Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It really IS a Wonderful Life

Yesterday was my birthday. And birthdays are always a good opportunity to reflect.

I am SOOOOO lucky.

I am SOOOOO happy.

I am SOOOOO loved.

I have a wonderful husband. Terrific children whom I adore. Loving family. And amazing friends.

On Facebook, I received well over 85 messages wishing me a happy birthday. The whole Landscape of My Life came into sharp focus. Sweet messages from people all over the world, people who have been part of my life a long time or a short time, people who knew me "when" or know me now. But all people who cared enough to stop a moment and wish me a happy birthday.

I am happy with who I am. I like what I do (ok, it would be nice to get paid for it, but I'm lucky to be able to indulge). I like how I act. I even like how I look.

I like to smile.

I am so grateful to have such a WONDERFUL life, and to have so many WONDERFUL people in it!

(And it wasn't any kind of special activity day, really. After dropping off the boys, Sofia and I had coffee with my dear friend H, then grocery shopping and then home for a while. Got her to school, ran another errand, worked out, worked on the computer until boys got home. Picked up Sofia, off to a makeup gymnastics class for her and then makeup Tae Kwan Do class for the boys, then out to dinner. David met us for dinner, and the tab was picked up - by surprise - by his friend who happened to be at the same restaurant.)

Stay safe on the roads, everyone (especially those in snow, but heck, stay safe even without snow!). Expecting another snow day tomorrow - had Friday off too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We had a really lovely weekend. Saturday evening, we had a nice meal (although we brought the average age of the patrons down by about 40 years!) not too far from the hotel. Sunday, we drove down to Hallendale, to check on David's grandmother's apartment, where we'd stayed last April for Passover. Then we stopped at one of the 26 kosher places in Aventura to get deli sandwiches. Then I watched my husband drive 105 mph on I95 to get back to the hotel. He was SO happy :)

Had our sandwiches poolside, and relaxed. Sunday evening, a very expensive Italian dinner in Palm Beach. We were the only customers sitting outside (gorgeous by our standards, too cold for those southern wimps).

Monday it rained most of the day.Worked out, showered and dressed, checked out, had a quick bite, then hung out on the patio for a few hours. Then off to Grandma Doris' house again.

Took her out to dinner. Watched my 99 year old grandmother drink a beer, eat jalapenos, and down half a rack of ribs!

Had a lovely time just hanging out with her.

Tuesday was gorgeous, so we were poolside most of the day, which was especially wonderful since it was snowing and slushing back home. Had to do a lot of over-the-phone mothering, to arrange rides and reschedule after-school activities.

Our flight was only delayed by a little over an hour, so we landed in Boston at 11pm. Got home, kissed my kiddoes, and that was that.

Well, not totally. In the morning, the boys continued to complain to me over breakfast. They were VERY glad to see me! And when I got back from driving them, Sofia glommed right on to me for a long time. Yet my parents assured me that the weekend was wonderful.

Well. Yes. As long as you have their perspective. Which is "parent by strictness and threats."

My dad's major flub was this: in trying to get Sofia to clean up her toys, he threatened, "If you don't clean them up, I'll throw them away." Ok, how many of you think THAT worked? Of course not. Sofia thought it was a great game, and tossed a whole bunch of toys into the garbage bag! (Which my dad had the courtesy to just hide in the bathroom...)

My mother insists it's all about being stern. "Micah has you too wrapped, he cons you too much. I tell him to do something, and that's it, he just does it."

Uh, yeah. When my mother says "jump" you do not ask "how high" because you are SUPPOSED TO ALREADY KNOW!


I appreciate them taking care of the kids, but I wish they understood more. And no, I do NOT tell them. For one thing, I am my own person now. I moved away to not live under their rules. For another, they ARE my parents, and I do owe them some respect. And they are very loving grandparents. And yes, it's nice that they will occasionally watch the kids so I can escape with my husband!

So I don't muddy the water, and I coach my kids. Let's face it - not everyone they will encounter in their lives will be exactly how they expect. So they need to learn to cope with a variety of personalities.

In a somewhat similar vein, both boys yesterday said they had been "yelled at" by teachers for misbehaving when they had not been doing anything. In both cases, they were sitting with kids who WERE misbehaving. So I explained a few things:

1. the teachers at their school almost NEVER "yell"
2. Some of the kids really do misbehave, and the staff constantly had to be "on" them
3. If you sit with someone who is misbehaving, the teachers might actually think that you were doing something wrong, just because of proximity.
4. Kids who misbehave frequently can sometimes tune out. If the teachers also address the other kids around them, it makes them pay a bit more attention.
5. If your friend is misbehaving, and you do nothing to stop him, then you SHOULD be reprimanded. You SHOULD help your friend behave properly, BEFORE the trouble starts. Peer pressure is very powerful, and if you can use your own pressure for good, than you have a responsibility to do so.

Enough parenting. Assuming they have school tomorrow (another storm is expected), it'll be a busy day - Sam has appointments in Ashland public school both before and after school, plus a stop at the orthodontist. Then I wait impatiently for David to get home from work so I can go meet my girlfriends and head to Maine for a Girl's Weekend! YEAH!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Escape from Snow

Well, I was very fuzzy-headed on Monday and Tuesday, so I don't feel like I got a lot done. DID manage a mani/pedi, whew!

Tuesday there was some planning confusion, but eventually it worked out - Sam is taking Snowboarding lessons for the next few weeks. He is so happy! And I'm pleased to say that the mom who took him was very impressed with him and his behavior. Always a good kid...at least for other people :)

Wednesday, of course, was a major snow storm. Stayed inside with Sofia all day, although the boys all had fun outside. Took forever to shovel.

The boys did not have school on Thursday, ugh, but Sofia did, yeah. And Thursday was THE DAY. The sitter came in the morning so I could run a couple of errands (like retrieving my bluetooth earpiece from Staples, where I had lost it on Tuesday). Then my parents arrived, and David and I left for the airport.

We are now in sunny south Florida! We stayed with my grandmother on Thursday night. She's 99 and still lives on her own and is AMAZING. Friday morning we took her out for a pedicure. Then we packed up and headed to Palm Beach. We are staying at the Ritz Carlton - gotta love all the travel points David gets!

Of course it's a nice place. Gorgeous. We ate lunch poolside, although it was VERY VERY windy, so we didn't stay out too long. David took a nap in the afternoon while I worked out. We walked across the street for some yummy sushi for dinner. And we sat in the lounge and had tea in the evening. Nice and relaxing.

However, the boys keep texting and calling us. They are MISERABLE with my parents! Micah actually called while we were still at the airport in Boston - "Mama, when are you coming home? I miss you so much!" Poor boys. The text messages are really really funny (from this end):

MICAH: Wean are u comeing home?Gradma is a bain in the butt!!! Plzz anser the phone.

And last night:

Micah: Ima iv gon nuts
ME: Sorry about that
Micah: I can't think at all I literly can't think of enything. Wen are u comeing home
Me: Tuesday
Micah: A few days I can't deel with them for one second
ME: Love you:
Micah: Love us so sooooo-ooooooo-soooooo-soooo- MUCH!
Me: I love you too. Smooch!
Micah: Wen u come home I will literly hug u for an hour
Me: Ok I will look forward to that
Micah: Ok

While those texts were coming through, Sam was on the phone: "Mama, why is Grandma so crazy? She's freaking out because the 10% coupon was expired. Now she wants to return everything. And she woke Sofia up by just shaking her just so she could get her changed into a pullup."

Of course, when I do speak to my mother, she is completely unaware of how the boys feel! In fact, Thursday when I told her Micah had phoned me, she yelled at him!

So is this child abuse? I am subjecting my children to the same mental insecurity that I grew up with. It's only for a few days, and I know that some of the pleading and missing me is really because it's me, mama. But I feel so bad knowing that they are unhappy.

And at the same time, I am somewhat pleased that they will appreciate me more! Also, I pointed out to Sam that this is why I get so upset when HE freaks out. "Yeah, but I only do that some times. Grandma is 24/7!" But he is starting to understand it.

The other interesting thing is that my mother is doing exactly what her mother did, and she's unaware of that too. Grandma Sarah spoiled me rotten. I was most definitely and obviously the Favorite Grandchild. Well, my mom is like that with Sam. And granted, Sam is easy to "spoil" because he is so happy with material items. But she does so to the exclusion of Micah, who is much more difficult to please. And I feel so bad, the way I used to feel bad for my sister and my cousin when Grandma Sarah made a big deal over me in front of them.

And then there's Sofia, who is probably mostly fine, but would NOT get off the phone with me this morning. She wanted me to sing to her, and kept crying for the phone when the boys took it from her.

Tonight the boys are going with my friend D and her family to a game at the Garden, and then sleeping over D's house. She is always a VERY GOOD friend, but this is approaching sainthood. My parents took the kids (and D's daughter) to the movies and pizza yesterday - having A around certainly helped the boys stay calm. Dad took the big kids to see "The Green Hornet" and mom took Sofia to see "Tangled" again. (Oh, no school Friday for Professional Development Days at both schools. And no school Monday for MLK).

So David and I are enjoying the warmer weather, and sleeping late, and relaxing, but I'm still "mommying". We're at CityPlace now, in Palm Beach - nice outdoor mall. Ritz charges a fortune for internet access (and for everything else), so we came here for food and connectivity. But now I'm going shopping!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fun Day Today

We went to Coco Key, an indoor water park in Fitchburg. AAA has a buy two get one free deal, so we took the kids plus one extra.

Much fun. Sofia loved the water, and of course charmed many people there. Everyone is waterlogged and exhausted (although Sofia is fighting it and snuggling next to me, so I am typing with one hand).

Went out as grownups last night with another couple. Also fun.

The new website for MWJDS went live on Friday. I am so glad I got to work on that!

David and I are heading to Florida on Thursday for a much needed weekend without kids. My folks are coming up to watch the children. We are staying with my grandmother (who is 99 years young) on the first and last nights, and using travel points to stay at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach the rest of the time! I intend to sleep. A lot.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 2011

Just dropped Sofia at school, the "vacation" week is finally over! HOORAY!

We did indeed get a blizzard. I stayed in pajamas from Saturday afternoon until Monday. AHHHHHHH. Nice. Did very little.

So after the relaxing days of the blizzard, I ventured out into the real world with my children. First stop, grocery shopping and ski pants for Micah. Which also included a tantrum from Sofia. UGH.

Most of the week is a blur. Took them roller skating one day with my friend and her kids. That was ...hell... But the boys enjoyed it.

Took the boys and A to see "Tron: Legacy" on afternoon. Had to run out in the middle of the movie to get a coffee.

Friday night, however, was tremendous. Lovely. Had several other families over for delicious food and a wonderful time. (Pot luck, so I can say it was delicious, since I didn't make all of it.) Great way to ring in the new year and celebrate Shabbat.

Actually got off to shul in the morning. Saturday afternoon Sofia had a playdate, finally, with her friend from school. The mom and I have been trying for over a year to schedule a playdate!

Sunday, we all went up to Salem, to the Peabody Essex Museum. Gorgeous. But Sam was in a mood, and museums with Sofia usually means I run around chasing her and then sit and watch her eat a snack. Yup. One day I'll go back to all the museums I have run through in the past 10 years and see everything I missed.

Ah. Now they are all back in school. YEAH!