Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This and That

It was a busy day today, as usual.

First, Micah and Sam got in an argument this morning - Sam kept accusing Micah of stealing a particular Pokemon card, and Micah got more and more vehement in his denials. Eventually things turned to fisticuffs, and that's when David got involved, making Micah a maniac (Micah felt threatened and singled out because HE was getting in trouble and Sam wasn't). I let David handle it, but then David got upset that I wasn't "with" him on it...I explained that I was trying to keep out of the way (an alternate argument between us), and that I would have handled it differently, but if he was handling it, he was welcome to it and I had breakfasts and lunches to make.

So We finally left the house late, because by then Micah was a complete maniac. I signed us in to the Tardy Log with "Micah was possessed by a demon". Apparently, a fellow from our shul came by the school, and happened to see the log. He told the person he was meeting, "Oh, yes, I know Micah. That's absolutely true!"

Poor Micah eventually calmed down to go to school, and he had a good morning. I was able to speak with the school psychologist, and she promised she would check in on him.

When she finally did get time with him, he was starting to get a tummy ache, worrying about having to deal more with David and Sam. He was really upset, and telling the school psychologist his side of the story ("Daddy pushed my head", of course leaving out "because I threw a shoe at him and he was trying to keep me from reaching him with my punch"!).

So then I began a frantic phone chain, leaving messages for everyone's therapists. HOW do I get this family to not tear each other apart? My own therapist was able to recommend a Family Therapists (great, add another professional to the mix), and we have an appointment on the 10th.

In the mean time, Micah did calm down eventually (especially after he took some Pokemon movies and some books out from the library). David had a really rough day, lots of work stuff in all directions, so he's still in a bad mood, but he's out tonight with D.A.D.S. (Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome). It's 10:40 and he's not back yet - hopefully that means he's having a great time.

Sofia's Morning

After I dropped off the boys, I attended a curriculum update meeting at their school. I had intended to just bring Sofia to her school late, but the meeting kept going and was really interesting, so I texted David to call preschool and say she wouldn't be in. Sofia and another little girl were playing nicely together (and occasionally escaping the cafeteria to try wandering the school - the other girl's dad and I took turns hunting them down, usually finding them in the gym).

Allergy Update

This afternoon, I finally got Micah's blood test results back from the allergist. For those who ar interested, the Level refers to the severity of the allergy (a level 1 can still be deadly, but a level 3 is really really bad). Micah's 2009 Allergy List:

Item - Level - '09 Score - '08 Score
Peanut - (1) - .42 - .37
Cashew - (3) - 6.35 - 3.74 (a very large increase)
Pistachio - (3) - 8.5 - 5.94 (also very high)
Apple - (1) - .47 - undetectable (but I think that was a mistake,
since in '07 and '06 it was higher)
Black Bean -(2) - 1.17 - .26
Grapefruit -(1) - .42 - .62 (down a little!)
Pear - (2) - 1.03 - 1.57 (also down a little)
Safflower - (1) - .57 - .29
Zucchini - (2) - 1.00 - different scale was used last time, level 1 in '08
Yellow Squash -(0/1) - .14 - different scale last year, normal score

The good news is that he tested "undetectable" for Avocado, which means I can try him on that. Asparagus was also normal.

Penicillin and Shrimp were but undetectable, but we are advised to keep them out anyway. I tested him for shrimp because David still eats shellfish out of the house, and now sometimes Sam will ask to try a shrimp; also I know that personally I tested as allergic to shellfish (good thing I don't eat it!).


A couple of weeks ago, our synagogue abruptly canceled Saturday morning babysitting. They had been hiring 2 agency sitters from 10-12 during services, so that parents could let kids play in the nursery school gross motor room and not have to miss the service.

Of course, when I complained, I was elected to lead the efforts to find a new solution.

Well, tonight I got a phone call from the president of Sisterhood. The Sisterhood had decided to sponsor babysitting for the rest of the year, but the synagogue's Executive Board (mostly men) felt that it wasn't necessary. She was looking for my "take" on that.

I told her that any board member who wanted to follow Sofia around the shul for 2 hours so I could sit comfortably in the sanctuary and listen to the Torah reading and the sermon was more than welcome to her! She felt that would do the trick ;)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Birthday Party in Preschool

We just came home from Preschool, where we had a little party for Sofia's classmates:

Waiting patiently for snack time to begin:

Goofing off with her teacher:

Sofia likes Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes!

We told her to put her coat on, she decided to sit on her coat instead:

Bye-Bye (that's Sofia's way of saying "I'm totally out of here!"):

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hooray, School Tomorrow!!!!

All in all, it was a good vacation week, but I am SOOOO ready for them to go back to school! The second half of the week was somewhat chaotic. Thursday, I took my three kids, and met my friend K and her three kids (they are the family we vacationed with last summer) at the Children's Museum in Boston. Madhouse. Fortunately, we also had another adult with us, K's son's tutor (who also teachers in Sammy's class), so it was a 1:2 ration, which was acceptable. Sofia ran around checking everything out, got totally soaked at the water table, and then slipped and fell. Fortunately, I had a change of clothing ready for her (I've learned my lesson!). K's son had a melt-down when the bigger kids started climbing the 3-story-tall climbing structure, so that was the end of that. And I took a wrong turn going home and ended up going over the Zakim Bridge, north on 93, which then meant taking back roads home, so ride was an hour and a half!

Thursday night, as soon as E showed up to babysit, Sammy I and I took off for my friend R's house, to have dinner and help build her daughter's new desk. I didn't realize it would be some Elfa from Container Store - easy and fun! And Sam got in the spirit and started cleaning up his friend's room!

That mood held over the next morning, and Sam insisted on cleaning his room!!! I could hardly recognize him!
We went through about half the junk, and decided we wanted some better (i.e. Elfa) drawers for the Legos and a short bookshelf.

That's when I tried to take all three kids shopping. Oops. Bad idea. Micah was pretending he was a doggie - IN the store - and Sofia kept trying to climb out of the shopping cart, and eventually got a bloody nose. We picked out some Elfa, but my friend who works there reminded me to go home and get a 20% off coupon first! So we went to the grocery story, where Sofia managed to knock over a whole display case while we were paying.

Got home, built the bookshelf (Christmas Tree Shop), cleaned more, started cooking for dinner. Left Sam home alone, because E was on her way. Dropped Micah at his therapist's office, ran back to Container Store with cranky Sofia. Picked up Micah, came home, built drawer unit, went back to making dinner.

K and her family came for dinner, which was great except that my husband was an hour late, so the kids were getting a little over-tired by the end of the evening. K had given Sammy a haircut when they arrived (she's a former hairdresser), and had intended to give David a cut, but we ran out of time.

Saturday morning, I had to read the Haftorah at shul (last-minute notice, I started learning it Tuesday night!). After services, we went back to K's house so she could do David's hair, and the kids played a bit. Sofia found some baby-doll toys and had a blast.

Sofia and I both fell asleep in the car on the way home, and I climbed straight into bed when we arrived. We both slept for about 3 hours! I was exhausted (Friday really wiped me out). David and the boys played chess (in the hallway right outside my door - I'm not so sure why they chose that particular spot).

Got up, got ready to go out. We ended up going to dinner with L&K at a cute bring-your-own-bottle Italian restaurant near them. Stayed a very long time, didn't get home until nearly 11pm. Nice evening.

Tried to sleep late today, but too many interruptions (like Sofia sitting on my head). Called Grandma (my regular 9am Sunday call), made breakfasts, showered, and got the kids ready to go. David had to pack, he's in Collegeville PA tonight.

Drove the kids out to Northboro, where we were dropping Micah at another birthday party, same place as last Sunday. When we pulled in to the parking lot, Sofia let out a "Yeah! Play! Climb!" and raced with her brothers in to the giant blow-up slides area.

Sofia and Sam and I stayed for the slides, then when they switched to field games, we went over to Target across the street for some errands. Then another mom called me from the party to say that Micah wasn't feeling great, she'd already given him his inhaler, and he wanted me. So quick check-out (I needed the gift for the party twins!) and back to pick him up. The mom had him waiting at the door (whew), and we came back home.

Had a restful afternoon; the boys watched a movie downstairs, Sofia watched upstairs, and I cleaned more. Then they convinced me to order sushi, but I said they all had to come with me to pick it up (they had wanted me to just take Sofia, but with Micah not feeling well, I didn't want to leave them home alone). Restaruant is tiny and I parked right out front, so I let them all stay in the locked car while I ran in to get the food.

Micah loves miso soup, and I order cucumber maki and sweet potato maki for him without sesame (which he is allergic to), so he was happy. Sam and I shared some spicy tuna and a Tornado roll along with the veggies. Sofia was already eating noodles when I dragged her out of the house (she was VERY angry), but she also had some miso, and I already had some edamame in the refrigerator.

Then all three of them took a bath together (yeah, it's a bit messy, but they have fun), and now they are all ASLEEP! I did a ton of laundry today, too, and I'm trying to get my room cleaned up.

I also checked in on my class, and someone raised an interesting question: do we, as parents of children with special needs (or as parents of children who need a Jewish education) have a responsibility to live in an area where such services are readily available? I know many of you live in more rural areas, and I know some of you struggle with medical and educational services for your children. I know there are so many reasons for living somewhere, but if your had the choice to move, would you?

Oh, I also forgot to update y'all about Micah: David and I met with Micah's therapist on Tuesday night, and he thinks Micah has OCD. Micah gets in these argumentative moods, where he is completely unable to "let go" of an idea, and it's REALLY frustrating. He's a tough cookie. So therapist is going to work on giving Micah some "let it go" tools. I have to admit, just having an idea of what is going on in my little boy's brain made it a teeny bit easier to deal with - I needed the words to know how to help him.

EDIT: Have to add this link for "Boheimishe Rhapsody", a very funny take on Queen's classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" (but I guess it helps if you understand most of the words...).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Baby is 4 Years Old!!!

How in the world did we get so far so quickly??? It seems like I just woke up holding my tiny newborn girl-baby, and yet today she turned 4!

She came in to cuddle early this morning, and actually slept late for a change. Then Sammy came in, excited and anxious to give her the present he'd gotten for her (DVD of "Madagasgar 2"). So we got up, had breakfast, and started getting ready for the party.

Last night, the boys had vacuumed the living room and Sam had swept and mopped the kitchen (oh, if only I could hold that enthusiasm all the time!), so all I had to do was set up the food:


My neighbor and her daughter arrived early (thanks for the coffee!), and Sofia greeted them at the door with a signed and said "Happy!":


Sam kept watch out the window:


Then my friend Nancy arrived - she was the scheduled entertainment (and I was so glad to see her; back when I was pregnant with Sofia, Nancy had thrown a "baby seder" for us, which was another long story but very moving):


Other guests started to arrive, including Binny:

and Mandy:

We sat down in the living room to do some singing and dancing. Sofia wasn't too sure at first what to make of all of it:


but eventually she decided she liked the music.

We took a break for a quick craft (door hangers):

Did some more singing, pin the nose on Elmo, more singing, and then Cake. I'd made gluten-free cupcakes, so they were safe for everyone (Cherrybrook Farms mix, which is also nut-free and dairy-free and egg-free). Sofia was excited when everyone started to sing to her:

Then she tucked in to her first cupcake (it took her 20 minutes to eat it!):

Meanwhile, the kids were all exploring all our toys, Sam and Shira (Binny's sister, same age as Sam) chased each other through the house , Micah played with some other siblings, and the grownups talked.

We opened her gifts:

And then it was time for people to go!

My back-up babysitter, A, arrived just at the end of the party, and the plan was for her to take the boys ice skating (turned out the public skating ended at 12, not 2 as their message stated, so they went to the arcade instead). I ran out of the house to give them one more hat..

... and Sofia locked me out! She managed to lock the screen door! Which I don't leave a key for, since we only lock it when we are IN the house!

I went over to my neighbor's house, called the Ashland Police, and a cruiser came right over, followed by 2 fire trucks! In the mean time, Miss Sofia kept helping herself to more cupcakes, bringing each one to the door to show us!

We eventually got in (I won't publish how, but I will be changing a few locks!), thanked the rescue heroes, and I settled Sofia in front of a movie while I cleaned up. I have to find A and the boys now, since Sam has an orthodontist checkup soon...


Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Fearless Daughter

She just amazes me, frequently. She knows what she wants, and never seems bothered by her size, her abilities, or sometimes by common sense...

We had her IEP review on Thursday morning. I think it went well. We all chuckled at the notion that any "limitations" she might encounter are more because of her personality (i.e. STUBBORNNESS!) than her extra chromosome. She apparently does not talk as much in school as she does at home (but that was no surprise, because she's usually quieter in a crowd). The PT commented that she talks a lot with her, so the Speech Pathologist is going to try working with her while doing some movement (we saw this behavior since birth - she always vocalized more when moving).

We'll keep her schedule the same for the rest of the school year. Next year she'll stay for lunch twice a week, to start learning how to do that routine. They also recommended that I get her enrolled in some dance or gym program - I found a Yoga for Tots class in March taught by Sam's gym teacher from kindergarten!

So anyway, all in all it was a good meeting. We discussed plans for kindergarten; I did tell them that I wanted her to go to MWJDS but that it would totally depend on what was best for Sofia. I am going to try her at the Vacation Camp in April; the day school already found a teen volunteer to act as her aide.

Anyway, Friday night we had Shabbos dinner at the home of HaMenahalet, the principal at the day school. We had bid on "Brunch with Ty the Wonder Whippet" at the gala, and since we had the winning bid, she said it would be fun to do Shabbos together instead. It was the 5 of us, the principal and her husband, and their 25 year old son (who happens to also have Down syndrome!). Oh, and Ty the Wonder Whippet.

Whippets are very sleek, very fast dogs. They have short hair, so Micah and I were able to tolerate being around a dog for quite some time. Micah's eyes did start puffing up by the end of the evening, but not badly, and neither of us sneezed!

Sofia had fallen asleep in the car, so she was a little groggy when we arrived. But as soon as she noticed the dog, she was UP. Chased that poor creature around the house like a maniac. She had the dog's frisbee in her hands, and she ran around shouting "GAD ("dog" backwards!), MOUF ("mouth")". It was pretty funny to watch. She just kept chasing the dog. Micah and Sam had fun, too. And it was so nice to celebrate Shabbos with that family!

Yesterday we didn't wake up early enough to go to shul, so we had an easy morning. Then I dropped Sofia off with David at his office and I took the boys ice skating!!! They loved it. It was the first time for both of them, but by the end of the session, they were both skating on their own! I've never actually done a 15 minute lap around a rink - I usually skate faster - but it was so fun to watch them learn to enjoy a sport I really like.

Micah had an asthma attack mid-way through the session, though. Good thing I had his inhaler (always do).

Today David took Sammy for a hike, and I took Micah to a birthday party at TeamWorks, a sports place in Northboro. When Sofia saw the giant inflatable climbing thingy, she ditched her coat and ran right in. The teen working the event had to chase in after her to grab her shoes, and he was instantly enthralled by her. He helped her up the ladder a few times, but once I took off her shoes, she could even climb up by herself!

Amazing little girl.

I finally grabbed her out and went off to do some errands. We stopped to get some food, and ran into a mommy of another little boy with DS; I had spoken with her, but never met her in person, so that was really nice.

Then Sofia and I went to an Open House for a truly gorgeous house Ashland, but it's way on the other side of town, and would add about 15 minutes to the ride to the day school. Sigh.

Home now, trying to get everyone ready for dinner at Bertucci's. Hoping to find playdates every day for the boys. And Wednesday is Sofia's Birthday!!! Party in the morning.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Smile and Wave, Boys

(Sorry, we're back to watching "Madagascar", and I just LOVE the Penguins!)

Busy but fun weekend. Friday I had a lot of stuff to do at the day school. In the morning, I had to download photos to CD for the Yearbook, bounce in and out of a recruitment meeting, and then go join Micah's class for their morning tefillah (prayers).

Run out to get Sofia, have lunch at D's house, then back to the school to continue burning CDs and watch the weekly Shabbat program - which I then got roped into participating in (I had to sing a song for the whole school!).

E picked up Sam to work at the library in the afternoon, and as soon as they got home, I threw the kids in the car and raced to S's house for Shabbat dinner. David met us there, and he and Micah stayed a lot later than me and Sam and Sofia (who were all tired).

Shul in the morning, but they have now canceled babysitting, so I did not get to participate much. But it was my friend's daughter's Bat Mitzvah, and there were a lot of old friends to see at lunch.

Then we raced home and hosted two 3rd year medical students as part of Operation Housecall. They asked a lot of good questions, and as usual it was very interesting. But Micah was a bit off-the-wall, really begging for attention. David put him in time-out several times, which is at the bottom of the staircase, and apparently he wrote some mean things about Daddy on the wall! Oy.

After the med students left, we raced out again to hang with our friends in Wellesley. The boys and Sofia all had fun playing in the basement with their two boys, and the grownups had a nice talk. Since the mom and I are both unable to sit still properly, after Havdalah we pulled out the silver polish and polished all her silver items, like the spice box, candle sticks, and a variety of kiddush cups. It was a lot of fun (really, it was!).

Got home late, kids all mostly asleep. Woke up with Sofia the next morning, hung out in the house with the kids while David went to the office for a few hours. Then the boys had a birthday party in Shrewsbury. We dropped them off, did a quick errand, then went back to the party (since there were lots of other parents there). Then came home for a few hours. David finally helped me hang up the bedroom curtains on two out of three windows. Almost done!

Then back out to shul for a Tu B'Shevat seder, the birthday for the trees. It was nice, except Sofia was tired and whiny and rambunctious, and Micah was hanging with some of his less-than-well-behaved friends and really getting David angry, AND Micah had some sort of allergic reaction and I had to give him Benadryl. Oy.

By the end of the evening, David was in a foul mood, so we all went to sleep early, which did help.

Not too much planned for this week. Normal everyday insanity.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nothing But Joy

It was another busy day yesterday. After bringing the boys to school, Sofia and I met R for coffee for a while - Sofia brings her Dora coloring book and pencil case into Starbucks to keep busy. A brief coffee chat, then off to preschool. Then I had to race back to MWJDS to help out at the Whimsical Wednesdays pre-school progra (yes, my own kid!). The principal had asked me to help with the program this year; there are only 6 sessions, so it's not too much.

Then back to pick up Sofia, home for a quick lunch, and off to Temple Beth Am for their preschool Yom Tov [holiday] program. Next Monday is Tu B'Shevat, the birthday of the trees, so it's a great time to have programs about nature.

So it was interesting to experience the odd displacement I felt as we were planting parsley seeds in starter pots. This is what I'm used to at this time of year, planting seeds. But at Sofia's preschool, I was given a list of kids for Valentines Day! How odd. I much prefer Tu B'Shevat, planting new seeds and appreciating the natural world, rather than blowing money on scraps of paper to be handed out and discarded.

Sofia was a bit nervous when we first arrived at the shul, but once the Rabbi started the program, she was excited to participate. Another mom and little girl who had also been to the morning program at MWJDS were also there, and as soon as the little girl saw me, she came right over and sat on my lap! She and Sofia held hands to move to the social hall, and sat next to each other for craft and snack. VERY cute!

After the program, I was hoping Sofia would fall asleep in the car, but she didn't. We got to the boy's school an hour early, and sat in the car - I tried to nap, but eventually gave up in favor of talking to my friends (who were also arriving for pickup).

Since I was the first car in line (gotta get there early!), I got the boys and we raced off to Newton-Wellesley hospital for Micah's biannual Allergy checkup and annual "bloodletting". They took 9 vials again. The kids were well-behaved, though. Sam was a great help watching Sofia, especially during the blood draw, and Micah was a trooper. I let them have a snack in the cafe afterwards.

While we were waiting for the blood draw, a lady in a wheelchair was also waiting with us, and watching my kids in action. Sofia was very tired and crabby and getting rambunctious. She kept climbing up my chest to stand on my shoulders! The lady mentioned something about "the blessing", and said that she has a brother with DS, who lives with her. We smiled together about The Joy. It was so nice to make the connection.

Finally got home around 6:30, with Sam having a complete melt-down because he hadn't finished his homework. He was sure he was going to be "massively yelled at" in school (as his teacher pointed out to me in email this morning, "His teacher sounds like a monster!" (she's not, by the way!). I had him shower first, fed the little ones, then fed him, and finally got them all to bed.

Watched LOST (huh?), and David came home in time to watch most of it, too. Then we watched two episodes of Battlestar Galactica on the web - we hadn't realized we'd missed the first episode this season, but the second just didn't make enough sense! And we'd missed last week while in NYC. Both thought-provoking, but I can tell the end is near (show is ending soon).

This morning was a race to get everything done. Micah needed a nebulizer treatment; while he was lying in bed with me, I could hear him wheezing pretty badly. Sam needed to do his geography homework, which required him to look up things on the Internet and write them down. Not bad, except that with the dyslexia, that's just too many action items: google, find, read, read questions, find answers, write answers. So he needed a lot of help. And Sofia, of course, needed two breakfasts. And Micah was bouncing off the walls after the albuterol hit his bloodstream - gotta love steroids.

In the car, Sam was finishing the last of the homework while Micah was reading his Hebrew book at top speed and top volume. Yeah. Finally got everyone dropped off. I think I'll go take my shower and get out of my pajamas now!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Weekend in NYC

Well that was lovely. After a second "snow" day (the boys didn't have school on Thursday because of all the ice, so I took them to see "Hotel for Dogs", leaving Sofia at D's house and taking D's daughter instead), I finally sent all my kids back to school on Friday, and David and I took off for NYC.

We got into the city around 3:30, just in time to check in to my most favorite hotel, The Library Hotel. And because last week was my birthday, they upgraded us to a suite:


The front windows jutted out over Madison Avenue, so we had a terrific view all the way up and down:

David had pre-ordered bottle of Proseco (Italian sparkling wine, my favorite), so we immediately relaxes and got a bit tipsy:
Photobucket. The hotel has wine and cheese every evening from 5 - 8 pm, so we kept running down for snacks.

We had a reservation at Ruby Foo's with my college chum R. So we toddled over, a few blocks in the cold weather to clear our heads. Dinner was fun, although the food was just ok. Sushi, of course.

R came back with us to the hotel after dinner, and we all sat in the Reading Room. I love listening to David and R talk, but I was also exhausted. So eventually I was sound asleep in bed.

Slept delightfully later than usual (about 8:30), and was not woken up by anyone prying my eyelids open and saying "Grits" incessantly. Ah. The hotel also has a continental breakfast in the Reading Room, so we sat down there eating and reading the newspapers.

Showered, dressed, and started walking. It was COLD on Saturday. Looked at great-coats (long overcoats) for David. At first he kept looking at the cashmere coats, very nice and very expensive, but I reasoned with him and he ended up with a nice dark-camel colored wool/cashmere blend from Men's Warehouse. It looks great on him, and now he can wear a coat over a suit and not freeze.

Quick stop back at the hotel, then took the subway down to 12th & Broadway to go to The Strand Bookstore, a humongous new/used store. Didn't find too much, but I did get the Robert Altar Torah translation, and a book about grammar. Then we stopped at a music store nearby and bought a ton of DVDs.

Walked all the way back to the hotel. Warmed up with cocoa in the Reading Room. Then David settled in to watch a DVD ("Across the Universe"), but I was restless and wanted a hat. So off I went to do a little shopping on my own. The hotel is about 2 blocks from Grand Central Station, so at first I tried there, then I headed over to 5th Avenue. I was having a lot of fun, so I called David and told him I'd meet him when he was ready for supper.

Bought a hat for $3 at HMV, adorable little cap. Didn't buy much else, but did a lot of looking. Met up with David around 6:30, and we headed over to Le Marais, the kosher steakhouse in Time Square.

It didn't open until 8, so we made a reservation and walked around more. I was freezing, having switched from my coat to my cape, so we bought a sweatshirt that I could give to Sammy, and I wore that under the cape.

Dinner was yummy, and then we went back to the hotel and watched another DVD (Ocean's 13). Slept late again, another hour reading the newspaper over breakfast, shower & dress, and then we took the subway to the Lower East Side.

David's grandmother grew up on Rivington Street, so we started walking there. It's no longer a very Jewish area, at least right there - the kosher places and bookstores are a few blocks south. Now it's very Asian, and we ended up watching a Chinese New year Parade going down Allen Street! It was a lot of fun.

Stopped for felafel, and walked around the gift shop at the Tenement Museum, but did not go on a tour. And then we walked all the way back up to the hotel, form Delancy Street to 41st. Long. Stopped for a quick bite of sushi along the way. Did a bit of shopping. Got hot chocolate at "Max Brenner: Chocolate from the Bald Guy" (yum). Bought gifties for the kids and for my friends who had watched the kids over the weekend.

Eventually we made it back to the hotel. Had wine and cheese, relaxed a bit. Went for late-night sushi at Monster Sushi. Good.

Monday morning, my mother called at 7:30 to ask a lunchbox question, and it did take a while to fall back asleep, but eventually we got up at 9:15. Ran downstairs for breakfast, came back to shower and pack. Left the bags in the room (checkout not until 1:00 pm - another reason to love this hotel). Walked over to 47th Street, where my husband bought me a very lovely bracelet. Stopped at Kosher Deluxe for chicken wings and shwarma. Raced back to check out of the hotel. Drove home, stopping in West Hartford to pick up deli for dinner.

At home, the kids were very happy to see us, and all three began melting down for mommy. Sofia would not let go of me, Micah claimed he'd injured his leg, Sam had a belly ache. Apparently they were all fine until we walked in the door.

Since Mom had let Sofia nap a long time, I went to sleep and let Sofia and David stay up watching a movie. I had to wake up at 3:15 to drive my parents to the airport, for their flight to Jamaica. They were very nervous about the weather, but they got out with no problems; they even got on an earlier flight.

Came hope, slept for another hour, and took the kids to school and did some grocery shopping. Back to reality now.

Today I have to figure out what to do with the boys and Sam's classmate A from 3:!56 until 4:45 when Tae Kwan Do starts, since I got a call last night that Micah's piano teacher quit! That's the second teacher this year - I paid for 14 lessons in October, and we are still only about half-way through. Ugh. But I think they have another teacher they are contracting with.

The kids had a nice weekend without us. My friend D picked them all up from school (after I dropped Sam at school on Friday, I left all their suitcases and sleeping bags on D's porch). Sofia loves their house, because D has a 5 year old daughter and great girly toys. Then D met up with my friend N, and N took all three overnight - she has a boy Sam's age, and an 8 year old daughter who wishes Sofia was her sister.

Apparently Sam was the only one who could put Sofia to sleep, which was nice. They all had fun playing with their friends. Then my sitter, E, picked up my minivan and then my kids, and she had them overnight here at our house. Sunday, she took them all to Bugaboo Creek for lunch (she waitresses there). They had fun. Then my parents came up and took over.

So now it's back to the regular schedule. We got notice that Sofia's IEP review is next Thursday morning. I'm interested in hearing from everyone about how she's doing as compared to the written goals. I know she's doing great in real life - she's definitely getting better at combining words - Want More Juice Please!

Oh, and the other day, I once again heard glass clanking: