Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What a Week

When I look at the titles of many of my posts, I notice a theme - constant insanity.

Ok, so last Thursday morning, there was a Champions training at the day school right after drop-off. David offered to drive Sofia to school, so I was able to stay and concentrate, not needing to race back for preschool dropoff.

Champions are people who are more than just "friends" of MWJDS. We go through training, to get the "message" of the school out to the community in a clear and concise way. Many people are Champions. Some are parents, some are grandparents, some are just community members who care about the school. It's a nice way to keep people involved.

Anyway, I had to leave training early, to have a meeting with the school psychologist, and the curriculum coordinator (who is also one of Sam's reading tutors), and the reading specialist. Poor Sam. He is still really struggling with reading. We came up with a tutoring plan, which I hope will not completely overwhelm him.

I left the school somewhat frazzled, because I am so worried about Sam. So I managed to get a pedicure in before I had to pick up Sofia - Yeah! Also managed to get her in for a haircut before we picked up the boys. Also Yeah. I went out for a Girl's Night and had a lot of fun, while David and E stayed home with the kids.

Friday I had to pack us all, since we were going to New York for my friends' daughter's Bat Mitzvah. David came home before I left to get the boys, so I was able to race over without Sofia. We left home around 4pm, and got to my friend R's apartment in Englewood NJ by 9 (stopped for dinner in CT).

R lives in a little apartment complex, more like townhouses, and her apartment is on the second floor. And her downstairs neighbor is apparently a complete silence freak. So poor R spent the entire evening and next morning panicking that we were making too much noise. "Don't walk! Don't put anything on the floor! Don't talk too loudly!" My kids are really not designed for apartment living.

So we were about an hour early to the synagogue the next morning, in R's need to get us out of her house. Which was nice, because everyone started arriving and chatting and saying hi.

This is a gang I went to college with, The Brandeis Crowd. I wasn't really close to most of them during college - most are one or two years ahead of me anyway - but I joined the group through R (who is one of my best friends) after we graduated. There's nothing like friends from your early adult life. We've been through SO much together. We used to all go to S's cottage in Rhode Island for a weekend every summer - 10 of us in a tiny little building. You get close.

So it's a little surreal that we are into the B'nei Mitzvah stage now. David and I missed G's, two years ago, because her mother had told me the wrong date to save! We were so glad to be able to make this one.

The service was nice. It was a Reform synagogue. VERY Reform. I don't think anyone was there who wasn't actually a guest for the Bat Mitzvah. The Cantor played guitar, and they also had a keyboardist. The Rabbi read just one or two lines for each Torah reading, and then discussed a bit in English. I thought there was some lovely insight. But my snobby husband, with his Orthodox day school background, and my crazy eldest son, with his fears of anything different, spent much of the service in the hallway. Which was ok, because most of the time they also had Sofia (except for the 30 minutes she spent on my lap, eating tiny pieces of rice crackers I found in the bottom of David's tallis bag).

(Sam said to me this morning "I'd rather go to Chabad than to a Reform shul". Hmmmm, so much for pluralistic!)

After the service, which was in Forest Hills, we all drove out to Woodbury, on Long Island, for the party, at the Crest Hollow Country Club.

Ok, I very definitely remember that the Save-the-Date email said "R's low-budget Bat Mitzvah". Apparently, they meant low-budget-for-Long-Island.

For those of you who have never experienced the Long Island Bar/Bat Mitzvah, there is little I can do to convey the true feeling of being there. And yes, I just checked back to my January '09 post about the last Bar Mitzvah we attended, and I did say almost the same thing. Sorry.

Anyway this one was "low-budget" in that it was afternoon instead of evening, not kosher (kosher food is very expensive), and not as big (head-count-wise) as an evening affair. There were only two dancers with the DJ.

But really, it was SO far beyond anything we would do here. When we finally get to Sam's Bar Mitzvah, they will all think we are completely frum (very observant). Which we really are not, but that's ok.

My kids had a blast, of course. Micah wasn't feeling great (he's since developed a full-fledged sinus infection), but he still partied. Sam is a total party animal at these things, and this one was more fun because he knew many of the Brandeis kids. And my daughter just LOVED it.

Sofia playing air hockey (oh, yes, there were several game stations set up for the kids):

And Micah winning:

Sam with much (but not all) of his DJ-provided chazerai (junk):

Mr. "I Broke My Toe, So I'll Just Sit Here":

Micah and Sofia playing basketball:

Sam dancing (notice his position next to the pretty DJ-dancer? NOT a coincidence! He spent the whole weekend flirting, with waitresses and dancers and a variety of young women):

Sofia dancing - we were VERY worried about the DJ's feet getting too close to her head:

Mama Francine in action:

And my Brandeis Crowd.

Really a fun fun day. (Oh, and on our way out of the building, I ran into a friend from Framingham, who was waiting to go into a different party - this place had about 6 different events at the same time - with her family!).

We got to our hotel around 7pm, took the kids for a quick swim, and I ran out to get some sushi while they got ready for bed. We were all exhausted, so it was an early night.

Sunday morning, David's cousin R came over for a short visit. His son recently died (mid-20s, was riding a Vespa on the Whitestone Bridge), and we wanted to visit but we all worried that the kids would be too much for his wife to cope with, so he came to us instead. I'm glad we had a chance to see him.

Then we went to Bethpage State Park, and met up with another cousin and his wife and their one year old daughter. We had a lovely time. The kids played on the playground, we took a short hike, and the guys played badminton while the mommies took the girls back to the playground again.

Grabbed some kosher deli dinner, and then hit the road. We made it home by 9pm. I slept most of the way, because I had a migraine.

Micah stayed home from school yesterday due to the sinus infection, but he was very bouncy. It was a busy day. Micah went with David, so I drove Sam, ran some errands, dropped groceries at home, then went to my own therapy appointment. Got Micah, got breakfast, got Sofia, went to pediatrician. Then dropped minivan at tire place to get new tires, so spent over an hour roaming the plaza with Micah and Sofia. Raced home for a little while, then back to pick up Sam (who at least was getting out late because he had Hebrew tutoring). Then off to the new OCD specialist - I let Micah play on the Nintendo, but it was difficult to keep Sofia contained for 45 minutes.

Got them home, quick dinner, baths, and then I went out to Chabad, to a Ladies' Night Honey Cake Baking evening. Very nice time. Yummy cake!

Today was better. Dropped off boys, dropped off Sofia - and her car seat, went to acupuncture, then went back to the day school for a Lunch & Learn with a very good professor/rabbi from my college. Fun to be in an adult ed class, and then I got to do a few tours of the school with people who hadn't seen it yet. I love showing off the school. It's very satisfying.

Meanwhile, Sofia had been picked up from preschool by my "backup-babysitter" A, who is going to take over Tuesdays from E. I ran home after the Lunch&Learn, but Sofia greeted me with "Bye. Out. Drive. Car. Bye." So A said she could stay.

Back to school, playground and mommy chats, and then Tae Kwan Do. Without Sofia, I was able to FINALLY start prepping for Rosh Hashanah. Made it through most of the service. Whew. Nothing like last minute.

Kids didn't get to sleep until after 8:30, and David didn't get home until 9:30 from dinner with friends, so now here's my blog.

If I don't post again this week: Shanah Tova to everyone. A Happy and Healthy and Sweet New Year.

Oh, and Miss Sofia on the first 'real' day of preschool lats week:


Tracy said...

Looks like you all had a great time! Love the video of Sophia dancing. Rachel loves to dance too. She goes to her room, closes her door, turns on her music and dances away. She stop when you walk into the room, and she tells you to leave and close the door behind you-not in so many words, but you get the point. ;-)