Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First do homework, then climb the walls

It's one of those "mommy" phrases you never expect to hear yourself saying. And yet you say it. And it works!

Sofia gets homework packets from the sub-sep teacher each week. And each week, Sofia and I argue about doing her homework. At the end of each week, I stack yet another un-touched homework packet on the counter.

The problem is that Home is for rest and relaxation. She is completely uninterested in doing more school work when she is home. And if she is uninterested, she is simply NOT going to do it.

So I decided we needed to find an out-of-the-house place that would be The Homework Place.

Well, Tuesday afternoons, Micah meets with the Cantor for Bar Mitzvah lesson ('cause of course he did not want to work with me!). And now that Sam has Ultimate Frisbee practice every afternoon, I couldn't just leave Sofia home with him. So she comes with me.

Of course, she still did not want to do her homework. What she wanted to do was this:
Our synagogue has a lot of decoratively uneven brick walls, especially in the lobby and behind the sanctuary. They are so inviting for my spider-monkey children!

And thus, I uttered those immortal words: "First finish your homework, then you can climb the walls."

She was SO happy. And when she finished, Micah showed her how it's done:


In other news, we had a WILDLY successful end to the Consecration drama. I was so upset after that first rehearsal, and I decided that it really just was not fair to make her do it. So I did not bring her to the Sunday rehearsal, and I sent an email to the Rabbi, Cantor, and the parents who were organizing.

Wedensday afternoon, a few hours before the last rehearsal, I got a call from one of the moms. It was the BEST phone call I've ever gotten about my daughter.

"Sofia has to participate! She should do just as much as she wants to, and then she can sit down wherever she wants to. She has to be there, she still gets her siddur and certificate."

(I had not known the children were all getting their prayerbooks, including the day school kids. No one ever mentioned that to me.)

So I brought her to rehearsal again after swimming. In the car, I told her she should try, and if she wanted to sit, she could. She told me she would "Just Sit, Listening Ears, Be Quiet."

Well, when we arrived, the kids were practicing, and she RAN straight to her place in line (between two friends), and she stayed up for the entire time they went through the prayers. She even answered when she was supposed to say her name and what she was thankful for (I came behind her to cue her). Then she sat down and watched the rest of the program, quietly.

I was SO proud of her!

She did slightly less better the morning of the event, but she was still fabulous. That girl just knocks me out!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

321 A Day In The Life

Friday, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day. I'm ambivalent about "celebrating" it. As a few other moms have said, I want Sofia to be appreciated as An Individual, not just as a person with an extra chromosome. Not because of the DS. Just because of her. We jump through hoops trying to break down stereotypes: "Oh, all people with Down syndrome are just so sweet." "They are all so friendly." "Such happy, special people."

Uh, no. Happy, not always. Friendly, only when she feels like it. Sweet, not when she's screaming at her brother because she's "ANGRY YOU!"

But as part of a 3-21 A Day In The Life Blog Hop by, here's my Day In The Life of Sofia:

Somewhere between 12:30 am and 3:30 am: there is a bump, followed by the sound of Sofia's door being opened. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. And suddenly there is a 62lb child climbing into my bed. Which is just barely ok when my husband is traveling, and mostly horrible when he's home.

If David is home, the next several hours are punctuated by his moaning and complaining while Sofia does her best to kick him in every rib and sensitive area she can reach, in the hopes that he'll just get up and move. He says some nights he brings her back to her room several times. I'm a deep sleeper. If I do manage to wake up, I bring her to her room, and have to stay with her until she's so deeply asleep that she won't hear me get up and leave; usually I'm asleep way before that point.

6am: my alarm goes off to wake up Sam so he can catch the school bus for the high school. Hopefully he remembers to wake me up before he leaves. If he can find me; I'm either in Sofia's room, or buried under her, since she likes to use me as a pillow whenever possible.

I get up, shower, and then have to get Sofia and Micah ready for school. Micah wakes up fine. Sofia often has to be dragged out of bed these days. Especially if it's my bed. (I don't get it. She has the newer, more comfortable mattress. I'd totally choose her room over mine!). Then comes the routine: get dressed, brush hair, find glasses. We go downstairs and I make her a pack of instant Grits (every single day of the year - except Passover - no matter where in the world we are); she makes sure I don't forget to add the butter. After the grits, usually there's bowl of cereal. Meanwhile, I make breakfast for myself and lunch for both kids.

Finally, get shoes and socks and coat, grab backpacks. Get to the car. Wait for Micah to get to the car, because there's usually something he forgot to get or to do...

Off we go, racing backwards down our very steep driveway in my minivan. Thrill Ride for the Day.

Sofia's school this year is just around the corner, and in the early morning, we are even allowed to drive in using the bus path in the back. Park, and walk her in to Extended Day Program. Pick up her coat and backpack along the way, since she takes them off and drops them in the hallway the instant she gets into the building. Report to the EDP teacher about how many helpings of breakfast she's had; sometimes she's still hungry.

Sofia is in the Sub-Separate classroom this year. She's attached to an Inclusion classroom, so I don't really know what the schedule looks like each day. Sometimes she's with the Inclusion class, mostly for Art, Music, PE and Lunch, and mostly she's in SubSep.

Mondays and Thursdays, I pick her up before lunch, and take her over to the Jewish Day School, where she joins the 2nd grade class. The other three days, I pick her up at the end of the day, a few minutes before the rest of the school gets out; the SubSep kids are dismissed from the front door, since many are on the special van bus, while the rest of the kids are dismissed from the side door.

Afternoons are a mixed bag. Mondays, she stays in Aftercare at the day school, although sometimes she escapes and finds me in my office. Then we leave and race over to her gymnastics class. Tuesday she goes home. Wednesday and Thursday she has swimming; I take her Wednesday (she won't let me into the dressing room to help her get into the swimsuit anymore!), and the babysitter picks her up from aftercare at the day school on Thursday. Friday she did have dance class, but we just quit; she hated Tap and would not cooperate.

Then we drive whichever boy needs to be driven somewhere, and then go home. She watches a movie (usually on Netflix - Tinkerbell or Barbie are the current favorites) while I make dinner. There are "beauty" toys (hair and makeup) spread out all over the floor, and most of the time she brushes her Rapunzel doll's hair while watching her movies. More watching after dinner (unless David is home and says "no TV").

Maybe a bath (she showers after swimming, so not on those nights), brush teeth, pajamas, and bed. If it's not too late, I try to make her read a book to me, or I read to her. Mostly she likes to look at the pictures and argue with me.

She's very independent these days, and sometimes kicks me out of her room, but just as often insists that I stay. I try to leave before she falls asleep.

What's missing from this schedule?


Any kind of playdates.

Any getting together with Friends.

Ever. (Ok, not EVER. In the late spring and early autumn, we spend more time outside, and her friend from across the street might stop by on the way from walking their dog, and the two girls will play together for about 20 minutes. It has not been warm enough to do that in many months.)

It kind of sucks.

I don't mean to be depressing. Usually I'm completely in awe of and enthralled by La Principessa.

But sometimes I wish ....

Ugh. I can't believe I even said that to myself.

I wish she was more "normal." But I don't, really. I just wish she had playdates. I wish she got to be included more. I wish she was invited to some birthday parties from the public school (and I very much appreciate that she is invited to all the parties from the day school). I wish other kids HER AGE (or grade, really, since she's 9 already) would engage her in conversation.

It was very sweet today. This past weekend, at the Purim festivities at shul, Sofia made a new friend, also named Sofia. Also in 2nd grade, although a few years younger (and much taller!) than my daughter. Well, this afternoon, we went to shul (to practice for Consecration; it went horribly, since Sofia was totally uninterested in participating), and the new Sofia held out her arms to give my daughter a huge hug. THAT was wonderful.

I wish more kids would do that. Her day school friends often do; not all of them, but some of them. The rest just treat her like any other kid, which is great. But she's only there 4 hours a week. The rest of the time, I don't get to see her with friends.

I'm just grumpy. I hear her upstairs as I type this. She's watching something, and laughing hysterically (and adorably). She's "really very happy" - right now.

Monday, February 24, 2014

February Vacation - Guadaloupe!

I am relaxed.


Like the "can we just cement this feeling into my body" type of relaxed I have not felt in a long time.

A week doing nothing more than following Sofia from pool to shore to restaurant, occasionally talking to the boys and David, and reading and sleeping, is apparently really good for me.

We left on Friday afternoon, right after school, for Logan Airport. Flight to Miami.

I hate Miami Airport. It's huge, it's badly marked, people are not nice, and it's overcrowded. And poorly planned. And slow.

But eventually we made it to the hotel for the first night, and then back to the same airport in the morning for our flight to Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean.

Sofia spent most of the flights watching movies on my Color Nook (the one that was Grandma's), because her movie player died after about 20 minutes. Time to get a new one. Bummer. But at least I'd thought ahead and put some of her movies on the Nook, along with my own stuff.

She also went to the restroom about 6 times, vaulting off each and every row of seats on the way down and back each time.

Otherwise, the flights were fine. Micah sat next to Sofia on the first flight, which was helpful. Sam sat there the second flight, which was not helpful.

Arrived in Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport, and found the Club Med staff. And we were off for a week at Club Med La Caravalle.

It was a lovely week. We had two connecting rooms, so the three kids each had their own bed (pull-out for Micah), and in theory David and I had our own room (although Sofia shared our bathroom, and came in for cuddles each morning).

We didn't do much beyond swim and eat. I tried putting Sofia into the Mini Club one morning so I could go windsurfing (which I did, and loved), but she was not at all happy in the club, so that was the end of that. I had to take her to activities instead. 

She tried the Trapeze (Club Med has a Circus School) - the first time, they carried her up the ladder and got her onto the bar and swinging before she even realized it, but the second time, she got a death-grip on the safety rope, and they ended up carrying her back down the ladder instead.

Micah got to do the trapeze once, and enjoyed it.

Sam did archery every afternoon, and had a lot of fun. He also tried windsurfing with me, and liked it.

David relaxed, too.

It was also Sofia's birthday on Tuesday, and they brought her a cake at dinner.

So here are some random photos covering the week:

Sofia taking a selfie


Sofia stops to take some photos of a tree-top while David watches
 Me and my love

More sunset

Swimming with my little fishie

Sam and one of the friends he made dug a huge hole on the beach
 Birthday Princess (I made the crown using the wrapping paper from the book I'd brought along for her)

Sofia getting carried up the ladder for the trapeze
 but not cooperating...

 Micah did it, though.

 Sam the archer

 Friday night award ceremony, Sofia latched on to the GO in the suit. She followed him around like he was her prom date.

 Me and my girl

 My loves

 Snacking in the lounge - she loved the tuna

 The photographers were excellent, and WICKED EXPENSIVE! I was only able to buy 7 photos (for 112Euros, which is a small fortune). Still regret not taking a few more, but gee-whiz, they were a fortune.

 The boys went on a Kayak ride through the mangroves.

 Contemplating the sailboards

 Hanging out in the room...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I should probably blog

I don't know why I have not written in so long. I meant to. And I had opportunity. Just did not get around to it.

Let's see, it's been kind'a busy...

On the 17th, I left for a conference in California. Since David wasn't going to come home from the Netherlands until very late that night, and I had to leave super-early in the morning, my parents came up on Thursday. They got here when Sam was home, before me and Micah, so they made dinner, which was good because Thursdays are busy with two b'nai mitzvah students and Micah's guitar lesson. This place is a madhouse.

Anyway, I had a 7am flight, so Dad took me to the Logan Express bus and off I went. I was at the hotel in LA before noon! First I had a RAVSAK SuLaM Shabbaton. (RAVSAK stands for "Reshet Bati Sefer Kehillotim" which means Network of Community Day Schools; Sulam means "ladder, or system" and was the program I attended twice last school year; a Shabbaton [here in the US] is a Shabbat plus usually Saturday evening and maybe Sunday morning spent together).

Anyway, this was the first time I was attending SuLaM by myself. Last year I had gone with our (now former) head of school and (now former) director of education. The HOS had been the official SuLaM participant; I was there as the community lay-leader.

But this time I was there on my own (since they are both no longer with our school) and as a staff person. And this time I got to really establish my own connections, without worrying about their interactions.

It was wonderful. We had four massive study sessions during the course of the weekend, plus services, meals, and other meetings/speakers. The four study sessions were all with a scholar-in-residence, Rabbi Shai Held. We discussed the concept of b'tzelem Elohim, being created in G-d's image. What does it mean to be created in G-d's image, what responsibilities does it bring, and what does it mean to consider other people (not just self) as b'tzelem Elohim? It was just fascinating.

By the time we were done with dinner on Saturday, around 7:30 pm, I was just fried. So many things running through my head, things to digest and consider and ponder.

I was lucky, the assigned roommate I had was terrific. She was from I think North Carolina, and also has three kids, about the ages of mine, although she's got two girls and then the boy. We got along great.

Sunday we had tefillah, a final study session, then a massive brunch (they feed us REALLY well!), and then the big conference started. "Pushing The Needle", the North American Jewish Day School Conference. 500+ people, from day schools all over North America. Fascinating stuff. My current Director of Education (S) and Director of Institutional Advancement (C) (i.e. my current bosses) both joined me for the conference.

Again, my head was just about ready to explode after three more days of learning and discussing and pondering and brainstorming. And it was good to be there with the two directors; I feel like we thought through a whole bunch of issues that we are facing at school, and came up with good possible solutions.

Meanwhile, David was home juggling his children. I don't know what was funnier - the calls from him or the calls from the boys complaining about him. (Although to be fair, after 24 hours with my parents, the kids were SO glad to have Daddy home!). It's good for them to get along without me once in a while.

I was supposed to fly home late Tuesday night, but because there was a huge storm anticipated in the NorthEast, my flight was cancelled. I made arrangements to move to a Residence Inn near Manhattan Beach (using Marriott points). C's flight was early on Wednesday, but mine was reshceduled for Thursday, so I had two nights. She stayed with me, since I ended up having a whole two-story "penthouse" suite!

She and I (we've gotten to be good friends - I really like her!) walked to the beach, and strolled around the shops, stopping for a wine tasting, too. Then we came back to the hotel. There was a cocktail reception every night at the hotel, too. C actually jumped into the pool in her dress, since the water looked so inviting ;)

Then she changed, and my friend E, whom I have not seen since I graduated college, came to join us for dinner. It was SO nice to see her! Feels like we'd only said goodbye a minute ago. One of the great things about Facebook is the ability to reconnect with people you appreciate.

I had all day Wednesday to myself. Unfortunately, I pulled a muscle or something, so sitting was uncomfortable, but I walked to the beach and back. Oh, and in the morning I got a manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow waxing.

Kind of weird to have nothing specific to do. I really don't "relax" well. I spent a lot of time surfing (we have a school subscription), so that was good.

Flight took up most of Thursday. I landed around 8:30, and was home by 10pm. Unfortunately I missed David's company dinner, which was at Blue Ginger (Ming Tsai's restaurant in Wellesley).

When I got home, the kids were all still awake. Sofia had cut her foot at swimming that afternoon, on a broken tile. (You can bet the folks at the swim place called to check up on her a bunch of times!). She bleeds like a stuck pig, so her foot was all bandaged up, and she wouldn't let anyone touch it except me. The cut was all the way down her pinky toe. It had mostly stopped bleeding, so I put a bandaid on it; by Friday it was ok.

Friday was my birthday! Coffee with the girls, a few errands, stop at school to restart the server. I had to go with Sofia to her ballet class. Not only has she not been cooperating well when the babysitter takes her, but she was HORRIBLE when my dad took her the previous week (not surprising). So now I get to go into class with her.

For my birthday, David and I went out to dinner with our "posse" of friends - 4 other couples that we've been very close to over the past few years from the day school. We had a blast. Went to the Aztec, my very favorite restaurant, a tiny little dive on 135, around the corner from the Framingham housing projects, next to Larry's Small Appliances, where you can buy a washing machine AND bird seed. Food is delicious. Staff is wonderful. All fun.

We slept in on Saturday, and in the evening went to school for the Havdalah program. (Havdalah is the ceremony marking the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the rest of the week). It was good.

Sunday was a little busy. Sam had Prozdor (judaic studies high school) so I had to get him to the bus. David took Micah on some errands. Sofia had a birthday party. And then David had to leave to drive to Orangeburg NY for the week. And we had more med students for Operation House Call (apparently I'm on two different lists).

The school week was good, except my muscles were all really tight, and of course I caught a cold the minute I returned from CA. Acupuncture and a massage both helped.

Friday was busy. Sofia and Sam had school, but Micah and I didn't because it was professional development day (I had to go in for a little while, not long). Instead, in the morning, I had Sam's IEP. It was the first time (we've been doing this since he was in first grade) that I went in completely on my own, no posse from MWJDS. Weird.

He's doing really well. They continue to be impressed with his study habits. They acknowledge that he's got some considerable anxiety issues (he's also been complaining of stomach ache for several weeks, coinciding with mid-terms; I think he talked himself into an ulcer).

So he's still getting support, although they want him to move up to CP2 English in the fall. He's moving up in History now, and he moved up in Science after first term. He has very specific academic goals for himself (involving a lot of honors courses when he is an upperclassman), so they want to support him and make sure he does not get overwhelmed.

I was happy with the meeting. Whew.

Anyway, in the afternoon, Micah was invited to a birthday party. Actually, Sofia had been invited, because it was for one of the first graders, but she couldn't go because of ballet. The boy really wanted Micah (and Sam) to come, too, because Micah's like a superstar for the younger kids. Micah was pleased to be asked.

But of course I had to take Sam to the doctor because he stomach had gotten so bad. And the mom who was supposed to drive Micah got sick. So after a lot of frantic texts, the host family picked Micah up at the pediatrician's office while we were waiting for the doctor.

And them more frantic calls to find someone to get Sofia from school, since the pediatrician takes forever to show up in the exam room (she's worth it because then she takes an equally long time with us, but it's anxiety-provoking when I'm on a tight schedule). My friend was able to go get Sofia, and then I got to see my friend who a whole minute when I picked her up.

Doc ordered some blood work, but we also talked with Sam about food and liquid and fiber. Trying a few OTC meds first to clear him out, which seems to be helping. But she thinks there might be a bit of a viral thing also. I have to agree, because my "hip and back" problem came back on Saturday, and I realized it wasn't so much muscle as gastric. Feeling better now, as is Sam.

Anyway, still on Friday, babysitter came to drive Sam to shul for a USY Shabbaton (he slept over at shul, too). I took Sofia to ballet, then raced to pick up Micah, then raced home to change, and then the three of us went to shul, too, for Shabbat dinner. It was lovely. I sat with the Cantor and his wife (who is a Rabbi herself, and teaches at our school) and their three kids, and my friend Y and her two kids, and my dear friend E, and the Rabbi, and Sofia. The boys sat with their friends.

Micah hangs mostly with the 7th graders. It's looking like this idea, to graduate him a year early, may really work. We've got a Cognitive Evaluation this coming weekend.

Anyway, we all had a great time over dinner. And David was home when we got back. We all went back in the morning for services (Sam and his buddy greeted us looking like zombies; they hadn't gone to sleep until 3am, so they came home after lunch).

Services were a bit stressful. David and Sofia were both in moods. Sofia was being really good during the Torah service and guest speaker - she took out all the books from the kids' book bin, and then put them all back in, one at a time - but then she got antsy. Sam was carrying the Torah at the end of the Torah service, so I let her follow him. She was so happy, shaking hands with everyone along the way, and she stood so nicely up on the bimah right between Sam and the Rabbi. She was really very well behaved.

Of course she didn't want to come down, so I had to get her, but it was smooth. Later, she wanted to go up again. I wouldn't normally let her on the bimah until the very end, but I'd been holding her wrists so tightly and she'd been fighting me the whole time, and it was Youth Shabbat. So when he called the 3rd and 4th graders up, I let her go, too.

Well, David came over and told me he was really pissed.

Ugh. So I turned baby and stopped doing anything.

I actually had a nice conversation with friends over lunch, since I didn't sit with any of my family.

When it was time to leave, I couldn't find Sofia, until the custodian told me she was back in the sanctuary. In her coat, holding a cup of seltzer, sitting cross-legged on the bimah (stage), just looking out and watching them clean up. She just wanted to BE there.


Naps for everyone when we got home! And my stomach and hips and back started hurting like crazy.

Sunday, Sam to Prozdor, and we took the little ones out for brunch. Then in the afternoon, David and I had an engagement party to go to, which was lovely. But we were super tired, so we left early.

Micah had a little Superbowl party, just two kids from school and two from soccer. It was cute, and they had fun. I went to sleep before 9pm; David finished hosting and sort of cleaned up.

Monday was ok; a little stressful because I wasn't feeling well. David had to leave in the late afternoon for his flight to San Jose, so he stopped by school to say goodbye. I walked with him to go see Sofia, who was in gym (she's at MWJDS on Monday afternoons). He walked right up to her, while I stood in the doorway. She took a look at him, and then poked her head around him and said "OH! Mommy Here!"  ha ha ha!

Monday afternoon Sofia left her glasses at MonkeyGym, so after we drove Micah out to Futsal in Southborough, we had to go back to Ashland to pick them up. And then Sam had a 9pm Frisbee game in Marlboro. It was a long day.

Tuesday was calmer. Feeling better, work, then haircut for me, grocery shopping, pick up Sofia, pick up Sam, take Sam for blood work (or as Sofia calls it, "Bloody Arm"), pick up Micah, stop at Fabric store to try to get Sam fabric for his weighted blanket (got some for me instead), then haircuts for the boys. Sofia REALLY wanted her hair done, too, but she'd just had a cut a few weeks ago.

Today (Wednesday) is a snow day. We weren't sure... the January day (when I was stuck in CA), they called it too early, and there turned out to be very little snow. So Ashland didn't call it until 5am, and Framingham until nearly 6m. I updated the website and the school Facebook page and went back to bed.

Only to be wakened by Miss Sofia, whom I normally need to drag out of (my) bed at 7am for school. At 7:15 today she was wide awake and ready to watch TV. Downstairs, so she could eat, too.


I never got back to sleep today, although I'm still in my pajamas ;)

I have been working my way though Glee. I had finished season 4 on Netflix the other day, and today I saw the "Finn" tribute, which was very sad. So maybe that's partly why I'm in a bit of  a funk.

The kids all went outside around noon. Sam used the snowblower to clear most of the driveway, and then he shoveled. Micah took Sofia out, first to start clearing the car, and then to just have fun. But somehow, somewhere, she took off her glasses. "Outside. In Snow." That's all she'll tell me.  We all looked all over the yard, but no sign of them. Will have to wait until spring. Good thing we have a spare pair.

Back to school tomorrow. The day school Shabbaton is this coming weekend (I know, it's Shabbaton season around here!), and I'm in charge. Ugh. I had forgotten to take my meds Sunday night because I didn't feel well, so I was in a "rip-shit" mood on Monday. People just were not sending in their RSVPs, and I need head counts for everything. I wrote a long letter to the room parents, which had to be edited by two people before it was fit for human consumption. But now I'm getting more responses back, so yeah.

Ok, brain has been purged. Time to go to sleep.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mid-January MIgraine Week

Day three of a cluster migraine. I hate the barometer in January. Today I had to have help running Mazal Tots, the preschool program at school, because I couldn't see well enough to read them a book. Ugh.

So I came home early (had to anyway, because I had to pick up Sam early, since he could leave school after his midterm) and relaxed...until Sofia's school called to say she'd thrown up all over the hallway.

So now we're home. She wasn't feeling well at first, but seems much better now.

Poor Micah has to skip Debate club today so he can get a ride home.

It's been a fairly quiet week otherwise. David is in the Netherlands. I'm leaving Friday morning for a conference in LA, so my parents are coming up on Thursday afternoon, and will stay until Saturday. Then David gets to handle his kids for a few days!

Here's a quick video of Sofia reading one of her Lakeshore Readers:

And I'm typing this on my New Computer! I finally upgraded and got my totally awesome, 15" MacBook Pro. LOVE IT!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year already!

Oy, I lost track of 2013. It just raced away.

Thanksgiving weekend was "normal" for us. My sister's house on Thursday. David was in a bad mood but otherwise it was an ok day. We slept over there.

In the morning, the boys stayed with the girls (I think they went to a movie). I dropped David at Laura's house so he could hang with Travis (they actually had a nice time going out for lunch), and Laura and I took Sofia and Lilie to Coco Key in Waterbury for some indoor water park fun. I had no idea you could go on the same blue slide over and over again for two hours and still have fun!

We got the girls cleaned and dressed, picked up a bit of lunch for them, and dropped them off with the guys. Then Laura and I were on our own - YEAH!

We decided it would be a bad thing if we actually lived near each other, because we are just dangerous when we shop together! Efficient, but dangerous. We got a lot of stuff - coffee maker for the parents, toys and gifts for the kids. Then groceries.

We met up with my friends B&K, who were up from Florida for the weekend. Their middle son E is one of Micah's buddies, so he'd joined the kids for the movie. It was nice to see them, even if it was while walking around Khol's.

Collected all the kids, and went back to Laura's house to prepare Hanuka/Thanksgiving2 dinner. Parents came over. It was a nice evening. And we got back to our house by about 11pm.

Saturday was Thanksgiving #3, this time "Chosen Family" at my friend R's house. A new-ish tradition, and really fun. Deep fried turkey and grilled turkey. Both kosher. YUM!

December sped in with a vengeance. David resumed travel, and I launched into the final weeks of preparation for the MWJDS Gala. It was a lot of work, but I think this was the easiest one yet. I did the Tribute Book as well as the Auction, and had a creative blast.

Unfortunately, Micah and I got sick the week before the Gala. The morning after, my ears were actually bleeding, they were so infected. I'm still fighting off the infection, several weeks later, but the antibiotics helped. I got Micah some meds, too.

Vacation week was fun. Sunday we left for Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury, NY, near Lake George. We had 3 nights there at the indoor water park. It wasn't as exciting as Great Wolf Lodge, but we had fun anyway. We spent a lot of time AS A FAMILY floating along the river.

In between swims, we ate at a yummy diner, and David took the boys indoor rock climbing, and we went to delicious Sushi/Thai on Christmas Eve and then saw The Hobbit 2 (for about 8 hours, it seemed!).

Wednesday we went down to my uncle's house for Christmas. Long day.

Slept at R's house in East Brunswick that night. Thursday went in to Brooklyn to visit another friend, and then took Micah to Eichlers where he picked out his Tallit for his Bar Mitzvah.

Then into NYC for a few days. Thursday night we saw "Peter and the Starcatcher", which was wonderful. Sofia was actually angry when it ended.

Friday, R met us at the Jewish Museum. We walked a bit after, got some lunch, relaxed. Had a late sushi dinner near the hotel (which was at 92nd & 1st).

Saturday I escaped for my traditional NYC mani/pedi. $20!!!

Then we had a Forced March, from the hotel all the way to Time Square. Thank heavens we had the wheelchair! It was a nice day, though. A bit of shopping along the way - I got a necklace at Tiffany's, and David got two jackets, two pair of pants and two shirts at Joseph B Banks (for the price of the first jacket!).

Micah loved seeing Time Square for really the first time (he was a baby when we last took them). Sofia, in the wheelchair, kept kicking people because it was so crowded.

We had dinner at a kosher Tapas restaurant, Ladino, on 8th & 56th. Yummy, and David and I shared a whole pitcher of Sangria. Toddled back to the subway to get home ;)

Sunday we left the city and stopped to visit Heather & her family. Laura and Lilie came down too, so we all had a nice visit. And again, we were home by about 11pm.

New Years Eve we went to the B house with a few other families. Left early, because K&D are not "stay up till midnight" people. It was nice to be tucked into bed to watch the ball drop.

It's been a blizzard and "wicked cold" since New Years. The kids had school Thursday, but Micah (and therefore I) got out at 1:00. Picked up Sofia, Sam got home, and we hunkered down.

Friday I didn't even leave the house; just caught up on some more episodes of Glee.

Friday night my next door neighbor and her son came over. Her husband is going through cancer treatment for Stage 4 Esophogeal Cancer, ugh, and wasn't feeling well enough to come over. But it was good to see her.

Yesterday was shul, and then it was wicked cold again so we stayed home. Today Sam and David are snow boarding/skiing (much to David's chagrine) and I'm about to take Micah and Sofia off to see a movie...

Monday, November 11, 2013

This and That

It's difficult to make blog posts while driving, which is when I think of them. So here's just a few little vignettes from the past few days...

David is in Israel, and sick with a Crohne's attack. I had to go to school today (it was parent/teacher conferences, and the new networking consultant and I spent most of the day ripping out the network and starting from scratch). I spoke to David while we were eating lunch, and the consultant listened to our conversation and asked "How old is he?" ... thinking I was talking to one of the kids.

David's father is also sick, in the hospital with either cellulitis, or rheumatoid arthritis, or a Crohne's attack, or maybe alien intervention... I'm not at all impressed with the doctors he is seeing.

I took the kids and A and two of Micah's soccer pals to see "Thor" this afternoon when I was done working. Cool movie, a little confusing because I never saw the first one and Thor's not my favorite Marvel hero (although I do like Loki!). Sofia enjoyed it.

This past weekend was busy. Friday night I took the kids to see "13", a play put on by the Performing Arts Center of Framingham. Three of their friends were in it. At one point, S. had a big soliloquy, and asked a rhetorical question. There was silence, and then Sofia shouted "YES!" The whole audience cracked up.

Saturday Micah had his last soccer game in the morning, and then we had a Bar Mitzvah at Chabad Lexington.  So we showed up at the field all dressed up, which was funny.

The Bar Mitzvah was lovely. EJ was just so adorable, looking like a miniature of his father (EJ's parents are good friends of ours). He did a great job. The shul is really nice; much larger than Natick Chabad. The Rabbi spoke well. And on the way home, Sam said, "You know, I think I'll start going to Chabad instead of Temple Israel..." So in the evening, I introduced him to the Rabbi and Rebbitzin from Natick.

Another funny Sofia moment happened at the end of the Bar Mitzvah evening. Sofia and another little girl had a lot of fun hanging out in the preschool classroom playing with toys most of the evening. When it was time to go home, I told her to go in and give hugs to the bar mitzvah family. Well, Sofia started giving hugs... to EVERYONE. She just went around each table and gave hugs, or grabbed people as they were standing, often with an "Excuse Me" to catch their attention. Even the black-hatted gents were very amused by her. And every once in a while, she dissed someone...

Micah had a great weekend. After the Bar Mitzvah (where EJ seemed to have his arm around Micah's shoulders all evening, very sweet), I dropped him at B's house for the soccer sleep over. Was supposed to pick up at 10 am, but he called at 9 asking if he could stay until 2. Then he wanted to stay even longer, but I was actually taking him over to a family friend's house to help with a much-anticipated oil change. So he went there, and passed out fairly early Sunday night. Today, I brought him back to B's house, and another teammate with them too. The three of them (aside from being somewhat identical) had a blast.

Sam just got home from his second Ultimate Frisbee game with Ashland High. He loves it. I took him last week, but thankfully he got a ride tonight. I had never seen him play before (he plays at camp); it looks like football for skinny people. But he's very excited by it.

It will be a big challenge next month, when he has his Frisbee matches on Monday evenings, and Micah plays indoor futsal (soccer) on Monday evenings, and I have a bat mitzvah student on Monday evenings... and Sofia has gymnastics on Monday afternoons...

Got this year's school photos back for my public school students; Micah will have his taken in a few weeks.