” Just what are new parents buying? Debby Katzen, mother of twins Norman and Marilyn born, Aug. 1, 2011, joins Pam in recommending must-haves for new moms. VIDEO MONITOR An “essential” says Pam, who put the monitor in Malerie’s room on the first night home. “It’s valuable because you don’t have to get up every time you hear a noise because they cry out in their sleep.” MATTRESS COVER Pam uses a cover over the sheet. It makes changing the bed easier, eliminating the need to take the heavy mattress out of the crib. She
purchased two of them. MOBILE Instead of a traditional mobile that hangs over the crib and has the potential for strangling after the child can stand, Pam opted for a Homedics projector that sits on the floor and projects rotating images on the ceiling. The unit also plays sounds of the ocean, rain, and nursery rhymes to help the baby get to sleep. BABY ROCKER SEAT Debby and husband Jeff have two Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncy Seats, which provide a great help when both babies are feeding at the same time. The seats also vibrate and play music and nature sounds. The Meisters got a Mamaroo as a gift. This unit moves in different motions to soothe the baby. There’s a constant rocking motion, a car
ride, ocean wave, and all include accompanying sounds. There’s also a hookup for an iPod or MP3 player for you to use your own music. BABY SWING Baby swings soothe, cradle and entertain babies from birth. The Katzens like the Fisher Price Rainforest Open Top Cradle Swing, which swings both side-to-side and front-to-back and provides music and a mobile for baby’s entertainment. CAR SEAT There are so many choices for car seats, so new parents must be sure the seat fits properly in the car. The Graco Laguna Ride was the best for the Meisters, who chose an infant seat that snaps into a base for easy removal without disturbing the baby. The car seat also conveniently snaps into their infant stroller.
STROLLER The Meisters now use a Citi Mini stroller. It easily folds in half, is relatively light and provides a large overhead canopy for shade. The Katzens chose the Baby Trend SnapN-Go Double, which allows the car seat to snap into the frame. “It’s lightweight, just a frame, especially after a C-section,” Debby says. DIGITAL CAMERA Pam takes photos nonstop, she says. She has taken photos weekly, from around the time Malerie was born, to chronicle her growth. She uploads to a website like Kodak or Shutterfly to ensure the photos are backed up, and there’s never a chance of their being lost to a computer virus. Choose a camera with a video option so “when you notice something, it’s easy to flip a switch and take video.” See Must-Haves on page 32 jtinsider.com 31
Malerie Meister is all smiles at 8 months old.
Must-Haves om page 31
BABY GYM/PLAY MAT The Fisher Price gym with a jungle rainforest theme quickly became Malerie’s favorite toy. The musical gym provides jungle figures propelled low enough for the baby to kick from an early age. The Katzens have the Gymini Monkey Island by Tiny Love,
which includes lights, music, mirror and a “tummy time pillow.” BOTTLES Whether nursing or formula feeding, bottles are a staple in every household. The Meisters prefer the Dr. Brown’s bottles, which keep air to
Now serving recipes, restaurants, Kosher tips and kitchen tricks. Every Friday in the new JT.
“You can go nuts, but in the beginning they don’t need anything.” — Mom, Pam Meister
32 iNSIDER/ Simchahs October 2012
the back of the bottle, reducing gas for the baby. A spinning Drying Rack is also recommended for bottles after washing.
THE PERFECT HABITAT FOR YOUR special OCCASIONS.
DIAPER PAIL Debby suggests the Diaper Champ, which uses regular trash bags and eliminates odor. PACK ‘N PLAY The portable bed by Graco gives parents the chance to have a bed on another level of the house or enables grandparents and caregivers an easy place for napping. It also doubles as a playpen. BABY SCALE The Katzen twins were so small at birth — just over 5 pounds each — that their pediatrician was concerned about their weight. They returned to the pediatrician’s office every few days to check their progress. Debby opted to buy her own scale to monitor them for herself.
vailable starting in the fall of 2012, the newly renovated and air-conditioned Mansion House porch at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore provides an outstanding backdrop for weddings, receptions, mitzvahs, birthday parties and other events! Book your event before June 30, 2012 and receive a complimentary fifth hour. To learn more, call 443-552-5277, email email@example.com, or visit us at www.MarylandZoo.org/ZooRentals
MUSICAL ANIMALS As a gift, the Katzens received The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B. It’s a musical sheep that plays peaceful sounds like ocean, rain, whales and even a mother’s heartbeat to soothe baby. They also have the Gentle Giraffe that plays similar relaxing sounds. Despite all of the products out there, the choice is yours. Often, baby’s favorite toys are household objects like the remote control and telephone. “People go crazy in advance and end up with a lot of stuff they don’t need,” says Pam. “Some of it is nice, but you don’t necessarily need it.” The absolute “must-haves,” Pam says, are the monitor, Pack ‘n Play, Snap-N-Go Stroller and Baby Gym. “You can go nuts, but in the beginning they don’t need anything,” she says. “A lot of it is more of a want than a need.” ✧ Linda L. Esterson is a local freelance writer.
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No Invitation Required
Electronic invitations are a growing trend, but many still want traditional paper keepsakes Written By Suzanne Kurtz | The Lifecyclist
WASHINGTON — My bat mitzvah invitation had bright purple embossed text on a hot pink card with my name enlarged in decorative script at the top and daisies adorning the bottom. Twenty-plus years later, I still remember eagerly waiting for my friends to receive the invitations and running home weeks later to check the mailbox for the return of the RSVP envelopes. Secured in a scrapbook, the invitation is a treasured memento. Today, however, a rising trend in simchah invites may be changing the run to the mailbox into a dash for the email inbox and the card stock mementos into computer printouts. No longer for holiday parties and happy hours only, electronic invitations are becoming an acceptable way for some to announce major life-cycle events, including b’nai
34 iNSIDER/ Simchahs October 2012
mitzvah celebrations and weddings. When Jason Horowitz, a marketing executive in New York, and his partner, Carl, were planning their February wedding, electronic invitations became the solution for one major concern: They were short on time. With more than 200 invitations to send, the couple didn’t want to sacrifice style for haste. Paperless Post, a website launched by a 20-something brother-andsister team in 2008, was the perfect answer, said Horowitz, 41. “The wedding was very much planned last minute, but we still wanted to give guests 30 days to RSVP,” he said. Horowitz added that using electronic invitations “saved money, and it’s environmentally friendly.” Paperless Post invitations are sent by email (or through a social networking site such as Facebook
or Twitter) with an image of an envelope appearing on screen. The guest’s name can be written on the outside of the envelope in a typeset of your choice, and the inside can include a lining to give the computer image a paper look. The invitation itself can be designed with the assistance of graphic designers or selected from existing templates. Having received similar invitations from friends for less formal occasions, Horowitz said, “I loved the concept and thought the aesthetics were much better than Evite.” Unlike Evite, Paperless Post invitations are not free, but there are also no pop-up ads. Margery Klausner, an attorney in Southfield, Mich., used an electronic invitation as a follow-up to the paper invitation for her son Nathan’s June bar mitzvah. Klausner, 41, used the image of the paper
invitation for the electronic version. While all local guests and family members received both the paper and electronic invitations, she exclusively sent electronic invitations to guests whom she “wanted to include but wasn’t 100 percent sure that they could come, like those [living] in Israel.” Dealing with different postage rates and delivery time, she said, was another factor in opting for an electronic invitation. One of the main advantages to using the electronic invitations was the quick arrival of the responses, said Klausner. Two hours after hitting the send button on her computer, “I received 57 RSVPs,” she said. Additionally, Klausner was able to track the guests who didn’t open the email and contact them directly to find out if there was a problem. “It was beyond awesome,” she
said. “It’s really impressive.” Since Paperless Post launched, co-founder James Hirschfeld said more than 10,000 b’nai mitzvah and 40,000 wedding invitations have been sent over the site. Calligraphers and engravers shouldn’t worry too much, however. Traditional paper invitations are still very much in vogue, said Wendy Katzen, a Washington-area event planner. She said that of the dozen or so weddings and b’nai mitzvah celebrations she plans for clients each year, “not one” has opted for an electronic invitation. For Melissa Kanter, 49, the paper invitations for the December b’not mitzvah of her twin daughters, Emily and Rachel, will “set the tone for the affair.” “It’s an accessory, like the bracelet to the outfit. It pulls the whole thing together,” said Kanter, an occupational therapist in Short Hills, N.J. The invitation will reflect the personalities of her daughters, said Kanter, who worked with a graphic designer. The RSVPs will be with a response card — not directed to an email address — and she’ll create a special postage stamp for the invitations and cards. After the affair, the invitation will be framed in a shadow box and used to make gifts for the girls — jewelry boxes and pillows. “I’d rather have the tradition” of a paper invitation, Kanter said. “It will be a keepsake that I’ll put in their baby book.”
Katzen says that in planning a lifecycle event, it’s important to keep in mind that guest lists are often multigenerational and you want to take care not to insult anyone. “There are still [people] who think a BlackBerry is a fruit,” she said. “You want to keep those guests in the loop, too.” That wasn’t an issue for Horowitz — even his guests in their 80s had email addresses. Days before the wedding, he sent a message through the site clarifying the start time of the ceremony. The flexibility of an electronic invitation made it much easier, he said, “otherwise I would have had to make a hundred phone calls.” With a guest list of more than 1,500, Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, 48, also went the electronic route for her son Noah’s bar mitzvah last December after it was suggested by another mother. “It was brilliant and made it possible,” said Steinlauf, whose husband, Gil, is the rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington. The entire congregation was invited to the bar mitzvah and subsequent kiddush lunch. The Steinlaufs also went the electronic route for a separate Friday-night dinner for family members and a party on Saturday evening for children. “Can you imagine sending out 1,500 paper invitations?” Steinlauf asked. “It saved a fortune and saved many trees. There’s no question, I can’t imagine another way to have done this.” ✧
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