We have a fantastic team here at the J, and along with that, we have some adorable JCC Staff babies!

In the last year, four of our staff members have welcomed new bundles of joy to their families and our community. In honor of Mother’s Day, we learned more about our building’s new additions!

Going in order, Rachel Cram, our fabulous Director of the Early Learning School, welcomed a sweet little baby girl on July 30, 2017.

What’s your baby’s name? How did you choose it?

Rachel Cram: Amber Lillian. Amber is after Matt’s (my husband) great-grandfather, Andy, and Lillian is after my great-grandmother, Lillian.

Was your oldest child, Gwen, excited to meet her little sister?

RC: Gwen was so excited to have a baby sister––she is still in love! She has told me that she is going to marry Amber, “cause I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her.”

As a mom, what’s the best thing about Mother’s Day?

RC: Spending the day with my mother and my children.

Any words of wisdom to share with new moms?

RC: Do what is best for you and your family, the right thing is what you are doing. Also, you are doing a great job!

What’s your baby’s favorite thing to do at this stage in life?

RC: She loves food (bananas are her favorite) and moving! She is already standing on her own and crawling (up the stairs)!

gave birth to her second child, a beautiful baby girl named Maytal, On December 4, 2017. Sam is our Annual Fund Manager in our Development Office and has been with our team since January of 2016.

What is your baby’s full name? How did you choose it?

Sam Walsh: Maytal Beena Walsh. Maytal means dew drops in Hebrew, and is just a really pretty name that we liked (we also call her Tali for short). It’s after some important family members on my husband Russ’s side – Grandma Marilyn, Grandpa Max and Grandma Minnie. 3 in 1! Beena means wisdom, understanding, or knowledge in Hebrew, and is after my Zaida (grandfather) Ben, who passed away a couple years ago.

What was your son, Avi’s, reaction to his little sister being born?

SW: Avi was very excited to have a baby sister. He’s had some of the usual adjustments to no longer being the center of attention, but generally loves his sister a lot and likes to smile at her and hug her, and is very excited to help her learn things (in the photo I attached he’s trying to help her learn to roll).

As a mom, what’s the best thing about Mother’s Day?

SW: My family isn’t so into making a big deal about things like this–birthdays or anniversaries or anything–but we try to do something nice like have a nice meal together. I guess it’s sometimes an excuse to get something you’ve been wanting––my husband got me a necklace with the kids birthstones and initials on it. It’s nice to feel appreciated for a role that you love, but is also very challenging at times.

Any words of wisdom for new moms?

SW: Try not to make judgements–on other parents, and on yourself! There’s many situations you find yourself in as a parent–especially a new parent–that challenge you in ways you never expected. You will do things you swore you would never do! Be gentle with yourself, and others. Raising tiny humans is tough!

What’s something that always makes your baby smile?

SW: Other people! She loves to smile at other people, especially ones she sees a lot

Gina McReynolds, Director of Retreats and Rentals at Ranch Camp, welcomed her first child, Matilda D Judd (cutest name ever!) on February 20, 2018. Gina attended JCC Ranch Camp as a kid, and now she’s living the dream by working there full time!

How did you choose her name?

Gina McReynolds: Matilda was named after the book character “Matilda” by Roald Dahl because the character exhibits kindness to others, stands up for what is right, and is very precocious and mischievous! Her middle name “D” is the same as mine, but is in honor of Jay’s (my husband) dad, David, and in memory of both my beloved maternal grandmother, Dolores, and Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of our time.

As a mom, what’s the best thing about Mother’s Day?

GM: This will be my first Mother’s Day! Jay, if you read this, sunflowers are acceptable.

Words of wisdom for new mamas?

GM: What everyone told me turned out to be true. You can read a million books but in the end, your intuition will be the most powerful tool.

What’s her favorite thing to do?

GM: Smile! And watch our ceiling fan spin. And listen to old music boxes.

What’s something that always makes Matilda smile?

GM: Playing baby-style airplane!

Last, but certainly not least, was Miriam, a first-time mama who gave birth on March 20, 2018 to Jonah David Bayes––one of the cutest babies we’ve ever seen! Miriam is our Project Manager here at the J and she’s been a part of the J Crew for over 10 years.

How did you choose Jonah’s name?

Miriam Brizendine: We just liked the name Jonah. His middle name, David, is after my grandfather on my mother’s side. As a bonus, my grandfather used to read the Book of Jonah every Yom Kippur at his synagogue so in a way he is double-named after my grandfather.

We know you have two pets. How did they react to having a baby in the house?

MB: We do have dogs and a cat. The dogs like him and the cat is indifferent.

What are you looking forward to most on your first Mother’s Day as a mother?

MB: I think the best thing will be getting a vote in where we get to eat. My mom doesn’t get unilateral decision-making on what we do for Mother’s Day anymore!

Words of wisdom for first-time moms?

MB: Go with the flow, there’s a lot you can’t control so it’s easier to just be open to what happens.

What’s Jonah’s favorite thing to do at this stage in life?

MB: He is still a newborn so he is easily pleased. He enjoys eating and looking at lights and ceiling fans.

We are so thankful and appreciative of the fantastic mothers (and maternal figures) in our lives––we wouldn’t be anywhere (literally and metaphorically) without you. We wish all of you a wonderful Mother’s Day filled with love, kisses, hugs, chocolate, and flowers. Thank you for all you do.

Happy Mother’s Day, J Family.