Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Annikan Rothkopf

That's what I wanted to call Micah today. He got angry about something (honestly, I forget what) this morning, and he had that same brooding, glaring under the eyebrows look as the just pre-Vader Annikan has in "Episode 2" (which the boys watched this morning, too).

He demanded to stay in the car while I took Sofia and Sam into Comcast to exchange yet another faulty box. HUGE line, so it took a while. When we got back to the car, Micah had blood all over his mouth - he had wiggled his loose tooth so much! But he was fine. (And yes, the car was warm and locked).

Had to race through BJs with all three which is not the easiest task. Then home to throw the perishables into the fridge, then back up to Rt. 9 to meet up with F and her two boys (ok, one of her sons is also "Sammy" - and her name is the same as mine but with one letter different...).

I drove out to Worcester, where we got hopelessly lost trying to find the Higgins Armory Museum. Finally flagged down a Security Guard at the Glendale Mall, and that wonderful man said "Follow Me" and drove all the way over!

The kids all had fun in the museum, although Sofia was not thrilled with some of it. She liked the helmets, and learned how to say both "helmet" and "armor". F's boys made shields while I took my brood to the gift shop.

Incredibly windy when we got out. I actually had to jump in front of Sofia to block the wind from blowing her away!

Watching the Kennedy Center Honors now - Mel Brooks tribute HA!!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Language Explosion

Miss Sofia has had a language explosion recently. She's talking sooooo much, and in front of sooo many people!

For Hanukah, she got a tea party set, and yesterday morning, she "invited" (i.e. demanded) David and I into her room for a tea party. Well, she told us such a story! All about how she lives in a yellow house, with Sam, while we live with Micah in "Green" (which is what she usually calls our home). She apparently drives a little red car, while I have my big red car and David has "blue". We had a Tea Party, and she talked about giving gifts and lighting candles. She's been watching the Signing Times "Happy Birthday" video recently...

My parents came up yesterday afternoon, bearing Hanukah presents for the kids (they got snowed out last weekend). They brought the boys three Webkinz each, and Miss Sofia got, among other things, a DVD of Snow White. She spent most of the afternoon shouting "Snow WHITE!"

Today, I took her to our first real Princess movie in a theater, "Princess and the Frog". It was adorable, and I think she really liked it. I got smart, and found my favorite college student, home on break, to take the boys to "Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeakuel" so I did not have to sit through that! Plus the boys were very excited to see B, who is like a big brother to them.

We had a nice long weekend. Thursday, Sofia did not have school and the boys got out at 11:30, so we went to lunch with a couple of other families, then relaxed at home. In the evening, my friend R and her hubby came for dinner, and we had a terrific time laughing with them.

Friday we went to another friends' home, for late lunch and dinner, and hanging out and playing Wii. The other mom and I both passed out on the couches mid-afternoon (while the kids were all playing Wii right next to us), and Sofia passed out later in the evening:


Saturday, we slept late (so much for shul again!), and in the afternoon another family of friends came over for hanging out and dinner. Sam also read almost an entire book that day! It was the 5th and last in the Lightening Thief series, and he really wanted to finish it right away. He "reads" using Bookshare, a program he qualified for with his IEP. We download the book to his computer, and the program reads it out loud but highlights each word so he can follow along. It's been a really great help for him to access the same material as his classmates.

Sunday, another sleeping late day, and my parents' visit. Plus, mid afternoon, my mother and I went to a bridal shower (for the fiancee of the older brother of today's sitter). It was a lovely event, with many of the women from my shul, a whole range of ages from 30 to 85. It's a wonderful community.

So today, after the morning movie, we came home, David met us home for lunch, and he took Sam back to the office for the afternoon. My friend came over with her two kids. The little girls played really well for a while, and Micah and the boy found a few things in common, but eventually Micah got "bored" and belligerent, and the other girl got too wound up. So they just left. But it was fun while it lasted.

Tomorrow we are heading into Worcester with another school family, probably to the Higgins Armory Museum, a big private collection of armor from all over the world. Wednesday, Sam has another play date and Sofia has gymnastics. Playdate for me and Micah on Thursday, and then two families coming here Thursday evening for New Years Eve.

Some more photos from my iPhone archive:

Thanksgiving weekend, my niece Lilie and cousin Ian playing with the Dora dressing table:
Lilie and Ian

Sofia is into makin' forts:

"makin' a fort"

Sofia with the big stuffed dog from my sister:

My three kids lighting the Chanukah candles:

Hanukah 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Vacation is about to begin

Sofia is home with me, and the boys get out at 11:30 this morning. Taking them, and 5 other girls and an infant and two mommy friends out to lunch. Then R and her hubby coming for dinner tonight. David and Sam were supposed to go see Avatar at 5pm, but it's sold out. They will go next week instead.

Tomorrow, going to hang out at N's house. Saturday, friends to our house. Sunday, if weather is ok, my parents are coming up; if not, they will come Monday instead. And I totally forgot I have a bridal shower Sunday afternoon - will probably take my mother with me.

Then 3 days of mostly no plans. Ugh! Two families coming for New years Eve. Ok, I can make it through the week, right?

Trying to work on my thesis. I get a little depressed reading some of the religious laws regarding what people with various disabilities can or cannot do. There are distinctions for physical vs. mental disabilities, which makes sense. I feel like I have soooo much reading still to do, and I'm starting to think I have no idea what to write about, even though I already submitted my proposal. Ugh.

Sofia is talking so much more now. Yesterday at her gymnastics class, there were only 2 other girls, and I really loved watching the three of them play together. The other two kept calling Sofia to play with them. At one point, Sofia and K were in the ball pit, taking turns burying each other, without any adult assistance. I was so proud of her!

Micah cleaned out his junk drawer last night, and found some teeth the tooth fairy had not collected. He asked that the tooth fairy please leave extra money under his pillow, and was disappointed when there was no money this morning. I explained that the tooth fairy does not double-pay, and although she may not have collected the teeth, her records show that she has paid in full. He was not amused.

Sam and I watched a PBS special last night about the Helvetica typeface. TOTALLY design-geeky, but we were both fascinated.

Ok, I have to go plan some meals...

Best wishes for a happy holiday to everyone celebrating tonight and tomorrow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Winter Holiday Card 2009

Winter Holiday Card 2009


Mellow is good. Mellow allows us to relax and enjoy our home once in a while.

Wednesday was back to busy, with school, an appointment in the morning, then Sofia had Yom Tov party at Temple Beth Am, and then off to "Monkey Gym" (her gymnastics class at My Gym), then rounds of therapy for the boys. But at least we mellowed out in the evening.

Thursday I finally had my hair cut while Sofia was in school. Picked the kids up, but got a migraine, so I fell asleep in a chair holding Sofia, both with out coats still on, as soon as we got home at 4pm, and slept until 5:30. Couldn't see well enough to drive to Newton, so I did not go to my own class. But it was nice, since I still had the babysitter. I got to polish a silver mezzuzah that I would never have noticed if I hadn't had the 'free' time, and David and I had a lovely tea party with our daughter while A was reading to the boys.

Friday was busy as usual. David had to leave at 6:30 - which would have been ok, except somehow his alarm clock got pushed ahead three hours and he was ready to leave at 3:30 instead. But he did manage to sleep some more, fully dressed.

Anyway, with him gone so early, I had to do the whole driving experience, which on Friday means:
- drive Micah to the day school
- return to Ashland to get Sam to the Mindess by 8:30
- wait 20 minutes
- drop Sofia at preschool
- race back to Mindess to get Sam
- return to the day school

I had a quick meeting with the principal regarding the February Shabbaton (Shabbat together), which will be at my synagogue, so I have to get the families organized for meals.

Then I went shopping at BJs. I am enjoying having my own membership card!

Got back in time to pick up Sofia, put away groceries, then back to day school to get the boys. Sam had tutoring after school (postponed from Thursday), but it was too cold to play outside, so Micah and Sofia and I just waited in the car.

Friday night our friends S&R and their son and one of their daughters came for a nice Shabbos dinner. Haven't seen them in a while, good to reconnect.

Saturday, we eventually made it to shul, which was nice. I haven't been in a while, because of travel and sick kids. Sam lead the Ashrei all by himself, and did a great job. I was so proud of him!

My parents were supposed to come up, but they canceled because of the expected snow. So my mother was miffed when the snow didn't actually arrive until midnight. But we had a nice afternoon, just lazing around the house.

Sunday, of course, was very snowy. David plowed, the kids sledded (our front lawn is a VERY steep long hill), and I got the garage cleaned out enough to finally get the minivan back inside! Never made it last winter, and the doors have an annoying habit of freezing shut in the mornings.

Today, I was soooo glad to get them all back to school, because I had a massage! LOVELY. Bella Sante in Wellesley. I had a gift card, that David had gotten at last year's Gala auction. Took me long enough to use it! Nice place. Great massage (80 minute deep tissue), and tremendous shower - I just wanted to stay there forever.

Now I'm home with La Principessa, but we have to leave in a little while to get the boys. Cleaning ladies are coming today; normally they would come on Friday but it's some sort of holiday this week... ;)

I had some profound thoughts about my kids that I wanted to share, but just cannot remember them now. Sofia has been talking sooo much, and Micah just finished reading the first Harry Potter book and is thrilled to start the second (I got them a boxed set - at the auction - for Hanukah). Poor Sam is still not ready to read all that, but he's getting there.

Stay warm, everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Strep strep and sinuses

That's my kids. After being up with Sofia three nights in a row, with a continuous fever and drippy nose, I finally took her to the pediatrician yesterday morning. Yup, strep. Quick-test didn't even take 5 minutes.

So meds for her. Monday was still rough, since she still had a fever, wouldn't eat or drink, and complained of a tummy ache and that her mouth hurt. But we got a good nap in (together) before picking up the boys.

This morning, Micah was coughing like crazy and complaining of a "spicy" feeling in his throat. We took Sam (tired and still stuffy-nosed) to school, ran some errands until the peds office opened, got an appointment for 10:15. When I'd dropped off Sam, his teacher was outside, and had mentioned that he had been really droopy yesterday, so I picked him up at 10 and took them all to the appointment.

Mellow mellow kids. Sam was practically asleep on my shoulder, Sofia lounged on my lap, and Micah sat somewhat quietly reading a book. The nurse said "yup, they MUST be sick - you do NOT have mellow children!"

So we do quick-tests for both boys, and both tests are somehow negative! But when the doc finally came in (she spends plenty of time with each patient, which I really love, but it means she was already running an hour late!), she took a look.

When she looked at Micah's throat, she actually let out a yelp! His throat looked awful.

Sam's throat looked ok, but the sinuses were still a mess.

So meds for both of them (and of course each child is on something different!), and we all came home to rest.

But I still had a babysitter scheduled, so when she arrived, I took off for Holy Cross to try to get some files I REALLY REALLY need for my masters project. This time I was successful (last time, I'd downloaded everything to the wrong drive!). Got about 90 articles. Now I just have to read them...

Tomorrow, all my medicated children are going back to school, hopefully feeling much much better. Whew!

Hanukah has meanwhile been mellow but fun. The kids have enjoyed their gifts. I got the boys the three prequel Star Wars DVDs on Saturday night, and tonight, Micah got "magic" cards (something like Yugioh) and Sam got "The Handbook of Immaturity Part 2" (like he needs a book for that!). Yesterday, I gave Sofia the tea-set, and she couldn't stop playing with it today! She is so cute, pouring "tea" and serving cakes. Ah, I finally have a real girl!

So Happy Hanukah eveyrone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Seriously, Two Full Weeks?

Ok, I'm sorry for the long silence on my blog. It's been a bit insane here for the past few weeks. So I'll try to summarize...

Vacation Day
The Monday after Thanksgiving, none of my kids had school; Professional Development Day for both schools. So we got to sleep late one more day, and then I took them all to the movies, to see "The Fabulous Mr. Fox." My opinion of the movie: it's psychotic. Really odd. But I think the boys enjoyed it (although they said it was "awkward"). Sofia hated it, so we took several walks in the hallway mid-movie, which did nothing for my sense of plot continuity.

After the movie, I took them all to the mall, where I got to see personalities in action. We stopped in to the play space so Sofia could stretch her legs. The play space at the mall is set up so there is only one exit, which means if I sit bear the front, I can see Sofia if she tries to leave. Poor Sam did not agree. He was very upset that I did not follow her throughout the space, so he took that task on himself. He was really stressed. So we left.

The boys kindly bought their sister a Build-a-Bear, although by the time we got it all done, she was completely melting down. So much for shopping with my kids.

I finished my paper! Teacher said he enjoyed it. Whew.

Most of last week was spent prepping for the MWJDS Winter Lights Gala. I had a ton of typing to do, for Auction bid sheets and tent cards and receipts. But I did get it all done.

The Gala was a smashing success. We raised over $40,000 in the Auction (including Live Auction stuff), and the Gala overall raised about $130,000 for the school! Yeah!

Whimsical Wednesday

In the middle of Gala prep, I had to change my "hat" on Wednesday last week to lead the Whimsical Wednesday preschool program. It went well, which was good.


But on Friday, with last-minute prep in a frenzy, Sofia decided to stage an Elopement. I was in the school office, talking to the development director. Sofia walked through the door into the other side of the main office. I was not concerned; there are so many "usual" places she goes. I finished my 30 second conversation, and went to look for her.

And could not find her.

I searched all her usual haunts, and then the principal and some teachers and staff started helping search every room.


So the principal (who has a grown son with DS) and I ran out the school wing door (the kindergarten teacher said she had seen Sofia in the school hallway heading to the door). Hamenahelet (the principal) went around back, and I took off to the walking path.

I managed to get a glimpse of Miss Pink&Purple just as she rounded the corner at the bottom of the hill. All the leaves on the path had slowed her down, fortunately, although they also slowed me down. And when I finally got closer to her, she started laughing and running faster!

I finally caught her, smacked her bottom, and let her know what a Bad Girl Move that had been. The big problem with Sofia is that she gets upset being yelled at, so I'm not sure how much of the content of WHY I was mad got through.

My friend DB came running down after us, so he carried her back up the hill; she clutched him like crazy. Back in the office, I sat on the floor with my laptop on my lap, holding her hand TIGHT! She was offered a chance to go to the Shabbat program with DB; she opted to stay with angry Mama instead.

So now she wears her ID tag whenever we go anywhere. Sigh. We looked at some of the electronic tracking devices, but I'm not so impressed with any of them. Opinions?


At some point in the past few weeks, on the ride to school, Sam read a joke from a book, and the punch line was "I'm gonna Kill whoever drank my cherry Kool-Aid."

I must not have been thinking clearly, because I felt compelled to explain the double-entendre about the Jonestown massacre. Which of course led to a whole lot of questions. I had to pull over and look things up for Sam, because he had soooo many different questions.

Micah, however, only had one real question:

Where did they get enough cups for all those people?

Ah, Micah. Pondering the cost-effectiveness of mass murder...

Family Fun

Anyway, after the Elopement event, we had to drive down to CT. We had Shabbos dinner with my parents, and slept over there, and on Saturday, we all drove down to NYC for a surprise party for mom's cousin's wife.

Well, it was a lovely party, she was totally surprised, the food was yummy. the magician hired to entertain the kids was great.


I sat down to talk to my cousin, and was immediately overwhelmed by a tirade against organized religion.

Then my mother felt she had to defend me as "not being a fanatic" by pointing out that it was Saturday afternoon and I was still attending the party even though it was Shabbos, because I wasn't "one of them".

Several other cousins had a really really hard time with the fact that I don't eat shellfish and would not taste the steak. "Oh, the Kosher thing, huh?"

Gee Whiz, people! I get less grief from non-Jews about keeping Kosher than I do from relatives!

And to top it all off, my father my quiet, shy father, got rip-roaring drunk. Which of course pissed off my mom and my sister (and I admit, me, too). He wobbled all the way back to the car (they rode with us, fortunately!), and fell asleep shortly after we started driving.

All in all, I was a lot happier spending time with Sofia than with any grownups (oh, and David was annoyed at me that day, too, which was just the icing on the cake).

We got snow this week, only a few days after the temperature had been in the 60s. Sofia's school was canceled, but the boys still had school. It's been ver cold, in the 20s, ever since.

And now Miss Sofia has the flu. Fever started Friday morning. I was up a lot with her last night, as the temp climbed higher. Right now, she's doing ok; a little warm, but she did eat and she's more active. David took the boys to the flu clinic (I'll have to reschedule Sofia) and then to shul.

Whew! I think I'm caught up!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Today, I am thankful for my big comfy chair in the family room, where I can sit and work on my new laptop while my children lean all over me. I don't intend to do much more than this today.

It's been a busy but nice weekend. Wednesday, I picked Sofia up early so I could pick the boys up in time (all got out at 11:30). We went out to lunch with a few other families, which was of course fun, and then Sam went to his friend's house for a few hours while I took Sofia to gymnastics and hung out with Micah. Not much in the evening.

Thursday, we watched the parade on TV while we packed up to go to CT. The ride was really fast, hardly any traffic at noon. So we got to my sister's house fairly early. The kids had a blast playing with my sister's twins, and when my cousins arrived (P is 32, the big twins are 20), they had even more fun. There were 23 people in all, including my brother-in-law's sister and her husband. It was great to see them; I have not seen them in many years.

The boys slept over at my sister's house, while David and Sofia and I went pack to my parent's house. Had breakfast waaay too late, as normal for my parents, then raced to The Crown (the big kosher market in West Hartford) to pick up stuff and then go get the boys.

Got home around 3:00, and company arrived at 4:00. Our friends from the Worcester area (David went to elementary school with the dad), and then a little later our neighbors. Had a nice time. The combination worked out well for the kids - Sam and his friend from across the street played cards quietly, while Micah and J were rowdy in another room, and the two big girls went upstairs to play a board game. Sofia was tired and attached to my lap most of the night. We got pizza and just relaxed.

After they left, however, I had to start cooking. Made meatballs that night.

Got up and out by 7:30 to go grocery shopping Saturday morning. Then the cooking began. "Second-sitting" Thanksgiving at our house, for David's family. His parents, his sister with Lilie and T, and cousin H and her family, along with our dear friend Roz.

I cooked up a storm. Turkey, London Broil, meatballs, mashed potato, sweet potato, stuffinf, green beans, salad, cranberry sauce. Plus my crustless pumpkin pie and the regular pie my MIL brought, and fruit and 7 layer cake from Crown and mandel bread. Not to mention all the munchies I'd put out for the afternoon. Unfortunately, the traffic from CT was terrible, so they all arrived much later than expected, so I still have munchies mostly uneaten. And a lot of leftovers, but everyone enjoyed the meal.

The kids were adorable. Lilie and Ian both just turned 2, and are both quite good at trashing the toy room (Sofia did her fair share of trashing, too). Micah taught 6 year old Alex how to play Yugio cards, and then Micah and Sam cornered Laura's boyfriend into playing all sorts of card games with them.

It was a nice evening. It felt like it was much later, but I was in bed before 11pm (while David drove Roz home). And everything was washed! Cousin's hubby washed the big stuff and loaded up the dishwasher, which was done before I went to bed. So this morning I do NOT have to face dishes! Yeah!

So today I really just want to sit in my chair and read or work on my papers for school or prep for the gala. Micah has a friend coming over in 45 minutes, so I shoudl probably put on some clothing, but that's about it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Happy Happy

Ok, I'm a geek. I firmly admit it. Proudly.

Which is why I am so excited by my new toy - a MacBook. It seems that my six year old PowerBook G4 decided that NOW was a good time for the hard drive to begin dying. NOW, when I'm in the middle of writing the masters thesis for my 7 long years of Gradual School. NOW, when next week is the Day School Gala and I need a working laptop for the Auction tallying.

Since I just got my paycheck for the High Holidays, and since I'm still eligible for a student discount, and since the Genius at the Apple Store agreed with my assessment of my poor hard drive's prognosis, I came home with a new machine. YEAHHHHHHHH!!!!!

So now I'm setting it up, clean, not just transfering things willy-nilly. I'm so excited!


In other news, I think we can safely call what Sam is going through for his OCD "Webkinz Therapy". Last week, we made tremendous progress with the promise of an imminent Webkinz purchase. So that's all it takes? Sigh.


Sam just went on meds yesterday for a lingering sinus infection, and I think maybe Sofia could use another round also, since her nose hasn't stopped running. Nothing like a limber little tongue - the girl can lick her own nose, which is DISGUSTING!


Micah is doing well, just starting to get a wee bit of a cold today. Last week, both Micah and Sofia qualified for the town's H1N1 clinic, so they got their first shots. Just have to find the 2nd round in time, and still find shots for Sam. Micah qualified as high-risk, and Sofia got in for the "ages 4 and under" round.


Thursday, we are off to CT for my family's celebration. Sleep over, pick up my turkey on Friday at The Crown, and back here, to do it all over again on Saturday with David's family. Cleaning ladies coming today; hopefully I can keep the house clean until then!


Prepping for the Winter Lights Gala and the Auction. Please support the school (and get some cool stuff) by visiting the Auction website.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Girl's Weekend

Since "what happens on Girl's Weekend STAYS at Girl's Weekend", I can't post too many details. Suffice it to say, we had a lovely time. The most basic details:

My husband didn't get home until 4:20 (having been told I needed to be somewhere by 4:00) and he was "exhausted". So when I got to my friend's house (decided to just leave his car at her house), I was FURIOUS. Took me more than 24 hours to get over it.

Took us nearly an hour to get from her house to the Pike because of traffic. But we also stopped for hot chocolate, and those of us not driving added some Malibu Rum, which made the drive very nice indeed.

Went for a light dinner near the house, then back to hang out.
Slept late. Pouring rain all day. Noshed and drank and talked and read and hung out all day.

Out for a drink in evening, then 3 girls went to a show while two of us stayed at the bar, and got home early for sleep (the other 3 stayed out late!).

Two of us got massages in the morning, while the others shopped. Then more shopping, lunch, clean up, and home.

But wonderful.

In the mean time, my husband had the children all weekend. Poor Sofia apparently missed me, and spent much of the time moaning "mama". When I called on Sunday, they were driving out to the Berkshires to see his folks, so he put me on speaker-phone. And from the back of the car I hear "Help Me...." in the most pathetic little voice!

Back to normal now. Sofia and Sam still have stuffy noses, but no fevers, so they both went to school. Just now, after school, I tried to have Sofia wear real underwear, but now those are soaked and she's back in a pull-up. For someone who missed me all weekend, she certainly is arguing a lot!

A hearty Mazal Tov to my friends L&K on the birth this morning of their daughter. YEAH, a new baby!!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The rest of our trip to London

So Friday evening after the Internet Cafe, we ate at Wagamama, a popular noodle shop (there's one here in Cambridge, too!). Then we managed sleep a solid 12 hours - that's what happens in a very dark room with no children!

(Friday pictures:

David with Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes' sitting room:
David as Sherlock Holmes, with Dr. Watson

Majestic Theater

Trafalgar Square:

So we got up later than expected Saturday morning, and took our time getting ready and finding breakfast. Figured out how to use the free internet at Pret-a-Manger (I wish we had more of that store around here!).

Then we walked across the bridge to the south side of the river. It was a lovely, clear day:

Both of us had been to The Museum of The Moving Image many years ago, and we wanted to go back. We spotted it on one map, but no one seemed to know where it was...

Finally, we discovered it had closed 4 years earlier, and the exhibits had been rolled into The Movium, so we went there.
King David
Francine & Hellboy
We found our Police Box

Walked back past Big Ben, meandered around town, had a lovely late lunch, returned to rest and change, and then off to the theater.

We saw "The 39 Steps", which is a hysterically funny take on the old murder mystery. Very cleverly done. 4 actors, but at least 20 characters.

Had a late Indian meal after the show, which was marred by several things: the drunk guy at the next table screaming "F&CK" over and over, the restaurant's inability to uphold their promise of "we can customize", and the overall greasiness. Oh, and the fact that I ordered a whole bottle of sparkling water and they only brought me a glass, 'because they'd run out'!

Ok, Sunday was The Event. The MPH Auto Show at Earl's Court, featuring Top Gear Live!

The MPH Auto Show

We had Platinum tickets, which gave us access to this upper section (including lunch and drinks). The show was all about sporty cars. NICE sporty cars. High End stuff.

Then it was time for TOP GEAR LIVE!

The Boys:
The Boys from Top Gear

James May (aka Captain Slow)'s car:
Captain Slow's car

Me with The Stig (the "tamed race car driver"):

It was waaay cool. And I only wanted to bludgeon David for the first part of the day - he likes different cars than me, and he kept getting angry when I walked away to see something. Ugh, men.

Anyway, we realy did have a nice time overall. Landed in Boston at 1:20 Monday after a very bumpy flight. Kids immediately went into melt-down, and my parents fled.

Sam had no fever after Sunday, but Sofia started fever Tuesday night. Which means I've been up with her the past 2 nights, and she's home with me now. But she had to come with me this morning to my haircut, and then she charmed the nail lady into giving her a manicure:
Sofia getting a manicure

Yesterday was Conferences at the day school. I'm thrilled to report that Sam made twice as much progress in reading as we had dared hope for on his IEP last May. They are both doing really well (although Micah continues to talk too much in Hebrew class).

And I'm off to a Girls' Weekend tomorrow, in Maine. Yeah! (Oh, yeah, I had an interesting and somewhat disturbing dream while in London. Sofia had run off, and been found by an older couple from my shul. But I kept "forgetting" to go pick her up from their house! I guess I really need a break from the kids, huh?!)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Greetings from London!

Our plane landed early, butvwe "made up" the time standing in line at customs. Landed at 5:00, got to hotel at 8:00.

Napped (passed out) for an hour, showered, and started walking. David's dear friend, who lives in our town, was here for the week on business, so we called and made a plane to meet for lunch.

Walked. And walked. And walked some more.

2 hours to walk to Baker Street from Strand. Then wait for our friend. Then delicious (and enormous) kosher meal at Reubin's restaurant.

More walking. Took nearly another two hours, through Regent Park, until we got to next destination, Camden Lockes Market (oh, and first, the Sherlock Holmes museum).

The Market was ultra-funky, so we spent quite a while there, although by then it was raining. Took underground back to hotel, rested, and now finally at an Internet cafe, typing madly.

Meanwhile, Sam was sent home with fever. Babysitter called, caring for him now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yes, David and I are off to London tomorrow evening! Just a really quick jaunt (really, it's a whole lot easier than flying to the West Coast). We'll be back Monday. But on Sunday, we are going to see Top Gear!!!!

The kids are being parcelled out. Tomorrow night, Sofia will be at my neighbor's house (with her best buddy), while both boys will be at my friend D's house. Sam was supposed to go to his chum's house, but said chum now has a fever.

Friday, my sitter will come here to watch Sofia in the afternoon and add Sam in to the evening, while Micah heads to Wellesely for 2 days at his friend's house. My sister-in-law, Laura, will come up Friday night, sleep over, and on Saturday take Sam and Sofia down to CT. It's cousin H's younger son's 2nd birthday party that afternoon, so at least Sam will get some quality family time, and maybe even drive from central CT to southern with his grandparents.

They'll sleep at Laura's house, and then she'll get them to my parents, who will bring them back, retrieve Micah, and do the Sunday night shift. And Monday, we'll be home!

So we're packing, and downloading movies (well, I seem to be having much better luck than David - but of course it's all about the platform [I use a Mac], isn't it?!).

For those of you NOT on Facebook with me, my funny story for the week was from yesterday. Micah woke up complaining. "My throat hurts. I don't feel good. I think I'm going to faint." That's what tipped his hand - he said that 'cause Sam's chum had fainted over the weekend. He was cool as a cucumber, and nothing out of the ordinary. His throat hurts because his nose drips, because he's allergic to everything. Nothing to be done about that.

But he's such a drama queen. So David was in the shower, and I was in the bathroom using the sink, and we were giggling about all Micah's symptoms. We decided that it was very likely that he was pregnant. Or maybe approaching menopause.

But as we were giggling, suddenly Micah opened the door and popped his head in: "I Can Hear You, Ya Know!"

More somber note, I went to CT for the funeral of my brother-in-law's uncle, also my friend's stepfather. Sad time, although I was glad to be there to help B out with her kids (3 kids require 3 adults at a funeral, especially when two are extra sad and one is too young to comprehend).

I also helped run the Whimsical Wednesday program at the day school this morning. It's the program for preschoolers. We had a really good turnout, and an excellent art program, courtesy of another mom/volunteer. Sand-art Shabbos Candleholders.

Poor David. The tiny computer he borrowed will not play a DVD movie! He'd counted on it. Meanwhile, I think I've figured out how to get some more movies on my iPod, so at least we'll be able to watch something.

Ok, have a smashing weekend, y'all!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy November!

That was a lovely Halloween. I think that Halloween should ALWAYS be on a Saturday evening, and the weather should ALWAYS be warm and mild. Even the brisk wind was fun, blowing all the leaves around.

Miss Sofia was some sort of mermaid/princess:

While Samuel was The Scream:

And Micah was a Headless Guy:
(Note his shirt, which David got him a while back: "G-d's Busy, May I Help You?")

Since my neighbor has such a great decoration setup we pose on their lawn:

And that's where the Dads convene for the walk-about:

(Although David and the one other dad with a little kid rapidly lost the rest of the gang, ages 8-10, who went MUCH faster than the little ladies).

Meanwhile, I sat on my porch, along with some neighbors (who left their candy unattended on their own porches), and our pumpkins, which I cut "to spec" for each kid:

We sat on the porch for 2 hours, and then, when the kids came back, a few families came over. I put Sofia to sleep, and the grownups stayed inside, but the kids stayed OUTSIDE playing in the dark!

it was really really lovely and fun.

Today, Sofia and I went to a Baby Shower for my friend L. We had a nice time, since we'd been to Bridal Shower and Wedding with many of the same people in the past year. Miss Sofia had a grand time directing the opening of the gifts.

Tonight I had my DS Mommies dinner. Only two of use showed up, due to my not getting the notice out until this Thursday, but we had a great time.

Friday was busy, but ultimately nice. In the morning, David took Micah to school, while I took Sam to Ashland, then Sofia to preschool, then back to the Ashland school to meet with Sam and the OT Tech Team about his tech needs. They installed Co-Writer, a word prediction utility, on his laptop, to see if that helps.

After that, I took him back to school, got his laptop set up, spoke to the Networking lady who happened to be there, and had a quick Gala meeting. Then off to get Sofia, lunch, Gala Auction work at home while Sofia helped the cleaning ladies, and back to school for a lovely memorial by the kids for Hamoreh Yosef, the teacher who died last weekend. It was very moving.

Then Micah had his 8 year checkup. Sam stayed at school for tutoring, and was driven home by the Office Administrator, who lives not far from us. Micah was very very bouncy and silly at his checkup, which made it difficult to get straight answers out of him. The only worrisome thing was that he scored much worse in vision than last year, enough for the pediatrician to recommend a new vision checkup with the ophthalmologist even though he was "dismissed" until next year.

Home for a while, more Gala work, then we went to Shabbos dinner at the home of a couple from shul. Had a very very nice time. He is an engineer, and was able to get Micah out of a bad mood instantly, by knowing the square root of 18.

My kids are silly, aren't they?

I'm hearing more reports of sick kids at the day school. I hope none of mine get sick, at least until after I get back from London!!!

I'm off to yet another funeral tomorrow, down in Manchester, CT. This is my brother-in-law's uncle, and also the stepfather of one of my best friends since 7th grade. My neighbor will pick Sofia up from school, and then L's cousin, who threw the baby shower today, will come take over. I hope this is the last funeral for a while!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sad, then Happy

Life is a continuous whirlwind. Certainly never boring!

The funeral was enormous. More than 700 people crammed into the Sanctuary & Social Hall at TBS. I had to sit up front with the other singers; the quartet was the cantor, his wife, and another friend of ours singing tenor - his wife is usually the alto, but couldn't make it. Tenor said they didn't even get that size crowd for Kol Nidre, which is usually the biggest service of the year.

Beautiful service. Hamoreh Yosef would have been very pleased. His best friend (since they were 17) spoke eloquently for half an hour. His four granddaughters spoke. His two daughters and their husbands. The executive director of the Cohen Camps, where he was very very active for many years. The rabbi. The cantor sang a special Yiddish song, about a teacher and a young student. We sang Psalm 23. And the El Moley Rachamim, the traditional memorial prayer.

The whole thing took about 2 hours, which is very long, but it was lovely. The kids sat nicely in back; Sam said it totally did not feel like 2 hours, because he was listening so carefully to every word.

D left in time to pick up Micah and the younger daughter, and retrieve Sofia from our other friend. After the service, I took Sam and A (in D's car) to the cemetery. Somehow we got ahead of the car procession, so we arrived early. I parked around the back, and we walked in the rain through the older section of the cemetery, which I'd never been in before. It was beautiful. It was also pouring! But Sam and I are both interested in cemeteries, and A had never actually been in one, so we explored a bit and discussed some of the rituals involved.

The burial service also had a huge crowd (although certainly not all 700!). One of the rituals in a Jewish funeral is that everyone helps to shovel the dirt - it's the last thing you can do for the person. The shovel starts inverted, and you don't pass the shovel to the next person but rather stick it back in the pile of dirt. So I walked the kids through that (although Sam remembered it from Grandma Ruth's funeral last year).

They are both such good souls, so respectful of the traditions and so caring about people. It was a privilege to be able to share that time with them.

Of course, we didn't get back to D's house untl after 5:30! What a long day!

Today, I had a chance for a happier event. David drove Sofia to school, so after I dropped off the boys, I headed in to Boston, back to Children's Hospital. This time, however, I had a "taxi" in my trunk!


I went up to the 6th floor and found my friend and her son, William. He was SO excited to see the taxi:

His mom got the buckle done, and we were off. "Hurry, Mom!"

Racing up and down the halls:

"Yeah, I'm Cool, Man!"

Thank you to everyone who participated in getting this for William!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


When they said "It Takes A Village", they certainly had my family in mind!

Back up to Sunday. David took Sofia with him to the neighbor's house to watch football. That's the house where she will be sleeping over the first night of our London trip, and her best friend S lives there, so she had a blast.

I took Micah to the Arcade, where we played skee-ball and had a nice time. He is so well behaved at the Arcade. He shares his tokens (in this case, more like forced me to play!), when he's out of tokens he's done, and he picks his prizes efficiently. Such a difference from his brother.

After the arcade, we went to the mall for a while. There is a Toys R Us express set up for the next few months, and he got a webkinz (walrus) and a Sonic playfigure (which broke in the car!).

So we had some nice Mommy & Micah time. When we got home, he logged on to Webkinz and I went over to check on David and Sofia (but there is a big dog, so I can't stay there long).

David pickup up Sam at 7pm from the bus. Unfortunately, Sam did not have a great time on the boat ride. And he was tired. And he was upset about all the deaths. And he was jealous of Micah getting birthday presents.

Early to bed for everyone. But I still spent 2am to 4am in Sofia's room again.

Monday was a little calmer. After I dropped the kids at school, I went to the Wellesley library, because I had to renew a book for my class. I got about 2 hours of work done on my thesis, although then my computer almost died (but I did manage to save the files elsewhere).

Hung out at home with Sofia until pickup time. It was nice out, so the kids played at the day school until about 4pm (Sam had Hebrew tutoring after school, so we had to wait anyway). It was nice to see Sofia playing with her buddies, too, and Micah is fully involved in the football game the boys play every day.

Got home, helped Sam with his Torah homework, and then left as soon as the babysitter arrived. Met David at Children's Hospital. We were there for a discussion/presentation for the Down syndrome clinic, about DS and Behavior and Discipline. Usually there are about a dozen people at these events. This time, there were closer to 100 people! We actually had to move from the conference room to the auditorium!

It was a good presentation, and I got some ideas for how to handle Miss Sofia (especially regarding biting her toe nails). After the meeting, we stayed outside talking to another mom for a while, which was also nice.

Tuesday, I finally had a little time to myself. After I dropped Sofia at school, I went grocery shopping, and then got a manicure and pedicure! AHHHHHHHH.

Picked her up, cleaned the house, and did more computer based work. Then went to get the boys when the sitter arrived for Sofia.

Got to play for a few minutes, then Micah went home with his friend while I took Sam to the OCD doctor. Good session. He's really making a lot of progress. Being aware of the problem has helped him face it. There are still a few things he won't touch, but he is getting a lot better. He has even skipped a few pre-bed showers!

After the appointment, I did take Sam to get a Webkinz, since he was owed a treat for the OCD sticker chart. So he was happier.

Picked up Micah, then off to Tae Kwan Do. Then dropped the boys home, and David and I went out. He bought a tuxedo! (Jos. A. Banks was having a sale). I wanted him to have a tux, because I am co-chairing the gala. And he picked out a purple cumberbund set, which means now I know what color dress i need!

We also got to go to dinner at Legals, which was fun. I like hanging out with my husband without any children. He's cute.

Today is a bit insane. I got them all to school, and I'm home now. Had to blow dry my hair (which I have given up on most days). I'm singing at the funeral today - got a call last night to see if I knew the alto part for Psalm 23.

So I have to pick up Sofia at 12:30 from lunch bunch, and take her to her friend A's house. A's mom (my friend) will take her to the gymnastics class, and then bring her back to the day school for pick up. Meanwhile, my other friend D will pick up her older daughter and Sam and meet me at the shul for the service. Then one of us will leave in time to pick up Micah and the younger daughter (and maybe Sofia), while the other takes the older kids to the cemetery. I needed the school admin to talk to Micah about whether he was going or not - he only wanted to go to the cemetery, not to the service.


And I just made the whole "who goes where and when and with whom" listing for our trip to London. 7 other families are involved in the process!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

WHEW! Really, that was a lot!

Thursday morning, Sofia's cold was worse, so she ended up coming to the funeral in Worcester with me.

Thursday night, I almost fell asleep during my class, since I'd been up with Sofia again overnight.

Friday, I also kept her home. David drove Micah to school, I got Sam to his appointment at Ashland public school, then spoke to preschool principal and decided to keep Sofia out again. Picked up Sam, drove him to school. Called pediatrician. 45 minutes to wait; chased Sofia around the bookstore. She found a toy on display that she really wanted, which was too old for her, so I said "No." She clutched it and kept repeating "Try It."

Finally made it out of the bookstore without the toy. Off to Peds. Try a new med for sinus infection.

Then to the day school, to read to Micah's class in honor of his birthday.

Get pulled out of class just as I'm finishing reading/ Sam's been hit in the eyebrow with a hockey puck!

Nurse didn't think he needed stitches or had a concussion. At that time he felt ok to go back to class, so I ssaid I would check on him before I left school.

Back to Micah's class, to teach a song during Tefillah.

Check on Sam, and by now his head is pounding, so I tell him to pack up.

Meanwhile, Sofia took off, and we couldn't find her for a few minutes. Finally located her ON THE POTTY in the boy's room!

Back to Peds (they were a bit puzzled to see me). Doc checked him out, no real worries, just keep an eye on him.

Off to the drugstore, to try to fill Sofia's prescription. Took a long time, with Sofia running amok and Sam moaning about his headache.

Just enough time to race home, get meds into both of them, refrigerate, and off to pick up lunch. Grabbed some food at Whole Foods, but it took a while. So we were late getting back to school.

Which means we missed Micah being the Shabbat Helper (it goes by birthday), and apparently he did a FANTASTIC job. A few people said they taped it, so hopefully I'll get to see it.

But we got to see his class' presentation about the Solar System, which was also cute.

Home, made cupcakes, and then rested for an hour, after we packed.

Then off to shul, where I had to lead the day school kids in certain parts of the service, to show off. They did great.

The minute services were over, we got in the car and headed for CT. I'd made sandwiches, so we ate dinner in the car.

Made it in good time. My dad met us at the Funeral Home, so we swapped cars and he took the kids back to the house.

Stayed until the end of the wake, visiting with David's cousin and uncle and the extended family. Then back to my parents' house to sleep.

Next morning, the kids and my folks took off early to see my sister and her twins, so we had some quiet time, which was NICE. Then off to the funeral. Full Mass, which was very very interesting. The Catholic church near my parent's house, where I would occasionally go with my friends, was not as elaborate as this one, which included a choir and incense.

Sad but lovely funeral. Then we went back to the house, packed up, and met the rest of my family at my niece's soccer game - in the rain.

Stopped at iParty to get stuff for the birthday party. Got some lunch, and raced back to CT.

Prepped for party. Kids started arriving at 6pm. One no-show, the mom had mixed up the date, but that's where Micah will have a sleep-over in a few weeks, so he'll make it up then. So only 4 guests, and one couldn't sleep over. It was really nice.

When they first arrived, they played a variety of games - Othello, Mancala, Connect Four, etc. Then food - popcorn, nachos, and pizza. Then a riotous game of Marco Polo. Then the pinata.


After that cupcakes:

Then prep for bed, and watch a movie ("Pirates of the Carribean"). Sofia came upstairs with us, as she was "Scared" of the pirates. Sam was the first to fall asleep. I finally turned off the movie at 10:45, and promised they could watch more in the morning.

It took them a while to go to sleep, past 11:30. But the three guests slept late. Micah came up at 7:00 complaining that no one was awake but him!

Once they all got up, they finished the movie, then had breakfast, then played until parents came.

Nice nice boys.

Now my house is somewhat quiet. Sofia's watching "Robots" again, and the boys are playing downstairs. Sam has a boat ride this afternoon for USY. I hope to get some of my thesis work done. David is going with a neighbor to watch football.

But when the last mom picked up, she told me one more piece of bad news: one of the teachers at the day school died! Baruch Dayan HaEmet. Dr. George Marcus was killed in a car accident on Friday. I am waiting for funeral details.

Life goes on...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back from a blog break

Crazy month. So we left off on Columbus Day, going to Davis Farmland and the Mega Maze.

Tuesday, I got to hang out with my friend from Chicago in the morning while all three kids were in school, which was nice. Then ... I had no babysitter, and had to take all three kids to the library and then to Tae Kwan Do. Crazy. At the library, I had the boys take turns watching Sofia in the play area while I helped the other brother with homework. Then I got to argue with Sofia while the boys explored.

In Tae Kwan Do, I got to hang out in that play area (no where near the other moms) watching Sofia and her friend s argue over toys. Fun.

Fortunately, Wednesday was better, since she had gymnastics. But in the mean time, she never lost the runny nose and cough she'd had the previous week. And by Thursday, I had it, too.

But Thursday afternoon, I had to take Sofia to Children's for her blood work, in prep for her Endocrin checkup on Monday. NOT fun, drawing blood from my very strong child. Takes 3 people to hold her.

Friday I had no voice, and that lasted most of the weekend. We had a quiet Shabbos, no company Friday dinner, but still a nice time together. Saturday, David and Micah went to shul while I hung at home with Sam and Sofia (Sam wanted a pajama day). I don't think I left the house all day.

Sunday, soccer was once again canceled (I think the boys will probably NOT be playing this season!), and Sam's USY boat ride was also canceled, both due to the rain (and snow!). Fortunately, Micah still had a birthday party to go to (at a Hockey game!). So the other four of us went to BJs and did some crazy shopping, and then David drove in to Newton to pick up kosher Chinese food.

While David was driving, Sam and I rearranged Sofia's room, including taking apart the crib! We pulled the pieces for the toddler bed down from the attic, but could not find the hardware (which I'm SURE I'd put in a plastic bag and taped to the rails), so the bed didn't get finished until Tuesday.

She's not so sure about the bed. She's starting to appreciate it a little, at least for putting her dolls to bed, but she's not positive she wants to sleep there. And because she's so stuffy, she's not sleeping well, and keeps coming in to find me in the middle of the night.

Last night, she came in to me, and when she started kicking David, I was just about to pick her up, when Micah showed up, too. So I put Sofia back in her room, and spent 2 hours in Micah's room. I was heading back to my bed, when I found David in Sofia's room. Sofia apparently had come back to find me, and started freaking out when I wasn't there. So I spent the next 2 hours with her. Sigh.

Today was busy - school photos at the day school, and (of course) I am the parent organizer. So I spent the morning shepherding students to the Cafetorium. I am pleased to say that EVERY student was in today, so no need for any retakes! Class picture for Micah's class (19 kids, in grades 1 & 2) took the longest, since the 10 boys (ages 6-8) all had a variety of quirks and funny faces to deal with.

Sofia loves her gymnastics class, and pushes me out the door. "Mama. GO. Drive. Out. Bye."

The boys are both ok. The nice weather yesterday and today is helping, but they are both sort of dragging, although neither has the sinus problems or cough that Sofia and I can't get rid of.

David is ok. He's been in country all month, which is very nice. In fact, in town! Home for dinner often. Very nice.

My class is fun - Midrash on Bereshit (interpretive stories about Genesis). My thesis is going nowhere fast. Slow, actually.

Oh, and somehow I have become Co-Chair of the Winter Lights Gala for the Day School.

This week, otherwise, is a bit bizarre. Yesterday, after Tae Kwan Do, the boys and I met David over at a Shiva house (Shiva is the mourning period which follows a Jewish funeral). Tomorrow morning, I have to go to another funeral (father of a friend). And Friday (after the boys join classmates in leading some of the services at shul) we have to race down to CT for a wake, stay at my parents' overnight, and leave the kids there while we go to the funeral in the morning (David's cousin's uncle). Then race back, because Micah is having a sleepover party for his birthday.

Can't remember anything else. David is watching Monte Python in the background... difficult to concentrate while laughing!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Change of Plans

We were just about to leave to deliver the push-car to the hospital, when the mom called asking me to hold off for a few days. So instead, we headed West, to David Farmland and Mega-Maze.

Fun time. Sofia loves the animals, and the maze was...fun...for the first hour...

I hit a wall after that, and spent the next hour trying hard to escape.

Plenty of pictures, so here's another Photo Page.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Buddy Walk 2009

We had a wonderful day today at the MDSC Buddy Walk, in Wakefield.

Here are just a few pics, I also posted a whole page on my photo site.

Our Team t-shirts:

"Sofia's Fans":

Sofia, very happy to have mastered the playground:

Micah and his friend:

Sam and his friend (also named Sam!):

Mama and Dada:

It was windy, but nice. Sofia played hard on the playground when we first got there, and then tried to storm the stage while the speeches were going on, but then she fell asleep in the stroller as soon as the walk started!

My friend came in from Chicago, and DB and his kids joined us again. The kids are so cute together, and everyone had a blast.

Last night, we all went to shul for Simchat Torah, which is one of the funnest holidays. Sofia had a blast dancing with the Torahs:

Tomorrow, I have the great pleasure of taking my kids (and my friend) to Children's Hospital in Boston, to deliver a push-car taxi from Jordan's Furniture to the chemo ward!!!!! More photos, I promise!

Friday, October 9, 2009

How to Support? Part Three

YUP! I'm on my way to the Reading store this afternoon, to pick up the fire engine cart! Since my friend S is coming in tomorrow from Chicago to join us for our Buddy Walk on Sunday, and will still be here Monday when the kids don't have school, I am hoping we can bring it to the Chemo Ward Monday.

Woo Hoo!!!! Thank you to EVERYONE who participated!!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How to Support? Part Two

Well, this has been full of lessons.

Lesson #1: When you want to know what to do to help, ASK.

Lesson #2: When you do need help, don't be afraid to be VERY SPECIFIC.

So I asked the mom (of the child undergoing chemo treatments at Children's) what we as a group could do to help, and her answer was very clear:

There is something that we could use some help with.....this floor is full with patients waiting to come in so it is very busy (which is so sad) presently there are three or four toddlers and only one push car. I went online to see if I could come up with a picture or price with no luck but the cars are just like the ones (taxis) at Jordans Furniture in Framingham. There was a black police car when we first arrived (it went MIA) but now just a red race car. These cars are very nice to push and the kids just love them, we can take them out into the garden and wheel around the hospital (pending blood counts) for W. it is awesome cause he sits up straight to drive unlike the umbrella stroller which he slouches in plus he cannot walk yet and scooting around on hospital floors can be dangerous with the low platelets. He has spent hours in the car!! Anyways do you or does anyone in the group have any connection to Jordans or is there someone we could approach to donate acouple of their taxis to add some fun to these long hospital stays. Just a thought ya never know who knows who!!

Well, I know. I know a lot of people connected to that store. And I think this is going to work. I got many messages back, all willing to help, willing to rehash older connections or make donations. And today I got a message the store's owner, who has always been very supportive of the local DS community, has been contacted directly!

I am in awe of how fast people responded, and how wonderful and generous everyone has been. Another mom, working on the MDSC Buddy Walk, has put in a funds request there for the car as well.

I have no doubt that very soon, Children's Hospital will have a new push-car.

Will keep you posted!


In personal news: Took Sofia back to the pediatrician Saturday morning, got her on antibiotics for the sinus infection. By Sunday, I was feeling the pain, and Monday I got antibiotics for a double-ear infection. Also kept both Sofia and Micah out of school Monday - he was coughing as much as her - but sent him back today after pediatrician said he was fine.

And the weather has been mostly lovely for Sukkot!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Support?

Ok, readers, I want to hear from you. One of the families on my MetroWest DS Mommies list is plunging into the world of chemotherapy. Months of in-patient time.

How can I as an individual, and we as the DS Mommies group, help?

What kinds of things will help a family know that they are loved and cared for, while they are sitting watching their youngest child go through such suffering?

Not a happy post, sorry, but leukemia is one of the ever-present realities in the DS community. Something we all hope to avoid, but which shows up all too often. Thank G-d that there are now treatments available, and so many of these children DO get better. But that doesn't make the process any easier.

So I hug Sofia, give thanks that she is (reasonably) healthy (despite a nasty cough and cold this week). And hope the big L never finds our house.

And wonder how we can help our friends when it does.


In other news, I start my Genesis Rabbah class tonight. Does anyone have a copy of the Soncino English translation of it that I can borrow? Or Rashi's commentary on Genesis chapters 4, 22, 37 or 39?

And tomorrow is my first thesis seminar. Let the madness begin!

Happy Sukkot, y'all, and I hope we have some nice weather for at least part of the week. My walls are out of the garage, but not "up" yet. David promised to build it tonight. If not, I will do it tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All Atoned and Starting Fresh

Shana Tova once more, Happy New Year and New Beginnings. This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, although not actually horribly busy.

Friday, I got in THE MOOD to cook, having invited not one but two families for dinner - both the moms are my dear friends, and both are FOODIES. So Thursday at the Farmer's Market, I got all sorts of fresh stuff, and Friday I made some delicious Eggplant Parmesan. I can't make it too often, since I personally cannot eat it (eggplant is a horrible migraine trigger for me; the food has to be really delicious [like my uncle's fried eggplant] to be worth the headache). I made one huge pan, plus a smaller loaf size without dredging the slices in flour. The house smelled Yummy!

I also got a little carried away, and after making homemade challah, I decided to make homemade pasta! It's fun, but a lot of work. And I ran out of counter space, so when Sam helped me roll the dough through the slicer, it all just piled up on the tray and became one large clump - which meant re-rolling it piece by piece before tossing it into the water.

But it was all yummy, and Shabbos dinner was extra fun for having three families instead of two. Five out of the seven kids are at the day school, and the littlest boy is Sofia's dearest friend. And Sofia would gladly trade me for either of these two moms in a heartbeat!

Saturday, we were a bit worn out and decided to sleep a little later (well, all relative - the kids were up at 6, as usual, but David and I took turns going back to sleep off and on for the morning). Then David took Sam off for an errand (Sam has decided he wants to start building model aircrafts), and I got all the bikes into/onto the car and filled up the tires. Then we all met at Cushing Park, a nice wide paved stretch, 1.5 miles around, in Framingham, and did some nice bike riding (with stops at the two playgrounds in between). Poor Sofia: at one point, I was trying to get something out of the car, and had propped up my bike...with her on it...and she fell over! Fortunately she landed on the grass, but we spent the next ten minutes hugging and crying together.

We had family movie night (although Micah didn't like the movie, so he watched something else downstairs and fell asleep on the couch).

Sunday, soccer was canceled because of the rain, so we had a relaxed morning. I got out to the grocery store for a while. Then Laura and Lilie arrived, we all got dressed, and went to my friend C's house for erev Yom Kippur dinner. Yummy as ever, and lots of fun.

Then off to services. I think everything went well again. On Monday morning, the rabbi and I totally screwed up by not having people turn to the correct page for the Shacharit Amidah, but we covered well by having folks do the "wrong" one silently, and then picking up together on the correct page. Whew.

Sam managed to fast the entire day, although I forced him to drink some orange juice. I was not happy that he fasted the whole time - I even pointed out the halachic ruling that says he is too young (not until age 11). So OJ was the compromise.

Micah, on the other hand, wanted to fast but was definitely too young, and once he started eating, he kept finding more and more things he wanted.

It was a lovely day again, and I got home about an hour before they all did (David takes them to Temple Israel in the mornings, where there are age-appropriate children's services for everyone), so I sat on the front porch and fell asleep! Nice relaxing afternoon, then back to my shul for the evening service. I had the boys and my friend's two kids lead the Ashrei, which was very well received. And Micah blew an exceptionally long Tekiah Gedolah on his shofar - I think he may have taken an extra breath.

Break-fast was just us back at home, racing to get Sofia to bed and Laura & Lilie off to CT.

Here are my girls:

Taking a snack break:

Miss Lilie:

Oh, and please don't forget: our Buddy Walk is October 11 - please sponsor us, and join Team Sofia if you can!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


"BoyKa" is Sofia's name for her brothers - together. "Boy" is Sam (he calls her "Girl"), and "Ka" is short for Micah. Sometimes she will say the two names with a distinct pause between, but most often she says it as one word - BoyKa. Rhymes with Troika.

I just spent over an hour working on Micah's birthday invitation with him. I have worked for some pretty particular bosses, but he takes the cake! Exacting standards about font, point size, picture placement, wording, and even background color! I think the invitation came out pretty cute - it's got a whole collage of pics of him through his long 8 years (I don't want to post it, 'cause it has our address and my phone on it).

But all this for just 5 kids?! I'm nuts.

Busy busy day for Sofia today. She had to come with me to drive the boys, since David is away, and then she played in the cafetorium while I had a Recruitment Committee meeting. Then I took her to school. (I rested and then went around town hanging up posters). She stayed for lunch, and I had to pick her up a few minutes early. Off to Temple Beth Am for their Yom Tov program.

That was neat. She went to them last year, and that was usually the only time she saw these particular kids. This year, almost all the same kids in her age group returned (and the older ones are off to kindergarten). She fit right in, and had a blast playing with her friends and joining the party. It starts first in the chapel with the rabbi and cantor doing songs and a story about the holiday. The rabbi does a funny chant called "thumbs up" which Sofia loves - in fact, she calls the whole program "thumbs up".

After the program with the clergy, it's off to the social hall for a craft, then a snack, and then some running around. This time, since there were all the extra chairs set up for the High Holidays, the kids had a blast running through the maze of chairs.

It was so nice to see her fit right in.

We took a nice drive to waste 20 minutes, and then it was off to "Monkey Gym" (the mascot of the My Gym franchise is a monkey). It's a drop-off class, and I decided she would be much better off if I stayed away. And I was right. She did great! (And I hung up more posters).

Raced out of there to pick up the boys from school, then back to bring them to their therapists. I started getting a bad migraine around then, so Sofia and I had a snack and then waited in the car for them.

Back home, Micah gave me a nice back rub (apparently I owe him another dollar now) while Sam played with Sofia. Then supper (yum - since no David and no vegetarian babysitter tonight, I could actually make some beef!!!), baths, more playing, and I put Sofia to sleep while the boys were still cleaning up.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parenting Compliment

Well, that was nice. This evening, after Tae Kwan Do, I took my boys out for sushi, since Sofia was home with the sitter. It had been a long day for all - after school, Sam and I had gone to the OCD doctor while Micah waited, and then we stopped for ice cream and homework before class.

Anyway, we were sitting at a table in the front room, which is also next to the small bar. There was a gentleman sitting at the end of the bar, right near us, through most of our dinner. As we were finishing our meal, he suddenly leaned over and handed me his card.

"Excuse me, but I couldn't help listening to you with your kids. You are terrific with them!"

We went on for more discussion (he's a portrait photographer, hence the business card). But it was so nice to get a parenting compliment. He was impressed with our conversation, and my apparent patience with all their endless questions and comments.

That felt so nice.

I love being a mommy, especially (of course) when the kids are good. And yes, even when they are not so good, I'm still glad I'm a mommy... But I really do love hearing what they have to say, helping them explore the world and digest new ideas.

We were actually having a long conversation about Micah's upcoming birthday. For the past several years, his party has been at a local arcade, which has a party room and decent prices. But he does not want to go there again this year (too much repetition, I think he's getting bored there). And school has a policy, because the school is so small, that you have to either invite 1) the whole class, 2) all kids of same gender in the class, or 3) only one kid.

Since Micah has a combined first and second grade class, that's 10 boys right there, and he is friends with 5 out of 8 of the third grade boys. So that's 18 before we even get to non-school friends (another 8). Then there was the discussions about brothers (could he only invite one but not the other) and specific kids in his class who he's not as close to. And outside friends who SHOULD be invited, even though he prefers to play with them one-on-one instead of in a group.

So it was an interesting discussion, filled with talk about shalom bayit (peace in the house) and being a good friend.

He eventually decided that he really justs wants a sleep-over party, with only 1 kid from his class, one from the 3rd grade, and 3 outside friends. So that was MUCH easier!

Good day overall. David drove Sofia to school again, which meant I could go in and read with Micah (his class has free reading at the beginning of each day, and parents are invited to join), and then I went for a nice walk around Cushing Park. Sofia and David and I went out for lunch, too, because he left this evening for Chicago for a few days. I got a migraine after lunch, and managed to nap while Sofia watched a movie (except for every 10 minutes when she would attempt to wake me up). Sitter arrived at 2:00, which left me enough time to get gas for the car and coffee for the migraine before picking up the boys.

And now they are all asleep (or at least almost sleeping but in their own room), and I can sort through the gigantic pile of papers on my desk...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seen through loving eyes - The Boston Globe

Seen through loving eyes - The Boston Globe

A nice article, as usual, from Beverly Beckham at the Boston Globe about her adorable granddaughter Lucy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shanah Tovah

Happy New Year, everyone. Rosh Hashanah was this weekend, a very festive and wonderful time of the year.

Thursday afternoon was the day school's annual Tashlich ceremony. It's alwasy a lovely time. We gather at the school, and after a brief story for the kids, we all walk down, in groups, to the park nearby. The kids write their wishes for the new year - things they are sorry for, things they would like to change int he coming year. We symbolically cast our sins into the river (in the form of bread crumbs). And every year, it's been wonderfully lovely weather.

Friday the boys did not have school (it would have only been a half day anyway because everyone needed time to prep for the holiday), but Sofia did. So I let the boys watch the Scooby Do movie that they had taped last weekend and relax in the morning. The cleaning ladies arrived after Sofia was done, which meant she got the thrill of helping them/supervising. She LOVES "helping" the cleaning ladies.

Once they left, I was able to start cooking. The Trader Joe's near us has just started carrying kosher brisket, which meant I just HAD to make a brisket. Tasty - but tiny I had to figure out how to make a 2.6 pound brisket, when all my recipies are for 13-14 pounders!

Anyway, due to the smaller size, I also made...London Broil, a Turkey breast, and chicken soup (which meant soup chicken). And rice and asparagus. And I had made honey cake, and bought some other tasty cakes.

While I was cooking, my neighbor and her daughter, who is Sofia's buddy, came over to play. The girls were SOOOOO cute together. They were really playing together, not just parallel play. They kept pretending one was the baby and one was the mamma.

Right after they left, my sister-in-law and niece arrived. My gentle, baby-loving daughter somehow turned into a brute, and kept knocking Lilie over or pushing her or otherwise making life miserable for her tiny cousin.

My friend C and her husband and 2 sons joined us for dinner, which was nice, since I don't get to see them too often. I had to rush out after dessert, because I had to be at "my" shul, Sha'arei Shalom in Ashland, where I am the Cantorial Soloist for the holidays. Sammy came with me (dressed in his suit; VERY handsome), and David and Laura and the other kids arrived about 30 minutes late (looking like 5 clones of varying sizes - they all look very much alike).

Service went well. I was totally NOT ready, but once we started, the rabbi and I got into a good groove. I love working with her. She's a wonderful person.

Home by 9, clean up and go to sleep. Saturday morning, got all the kids fed and dressed, and I left for services. David took the rest of them to Temple Israel, as usual. My service went very well. We finished at 12:30 on the button! Lunch was at friends', which was lovely. Got home fairly early because Micah and I were having allergy attacks. Grown-ups took naps, but kids didn't, so mommies had to wake up.

More services today, but this time I was NOT working at Sha'arei Shalom. Budget cuts, I was only hired for two out of three days this time. So I got to go to TI for the first time since Micah was born. It was nice. We sat in the tent. After services, we walked over to our friends house for our annual holiday meal together (I've been going to their house since before I met David!). And after lunch, we (well, not David and Sofia and the husband and the grandmother, who all napped instead) walked over to the river for the Tashlich service. TI and Chabad are right near each other, so it is a nice opportunity for the two communities to get together (we have a lot of cross-over).

So here we are. Laura and Lilie are already back in CT, the boys are asleep, and Sofia, who took a very long nap, is watching football with David.

Ok, other thoughts: a few days ago, some of my DS friends posted a link to the Sceptical OB, a doctor who questions whether we should be sad about the possibility of DS disappearing because of earlier prenatal testing. I don't feel like linking back to her blog. But one section struck me. First she quotes Dr. Brian Skotko, who is a major DS supporter and leader in the Mass DS community.

Skotko: ...Parents who have children with Down syndrome have already found much richness in life with an extra chromosome. Now is the time for the rest of us to discuss the ethics of our genetic futures.

SOB: Richness? The use of that term is patronizing to both parents and to people with Down Syndrome. It is patronizing to parents because it implies that the lifelong burden of caring for a disabled child should be perceived as "enriching." It is patronizing to people with Down Syndrome by suggesting that their primary value is to enrich the lives of others.

HECK YES! Isn't that ALL of our primary value - to enrich the lives of others?????

I found that the few commentors who agreed with the SOB tended to agree specifically with this section. Which I found more upsetting than any discussion about Trisomy 21.

It's all related. On Rosh Hashanah, we talk about tefillah, teshuvah, and tzedakah - prayer, repentance, and charity, which is also called tikun olam/repairing the world. We each of us have the responsibility to care for each other, to care for our world. To enrich the lives of others.

Just because it may be easier for people with DS to enrich the lives of the people around them, does not make them less valuable. Less individual. Less worthy.

And when it comes to a "lifelong burden" of parenting, I don't remember anyone telling me that parenting was ever a temporary job. As far as I can tell, a good parent remains a parent all their lives. And sometimes it's not easy.

If I had to pick which "issue" I would rather do without in our house, first thing to go would be the Allergies, both food and environmental, for all of us (food for Micah and Sofia, environmental for Micah and me). Second "issue" I would ditch would be mental issues like Sam's OCD and anxiety and mine and David's depression. These things really impact our daily lives, and make me worry.

Learning disabilities - both Sam's and Sofia's - would be next to go. But I don't feel that the learning disabilities make as much of an impact on our lives as the allergies and mental issues. They are learning "differences", and my children will learn ways to learn, ways that work for them.

So that extra chromosome would be the last of our major issues that I would wish to get rid of. It isn't going to kill her. It isn't going to make her sick. It IS going to affect her life. But that just means her life will be different. Not better. Not worse. Different.

Ok, enough. Here are the pictures!

Sofia and Lilie taking a bath:

and then all dressed up for shul:

Thursday, Sammy and Micah blowing shofar at the school's Tashlich ceremony:

And the Rothkopf Family Rosh Hashanah card for 5770:

A Happy and Sweet and Healthy New Year, y'all!