Sunday, September 12, 2010

Whew! Been a bit busy!

Ok, let's see. A number of articles in this "issue":

- My Aunt's 80th birthday party
- our visit in NY state, including dogs and rafting
- Sofia's first day of school
- Rosh Hashanah
- A really really fun Shabbat
- a nice family hike
- my thoughts on DS and allergies and dyslexia - all the various things that invade our house.

Auntie Celine's 80th Birthday Party

We had a nice time seeing my cousins and mom's cousins at mom's sisters birthday party in NJ. Micah charmed everyone by taking about 200 photos, and Sofia managed to get in on almost every group shot - she also started the afternoon by hugging all Celine's friends, who are complete strangers to us.

Mine were the only kids at the party, but we had fun. My cousins Bruce and Harwin (he goes by Fred, but I grew up calling him his real name...) live in California with their wives (Madlyn and Diane), and my cousin Judy lives in The City (NYC for those of you not from the East Coast). So we don't get to see each other that often.

I was only mistaken for my mother once, and later my sons told me I looked a lot like Auntie Celine, but not as old. Whew.

Photos of the party are here.

Visiting cousins

Then we drove up to NY state, near Port Jervis, to stay with David's second cousin Jared and his family. They bought an old old farm house, which we think will take them about a century to renovate, but it's gorgeous, and on an amazing parcel of land in beautiful country.

Many photos here. On Sunday, Jared took us rafting down the Delaware river. It was a lot of fun! Poor Micah was too short, so he and Sofia hung out in the parking area with first Daddy (while I went) and then me (while David went), but later the guys took him down the river to a calmer area. Sofia kept busy exploring the inside of David's car, and tossing rocks into the river.

Jared has 3 Newfoundland dogs, and Micah fell madly in love with one, Snoodles. Of course, being allergic, he had to wear surgical gloves to pet the dog (we were ok sleeping, since the dogs don't go upstairs, and otherwise we stayed outside). One the drive home, suddenly Micah was SOBBING, tears pouring down his face. "I Miss Snoodles!" he wailed. And he's been saying it daily ever since, in a rather mournful tone. He spent part of this week trying to figure out how to save his money to buy a dog and what kind of dog should he get and could Sam pay for the electric fence.... Not gonna happen, my friend. Three kids is ENOUGH for me!

Sofia's First Day of School

Tuesday was Sofia's first real day back at school. She did better, going somewhat willingly to her teachers at drop-off, but it was also her first day of after-care. And she was NOT happy to be in a different line. So she pouted her way into a nap! When she got to the after-care classroom, she folded herself in half, and eventually fell asleep.

Of course, I was late the first day, since I'd foolishly tried running an errand between picking up the boys and picking up Sofia. And I was thoroughly adonished by the principal "if you're going to be late every day, this won't work and she won't be able to use after-care." I promised I would never do it again (and if she doesn't stay in after-care, I most certainly WILL be late every day, since I don't have a helicopter or a transporter, and cannot possibly get from the boys' school to her school in 10 minutes time).

And then she missed the second day, due to a stomach bug all day. Boo Hoo. Hopefully she'ss do better this week. At least the tummy cleared up over night. Whew. That was gonna make the holidays difficult!


Rosh Hashanah

So Wednesday morning we had the Tashlich program at the boys' school. The entire school, plus parents or other family members, walks down to the river to reflect. It's a lovely event. We thought it was going to be rained out for the first time in 7 years, but the sky cleared in time.

As I mentioned, Sofia stayed home from school - she'd stayed home with a sitter in the morning - so when I got home with the boys at noon, we didn't have to leave again until night time. I spent all afternoon cooking - we'd stopped at The Crown on the way home from NY (Crown is the very large kosher butcher in West Hartford), so I made brisket and also chicken cacciatore. Served the chicken that night, just us and Laura and Lilie. Brisket for Shabbat.

Services went well, over all. Wednesday night was a little rough. There were a few things no one had bothered to bring, like candles or kiddush wine or challah, even though they were listed in the outline. But I love working with Rabbi Sonia, and we got into a grove fairly quickly.

Thursday morning my family went to our regular synagogue, Temple Israel, while I went back to Sha'arei Shalom to be cantor again. It went really well, although we were 15 minutes over our time limit at the end (they really want us to end by 12:30). There are a few minor things to go over in our debrief, like teaching the congregants what to do when they are on the bimah for the Torah service, but otherwise, all was fine. Nice sized crowd.

I met my family at our friends' house for lunch and we stayed until after 7pm. Walked over to join the Temple Israel tashlich, so I got to see everyone there (along with the local Chabad, which is on the same road). Really fun afternoon. Plus naps!


Laura and Lilie went home that night, so it was just the 5 of us on Friday morning. I was not working at Sha'arei Shalom (they needed to save money, and they don't hire me for 2nd day), so we all went to Temple Israel together. It was fun, but WAAAY more people - we get about 900 inside and 400 in the tent (where we sit), compared to maybe 250 total at Sha'arei Shalom and the usual 100 at TI on Shabbat. It was a bit overwhelming, but still nice. Sam and his friends led Ashrei in the tent, and did an excellent job. I also had to help the cantor's wife with the children's service a little - we had all the kids try to blow shofar, and the Rothkopf family owns 3...

Friday afternoon, we went to J's house for a while to swim.


Then Friday night, J's family and two other families all came to our house for Shabbat dinner. Really great time. The 8 kids (not counting Sofia) sat in the playroom for their meal, so the adults (plus Sofia) had the kitchen (our usual dining area). After the kids ate, they all went upstairs. Sam had his best buddy M, who was at camp with him, plus two of the three girls from his class, who both kept trying to kiss him!

We had a great time, eating, drinking, talking all evening.

Shabbat day was quiet. David had to be in the office, Sam had a play date, and I took Micah and Sofia to Natick Days Festival for a little while and then just hung out. Evening, pizza, including gluten-free option for Sofia.


Today we went on a really nice hike around the Ashland reservoir. Sofia did very well - she spent some time on David's shoulders, a little on mine, but mostly she walked. I was very impressed.

My thoughts on DS and allergies and dyslexia - all the various things that invade our house.

Well, I wrote that title about 5 hours ago, when I started this post, so it'll have to wait. I had some profound thoughts, but they are all gone now.

Shana Tovah and G'mar Chatima Tova. May you be inscribed for a sweet, happy and healthy New Year.