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 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...