Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

Ahhh. It's 5:15 pm, and the boys and I are still in pajamas. Sofia only got dressed because she conned us into taking a bath this morning (by spilling orange juice all over her pajamas). Sam is attempting to shovel now (pajamas under snow gear), although David is on his way home to help.

I finished my curtains! I've had he fabric for months, and the hardware since November. Yesterday I finally figured out what I wanted for the ribbon loops, and last night and today I did all the sewing. I can't get the hardware up by myself, though, because my arms go numb if I have to reach over my head too long, so David will have to do that.

Miss Sofia has eaten about 6 Clementines today. That's going to add up to a VERY long time on the potty!

I hereby publicly apologize to my husband for anything snide I may have typed about him here. He really is a wonderful husband, and I love him immensely. But sometimes life gets rough, and attitudes need adjusting. David and I are off to NYC this weekend, without the kids, so hopefully our attitudes will return fully adjusted.

Uh oh, Sofia is fighting with Micah again. The two of them start arguing when he grabs things out of her hands (this time it was by my request, but he is less than gentle about it), and then they start screaming, and the next thing you know, someone is getting their nose bonked with a horse-on-a-stick or a plastic sword.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Nice Birthday

Well, I'm 29 (for the 15th time)! It was a nice day.

First, Friday night we had dinner at the shul in Worcester for the MWJDS Shabbaton (in the U.S. a Shabbaton is a Shabbat weekend spent together as a group - apparently in Israel and Shabbaton is what they call a year-long Sabbatical!).

We would have been ok, except that on the ride out to Worcester, my stressed-out husband accused me of being too inattentive a mother, because Sofia was crying in her car-seat and I wasn't doing anything about it (uh, like what? We were driving down Route 9 and she was in the back seat!).

So he and I were stressed out and angry at each other for the evening, which did not make life easy. I managed to stay in the sanctuary for the first part of the service, which is when both Micah's class and Sam's class were leading specific prayers. Otherwise, I spent the service chasing Sofia around the Social Hall and Ladies' Room.

Dinner was nice, because besides all our Day School friends, good friends who go to that shul were seated at our table. So we got to see lots of people we love.

And Sofia wasn't feeling great; she'd thrown up right before we left the house (so I had to change her jumper), and she also barfed a bit when I went to put on her pjs before we drove home.

But the boys had fun, and after dinner, we noticed that there were fireworks in the sky - presumably for Chinese New Year? It was fun to watch.

So we got home around 9:30, threw the boys in bed, watched the season premier of Battlestar Galactica (and wondered if we'd missed too much by not keeping up with the webisodes?), and went to sleep.

On my birthday, I had to get up nice and early to get everyone ready. David was barely even speaking to me (and didn't wish me Happy Birthday until around noon, which did not endear him to me!). Sammy, however, had gotten me two candy bars (dark chocolate Milky Way and dark chocolate/mint 3 Musketeers!), so that was lovely. And Micah was upset that I got up and dressed before he even remembered it was my birthday (he made it up today, y demanding Daddy let me sleep late and then organizing breakfast in bed).

We got to shul around 9:20, and I got Sofia settled into babysitting, which made the morning MUCH easier. We settled in, and my 2 best girlfriends sat with us (between us), while the boys sat with their friends.

And when it got to Torah service, we watched our beautiful 3rd and 4th graders read from the Torah. They were all so incredible. I was so proud of Sam - he'd worked very very hard on his 7 lines, and he did great. I had tears in my eyes for most of the readings - these kids are all amazing!

Then I got up for the last aliyah, and I read the Haftorah. Whew - I think I did well. And since Sam's teacher's husband is the rabbi, they also did a misheberach (special prayer) for me and everyone sang "Yom Huledet Sameach" (Happy Birthday, in Hebrew). It was nice.

We had lunch at shul, and then Sam's teacher gathered the kids to walk to her house. We drove over, and spent a very lovely afternoon with the parents from Sam's class - most of whom are among our closest friends. The kids all played down in the basement while the grownups chatted and noshed. Many people left around 3:30 - 4:00, but my family and one other family stayed through Havdalah, until about 6:30. We just had such a nice time.

We ordered Sushi from Baba (a great place in Worcester) when we left their house, and ate as soon as we got home. Sofia fell asleep in the car; Micah had 4 helpings of miso soup; I didn't order enough sushi for me and Sam and David! But it was nice. And by then, David and I were beginning to speak to each other again.

After the boys went to bed, we watched "Hancock" (pretty interesting, although I feel like I missed some back-story that could have made it better).

Today Micah had a party at the arcade, so I dropped him off and took Sammy shopping a bit, while David took Sofia for work. Then we all met up at BJs for a shopping expedition.

Kids are asleep now, and David is watching "Top Gear", a British driving show that's really funny and interesting...kind of. I'm tired. Time for bed.

But I did want to say that I fell VERY VERY lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life! Thank you all for the birthday wishes. Smooch!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Did It!

I finished my paper - BEFORE the official end of the semester!!!!

Ok, so class ended Dec. 22. And the term ends next Monday. But I did it. And I handed it in (via email).


In case you really really want to read it, It's called "Contrary to Decency".

Anyway, it's about Rashi and Maimonides and two cases where husbands want to divorce wives who are ill. Not too exciting. But I'm SO happy to be done!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Long Island Bar Mitzvah

We spent the weekend in Long Island, attending the Bar Mitzvah of the son of some college friends of mine (Steve & Eileen). For those of you who have never experienced a Long Island Bar Mitzvah...well, I'm not sure I'll be able to explain it. They are so over-the-top, bigger than anything you can imagine. Much fun, excellent food, and good times. But mind-boggling.

We drove down Friday afternoon (David of course could not pull it together to leave when the boys got out of school, so we left at 3pm). It was a long ride, since we were in rush-hour in several spots. We stopped for dinner at a diner in southern CT, and got to the hotel around 8pm.

Of course Sofia had slept in the car, so she was up until way after 11pm. The boys got settled fairly quickly. We had a suite, so plenty of room. The boys got a pull-out couch, while Sofia slept with me and David on a king in the bedroom.

Up bright and early on Saturday. I'd brought food, so we didn't need to get breakfast; Sofia had her grits, Micah had oatmeal, Sam a poptart (organic!).


We interrupt this blog to comment about the amazing spectacular of today's Inauguration. President Obama (Oh, how wonderful that sounds!) gave an incredible speech, as expected. Please let us all work together to make this a better country and a better world.


The service was in Plainview. I spent most of the time in the loby with Sofia and Micah, but David and Sam stayed in the whole time. The little ones did sit for a while at first. There's a tradition of throwing candy at the bar mitzvah child, and then the little kids run up and collect it. Most shuls use soft Sunkist chewies, since they are soft and allergy-friendly. So I gave ONE to Sofia. And then she spun around like a dervish for 20 minutes!

After the service, we had lunch at the shul. It was nice to see some old friends from college; they all have teenagers now!

We went back to the hotel, and hung out all afternoon. We took the kids swimming for a while, which was fun. But it was a long afternoon. Eventually we got dressed for the party:

And off we went to East Meadow Jewish Center. I think I was there for another event years ago - it was very familiar.

First was the cocktail reception. Awesome. seven or eight different food stations, with all sorts of foods - burgers and dogs, sliced meats, fajitas, chinese and thai food, pasta, caviar, soup, infused vodka, slushies, etc.

Micah tries to sample some vodka (glass was empty!):

Sam looking sharp:

Sofia passed out in the stroller as the dinner began, and stayed asleep through the very loud music of the evening.
(She woke up right at the end to use the potty).

It took a little while for my guys to warm up:

But eventually even David had fun:

Micah managed to charm the DJ team (yes, team - a DJ and four or five additional dancers - I guess that's what they do on Long Island!), and spent a lot of time comparing magic tricks and eating dessert:

And the DJ guys kept flipping my sons over!


We got back to the hotel around 12:30 am, and the kids DID manage to sleep late the next morning. We had brunch in the hotel with the college gang and some family.

We just hung out at the hotel all day, relaxing. The kids watched TV and played Nintendo. We did go swimming for a while, too. In the early evening, we found a kosher restaurant (there are MANY in Long Island!) for dinner.

Monday morning we got out, and into Manhattan around noon. We met with friends at 1:00 after their daughter's doctor's appointment was done (daughter has Familial Dysautonomia, a rare genetic disorder). It was great to see them, and we had a lot of fun at lunch.

We hit the road around 3pm, and got home at 7:30. Then David had to plow the driveway, because we'd got 5" over the weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two posts today

You might have noticed that recently I've concentrated on Sam and Sofia on this blog. Micah has been fairly even-tempered - occasional flair-ups of extreme anger, and some amazing pushing of Sam's buttons. Saturday, after the boys got into a fight about something, Micah grabbed Sam's socks off the floor and dumped them in the kitchen garbage pail!

The only thing that's really going on with Micah is his stressing about death. The night I came back from Florida, he fell asleep sobbing in my arms - "When I'm 43, you'll be 76 and that's sooooo old!". He can't get the idea of people dying out of his head. "I just wish everyone could live forever."

Otherwise, he's doing great, and reading like crazy!

"Normal" for Down Syndrome

The DS chat board that I frequent currently has a running thread about what is "normal" for our kids. It's lovely - so many beautiful descriptions of so many wonderful kiddos. Here's mine:

La Principessa Sofia Phoebe Daniella was born 4 weeks early, the day after we ordered the minivan (our first call the next morning was to Toyota, to say we would NOT be in that day to pick up the vehicle...).

We knew about the extra chromosome ahead of time, so she'd already had 3 fetal echos. Had a regular echo on Day 1 - minor heart issues including ASD, VSD, prolapse mitralvalve, pulminary stenosis, and a PDA. So far, things are healing nicely on their own, and she has not needed any cardiac intervention. After her sedated echo last summer, they dismissed us for 2 years.

She had to be "finger-fed" for about 3 weeks, until she woke up enough to latch on. Once she started nursing, she was a pro, AND she slept through the night until after her second birthday. The finger-feeding was tough, but since I knew what I was doing with nursing, I was able to hang in with the pumping. I'm not sure I would have been able to succeed if she'd been my first child.

Let's get the health issues out of the way: I stayed off of dairy for her first year while nursing. She nursed for 22 months. This year we are treating her as if she has a wheat allergy - blood tests have been negative, but we saw some significant positive results (rash went away, distended belly calmed down), and it's worth the experiment.

She eats just about EVERYTHING. Peas and Edamame are her favorites, along with Grits (EVERY morning) and yogurt. And anything that doesn't move too fast... She can use a fork and a spoon and a knife better than her 9 year old brother, and she's very ladylike with her napkin.

She will turn 4 in one month - oh my! After three very full years of Early Intervention, she goes to preschool now 5 mornings a week. She gets Speech Therapy 3 times a week, OT I think 2 or 3 times, and PT twice a week.

She loves school, and I'm told the kids in the inclusion classroom love her. They flock around her when she shows up late, and at parent events, all I hear is "Oh, that's Sofia! My child talks about her all the time!"

Miss Sofia entered preschool last year with more than 200 signs (thank you, Signing Times), and has added to her sign vocabulary over the year. She has also had a huge verbal spurt this year, and I've lost count of how many words she can say. But she will only put words together with prompting (want-more-crackers- please). We are working on building multi-word phrases. Her IEP had specified Signed Exact English, but we have quickly moved into more verbal prompting, since she's doing so well.

She's very bossy! And opinionated. If she wants you to sit down and read with her, she will say firmly "DIT. BOOK." And if you sit in the wrong place, she'll let you know. When playing ball on the floor, she wants you to have your legs in the same position as hers - which is generally not possible, since she is so flexible. I've NEVER been able to do a split, and she just sits like that!

She started walking on her dad's birthday when she was 26 months (makes it easy to remember). She can run, march, walk, jump. Sometimes she takes me through Target directing me as to how to move.

She can also climb. Everything. In the winter, she's mostly limited to her brothers' bunk bed (and then she proceeds to dismember everything big brother has on his shelf, so we keep the boys' door locked). In warmer weather, she tackles the playground at the elementary school with no problem.

We have a swing in a doorway in the kitchen, and she loves to hang over it and swing, or spin around (sometimes bonking her head on the doorframe). She also likes to hang by her hands - I have to watch her with towel bars.

She loves imaginative play, and will play with baby dolls for hours. She will also follow her brothers around with a sword or light saber - as long as she has properly accessorized with a purse, also!

She just switched from months of "Madagascar" every day - now we are stuck with "Monsters, Inc." (which she specifies with a huge scary roar).

She knows most of her colors, both verbal and sign. She still gets red and pink confused, and purple is tough to distinguish. Her favorite color is yellow.

She knows lots of animals, all by sign and some verbal (many she can at least do a noise). She has NO fear of animals, and will try to approach dogs three times her size.

She adores her brothers, in very different ways. She calls Sam "Boy" with great adoration - he's the gentler brother. Micah is more of a play organizer. She also loves her babysitter, Emily (she says "emilemily"). And she's got Mommy and Daddy totally wrapped around her little finger.

She wants to be my baby, so there are many things I know she can do for other people (like teachers or Daddy or Emily) that she refuses to do for me - putting on her shoes, getting dressed, etc. When possible, I try to have someone else work with her now (even 9 year old Sam can get her to do more than me).

She usually poops on the potty (unless she's really engrossed in something), but still wears pullups all the time. She won't always sit on the potty for me, but will for Daddy and Emily.

She wakes up early - 5:45 - and hungry and demanding. "Mama - wake - eyes (glasses) - grits - walk" and then she pulls the blankets off me. Yeah.

She totally disses most women - won't even look at my sister. But she's a complete flirt with men. I anticipate some problems when she gets older.

Recently she's gotten slightly less outgoing, as she gets more stubborn about who to talk to. But she's a charmer, and will say "hi" (or more likely "bye") to everyone. Loves to dismiss people with "bye" and sometimes a push.

In recent months she's taken to chewing on her fingers, and pciking at her nails when I force them out of her mouth. I'm at my wit's end on how to stop her.

She's been my generally healthiest kid - minimal ear infections, less issues than her brothers.

When she goes to her brothers's school, she thinks SHE goes there (perhaps she thinks she owns the place), and she makes a beeline for the kindergarten classroom. We are hoping she'll be able to join them there in another year and a half (it's a private Jewish Day School).

She knows what to do when I light the Shabbat candles on Friday nights, or when we do other religious rituals in the house. When she sees the candles ready, she yells "hat - hat", and runs to get a yarmulka. Then she comes back, gets in place, and covers her eyes (similar to what I do when lighting).

She loves music and dancing. She adores Angelina Ballerina (yuch!) and plays with Dora toys quite a bit.

When frightened or upset, she doesn't usually cry, she just hides her face and freezes. Cries usually only when physical injury occurs.

She is so much FUN to be with (unless I'm trying to nap). Oh, and she's figured out how to use my iPhone to call people on my Shortcuts list. Smart little cookie.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Lineup

The other day, the boys were outside, Sofia was playing in the living room, and David and I were upstairs. Suddenly, we heard glass clinking. Not breaking, but she was definitely into something she shouldn't be.

Got downstairs to find that she'd taken lots and lots of bottles out of the liquor cabinet (we're not big drinkers - we still have all the leftover bottles from our wedding!) and was lining them up very methodically on the floor!

I redirected her, and she began lining up her dolls and babies (she makes a distinction now between the two!):

Meanwhile, the boys were sledding in the neighbor's yard for a while, and then they moved over to our yard. We have a very very steep hill in front. Micah started having an asthma attack from the cold, so he came inside, but Sam and two of the other neighborhood boys had a great time. Eventually they attempted to "snowboard" off the front porch:

Ok, I'm done with winter now...

I got a massage this morning. Ahhhh. Made another appointment for 2 weeks from now.

I tried writing my paper for last semester's class yesterday, but it's really difficult to write a scholarly paper about Rashi and Maimonidies while "Angelina Ballerina" (a.k.a. the prissy rodent) is whining in the background!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Video to share

Simply lovely.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On Mothers and Daughters

Well, specifically on me and Sofia:

I know Sofia can do a lot of things, but she SOOOO wnats to be my BABY. With me, she refuses to get herself dressed, go to the potty, or do any "big kid" stuff. However, with E and David and anyone else, she's ready for the real world.

Yesterday I was trying to get her on the potty, and she just kept refusing. Then E walked in, and Sofia kicked me out of the bathroom!

I guess everyone needs to feel like a baby sometimes, right?

In other news... well, nothing much. I'm still exhausted. I took two naps today, once at my friend's house and once while the kids were watching a movie in my room. My friend R came for dinner, which was nice. David returns from London tomorrow, but leaves for Pennsylvania on Sunday night.

I had my yearly physical on Wednesday, and I'm pleased to report that my cholesterol went way down from last year! And other than needing more Vitamin D, everything looked fine. It's just gonna take a long time to recover from the Fifth's. At least my joints don't hurt as much any more.

So I'm trying to take it easy, nap whenever possible. Since E is on winter break, she can come help more next week while David is away. The kids exhaust me, especially Micah, who alternates between horrible mood and bouncy bouncy bouncy. Sigh. And Miss Bossy girl is getting into all sorts of trouble. This evening I caught her (three times) trying to take down CDs from the shelf. When I scold her, she hides her head on the if I'll disappear when she can't see me....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Some Florida photos

Mr. Cool Dude in his fancy CVS sunglasses:


Trying to untangle the iPod cords:

Apparently you need two sets of glasses in Florida:

My grandma Doris and my son Sam:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ahhhhh, Florida

What a pleasant few days that was. Sammy and I flew down to West Palm Beach on Thursday night, landing around 11:30 pm. We made it to the car rental place with about 10 minutes to spare, and Grandma's house is about 10 minutes from the airport.

Friday, after sleeping late, we drove down to Boca to meet up with my friend B and her hubby and 3 sons. The kids played in the park and we had a picnic. Their oldest is 11. B and I have known each other since 7th grade, and it was great to see them.

We got back to Grandma's house, lit Shabbos candles and had delicious pasta and sauce (my grandma is still, at 97, an excellent cook). Watched "Oceans Twelve" on TV. Sam was delighted.

Other than that, the days were all spent at the pool. There was another mom and little boy (8 years old) also staying with grandparents, so the two boys had fun in the pool together while the mom and I relaxed in chairs. Sunday afternoon it was a little overcast, so I took Sammy to the mall for a while. At night, we watched the two Hellboy movies on DVD on my computer, and Oceans Eleven.

It was lovely to spend time with my grandma, and wonderful to get to enjoy my oldest son again. He was so relaxed and happy and adorable! We went to the Early Bird special a few nights, of course, and he charmed everyone.

We had to wake up at 5:30 this morning to get to the airport, and it's been a very very long day. I'm still not feeling great. Yesterday I felt really exhausted, like either my iron was down or my blood pressure was too low.

I have my physical tomorrow, so I'll see what the doc thinks. I guess I'm just in for a long recovery.

Sofia was quite happy to see us, especially "Boy". And Micah was happy to have me back, but tonight fell asleep sobbing because when he is 44 I'll be in my late 70s!