Monday, July 26, 2010

We need a vacation

We've had the week of August 7-14 blocked off as our Family Vacation week...but we have yet to figure out where to go! David wants a quiet, private, serene place on the water. I want a place that the kids will enjoy, with room for all of us to be comfortable.

Looking at: Eastham/Orleans areas of Cape Cod, Atlantic City/Ocean City area of NJ, Southcoast of Maine.

Or anything you suggest!

We would love to be with or near friends. Anyone want to come with us?

I just sent off more than a dozen inquiries to rental properties in those areas. Now we have to make a decision.


In other news... nothing much. Sam apparently has no brain. ("Turns out, you don't need one. Totally over-rated." [we've been watching Monsters vs. Aliens a lot recently!]). I am continually amazed at just how little he manages to think.

This is Micah's last week of camp. Although he would like to see and spend time with both sets of grandparents, he does not want to sleep over. So. I guess at some point I'll be spending time in CT.

Sofia had her last swim lesson today. She's suddenly afraid, I think because at her last lesson (and today's), he made her go totally head underwater. Now she clutches me and says "scary".

I've made some sort of break-through in my gym workouts. I can suddenly go much longer on the elliptical, at harder resistance. YEAH!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Family Time Weekend

Yes, we actually spent the whole weekend together as a family!

Friday night, lovely Shabbat dinner at our house with friends. I got to open my new table up to full size! Love It!

Saturday we went into Boston. Took the kids to the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) and then walked the whole waterfront. Found our friends Steve and Lisa on their boat, so we got to hang out there for a while.



"No, I Do It!"


Micah took about 170 photos (using Sam's camera), mostly of buildings.



Stealing a hug:

"Bronze Guy" fake statue stole Micah's hat, and wouldn't give it back...

Sofia settled in for some ice cream:


On the boat:

Stopping at the misting park on the way back:

A quote from Louis D. Brandeis, on the Court House wall:

On the way home, we hit a momentous occasion in the minivan:

Today, Concord, just walking around a bit. And I got some nice clothing at Grasshopper - my favorite place!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


With Sam finally home, I'm noticing two things:

1. Micah has been really hyped up, not always in a good way.

2. The house is a MESS.

When Sam was away, and especially when David was also traveling, Micah and Sofia and I managed to keep the house somewhat neat. I have cleaning ladies come every week now (a birthday present from David - I could no longer keep up with the kitchen and bathroom mess), and Micah and I both revel in the neatness of a freshly cleaned house, so we were able to keep it not-too-bad.

But now Sam is home. And Sam has... has...NO CONCEPT OF NEAT. Not one iota. When I tell Sam to "put that away", he finds the nearest hole-in-a-pile and tucks the item in. I have found sunglasses on the floor next to the staircase (because he reached through he railing on his way up), his jewelery making backpack on top of the shoes, and socks EVERYWHERE.

Ok, maybe next year I really WILL send him to camp all summer. In the mean time, how in the world do I teach this kid to be neater?

I know I was not a neat kid myself. As a teen, no one could walk in my room because I had stuff strewn about the floor. But I learned to be neater in the rest of the house. How do I teach Sam that Micah and I are going to slap him silly get really upset if he doesn't learn that everything has its own proper place?

And the kid is EXPENSIVE. Today, the sitter came to take care of Sofia in the afternoon, so Sam and I could do a little shopping before picking up Micah. (We also stopped by school, and he got to tell all about camp to the staff and his teacher). We went to A.C. Moore because he needed more jewelery making items. Whew. He paid $20 of his own money, but we had to use both my $10 award certificates! And I bought him new sneakers to replace the ones with holes in them that came home from camp.

Speaking of camp, he lost almost nothing...except three black t-shirts, including the one he bought AT camp.

And the level of responsibility is just not the same as his younger brother's. Tonight they both offered to help get Sofia bathed and put to bed. I cleaned up the kitchen and relaxed for a little, especially when it got quiet upstairs. But when I did come up, Sam was watching TV, Micah was playing on the DS, and Sofia was asleep on my floor! (Folded over into a neat little blob, of course!) I was not pleased. And there was still a huge pile of clothing on their floor, mostly Sam's clean laundry from camp.

And while I'm teaching him...any suggestions about how to teach him to close a drawer properly? He has 4 drawers in the dresser, plus one drawer that they share. Three of the four were open. Not just a little. Inches wide open. With stuff sticking out.

My mental image of Sam is this: you know how when you have two magnets, you have to get the proper ends together, otherwise they repel wildly? Well, Sam is always in "repel" mode. He's like PigPen from the Peanuts cartoon, but with junk instead of actual dirt.

Poor Micah is really struggling to hold it together. Between Sam's unpredictability and David's exacting expectations and low level of patience, he is no longer the sweet happy kid he was last week. And he's very aware that he's struggling with all that. We had a nice chat about it. But I feel so bad for him.

David's off to NH for a few days. Tomorrow the sitter comes again, and I will take Sam to the MFA in Boston for a few hours. He's enjoying summer school, although he's a little bored because he is one of the oldest kids (program goes from "entering first grade" to "entering sixth grade"). But he has been there almost every summer, knows all the teachers and some of the kids, and enjoys it.

While they were all at their respective programs this morning, I had my first meeting of the year with Rabbi Sonia, who I work with for High Holidays. I love her. This is our third year together, and it is such a pleasure to work with her. We have to go through the whole "script" page by page for all the services, and figure out what changes and what stays the same each year. This will be my 14th year there (I think! Maybe 13th, including the year off when I was 8 months pregnant with Micah), and the services have gone through some interesting alterations over that time, with a variety of rabbis or lay leaders involved. Different readings added or removed, new tunes or prayers added in, shortening the service as much as possible (to keep the congregation happy) while still doing enough of the "meat" of the service to make it meaningful for anyone who knows whats being skipped (like, uh, those of us working on the script each year!).

So aside from trying not to sell my children, my current "work load" consists of:

- prepare Torah reading for Aug. 21 (and make sure Sam learns his reading for that day)

- Co-chair the MWJDS Winter Lights Gala, primarily responsible for organizing the Silent Auction (which will have an on-line component again, link coming soon). The newest part of this task is fun - several months ago I attended a Bar Mitzvah Expo, sort of like a wedding expo, where vendors try to get you to hire them. They are all very diligent about calling "to follow up". And since Sam's Bar Mitzvah really is still 2 years away, I have so far been ignoring them, but now I am getting them to donate items to the Silent Auction!

- write my Bio for the synagogue newsletter so they can put in an article about me as the Kallat Maftir Simchat Torah Honoree.

- learn the Haftorah reading for Simchat Torah, too.

- Clean my own junk up, mostly in my room but some in the hallway.

- continue cleaning out the boys' room. I made great progress while Sam was away, but now I have to fight his organizational challenges.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sam's Home!

Yeah, we picked up Sam from camp today. His first words after Hello were "Next year I want to go ALL summer!" He loved it. (I did sign him up for first session again, I'll have to think about a full summer - that's a long time for Mama!)

As we were sorting through his laundry, he said "I have a few ideas for school." I asked for details:

"Well, I think we should do more religious stuff. Like we should do the whole Birkat (grace after meals) all the time, like at camp. And when we study Torah and Hebrew, it should be fun, like at camp. Not just reading and studying, but having fun learning it. Playing games. And we should pray more. At school, we're always learning the prayers. At camp, services were really fun, and it wasn't even like we were praying."

SOOO funny, since before camp, he was bemoaning the fact that Ramah is a more religiously observant camp than some of the others, and he'd have to pray every day ("but we do that all year in school!").

He looks so adorable. I'm so glad to have him home! And Micah and Sofia were happy to see him. The two boys played mostly really nicely all afternoon and evening.

Rest of the week was a blur. Wednesday evening was Micah's bunk night at camp. Just when I thought I couldn't hate bunk night more - RAIN. UGH. Had to follow Sofia around with pizza and cooler in the rain. UGH UGH UGH.

Micah was somewhat helpful:

Fortunately it cleared up enough for a game of Newcom between kids and parents - Micah helped Sofia throw the ball:
Photobucket Photobucket

Sofia LOVED watching the game - she kept cheering!

Thursday while Sofia was in school, I had the most wonderful massage at the local day spa. I'd signed up for 90 minutes, but she worked well over 2 hours - I just barely made it out in time to pick up Sofia. Major muscle tension.

Got home, started making lunch, and got a call from Micah's camp nurse - he was having some sort of allergy issue with his skin, itching all over. So I had to go down and get him. When we got home, Sofia watched a movie while Micah and I slept. Thursday night I went to dinner with some friends. Ah. But my sinuses are still so bad, so I wasn't very comfortable.

Friday I had to wait around for the plumber, and I felt yuchy anyway, so still no gym. Oh well. Then drove back to Ikea WITH Sofia (what was I thinking?!) and bought my new table!!! Yeah. I built it today in between loads of laundry:

It's only an inch wider than the old table, and at its smallest length it's only 3 inches longer. But it extends all the way to 102", with two inserts. Yeah! And it's flat, which my old table no longer was. :)

I picked up David at the airport bus at 5om, and then dropped the kids home for the sitter. Lovely grown-up pool party at J's house Friday night. Much much fun.

Saturday I had to read Torah, so off to shul. Sofia was a terror, and my head was killing me. And David was jet-lagged. So when we got home, grownups slept until 4pm. Whew. Then out for some errands and dinner.

And then off to Ramah today. There was a little presentation of singing and dancing by the kids, which Sofia loved.


Micah was happy to meet up with Itai, one of the Israeli Emissaries who had been at his school this year:
(When he wasn't with Itai, he was following Benzi around, our friend from shul who was on the tech crew).

Sam and Max actually got up to dance, but of course they buried themselves into the back of the group:

And then we came home:

We did laundry all afternoon, it's still going...

Tomorrow, Sam starts summer school. Aside from not wanting to get up early, he's actually happy about it. He always has fun at summer school. Sofia has a dentist appointment and later a swim lesson, and Micah has camp again.

And David is home! (Well, at least for another day. He has to go to NH for Wednesday and Thursday).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting better

I had a MUCH NEEDED Mommy Time Out day today. Of course, the first 2 hours were busy. Leave the house at 7:45, get Micah to the bus. Race to my doctor's office. I have another sinus/ear infection. Fortunately, now I also have antibiotics.

Race back to drop Sofia at preschool, along with a car seat so E can pick her up. Yeah, free at last!

Off to CVS to get my meds, then directly to the nail salon for mani/pedi. Ahhh.

My friend D met me there, and I drove us down to IKEA! Browsed around. Didn't buy much - a wooden lazy susan tray, a soup ladel, and some drinking glasses - but we ate a nice lunch (gravlax with mustard sauce, YUM!), and of course I stocked up on my favorite treats in the grocery section - krispbrod and fish-in-a-tube.

Raced back directly to The Farm to pick up our shares. D is a very picky picker, so she studies each blueberry or green bean before deciding to take it. I am a bit less picky. I'm just so thrilled at all this beautiful fresh food. And blueberries are truly beautiful on the vine (bush?). Next time I must bring a camera.

Got a ton of herbs, too. I'm drying them so I can have them all year. Sage, savory, thyme, marjoram, oregano, dill, basil, parsley. And tea herbs, too - peppermint, spearmint, lime something, and yerba buena. Ahhh.

And being at the farm without kids and with plenty of time before I had to be anywhere was very nice indeed.

After the farm, drove home to drop everything off and put the fish in the fridge. Then off to the pool. Sofia was there with the sitter and our neighbors (mother and daughter), but they were just getting ready to leave, so I did NOT have to deal with La Principessa. They left just as Micah's bus arrived.

Micah and his buddy swam while buddy's dad and I watched and swam with them. Both boys passed the deep-end test yesterday, which means we no longer need to be arms-length from them, but they still need a lot of watching. They are so adorable together. They've been friends since pre-school. J goes to Rashi, another day school in the area, so they don't get to see each other very often in the winter, but they are always at camp together.

We had dinner there, and got home just as E finished putting Sofia to sleep. AH.

E is getting ready to spend a year in Spain, teaching English, so she stayed and chatted for a long time with me while I cleaned and prepped all the farm stuff. I miss her. She used to be our regular sitter, for about 2 years, and also Sam's tutor. This past year she was working more and couldn't sit as often, but still shows up occasionally. She's become sort of like a daughter or younger sister to me. I hope we are able to go visit her in Spain this year!

After she left, I watched half of "Harry Potter" with Micah (his new treat, last weekend). Then bed for him, laundry and blogging for me.

I feel ALMOST ready to face my daughter again tomorrow. Almost. Maybe sleep will help. And another busy day - she's got gymnastics in the afternoon, and we have Micah's Family Night at camp.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm Tired of Being a Mommy

Just for today, really, but oh, I am SO TIRED of parenting. It's constant. Non-stop. Exhausting.

Micah is being really really really super good and sweet and helpful. BUT he is still an 8 year old boy who is very very very good at arguing and talking. Talking. Talking.

Sofia is NOT being good at all. She's a demon. She tosses toys around like crazy, gets into Micah's stuff, messes up the house, and demands food and attention at every moment. In the pool, she is non-stop movement, usually accompanied by "Go Away Mama" (which is not possible, since she's still swimming in a bubble and I need to follow her every move).

I'm tired. I need a break. I need to figure out where to take this family for vacation in August. Somewhere that all 5 of us will somehow enjoy, that won't cost a fortune, where we can all eat safely and healthily. And maybe get some rest. Any ideas??? Oh, and it can't be too commercial or too crowded or too expensive or too allergic.

And then I've got a babysitter on Tuesday, so I basically have the whole day free (she'll pick Sofia up at school), but I cannot figure out what I should do!


Ok, enough whining. Gotta cook dinner, right?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I've been on a Torchwood kick. For those not in the know, Torchwood was a spin-off from Dr. Who. I found all 3 seasons on-line, although I can only access it for 72 minutes at a time before it bounces me out for an hour. Deep dark scifi mysteries. Fun stuff.

Miss Sofia is finally booked in at the CHildren's Hospital DS clinic for older kids, in September. Angela, who runs the clinic, also set us up with an eye doctor who specializes in strabismus (can't even find the proper spelling in the dictionary, sorry!).

Saw a nifty photo yesterday of Sammy at camp, wearing tefillin! Really proud of him for trying it. Can't wait to hear what he has to say.

Micah's unit at camp had Crazy Hair Day today, so I put green and blue spray in his hair and teased it all up - and he hated it so much we had to wash it all out right before we left to catch his bus! This is the kid who has NEVER EVER participated in things like Pajama Day, so I wasn't really surprised. I just wish he would lighten up a bit.

Off for a swim with friends (and Sofia). Had a meeting at the day school this morning; it was nice to see people

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy July 4th!

Went up to Biddeford Pool, ME, to spend the day with my dear friend H and her family and other friends. SOOOOO much fun! Sofia loved loved loved the water, and kept wanting to go into "tall. Tall." (i.e. deep) water to get hit by waves. No fear.

A few photos:
View from the porch:

David buried Sofia:

She really liked it!

Micah learned Jai Lai:


Not to be outdone, Micah's friend B buried Micah:

Negotiating for another marshmallow:

Yum! (ok, you cannot tell me this kid is not crosseyed! Is this picture good enough to prove it to the eye doctor?)

MIssing Sam, but still happy family:


Off to Sakonnett tomorrow for more beach!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just For Fun: Useful Math Conversions

My dad sent me these, and I had to share:


1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton

3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope

4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond

5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram

6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = 1 Knotfurlong

7. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Sterling

8. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon

9. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz

10. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

11. Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line

12. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

13. 1 million-million microphones = 1 megaphone

14. 2 million bicycles = 2 megacycles

15. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle

16. 2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

17. 52 cards = 1 decacards

18. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton

19. 1000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen

20. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche

21. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin

22. 10 rations = 1 decoration

23. 100 rations = 1 C-ration

24. 2 monograms = 1 diagram

25. 4 nickels = 2 paradigms

26. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University
Hospital = 1 IV League

27. 100 Senators = Not 1 decision