Monday, December 29, 2008

Updates on all

Ok, yes, I have Fifth's Disease. What is a mild virus in a child produces weeks of massive joint pain and fatigue in adults. Ouch!

We had the funeral for Grandma Ruth yesterday. It was a very long weekend...

To refresh: I got sick before last weekend, and spent the entire snow-storm in bed, fever and exhaustio, etc.

Tuesday morning I went in for blood work, which I did not get back until late last night.

Wednesday after school, we took the boys to Sturbridge and gave them to my dad. Then we returned home with Sofia. I felt horrible, but eventually we went to dinner with friends and hung at their house all evening (since David was upset that we didn't go to NYC).

Thursday morning we hung out at home, relaxing and puttering. David hooked up the 5disc changer to the downstairs TV, so now we can watch DVDs downstairs. I made dinner, and we were watching "Fiddler on the Roof"...

...when David's mom called to say his grandmother was on her way to the hospital. About 45 minutes later it was confirmed, she'd passed away.

Commence funeral prep. We had to pack, and figure out what our job would be (food for shiva) and comfort his sister and cousi and notify lots of people.

Friday we eventually got the car loaded and left here areoun 1:00. Got to my sister's house at 3, in time to watch "Mama Mia" (which was really funny and cute!). Then we pulled the boys aside to tell them about Grandma. Sammy started to cry softly, while Micah said "Oh no! Can we not talk about this?"

Dinner at my sister's house, then back to sleep at my parents'. Saturday morning we took all the kids (including my nieces) to shul.

In the afternoon, the 4 ig kids hung out watching TV at my parents', David took Sofia to see his other grandmother, and I ran errands and had my nails done.

Just as we were getting ready to go meet my sister and BIL for dinner, David's mom called, falling apart, so he went over there instead to help set up. They went through lots of photos.

The boys slept at my sister's, and Sunday we left Sofia with my parents while we went to The Crown to get the food platters. Got everything set up at Grandma's house, waited for family friend to come stay at the house, and headed off for the cemetary.

LOTS of people showed up! The rabbi was running late, so we were there a long time. The ceremony was lovely. Since it was both Chanukah and Rosh Chodesh (New Month), both usually joyous occasions, the rabbi was able to show how appropriate it was to have Ruth's funeral on that day. Every time her name was mentioned, the sun burst through the clouds - that was very funny!

I was proud of the boys. Micah knew exactly what part he didn't want to see (the casket being lowered into the ground), and stayed through much of the rabbi's talk before he walked away. Sam, on the other hand, stayed through everything and did several rounds of shoveling (Jewish custom is to bury the dead, literally).

Back to the house, where not as many people came (the non-Jewish friends and relatives had holiday parties to get back to), but we still had quite a crowd.

My family took the kids back with them, so David and I were able to stay all afternoon through the evening shiva minyan without dealing with them. We left grandma's at 9, left my parents' before 10:30, and made it home by midnight.

I'm SOOOO tired! And my hands are killing me. I keep losing feeling in my fingers, which is making everything very tough.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

David's maternal grandmother, Ruth (Mussman) Rubenstein, passed away this evening. She's been having some health issues, but nothing in particular. She just didn't feel well, and then she died.

The funeral is on Sunday, graveside in New Britain CT. David's mom decided they want donations to go to the National Down Syndrome Congress, 1370 Center Drive, Suite 102,
Atlanta, GA 30338

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Out of Bed, Finally

Whew, what a weekend! My fever continued, and after David got the driveway cleared on Sunday (we had lots of snow), I made it over to the new MinitClinic at CVS. Turns out I did indeed have an ear infection, so she put me on Zithromax.

But fever continued, up and down, all weekend. I could not get out of bed! At least it was a snowy weekend and no one was going anywhere. David had to deal with the kids - that was interesting to listen to. At one point he was yelling at Sofia because she kept saying "poop" but refusing to go on the potty. I had to remind him that she's 3.

Monday wasn't any better. At least Sofia's school was canceled, so she stayed hoe with me and watched plenty of (educational!) TV while I slept. David took the boys to school, and I got one of the moms to drive them home. I couldn't move.

Today is only a little better. Fever is lower (still not gone), but every joint in my body aches. I drove the boys to school, then went to my doctor's office (finally!). They did a full blood workup, so we'll see - she thinks it's some virus, but couldn't quite tell what, because I have so many different symptoms.

This is NOT fun! This afternoon is busy - I had to move Micah's appointments from yesterday to todya, so we've got his therapy, then his Tae Kwan Do test, then piano lesson, then his TKD class, then Sam's (at least piano is in the same building).

Wishing you all Happy Holidays. The kids have been really peased with their gitfts so far, which is nice because I kept things very simple this year. Sammy got Hanukah socks, which he loved. Micah got a little portable sparkle-lamp, and he walks around with it. Last night Sofia got her "big" present, a wooden Shabbat set

She loves it! Squealed with delight, and said "challah" very clearly. "Lights" the candles, tried to put one out in the wine (like Havdalah). "Cuts" the challah very carefully.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Well, this has been interesting. I've been popping high fevers since Wednesday afternoon. Today I clocked in at 103.2. No other symptoms. Just fever.

David's been great. Thursday, after I got up and took a shower and climbed back in bed wrapped in a towel, he took all the kids to school. He checks on me every couple of hours at night and brings me tylenol.

At least it's snowing now, and we're home. No plans until Sunday night. I'm gonna stay in bed most of the time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reality vs. Family

Here's the situation in a nutshell: David and I are NOT going to my uncle's house on Christmas, and both my parents, my uncle, and my grandmother (who won't even be there) are furious.

Since David was traveling most of October and November, we decided to try to go to NYC for a few days. We had wanted to stay at our favorite hotel, but it had a 4 night minimum (with very high prices on two of the four nights). So we are staying with my friend R, who lives just outside the city. We will sleep late, relax with her, and go eat at a really nice kosher restaurant in the city on the 25th.

We'll drop the kids off with my parents, and they can all go to my uncle's house for the day.

Why does my uncle celebrate Christmas? My aunt is Catholic, and therefore their kids are Catholic. And don't forget that my grandfather (dad's father) was not Jewish; I spent my childhood going to my grandparents' house for Christmas.

But when Sam was an infant, I took him to my uncle's, and my mother put all his Hanukah gifts under the Christmas tree. And I decided that I wasn't coming back until my kids knew the difference.

So for many years I did not go to my uncle's house on Christmas. We stayed in Massachusetts, getting together with other Jewish friends either at someone's home or at events at shul.

Last year, when Sam was 8 and Micah was 6, David was away in Israel over Christmas week. So I decided I could handle going down to Stamford. I took the three kids, and it was ok.

"OK" means that the kids all had fun, and I was only verbally attacked a few times - once by my grandmother (whom I was able to pull aside and tell how I felt; after I too a walk around the block and called David in Israel).

The verbal attacks mostly come from my mother and my uncle (and on other occasions from my sister, but since she is a doctor she usually works on Christmas). They generally relate to which morsels of food are being placed in my mouth at any given time, along with continuous harangues about exercise and judgment calls about how I should not be involved in so many activities.


Grandma's comment as I took ONE cookie from the large tray on the counter was "you don't need that", although it was the first cookie I had taken, after nibbling on three pieces of cheese and chasing Sofia around the house for 3 hours.

Thanksgiving is always unpleasant in this regard, as I can feel my mother's eyes piercing into my skin as I put any food on my plate. My uncle will generally muster a comment; my sister continues to say "you have to exercise" when I attempt to tell her anything else about my life in Massachusetts, and this year, my mother gave a long, distasteful pause and face before deigning to put some mac & cheese in a bowl for me at lunch (I made her put it back, and refused to eat in her home, although it meant having to go get a slice of pizza with my husband - that was the night we went to the wedding in NYC, and dinner was served well after 10pm).

Add to the food and exercise theme the continued belittling of our involvement in Jewish activities like the shul or the day school.

And let's not forget the constant complaining about my husband's travel schedule. "Why doesn't he take a 'real' job?" (Uh, because he would be miserable and earn much less!).

And I get second-hand (via my mother, ever willing to criticize) my sister's horror that I spend "so much time" traveling without my children. My children who I am with almost CONSTANTLY most of the time. She works three days a week, with one night on call, so yes, she doesn't see her kids as much.

So this year it seemed like a great idea to drop the kids off and have a day to ourselves.


So far, my uncle's comment at Thanksgiving when I told him the plan was "you can see your friends any time, you'll come to us." (Everyone keeps focusing on the fact that we are staying with a friend; if we were staying alone at a hotel would this be going down differently?)

Then my mother made a gentle attempt: "Family gets together for holidays." When I pointed out that Christmas was not a holiday I wanted to celebrate, she dismissed this, since I'd spent my childhood celebrating it.

Then my grandmother called from Florida: "You're opening a whole can of worms with this not going to P's house."

My mother's comments got more heated, until today when she said: "You're being selfish (a favorite thing to hurl at me; apparently I am the most selfish person in the family). Your father is furious. It's not right. You spend time with family, not friends."

Meanwhile, back in reality, my husband and I are looking forward to getting away for a couple of days, and (yes) visiting R. And NOT being subjected to the constant criticisms of my family.

The funniest part of this is how much better I feel hanging with HIS family. Despite the great amount of dysfunction there, in his family I have a place. I am respected for who I am and what I do. I am not criticised.

Now, how do I communicate this to people who I do love, and who do love me?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miscellaneous Rambling

So many little details. It was a busy but fun weekend. Friday, Laura dropped off Lilie - I got to keep her overnight! Laura and Travis (the boy, Lilie's father) went to Boston overnight to see Cheech and Chong. While Laura was getting Lilie settled, Travis had to play a game of pool with the boys, and when I lit Shabbos candles, I made him put on a kippa - pretty funny culture shock.

Anyway, they left, and Sofia woke up from her nap to find her beloved little cousin.... touching HER stuff! NOT happy! Miss Sofia became quite territorial that evening. I think she only knocked Lilie over about 4 times; poor kid kept conking her head. Any time I had Lilie in my lap, Sofia would wrestle her way on, too.

Fortunately D&E were over for dinner, so Lilie took well to D when I was too busy to save her. Lilie fell asleep in Sofia's crib, since Sofia had napped a long time. Eventually I moved Lilie to the pack-n-play in the boys' room and put Sofia to sleep in her own room.

Around 11:00, Lilie woke up SCREAMING, and continued for 45 minutes. I helf her, rocked, her, cuddled her. I think she was teething (Laura said she got a new tooth in on Sunday). Then she passed out on my arm, and didn't move until 7am!

David went to NYC with his friend for the weekend, so we said goodbye to him and I bundled all 4 kids in to the car to go to shul. As we were leaving, Laura called to say they had just had a fight and were coming home. Sigh. So they met us at shul. Lilie and Sofia were both playing nicely in babysitting (the sitters had grabbed Lilie right out of my arms!), so I was actually in services by myself (the boys were in the youth service).

My kids and I stayed for lunch, then came home, stopping briefly at the library on the way. I was exhausted, so I attempted to nap, but Sofia really really wanted my attention, and kept pulling at my hair. The boys played for a little while but then camped out in my room complaining that they were bored.

Eventually it was time to do Havdalah, and then we went to the tepanyaki restaurant, Samba, to meet my friend L and her boys (and her husband). The boys then came back to my house for a sleepover. It was great; the boys all watched a movie downstairs, Sofia had already fallen asleep, and I got to watch a movie upstairs (DaVinci Code, finally). They all went to sleep around 9:30, the two older ones downstairs on the pullout couch and the younger ones upstairs in the boys' bedroom. They all had a great time.

In the morning, I found Micah and his friend snuggled on the pullout couch, both playing on Nintendos (they had brought one with them).The older boys were watching a movie again. I made challah french toast (yum), and then K came to get the boys.

Then it was time to take Sam to a K'vutza (youth group) event. There was some confusion, and first I drove to Natick, but the place had moved, so then back to Framingham, where it didn't open until noon and I realized everyone else was meeting at the shul. Sigh. But eventually they all came over.

I took Micah and Sofia for a bit of shopping. Micah's favorite "zippy" pants had rips all the way up the legs; time to retire them. He is VERY difficult to shop for/with, because he is quite picky about clothing, but eventually he got two nice pairs of pants and a pair of sweats at Kohls, along with cool Mario Brothers pajamas.

I got a call from one of the moms at the youth event, asking if she could take Sam back to her house for a playdate with her son, since both boys were getting along really well. Sure. So I took the little ones home, put Sofia in front of "Madagascar" again, let Micah playon the Nintendo, and I finally began writing my paper for school!

Got a decent draft done and sent it off to my professor to see if it was anything viable (last night in class he said it looked fine). Whew. Now I have to finish it.

Let's see, in other thoughts...

So last night at Hebrew College, I noticed that nearly every student is female. I know that's not totally true, but the evening students are overwhelmingly female. It makes for a very interesting dynamic. I feel safe and supported there.

Oh, Micah'ism of the week, involving a bit of a story. I am taking Sammy to go visit my grandmother in January, and yesterday I finally made the reservations (we leave Jan 1. in the evening, and come home on the 6th). In the car on the way home from picking up the boys, I told them about it. Micah asked if I was going to take him anywhere.

I said I was thinking of taking him down to Florida in March. He said "No, I don't want to go to Florida, I want to go somewhere else." So I asked him where...

"I was thinking Ohio."

Not quite sure WHAT he wanted to do in Ohio. Now he's branched off into far-away places (Israel and Australia top his list). So I'm trying to come up with some ideas. I don't mind NOT taking him to Grandma's (although I would really love to take him there), but I do want to take him somewhere for a few days, just to have some 1:1 time with him. Suggestions? I'm considering Chicago or NYC or DC, but somewhere smaller might be better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chelm Hanukah

Sam's class presents a skit about the fools of Chelm.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gala 2008

The boys' school holds a Winter Lights Gala as a fund raiser every year. It's a fancy party, with honorees and performances and a silent auction and raffle baskets and lots of good food. This year, several of the students from Sam's class spoke, too - including Sammy!

It was a busy day. First I had a Zamir Chorale alumni event to attend - it was nice to see old friends, and one friend was being honored for 36 years with the choir.

Then I raced over to Wayland, to meet David and Sam at the synagogue where the Gala was being held. They were already in their suits, I had to change in the bathroom (along with the event committee ladies).


The kids had a rehearsal first, and then had fun running around the party.

Sam with two friends:

Dress Rehearsal:


At the party:

The Boys:

Proud Mama with Son:

I am a performer. I get up and speak or sing in front of people a lot. And I am usually never nervous. But for my KID, I was a wreck! It's been a tough week, because he got spacers on his teeth Wednesday, and that makes it even tougher to speak. But he practiced all weekend, and it was beautiful.

Here is Sam's group giving their speeches. Sam is third, he was the last kid to speek.

Here is an extended video. This includes Dress Rehearsal, a portion of the speeches by the Gala Chair and the Head of School, and all the kids' speeches/performances.

I am so proud of him!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Power of the Flame

It was a lovely Shabbat, and I find myself reflecting on the power of the Flame in our tradition.

[First, a quick overview for those who may be unfamiliar with Jewish tradition: The Sabbath (Shabbat in Hebrew, Shabbos in Yiddish) begins at sundown on Friday evening every week, and continues until after sundown on Saturday evening. The holy day begins with the lighting of candles - some light 2 candles, some light as many candles as there are people in the family. A special blessing is recited: "Blessed Are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the lights of the Shabbath." The tradition is for the person lighting the candles to wave the hands over the candles three time s before reciting the blessing, like gathering the light into your face, ushering in the warmth and peace of the Sabbath.

Shabbat morning, we spend at the synagogue [shul]. In our shul, we frequently stay for lunch. THe afternoon is a time to relax and be with family and friends. No work is to be done on Shabbat.

The end of Shabbat is also marked with flame. The Havdalah service is a very short {one page] service performed in the home {or wherever you happen to be at the end of Shabbat - Havdalah at camp is particularly lovely, especially beside a lake!}. The Havdalah servcie includes 3 items - a braided candle, a cup of wine (or grape juice), and a box of spices. Blessings are said over each of these. At the end of the ceremony, it is customary to extinguish the candle in the wine, for a sweet week.]

Ok. refresher course over. Now, my own experience. I love lighting the candles on Friday evening. Last year, David got me these really cool glass "candles" in Israel. They have a special wick, and I use liquid parafin to fill them. They are lovely. I light Shabbos candles at the counter between the kitchen and family room. The kids can stand on the couch in the family room and face the candles, and I stand in the kitchen, facing them.

Sofia loves helping light the candles. She runs to get a kippah (yarmulka, traditional head covering. We have a huge basket full of them!) for everyone (it is traditional to cover the head). She races up to the couch. She covers her eyes, and chants "Baaaaaa" (liek the opening word, "Baruch").

After I light candles, I give each kid a blessing. Micah tends to run away; it is common for kids his age to not want to participate in this. But both Sam and Sofia love getting their blessings. The blessing is similar for both, a combination of the Priestly Three-Fold blessing ("may the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his countenance to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may the Lord shine his countenance upon you and grant you love and peace."), followed by "may G-d make you like Ephraim and Menassah [for boys - Joseph's sons]/ Sarah Rebecca, Rachel and Leah [for girls - the Matriarchs]". I place my hands on their head and whisper these blessings in Hebrew to them, and I can use this moment to share some private thoughts with each kid.

I love seeing their faces over the candles. I love giving them their blessings (I "throw" a blessing to Micah).

Friday night we went to our friend's house for dinner. Sofia was really tired; I ended up bringing her home early, but since David had met us there after work, he and the boys got to stay and play a bit more.

Saturday morning we went to shul, and it was a special "Camp Shabbat". Instead of using the sanctuary, there was an adult service upstairs in the large classroom, and a kid-friendly service in the Social Hall, lead by one of the directors of Camp Ramah, one of the many wonderful Jewish overnight camps in the area. Sam will be going there next summer!

After services and lunch, there was programming for kids in grades 3-6. Sam had a lot of fun. Micah went home with another friend for a play date. David chased Sofia around the shul for a while (she knows A LOT of hiding places!). I finally had to drive them home and then race back for Sam. I was also in charge of one of his classmates. The program ended a bit early (not as many kids stayed for the afternoon as they had thought). I took the classmate, a girl, back to our house for a while because she likes to play with Sofia. The girls played, Sam went next door to play with his friend for a while. I left Sam there and took the two girls to pick up Micah. Then I called Sam and his friend back over for ice cream and Havdalah.

It was just me and the 5 kids (David had of course gone in to the office for a while). I really loved standing at the table with them, looking at their faces while they watched the flames from the candle. We turn off all the lights in the house while we do Havdalah, so the flame is the only light.

Their eyes were all shining. Their faces were bright with the excitement (and fueled by the sugar in the small ice cream sundaes, too!). They all "got it", how special this moment was, marking the transition from sacred time to "normal" time.

I love this!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just for fun

A light-hearted email I just received (for the umpteenth time):


Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of ?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time. [That's one smart kid!]
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she 's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Awesome Responsibility

I forget, sometimes, how incredibly important "First Call" really is.

What is First Call? The Mass Down Syndrome Congress sponsors a First Call program. But essentially, it means setting up new parents with experienced parents within the DS community.

There are so many questions a new parent may have. Some are standard, some are situation-specific.

I set up my own "First Call" contact - 30 seconds after I got the call from the doctor with my amnio result, I called J to set up a meeting with her for the next day. I was lucky, I already knew someone with a child with DS.

Many parents do not know anyone with DS, which is where First Call becomes so vital. It doesn't have to be through a formal program. Massachusetts is fortunate to HAVE such a program, but there are informal ways to do it. I was also "set up" with my friend D via mutual friends in Florida. D has become a dear close friend over these 4 years. She also provided me with something most other DS family could not - a look into raising a child with DS within the Jewish community.

Ok, why am I blathering on about this? Yesterday, I was privileged to be quoted on Pam's blog, Rhett's Journey. Whenever a blog gets a link, more people find their way over. So I had some new readers yesterday (welcome, all!).

Anyway, mid-afternoon, I got an email from a nice lady with a 4 month old (Hi M!). We started the usual chatting (her daughter is facing heart surgery next week). But then she asked a most touching question:

since K. is only 4months and this DS world is new to us......
from one jewish mom to another....
what are the realistic views of her being bat mitzvahed ?

I nearly burst into tears. I had forgotten the feeling of the unknown that a new mom experiences. What will my child's life be like?

Of course I emailed her immediately with all my positive reassurances. But I was struck breathless with the need for her to hear the encouraging side to this whole situation. I have grown accustomed to saying "Sofia WILL do...." everything. But I forgot what it is like to really have no idea what the possibilities are.

Thank you, M, for your incredibly touching question, and for giving me the opportunity to answer it.

(FYI, as we are gearing up to start planning Sam's Bar Mitzvah in a few years, I am already thinking ahead to Sofia's Bat Mitzvah, too!).

Oh, a quote from Micah: as The Nutcracker began on Sunday, he perked up and said "Hey, I know this music! Wasn't it written by...Van Gogh?" ("I thought I heard it on Little Einsteins").

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fun but busy Thanksgiving Weekend 2008

Whew! What a weekend! And it started Tuesday...

Tuesday afternoon, since Micah's piano teacher was out of the country anyway, we decided to skip Tae Kwan Do. At dinner, we had a guest from Israel, a fellow David works with. It was a very nice evening, but busy with the kids. R sent David a lovely email the next day:

I keep telling everyone that I was hypnotized by the children. Rarely does one see such intelligence, concentration and discipline.

My Kids? :)

The boys had a half day on Wednesday, so David picked up Sofia and met us at home for lunch. Sam had a guitar lesson, and then my friend C came over with her boys. Micah worships the older one (age 11) because he's a Nintendo kid, and Sam and the younger are only a few months apart and dear friends. All the boys had fun. Her husband and David finally showed up and we had a yummy dinner - ribs! (beef, lamb, and veal).

Thursday morning the kids watched the Parade on TV while I packed. We left at noon, got to my sister's at 2:00. The kids played and played with my nieces, and had even more fun when my cousins arrived - my cousin Paul is 30 and SO much fun to be with!

Sofia all dressed up:

David and my BIL:

Sofia and Pop (my dad):


Sofia finds the computer:

Micah on the swingset:

Sofia hanging around:

Micah and Julia give Sofia a lift:

It was a fairly fun day, not too many nasty comments in any direction. Just the usual weird personalities. And David and I kept checking the updates fro Mumbai - sigh. What a horrible tragedy.

We slept over at their house - Sofia was all riled up, and running up and down the hallway screaming like a banshee.

Friday morning my sister dragged me to the gym, then we took the kids to see "Bolt". It was a bit violent, I thought, and Sofia was scared of the before-movie onscreen stuff, like the "shush your phone" message. But she liked the puppy!

Then it was time to head to David's grandmother's house for dinner with the Rothkopf clan. My MIL had made all the food and put it in the fridge; it was up to me, Laura, and cousin Heather to warm it all up on Grandma's tiny stove.

Sam was in a miserable mood, because he wanted to stay with his other cousins (Hannah and Julia, my sister's twins), but MIcah had fun playing with H's son Alex, and Sofia kept tackling "her" baby Lilie.

Heather and Ian:

Sofia in "command central", with Lilie, Micah and Alex, along with Gradnma Toby's nurse, Shirley:

We got back to my sister's at 9:00. Back to the gym in the morning, then we took our kids and Julia to my mom's (Hannah had rehearsal). I got my nails done (I got Tips! Very cool!), and we got dressed up and picked up David's parents and the 4 of us drove to Flushing NY for the wedding of a family friend, Sol.

Sol's wife passed away about 18 months ago; she had been my MIL's best friend. Their daughters are like cousins to David and Heather. It was a bit surreal (lots of interesting personalities), but we had a lot of fun.

Me, all dressed up:

David and his father:

Is it just a wee bit odd that I look like my MIL?

My inlaws, giggling:

We didn't get back to my mom's house (after dropping off my inlaws) until 3:30 am. Of course, I slept in the car, but poor David had to stay up.

Wait, the weekend's not done yet! Sunday my niece Hannah danced in The Nutcracker. David stayed at the house with Sofia, and I went with the boys and my parents. It was lovely.

Some shots of Hannah:

Hannah with The Nutcracker:

Sammy and Hannah:

Whew! We went to dinner with them (Sofia would not even LOOK at my sister all weekend!), and got home around 10pm. Thankfully the boys did not have school on Monday (professional development day), so we could relax.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nice visit with my cousin

My cousin B and his wife just stopped by for a quick visit. They live in California, so I don't get to see them very often. I'm REALLY glad they could stop by. David even came home for lunch, and they got to see Miss Sofia (in action, playing with baby dolls). It was a nice visit.

It's pouring today - thankfully the weather got much warmer, mid 40s, or else this would be just a boat-load of snow!

Company from Israel coming tonight, a gentleman David worked with there (I think David had dinner at this guy's house on the last trip). Tomorrow the boys have a half-day, so my girlfriend is coming over with her boys for the afternoon and dinner.

It's going to be a busy weekend. Thursday at my sister's house. Friday hanging out with my sister and the twins (we are taking the kids to see a movie), then dinner with my in-laws and the grandmas and David's cousin, etc. Saturday night we have to go to NY for Sol's wedding, then Sunday I'll take the boys to see cousin H in "The Nutcracker" at the Bushnell.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Captain Smartypants sings Dreidel

Just a .... different..... version of the holiday classic...

If it looks like a duck...

Yesterday, Sofia's nursery school class held their "Thankful Feast", a chance for family to come see the classroom and hear the kids sing some cute Thanksgiving songs. We had all been asked to make little photo collages of our family. So I walked in to find our collage hanging...

... on a fir tree.

I was taken aback. Sofia and I were the first ones in the room, so when the teacher arrived with the rest of the class, I gingerly asked "You have Christmas trees in the room?"

"Oh, no! Those are Family Trees, not Christmas Trees."

I spoke to the principal at pickup, who also assured me they were "Family Trees".

Come'on. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you can call it a fish, but it's still a duck.

They just didn't get it. To their credit, they did both make sure to let me know they in no way meant to offend anyone. They really really do see a little evergreen tree with decorations on it as something other than "Christmas'y".

Sigh. I can't wait for Sofia to go to the Day School.

My (non-Jewish) hairdresser didn't understand either. "Well, I could point to the stars on the wall in my son's class and say they were Jewish Stars, right?" (Uh, no, they were 5-pointed. Magen Davids have 6 points...)

Fortunately, all my Jewish friends "got it".

I do not begrudge anyone the celebration of their own religious customs. I don't even have a (big) problem with the Christmas displays in privately owned areas, like stores and offices.

But a public school is a public school. The minute some teacher says something about "our tree" or "well, what WE do for the winter holiday is....", my child is removed from the group. And that's not right.

I do think we should all learn a bit about each other's holidays. But not in public school. In public school, the content is not "controlled" by anyone. A well-meaning teacher, trying to teach the importance of Christmas-Kwanza-Hanukah, can easily mislead the kids into thinking that Hanukah is a major major event on the Jewish calendar.

It's not. When the principal, welcoming the parents, mentioned gearing up for "this busy holiday season", all I could think of was the past two months I just spent with my own busy holiday season. I'm not busy in December.

As an American, I celebrate Thanksgiving.

As a Jew, I celebrate Hanukah, by making sure I have enough candles for my rather large chanukiyah collection, and getting small gifties for the kids. We might even go to a party or two. There are a few additions to the regular liturgy for Shabbat and during the week.

But when I compare that to the enormous amount of time and energy spent on the activities surrounding Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah, or I look forward to the preparations for Passover, Hanukah is a very very minor holiday.


Ok. Otherwise, it was an adorable little program, and it was really nice to meet the other parents from Sofia's class - all of whom apparently hear about Sofia daily from their own kids! I don't hear about any of them from Sofia, of course, but it was great to watch my little social butterfly flit from friend to friend.

Happy First Birthday to my darling niece Lilie (and my cousin Lily, too! They are 4 days apart!).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Poor Micah had a bad day

I thought he was in a good mood when he woke up; he was bouncing around with Sofia while I took my shower. But his mood rapidly deteriorated, and he was MISERABLE on the way to school. Remember, Micah is the kid who argues in his sleep! He's a pro at argumentative behavior.

So I dumped the boys at school, stopped for a bit of coffee with my friend, took Sofia to her school - and had to go all the way back to the boy's school because Sam forgot his lunchbox. And I'd already canceled a meeting with one of the teachers there because I didn't want to do all that driving. Sigh. But I ran a couple of quick errands while I was there, and then was back in time to walk up to Sofia's school for my meeting with her Speech Therapist.

That went well. Miss Sofia is really building on her verbal abilities this year. And apparently her attention and focus is fabulous also. So it was a nice meeting, and then I had the stroller with me to take La Principessa home after her PT session.

Micah's mood spilled onto Sofia, because she was out-of-sorts all afternoon, both for me and for E. But at least she went to sleep easily. I took the boys to TKD, and left them under my friend's supervision while I went to see my own therapist (whew!). Came home to both Sofia and Micah meltdowns.

Bedtime was tough. Both boys got angry at E, so I handed her a fresh-out-of-the-tub Sofia, who wailed "MAAAAAAAA-MAAAAAAAAAA" until she fell asleep. Then E read with Sam while I calmed Micah down. He was actually crying from frustration. Poor baby.

On a more positive note, however: Sam was among the kids picked to speak at the Winter Lights Gala! Over the weekend he had to write a short essay saying why he wanted to speak and why he would be a good choice. Last night, he had to write his thoughts about Reading Torah.

Since I didn't want the mechanics of writing (penmanship and spelling in particular) to get in the way of his thoughts, I recorded an "interview" with him, and then typed it out verbatim and then put it into paragraphs.

Here is the Verbatim from the Interview:

I want to talk about the time I read Torah.

I read Torah when I was in the third grade for the first time. I worked really hard on it. I was able to read and I read 4 pasuks [should be psukim, means the individual lines] and I read 4 more pasuks, then this time i read 2, and then I read 4

I like reading Torah because it is fun and i get to read from the Torah and most kids my age don’t get to do that.

It is very hard for me to read Torah because you have to read every line you have to do every word correctly or you don’t get it correct.

Reading Hebrew is still pretty hard for me.

I had to memorize the entire thing. I did it and I worked on it and I tried my hardest to do it and I succeeded

I got assigned a certain pasuk that I had to read from, so I did that pasuk.

I knew what it sounded like because i got a tape from my teacher and I practiced and I put it on my mp3 player and it’s really hard

I really liked doing it, it’s a lot of fun.

I read Torah at Temple Israel for Shabbat Yachad [the school's annual Shabbat together, last January], and I was very proud of that and I think I did really well.

I think in a little bit I will read again, at the next Shabbat Yachad and at my friend’s Bar Mitzvah I will read.

I am so proud of him! It really is tough for him, but he loves it so.

This afternoon, since Micah's piano lesson was canceled, I took Sam to buy a SUIT for the Gala! He looks so handsome (and short, but that's another story).

Ok. I think I finally found a topic for my paper for my class: something about Rashi's ruling to a man who wanted to divorce his wife when she was ill. Weird stuff. Should be interesting. Rashi was pretty harsh in his criticism of the guy!

Tomorrow Sam gets his Spacers on his teeth. Yippie.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I didn't know about my kids

I did not know that Sam and Micah both know all the words to the opening credits of "Phineas and Ferb" - but they do.

I did not know that Sofia knew how to pull up her pants, put on socks and shoes, and put on her coat by herself - but she does.

I did not know that Micah wants to play the accordion one day - but he does.

I did not know that Sam is reaching the "I want to hide from strangers" stage - but he is.

I DID know that Micah loves to be the center of attention, that Sam loves to draw, and that Sofia is becoming VERY independent (and bossy)!

It was an interesting week. Micah was sent home from school again on Thursday. They said he had a fever, and when I picked him up (before 1:00), his cheeks were bright red and he was very sloggy. But he came home and rested (with the Nintendo) all afternoon. Sam got a ride from a friend (and an impromptu playdate, too), so we didn't have to leave again. Micah did not have any sign of fever by the tiem we got home. Around dinner time, he started feeling warm, but still no fever registering on the home thermometers. He had a bad headache when he went to sleep, but otherwise nothing. I kept him home again on Friday (second week in a row), but he was FINE all day.

I spoke to the pediatrician's office - the nurse is becoming convinced that this too is psychosomatic. Poor kid is sooooo anxious about life. I had a good conversation with his new therapist on Thursday morning (before he got "sick" again). Micah is really trying hard to be "not-Sam", to do everything right, and to keep his life in order. Sam is so unpredictable, it's making Micah nuts. And school is probably where he is relaxed enough to let his guard down and let his body not feel well.

So I'm walking that fine line now between nurturing my poor boy and not playing in to his "sick" feelings. This is scary. I do not want to ignore a real illness, but I don't want him missing so much school just because he wants some alone time with me.

We had company Friday night, the boys' best friends (brothers) and their folks, who are our friends. I made spaghetti, and sauce, and mozzarella and tomato salad, and veggies, and challah. L made her challah too (which I love), and we all had a great evening.

Saturday we took the kids to the M.F.A. (Museum of Fine Arts) in Boston. There was a photography exhibit that David really wanted to see. It was a nice day. Sofia loves to run through big spaces. Sam loves to sit and draw. Micah had some alone-time with David, searching for Ancient Egyptian animals.

Got home and E arrived to babysit, so David and I went out for yummy sushi. Then we went to the mall, and I got a dress that I think I'm going to wear to the Winter Lights Gala and to Sol's wedding. I have to try it with "foundation" garments...

Then we went to the bookstore (our usual date-night activity!), and ran into three of my girlfriends who were on Girl's Night Out! Their husbands were at one of their homes playing poker. David and I were invited to poker/girl's night activities but opted to stay together...but David ended up hanging with the girls while I curled up in a corner with some books! It was pretty funny to listed to him laughing with them. He had a blast (and I loved listening).

Today I took the boys to an event at their school. It was for preschoolers (i.e. potential future students), and the admissions director wanted some older kids to show off the school. Micah did a great job, helping the storyteller hold up pictures, and quizzing the accordion player, and giving a school tour!

We were there about 2 hours. David brought Sofia over after her class was done (and I got to speak to the director in charge of her class, and tell her my concerns about how much better that class would have been with a more enthusiastic teacher).

Then we took David for a bit of clothing shopping (his store was having a sale). He's at work now, and the kids are all watching TV and relaxing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Down syndrome generation first to outlive parents - The Boston Globe

Down syndrome generation first to outlive parents - The Boston Globe

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Playing in the Leaves

I had our back-up-babysitter, A, come this morning to watch the kids so I could go to Parent/Teacher conferences at the boys' school. When I got home, I found this:






Micah, however, was grumpy, so I saw no evidence of his jumping in leaves.

It's been a long several days. Let's see, going back - last Wednesday was the first day he was sent home sick. Thursday morning, he seemed to be better, so I sent him to school. At 9am (school starts at 8:15), they called to say he looked very pale and droopy. I told them he had only eaten carrots for breakfast (his demand) and suggested he eat something from his lunchbox (which I had over-packed, anticipating this).

They sent him back to his class to eat, and apparently he felt better. I called several times to check on him, and each time he was "fine". Then, at 1:30, as I was napping and Sofia was watching TV, they called to say "He's been down here [the office] four times, come get him now."

Since I was asleep, it was all I could do to wake up and get Sofia into the car (she wasn't pleased). So I was half-way to school before I thought to call back and ask: "Is he ok enough to just sit in the car in front of the school for an hour, or does Sam need to come home early too?" Got my answer when I arrived; both boys were waiting at the door.

So we came home and relaxed. Friday, I just kept him home, although I do think he was really fine. He really seemed to enjoy the Mommy & Micah time while Sofia was in school. He and I get into a funy patter when we shop or drive - he pretends to be annoyed when I sing a loudsong, but he's giggling like crazy. He's really a pretty cute kid when he's not angry!

We went to pick up Sam, and I was barely awake, but when we got to school, Sam wanted to go home with his friend A (whose house we were going to that night anyway), so I hadn't needed to drive all the way in. But we stayed and played for an hour anyway. I drove home, did the few things I needed to do around the house, and took the little ones to D's house for dinner.

It was lovely. Just mommies and kids, since her husband was coming home late from a training in NYC and David was still in Mexico. Our kids all get along well - her older daughter is in Sam's class, and the younger daughter is a year older than Sofia and loves to play with Micah. After dinner, the kids watched a movie while D and I talked, and then we all watched "The Wizard of Oz" (Sofia fell asleep on my lap). Got home after 10:30.

Took the kids to shul on Saturday, and brought home one of Micah's friends afterwards. We were expecting one of Sam's friends, too, but I didn't see him. The boys all played outside, and were out for several hours before I realized the other kid was actually here! They all had fun. And Sofia and I relaxed in the house, and I made a stew for the evening.

Then we drove Micah's friend home (other kid's mom, my friend M, came to get him) and drove to the airport to pick up David. Long drive, traffic, but somewhat fun.

Came home, had dinner. Boys went to sleep quick, but Sofia, having napped all during the drive, stayed up with us until nearly 11pm.

Sunday was the last day of soccer. I dropped off Sam, drove Micah over, found him a ride back to Sam's field, and went back to watch Sam. It was a nice day, and after the game, all the MWJDS and former MWJDS kids stayed for another hour to play. It's four boys - Sammy, another kid in his class, and the two boys who used to be in their class but who switched to a different school this year. It's nice for them all to get together. One of them has a little brother who is Micah's dear friend, and the kid still in the class had his older brother there, who was a terrific game-organizer. Sam and his best buddy went for a long walk in the woods (the dad followed) while the others played more soccer.

I took the little brother home with us, and the kids played outside along with the neighborhood kids all afternoon. Big brother and mom showed up eventually and they all played. At one point there were four pairs of nine- and seven-year-old siblings in my back yard!

Eventually they all went home, babysitter arrived, and our friends L&K arrived so the grownups could go to The Bacon Brothers concert! Yeah! The band was terrific.

But it was a very long day and a late night for me, so Monday was tough. I drove the boys to school, had a mini-meeting with the office administrator in preparation for tomorrow's picture day, and then met David (and Sofia, who didn't have school again for some reason...) for our "talk-doctor".

Had 45 minutes after that to run some errands with Sofia (including jogging through Home Depot after her!), then picked up Micah to take him to the ophthalmologist. I briefly described Micah's "problem" to the doc, and he started examining. Projected some letters up on the screen; Micah could only read about half of them. Added some lenses; all letters read perfectly. Showed me the correction on the lenses he used:


Yup. No corrective lenses needed. Doc said he sees this frequently in kids this age.

Ok. Dropped Micah back at school for 90 minutes, raced home to have lunch with Sofia, and then back to pick Micah up again. This time, took him to a psychologist.

I'm not sure how it went. Poor Micah was more than willing to talk to the guy, but I felt that the guy was really feeding him the "oh, that's too bad" stuff. I have a meeting with the guy on Thursday morning, and hopefully the school psychologist will be able to chat with him tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

We picked up Sam, and played for about an hour again. I was so exhausted already. Oh, and did I mention I'd spent the day trying to find a babysitter for this morning (since I only found out during my mini-meeting that there would not be babysitting for conferences today!).

A arrived, and told me that she COULD sit today (but she hadn't bothered to call me back all day, grrrr). SO I drove off to college - and the school principal called me to say she had just found a sitter for the school! Oh well.

I fell asleep near the end of my class, which was annoying (since I was really interested in the topic!). But I managed to drive home ok.

This morning, David had to leave earlier than me, so he took care of the kids and I got an extra hour of much-needed sleep.

Conferences were ok. Interesting thing: both boys are having the same problem. Their phonetic spellings both are...interesting... Micah sees to leave off "th" and "n" in many words, and Sam spelled something that was supposed to start with an "re" with "wer" instead.

So I'm wondering if they both need Elocution Lessons, to pronounce words clearer (and then be able to sound them out better).

Otherwise, conferences were fine. I worked with Micah's teacher to try to come up with a "memory jogger" for him, since he says he always forgets what he wants to ask when he has to wait his turn.

Came home, went back out to the grocery store before A left, then had lunch with the kids and let them play while I prepped for tomorrow's picture day. Sofia ended up stark naked (and it was pretty darn cold in the house today!).

E arrived and I took the boys to piano and Tae Kwan Do. Since Sam got his Green Belt last week, he went to two classes today. He says he wants to switch to the later class now that he's a higher-level belt. Sigh. Just means a long long day, since we wouldn't get home until 6:45.

David was already here, and E stayed, so I made a quick (and yummy) dinner, and we were able to give all three kids individual attention for bedtime!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Psychosomatic Blindness?

As I have mentioned in previous posts, this school year, Micah has developed a strong case of psychosomatic asthma.

He frequently labors to draw in a breath. This only occurs when he is resting, NOT during exertion.

The pediatrician can find nothing wrong. Peak-flow is excellent, lungs are clear, etc.

So we have told him to use some of the relaxation techniques he knows, and i have been searching for a therapist for him (since Sam's therapist cannot see him due to conflict-of-interest for Sam's treatment).

Well, now he's got a new one. Last week he had his 7 year checkup, and began announcing that he's having trouble seeing. At the pediatrician's office, he tested as 20/20 on the Left side, but 20/30 on the right.

Mind you, I have been expecting this. There is not a single person in either of our family trees who does not wear glasses of some sort. Both our sisters, our parents, our grandparents, all needed glasses. Early and often.

And when Micah had his first eye checkup as a toddler, the ophthalmologist did confirm that he would be nearsighted (it has something to do with the size of the eye).

Ok. So Micah, being physical annoyances, would certainly notice a difference in his vision. Monday morning, I called the opth.'s office and made him an appointment, first available for after school was Dec. 8.

Yesterday and today, Micah started developing a throat cold. He has a "back seal cough", that croupy seal-like cough, and lots of postnasal drip. He did not sleep well.

At 10:00, the school called for me to take him home, he was not feeling well - mostly the cough. I called the pediatrician's office (I'm glad those nurses and staff like me!) and got him an appointment for 1:45.

I picked him up, made him sit in the waiting room while I had my meeting with Sam's new orthodontist (yes, that will be next week's saga, Sam is getting spacers now and braces in a little while). Picked up Sofia, and the three of us hung out at home for a while.

Of course, at the doc's office, Micah was Chatty Cathy to the doc and nurses; they are all very amused by him. And Miss Sofia was staking claim to the toy area - one of the nurses was near tears laughing so hard at how Sofia handled another little kid who was trying to take some toys away from her.

Got to the examining room. Micah's tonsils are large, glands are swollen, but aside from the congestion, he's ok. Continue the steam-rooms (run the hot shower in the smaller bathroom and make him hang out there) and saline treatments, but no need for an antibiotic or anything.

Then he announces (and he'd said this yesterday to me) that everything is blurry and he can't see well. When he said it to me yesterday, he was squinting and tearing, so I told him to open his eyes wider.

Well, since with Micah we often cannot tell the difference between fact and .... imagination... we tested him on the eye chart again. This time, it was 2030 Left and 20/50 right!

So I called the eye doctor, and we'll be there Monday (during school, of course).

Sigh. All day, I wasn't quite sure whether to laugh or to cry about this. Is he just making himself "not see" or is he really having trouble? Honestly, the way the weather and lighting was today, I can barely see either. But I know it's temporary. He's a little kid; he doesn't know that yet.

MIss Sofia was a banshee all day. We stayed to play when we picked up Sam, and she was swinging away at the top of the slide, climbing and running. Oh, this morning after we dropped off the boys, we did a quick errand (a return this time) at Target, and then she had me running around the store. She likes to "run", and then suddenly she said "STOP... MARCH" and we had to march! We alternated between Run, March and Walk until it was time to go to school. TOO FUNNY!

Met R and her girls for pizza, at a place that has gluten-free pizza dough! Sofia was very happy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Finally, Voting Day

As one of the "political analysts" on The Daily Show said last week: "Can we just f*&#ing vote already?!"

So, busy day. Because the boys' school is a polling site, we had to walk our kids into school rather than have a regular drop-off from the car. I parked down at J's house and we walked up the path, rather than fight traffic by the school.

That is not where I vote (since I don't live in that town), so I could go straight to class with the boys. We settled in to Micah's class for some Reading (every morning, parents are invited to join the kids for Free Reading Time).


Sofia settled in with some of Micah's classmates:

Then we visited Sam's classroom, where they were preparing for a school-wide election. Since Sam's class is the oldest, they ran the whole thing. Sam drew the ballot (I'll post it when the teacher sends home a copy), they registered all the kids in the school, and last week they presented Powerpoint slides about both candidates. There was also a ballot question on whether they should have Challah or Oreos for the Shabbat snack. (Obama, and Challah, won at MWJDS).

Sofia and I walked Sammy down to his reading teacher's office:Photobucket
and then played on the playground with friends for about an hour. I saw a mom I knew from EI - she was there to vote, with her son who is Sofia's age AND her twin 7 year old sons (the public schools were closed because of the election).

After the playgorund, we walked back to the car:

Did some quick shopping, and met Sofia's friend M and her daddy at Starbucks and the bookstore for a Story Hour. It was fun. At first, Sofia would NOT pay attention to the lady reading the book, because she was too busy rearranging the displays. I grabbed her and made her sit on my lap for the 2nd story, which was a little better. Then there was coloring, which Sofia was TOTALLY into. She sprawled out in the middle of the space, legs akimbo. Every time I asked if she was done, she shook her head and said "no, no".

Got out eventually, did some errands (oh, the lure of the Arts & Crafts store - it's like a gravitational force pulling me in...this time, i bought some canvas totes for the boys' Webkinz to live in). Then we went back to Ashland to vote.

I'm not sure why Sofia decided that it was time to start Square Dancing right when we were waiting in line to check in. She kept spinning around under my arm... Our voting is done by fill-in-the-oval paper ballots, but I had to keep one hand on her. When she stopped dancing, she tried hanging off the edge of the not-too-steady voting desk, which was a bit scary.

It was quick, not much of a line (only 3 people ahead of me for check-in). DONE!

Went home, had lunch, let her watch one Signing Times video - today it was "week", the show about Days of the Week. Then I popped her back int he car, trying to get her to go to sleep.

I drove about 30 minutes, almost nodding off myself a few times, until she finally fell asleep. I drove up the driveway, stopped the car, and fell asleep myself for 20 minutes (IN the car). E called to tell me she was on her way over to babysit, so I attempted to transfer Sofia to her crib, but to no avail.

I was a few minutes late to get the boys, but we have a great network of parents who will watch over other kids, so my friend L had mine. I let them play for nearly an hour, since Micah did not have piano lesson today (teacher canceled it).

Eventually we got to Tae Kwan Do, where Sam was testing for his promotion to Green Belt! They usually do promotional testing on Saturdays, but we will not go on Shabbos, so they do a private test. This time, it was only semi-private; a girl from his class at school was also testing (just for her first level stripe), for the same reason.






He was SO proud! And it was tougher to concentrate, with A and her dad and brother there (brother is very loud). But Sammy did a great job.

Back home, he watched the beginning of the election coverage while I made dinner, but had a fit when E and I told him to go to sleep. The time-change really hits him, and he's been a bit of a wreck all week. And David being away again also has Sam a bit messed up. So he needed his sleep. But I promised he could turn on the TV first thing in the morning.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Costumes

One of Sammy's classmates had a party right after school Friday (they get out early on Friday, and Shabbat didn't start until fairly late). It was very very cute.

Madame Babushka, the (not so) famous fortune teller, with Indigo Montoya and a very nervous Flamenco Dancer:

Indigo and a chilly Sumo Wrestler:

Indigo Montoya attempts to catch a donut:

The Sumo Wrestler was a little taller, and had better luck:

Flamenco Dancers warm up near the snack table:

Especially when sampling punch:

Or wearing extra eyeballs:

Sumo Wrestler also had extra eyes:

It was fun. I don't know where Sam came up with the idea for a Sumo Wrestler. David was worried that he would be ridiculed, but instead, the other boys joined him a Wrestling match (actually, just body-slamming).

Thank heavens Micah found Indigo Montoya (it's actually a Captain Jack Sparrow costume, but the power of suggestion is strong in my household). His previous plan was to wear the same black hat, but with a suit coat (which I had to go buy, fortunately, got a two-piece grey suit for Sam for next year at a used kids' clothing store for $20), and toss his "tail" over his ears and pretend they were payos (sidecurls) - he wanted to be a Hasidic Jew. OY! Worse yet, his plan was to walk around saying "I'm a Jew" - you should have seen me trying to delicately dissuade him!

So it was a fun afternoon. We got home just in time to light candles, and I made a quick but yummy Shabbos dinner. Then David took the boys up and down our street, along with the other dads and kids (and a wagonload of beer!). Sofia stayed home with me; we sat on the front porch spinning tops for a while (I refuse to hand out candy, since two out of three of my own kids are allergic anyways!). We had hardly any "customers" this year, just six distinct groups (including my boys and their crowd).

So we were able to get everyone to bed relatively early. Whew!

Saturday at shul was nice, and in the afternoon, we just relaxed. I actually took a nap! We had pizza, and after Sofia went to sleep, the boys and I snuggled in bed watching the first section of "Exodus" (the Paul Newman movie), while David packed (again). It's one of my favorite movies, and I think Sam is just getting old enough to understand most of it. Micah was confused a bit, but first thing this morning, asked if we could watch more of it.

Today, I totally forgot about the time change. Fortunately, my cable box knew the correct time. So we had a relaxing breakfast (Sofia LOVES grits!), since we were awake at 5:30 am. I took the boys off to soccer (BRRRRR COLD!) while David took Sofia to her music class. Micah played a great soccer game; he made a lot of assists (he kicked the ball to the person open to make the goal), but finally he got to make his own goal right at the end of the game.

When we all got home, David played more soccer with the boys in the back yard while Sofia and I cleaned up. Then it was time to take David to the airport. I decided we would drive him in this time (since last week he was bent out of shape when no one was there to greet him).

After the airport, I took the kids to Brookline. The boys wanted to play at a playground, so we did (after racing to a bathroom for Micah!). Then we went to my friends' store, Magic Beans, where I swore I wasn't boying anything and still spent $50.

Strolled down to the Israel Bookstore (another $47), and then the boys wanted to eat at the kosher Chinese restaurant. Which was fine except that the food is incredibly bland, and Sofia was getting tired and cranky.

Drove home in time for Sam's guitar lesson. Micah played Club Penguin while Sofia watched a Signing Times video (now she signs the word "sign" and SAYS "time"!). Sam went right to bed after his lesson, then I got the other two asleep early. I'm finishing up this blog and some photo work, and I'm going to sleep too!