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 ex....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 extremely...sensitive...to 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!