Thursday, June 30, 2011

Getting Better All The Time

Whew! Made it through another week. The weekend was low-key. Sam had a birthday party all Saturday afternoon, so the other kids and I just hung out. I actually got Sofia bathed and into pjs before packing them into the car to go pick up their brother.

Sunday morning Sam had yet another birthday party, and I took the others to the pool. Miss Sofia is a maniac at the pool. Every two minutes, she wants to "change stairs" from one side of the pool to the other. Makes it sort of difficult to have a coherent conversation!

Picked up Sam, and did last minute shopping. He and I both had bad headaches, so we both napped a bit in the afternoon, which helped.

Monday was crazy-lady day. I took my three kids, plus three others - had kids ages 13, 12 10, 9, 8 and 6 - to Hopkinton State Park. There is a small beach there on the lake. They all had a blast. Sofia swam like a fish, we could barely get her out of the water. The other girl (age 8) helped me with her, and occasionally the two girls sat on the beach digging in the sand. Sofia has talked about it all week. The four boys, meanwhile, were very very busy looking for fish and tadpoles.

Totally forgot I had signed up Sofia for gymnastics camp that afternoon; did not remember until Wednesday morning! But it was a nice day.

And David came home that night!!!!!

Tuesday was the big day, taking Sam to camp. He and his best friend Max have the beds right next to each other again, and two of their friends from last year are on the bunks above them. And they are in a brand new cabin, to make up for being in the very oldest (and most decrepit) last year. Cushy.

We got the boys unpacked (four sets of adults yelling "Please pay attention for a moment" while four boys paid us no attention whatsoever), and then they all took off. Sofia, who at first was very excited to "Play, Girls, Friends!", became nervous that we would all be staying again (like we did for Family Camp last month), so she shut down. "Home. Home. Home."

So we went home. The first round of pictures posted were the bunk photos, and Sam looked absolutely miserable, but today there was a gorgeous smile on his face.

Micah was in seventh heaven Tuesday night, having me and David all to himself (once Sofia was asleep). But first thing Wednesday morning: "I'm Bored."

So I took him and Sofia to a friend's house, where they both had friends to play with. And thankfully the nanny was willing to watch my kids while I went to the day school for another meeting.

We are still making progress. It looks as if we are creating a new model. Not full-day day school. Not synagogue religious school. Rather, the plan is that Sofia will got most of her time to public school, but come two afternoons each week to MWJDS to be part of the classroom. The two major goals are Judaics and Socialization. The Learning Specialist would be her dedicated aide while she is there.

It's scary to pioneer. This is a new model. But at least we are talking about kindergarten now. We can't mess her up too badly if this doesn't work, right?!

Meanwhile, I would have to put her in the "breakfast bunch" at public school so I could get the boys to school on time, but I would also probably be teaching tefillah (prayer) a couple of mornings each week. Which is VERY exciting!

OH! And I am officially teaching my first graduate course right now! It's only two weeks, and I'm doing three out of the five Units. I think I'm mostly done writing them; my co-teacher/mentor is reviewing them now.

(Just got a lovely email from the incoming MWJDS kindergarten teacher. Looking forward to this!).

Today I had to take Micah to his allergy check-up first thing (8am). Which was not a problem, thanks to the birds. We have the windows open because the weather is so lovely, and at about 4:30 the birds had some sort of music festival outside our window!

After allergist, stopped at the bookstore for a while, and then home to get the kids packed up for the weekend. Then I drove out to Old Sturbridge Village. We only had about an hour and a half there, but it was fun. Sofia kept wanting to stay, first in the Children's Play Area, then petting sheep, so we had to drag her along a bit, but eventually we got to ride on a horse-drawn cart, which was heaven in her eyes. She was SOOO HAPPY.

My folks met us in the parking lot, and took both kids back to their house. I go tthe most beautiful hug from Sofia. She had this beautiful look on her face, very peaceful, with her eyes closed, and she hugged me for a full minute. I wonder what she was thinking.

So now we are CHILD-FREE!!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!!

Tomorrow we are going to our friends' house in Maine for the beginning of Adult Weekend, but Saturday afternoon we have to drive down, pick up the kids, and head to my friend's house in NJ. Sunday morning we have a family Bar Mitzvah in Paramus. Then hang with my friend until Monday, then drop David at the airport because he has to go BACK to Israel again! So I'll have to drive us back home on my own on Monday night. Ugh.

ANd then they both start camp on Tuesday. YEAH!!!!!

Happy Fourth of July Weekend.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Made it through the week

Monday morning, directly to my doctor for sinus and ear infection meds. Whew. Sofia managed to pee in her pants on the nice cushy chair in the examining room :(

Monday afternoon, glorious day, so dragged the boys plus one extra to the pool for the first time. All had fun, especially my little fishy-girl. She LOVES to swim! But man, I felt yucky.

Let the boys watch a movie nearly every night this week. Don't really remember which ones.

Tuesday, babysitter bagged, so take all three kids to the orthodontist for Sam's first braces check, and then to the pediatrician for Sam's 12 year checkup. Thank heavens the pediatrician's office was empty, so doctor, nurse, and office administrator could all pay lots and lots of attention to my three needy children!

Home for a while, then to the Farm. I love my farm share. But it was HOT. And Sofia was grouchy...until she found the nice shady sandbox in the children's garden. Then we couldn't get her to leave.

Dropped my friend's half of the share off, then a quick stop home to put veggies away, and then dragged them back to the pool again. This time Samuel did not even leave the office. He did not want to swim. Ok. But the rest of us did. And it was nice to see Sofia play with one of her preschool friends.

After swimming, Tae Kwan Do, and then sushi. Couldn't find my credit card, had to walk over to the bank to get money to pay! Yikes!

Wednesday morning, movies. Micah's teacher had invited his class to come see Mr. Popper's Penguins, which they had read in school this year. Sam and the other older siblings went to see Green Lantern. He said it wasn't very god. Mr. Popper was cute, Sofia liked it, but the class was disappointed that it was nothing like the book.

Dropped the boys at a friends' house for the afternoon, and took Miss Sofia to MWJDS to meet with Hamenahelet (the Head of School). The new kindergarten teacher used to be an assistant for a young man with Down syndrome, and she is eager to experience Sofia. So currently it looks like the plan will be 90% public school, but trying to get a couple of afternoons a week at the day school. Both the new kindergarten teacher and the learning specialist really want the chance to teach Sofia, so they will develop a curriculum for her about the Jewish holidays, and work with the public school to provide backup support for what she learns in public school.

not sure how this will work monetarily, or logistically. Still tiptoeing around. But they are trying.

Dropped Sofia at gymnastics and went on errands and to pick up the boys. She does much better when I don't stay to watch the class!

Went out like a grown-up with a friend for dinner. Thank heavens I found a last minute babysitter.

Thursday was quiet. I had a massage (YEAH) in the morning, so the boys got to babysit their sister (daytime is fine, and at 12, Sam is old enough to be official!). Sofia went to a birthday party in the afternoon, so the boys and I did more errands. Trying to get ready for camp. Sam's name labels did not arrive until today (Friday), so I had to go find some alternate labeling options!

Today we started packing (finally!) and then went to see Cars 2. It was EXCELLENT! Shopping afterwards. I got a 2TB hard drive! I had a $45 rewards certificate at Best Buy, and it was too cheap to pass up. I'm so geeky.

Sam's head impacted with Micah's knee, as they were diving to retrieve the shoe Sofia threw across the floor, so he's got a massive headache. We spent some time at the bookstore, too, but then home. Finally got "Tangled" for Sofia. She's been talking about "long hair princess. castle! horse!" since November.

So my head still hurts but not as badly as earlier in the week. Now Sam's head hurts. It started raining Wednesday, and doesn't look like it will be stopping for a few days. Packing for camp has begun. And I have lots and lots of disk space!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"So How Are You"

Ain't THAT a loaded question! This week, I have been somewhat honest when answering. Which is not so great:

1. Sofia is likely going to Public School rather than the Day School.

2. David has been gone since Wednesday, first to DC and now in Israel until next Monday.

3. Which means he missed Father's Day.

4. And will be missing our 13th anniversary on Tuesday (although maybe missing "Lucky 13" is ok...).

5. The congregation where I have been cantorial soloist for the past 15 years has hired a new rabbi...who prefers to work solo. So for the first time in 16 years, I will have no High Holiday gig.

6. My relatives have decided that not only must my grandmother's 100th birthday celebration be held in Florida (flying 35 people there is easier, apparently, than flying one spry old woman up here), but that it MUST be held on October 22. Which is the one day in October I cannot make it, since that is the day of the Bar Mitzvah of the young man whose father recently committed suicide. You know, my best friend's son. Sam's best buddy. Gotta be there. (Ok, the plus side is that I'll go visit my grandmother some other time and NOT have to deal with relatives!).

7. I have a sinus and double-ear infection. And no meds yet. (Hopefully tomorrow).

8. There was a dead mouse in the garage this morning. Poor critter likely took one look at the mess in the garage and dropped dead from a coronary. My neighbor was brave enough to come over and dispose of the critter.

9. It's school vacation week. All three kids are home. All week. ALL week. Really.

So. That's my answer to "how are you?" And why I blog.

Thanks for playing...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Whew! What a week. Thursday, the second day of Shavuot, Sam's classmates came over to celebrate Sam (and another boy) turning 12. It was a hot day, so they had water balloon fights in the backyard:

Friday was the last all-school Shabbat celebration:


Saturday we went to our friends' daughter's Bat Mitzvah. They are members of Sha'arei Shalom, where I am the high holiday cantor, and it was nice to see everyone. The Bat Mitzvah girl did a terrific job - she was very poised, read Torah and spoke beautifully. Sofia was funny. When it was time for the closing prayer, she ran right up to the bimah (stage) to stand between the Rabbi and the Bat Mitzvah. She had a blast at the party (although she fell asleep on my lap for a while in the middle), and the boys had fun too.

Mr. Cool:

Sofia and David

Micah showing off all the "loot" from the DJ:

Sunday was Micah's Gym Show. We took his friend A (one of my "extra" kids, who likes to hang out with me!). It was long, but Micah did some great flips (which are not visible enough on the video to share with you).

David, Sam and A:

Tuesday was Portfolio Day. So proud of both my boys:
(Sam's shirt says "My Dad is The Stig" and Micah's shirt says "I am The Stig").

Micah's Dolphin Family:

Today was the best: Preschool Graduation!

Miss Sofia ready to go to school for the last time:


Sitting with her class, teachers strategically placed behind:

Waiting in line to get diplomas:

Mrs. Tomasso hands Sofia her diploma, while Mrs. M helps out:


Waiting for the other classroom to get their diplomas:

Trying to escape:

The entire Graduating Class:

My Kindergartener!

And with her best buddy, H.

I am so proud of her! (but camp doesn't start for another two and a half weeks!)

Monday, June 6, 2011


Ok, sorry I have not posted a follow-up. It's been really busy and I just could not organize my thoughts around the school issues. Still having trouble, but at least i can give a summary:


The proposal from Gateways turned out to be really about $70,000 per year (BEFORE tuition) when you included what they would also charge the school. Thank you for playing. The lady from Gateways then sat in the meeting and asked if I had considered taking Sofia to SHAS, the Orthodox day school in Sharon where another child with DS is already a student. I pointed out that I do not actually own a transporter beam, and already have two kids at MWJDS. The school psychologist actually asked me "Well, what's wrong with the public school?" I let her have it. There is NOTHING wrong with public school, and the schools here in Ashland are actually very very good, especially for Sofia. But we are a day school family. (The principal, of course, spoke up for us!).

Ultimately, the day school is suggesting a split day next year - Sofia would get all her acadmics and services at public school and then spend an hour or two at MWJDS being part of the community.

The public school team totally "gets" that we want day school, and are happy to work with us, but we do have to make sure that whatever we end up doing is BEST FOR SOFIA.

So there is no resolution right now. In my heart I still want her at the day school, but my brain is saying it's likely we'll just forget the whole thing and only send her to public school.

Which makes me want to cry when I type that.

Ramah Family Camp

Over Memorial Weekend, the five of us (yes, really, all five of us!) went to Family Camp at Camp Ramah New England. We got there Friday in time for Shabbat, and stayed until after lunch on Monday.

It was wonderful.

Hot. Muggy. Buggy. Hot. Occasionally wet. But Really Really terrific.

Met lovely people, including someone I consider a new "best friend". You know how sometimes you just click with a person, like you were friends in a past life? Yeah, well I found one of those.

David RELAXED. In fact, Sunday morning while I was in Arts & Crafts, he sat in the camp library for an hour. Sunday afternoon, the two of us went canoeing.

Sofia had a great time in the "Gan" (which is Hebrew for "garden", i.e. Children's Garden/babysitting). The two boys spent most of their time either on the tennis court (who knew!) or on the field playing Frisbee.

I went crazy in Arts & Crafts. By Monday morning, when the art teacher was late, I was actually running arts & crafts!

I also gave a short d'var (speech) at Shabbat afternoon services. Shabbat was lovely, very relaxing.

[NOTE: If these pictures are wider than the text of this blog, please REFRESH your browser) - they should all fit nice a tight, but sometimes Photobucket doesn't remember the edits I made!]

David watching the boys:

Sofia (and Princess Tiana) taking a break in the screened in porch by the lake:

Cookie Break:

Hot & sweaty Sam:

My girl:

Ready for tennis!

Micah being silly with David:

Micah was our team's champion for Family Trivia. Note Sofia's strategic seating:

My boys at Campfire:

June is Here

Sofia's preschool had Field Day last week, and I got to help out. It was cute, although she was crabby and does not like to be outside in the hot sun. Here she is gearing up for the Clown Race:

Ready to go:

Off she goes!
(she was supposed to turn around that cone...instead she just kept going!)

Hot girl getting water with Mama:


The Big Kids

This Saturday, Sam and his classmates were invited to the Bat Mitvah of a former classmate. We all met at A's house and her dad drove them. I could not believe how big these kids have gotten!

My Little Man:

The Four (note A ready to punch Sam...):

Just for reference, here are Sam and A at the end of First Grade:

and Sam and R and another friend at the end of Kindergarten:

Ok, gotta get Sofia off to school, then FINISH the yearbook - it's going to the printer today!!!!

And today I wish my husband a most wonderful Happy Birthday, even though he's in NYC for the conference this week!