Monday, October 31, 2011

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

David's paternal grandmother, Toby Rothkopf (Toba bat Bryna v'Ephraim) just passed away this evening, peacefully, in her sleep. She was over 100 years old, and in her own home.

We have been expecting this for a while - Grandma Toby has been house-bound and not mentally "with us" for several years now - but it's still a sad shock.

They are still working out the details for burial. The New Britain (CT) cemetery is "closed" because there are still so many trees down from the storm this past weekend. So we are not sure whether we will be able to get in there on Wednesday, or have to wait until Thursday. (Which will be a real mess, not only because of the delay, but because Thursday, David needs to be at the Indian Consulate in NYC at 9:20 am and then again at 5:30 pm to pick up his visa for travel.)

A Normal Week

Well, now we are in the swing of "normal" (for us, that is). Last week was fairly relaxing. Nothing out of the ordinary. Only "special" was Friday morning, I ran my first All School Tefillah. I'm told it went well, but it was waaay too long for my taste. More than an hour. Stressful. But the kids did GREAT. I made sure every child had a part, too, which was nice. The kids at this school ROCK!

Friday night, H and her kids came for Shabbat dinner. Always fun. Her kids are each about 1.5 - 2 years younger than mine, but each pair get a long great. Sam is very relaxed and silly around 5th grade (girl) S, Micah and B are good buddies, and Sofia absolutely worships G, who is in the kindergarten class at the day school. It was anice evening.

Shul on Saturday was long, but really nice. I bounced around with Sofia - she tried the kindergarten service, but then we went to the preschool service, because they had a great "snacktivity" making Noah's Ark and rainbows out of food. Yum. Sam "broke" his toe on Friday night (it's not really broken, but he thinks it is; it's just banged up and hurts a lot), so he sat in main service with David, and I'm fairly certain Micah spent most of his time in the Youth service in the chapel.

After lunch, there was a stand-up Kiddush (just light snacks), but then there was a light lunch if you stayed for the Study Session. Which we did. It was really interesting, and fun to study. The boys were not interested, and spent most of the time in the hallway. Sofia was fine as long as she was eating, but then she had to wander out to the hall with her brothers.

We had one incident - a new member, who really wanted to study, but her very young daughter was making a lot of noise. An older member, who was having a bad day, got up and yelled at us to get the kids out. The new member was in tears. I had to grab her back, and hand her daughter off to the boys (I was VERY proud of my boys for helping!). I was impressed, however, with how the clergy handled it. Cantor (and his Rabbi/wife) had been in the hallway with the kids, so I told them what happened when I took the girls out. After the study session, they came in and sat with us, and the Rabbi came over and ate his lunch with us. We continued the study discussion, very relaxed. There was no mention of the Incident, and the new member was able to calm down a bit.

When the Rabbi stood up, we did mention it, and he was either totally clueless, or brilliant (and if you know him, I'll let you make your own decision...). He was "competely unaware" of the lady yelling at us during the session, and told us how that lady was having a really hard and stressful day, and then said how it really wasn't a problem, just could be difficult for some people to concentrate if the kids got too loud. It was graceful (if it was purposeful), in that he did not denigrate either position - it was difficult for the one lady to concentrate, but those of us with small children have every right to be included, and next time we will arrange something specific to keep the kids occupied.

Anyway, we had a very relaxing rest of Shabbat (we didn't even get home until 3pm!). The rain and then the snow kept us tucked into the house all day. After we put Sofia to sleep, the rest of us played a long game of Electronic Banker Monopoly, which Micah had gotten for his birthday. I HATE board games ("bored" games!), and Monopoly with my three captains of industry is entirely unpleasant for me, but it was still nice. And I went bankrupt fairly quickly, so I could come back upstairs and get ready for bed ;)

Sunday, lots and lots of very wet snow. We only lost power for about half an hour at night (that's what put an end to the game), so we were lucky. The surrounding area is still without power.

I took the boys to see their friend perform in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in the afternoon, while David took Sofia to his office - she watched movies while he worked. In the evening, we had a nice fire in the fireplace.

Back to school and real life today. The boys are looking forward to Halloween tonight - the dads on the street usually take the kids, while moms are on door-duty. I'm looking forward to some quiet time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whew! Holidays are over.

I really do love the Fall holidays. Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the New Year, with its promise of rebirth and renewal. Yom Kippur, solemn and joyful at the same time. Sukkot, the harvest festival, with the fun of putting up and decorating a sukkah and maybe even eating in it. Simchat Torah, raucous dancing and rejoicing in the gift of the Torah.

But, MAN, am I tired!

They just come one right after the other. The boys had 4 weeks of very short school weeks. There's no continuity, no "regular schedule". It's just nuts!

So now the holidays are over, and we can breath, and return to (or start on) "normal".

Of course, this year it was even more difficult because the kids were all sick, so there were even more missed school days. Sofia ended up missing again on Thursday, and I took her to the pediatrician. Finally, antibiotics for sinus infection and bronchitis. I'm pleased to say that now she is doing great (and her appetite has returned - this afternoon she has been an eating machine!).

So Thursday night we were at shul, Friday I sent Sofia back to school but took the boys to shul. We had to leave "early" - 12:45 and we were just getting to the Haftorah - in order to get over to the other synagogue to prove to the rabbi that we knew our Torah readings for the Bar Mitzvah on Shabbat. So we had to stop and get some lunch (we were starving!).

It was nice to have a private moment with Nicki and the kids, because the Bar Mitzvah was a whirlwind. It was wonderful. Not too sad, just a couple of mentions of Max's dad, but mostly a joyful celebration. Max did great (so did Sam, who also read Torah).

Reception was right after services, at a hotel in Waltham, so Sam went on the bus with the other kids, but Sofia and Micah came with us to the cocktail reception.

Sofia was in a bit of a mood:

And did not want her picture taken with me and Nicki:

But Micah looked sharp:


Once we went into the main party room, Sofia was able to accessorize better:

David looked sharp as usual:

Micah and Gavi and another friend rocked out on the dance floor:

And David and I got decorated as mummies by a variety of children:

It was a really nice day.

I'm glad I went, but I am still sorry I had to miss my grandmother's 100th birthday party. I'm on the phone with my mom now, getting all the details - it was a great party.

In the evening, David and I went out to another birthday party, for my friend, while our old nanny babysat the kids (which made the boys very happy).

Sunday was Micah's birthday party! Sofia was also supposed to go to another party, but it was at Chuckie Cheese, and with the sinus infection and bronchitis, I didn't think that was the best place for her. So we sent Sam off to see Shear Madness with the USY group, and we got everyone set up in the Cole Center in Natick, just a little rec center, for a facilitated gym party.

Perfect. 23 kids and plenty of activity and running around. They had a blast.

The Crew receiving instructions:

Micah had a blast:

Dodge Ball:

After cupcakes, back into the gym for football:


Sofia took the ball:

And then took a break:

Whew. Glad that's over. And I can't believe Micah is 10 years old today!!!!

David is in the UK this week, there are no holidays, no one is too sick to go to school, and life is returning to normal. Finally.


And I finally got thru to my grandmother, who has been running around with all the family down there. Nothing like asking a 100 year old woman how she's doing and hearing "Oh, I'm a little drunk right now"!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sukkot postings

Just took a moment to read my old posts from each October. My children apparently like to get sick for October, because there are several references to medicine and barfing.

Tonight we finally got to eat dinner in the sukkah. It was lovely - sushi in the sukkah - beautiful weather. David was out, so just me and the kids. Over dinner, I talked to them about ushpizin, the special guests traditionally invited to the sukkah (traditionally it was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David and Aaron).

I asked the boys whom they would invite .

Sam's first answer: "My future wife!"

Micah's first answer "A person." (he was not being cooperative)

Sam's second answer: "my great-grandparents' great grandparents"

Pretty cool. I am proud of that kiddo.

And Sofia perked up with "Yeah! Strong!" and showed off her muscles. Apropos of nothing, but it was awfully cute.

They all went back to school today. Whew. Sofia still has a horrible cough, but she made it. At the day school, there was an assembly at the end of the day, and apparently Sofia followed Mr. D, the principal, all around for the whole thing. Mr. D. was, of course, running the assembly at the time...

Tonight we made scrap book pages for my grandmother (my sister is collecting pages, for the party next weekend that we are going to miss in favor of the bar mitzvah). I had each kid make their own page, and I made my own. Sofia was very impressed with her page (I put the pictures on, but she wrote her name), so she grabbed it and hung it up in her room. I had to wait until she fell asleep before I could retrieve it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I just can't keep up!

Ok, here is the slide show for late September/ early October:

When last I blogged, we had gotten through Rosh Hashanah, and a trip to Salem and to the Big E. Those photos are in the slideshow above.

That week was relatively normal, except that Sam missed most of the week. Fever several days. The boys did not have school Friday, so we went back to the pediatrician on Friday, in between prepping for Yom Kippur.

Laura's car started smoking on her way up to us, so she and Lilie missed Friday night's dinner and services, but they were around for Shabbat/Yom Kippur, and stayed for the Buddy Walk on Sunday.

Saturday morning, before services, I had to take Sam to the hospital lab for blood work. He was not happy. And he was still not feeling good.

Services were ok. It was nice to be in my own community. Sofia stayed in babysitting the whole time, so she was VERY happy. I got to see my friends, and the weather was gorgeous.

Invited a lady from shul for breakfast, which was fun.

Sunday was the Buddy Walk. MUCH fun. Hot!

Monday, Columbus Day, I took Sofia to a birthday party in the morning, and then took Micah to his friend's house for a playdate, and took Sam (and Sofia) shopping for more dress-up clothing for him. He is anticipating several more B'nai Mitzvah parties this year!

Put up the sukkah Monday night - I love our easy new sukkah that we bought last year. I can do it mostly myself. Weather was still gorgeous.

But Sofia popped a fever Monday night, so she stayed home Tuesday. I did send her in on Wednesday, but after a few hours she was sent home. Had fever through Thursday, and still has a horrible cough. Pediatrician says it is viral (Sam's blood work indicated viral, too). Micah has the cough, but so far no fever.

But we sent Sam's bloodwork back for more testing, because he has been falling asleep every afternoon, as well as the minute he gets out of the shower. Found out today he will be tired for several more weeks. :(

So I missed Sukkot services yesterday, with three sick kids (actually, except for exhaustion, Sam is ok, so he had a playdate). I'm SO BORED stuck in this house!!! And it's been raining since the holiday started Wednesday evening, so we have not even been able to eat in our sukkah!

So that's where things stand for now. I'm tired, I'm bored, and I'm just DONE with running this infirmary!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Already!

Ok, seriously, I promise I'll update more often. September sort of got away from me.

The week of the 19th is just a blur. Very busy, still getting used to schedules. David was actually home all week, and we got to go "out" two nights - both for school events, but still, "out" without children! That Wednesday was a total rush - I had to help with Whimsical Wednesdays (the preschool program at the day school), then have a Team meeting for Sofia, then go get her, bring her back, teach Micah's class, teach another class, pick up kids, take boys to gymnastics, Sofia to her gymnastics, come home and teach my two B'nai mitzvah students! WHEW!

On the 24th we went down to CT. Dropped the kids with my in-laws, who took them to a football game at Central CT, while David and I went to the accountant to do our taxes (yes, in October!). Them met back up with in-laws for kid exchange and early dinner.

Sunday, Sam went on the USY Boat Cruise (and had a lot of fun) and Micah went to a birthday party (and had a lot of fun) and Sofia went to a different birthday party (and had a lot of fun)! Micah and his "gang" from shul all stayed later at the party and played was some combination of soccer and US Football. Not quite sure what they were playing, but they were all filthy and drenched with sweat. Lovely. But so happy.

But the next morning, Sam was sick again. Pediatrician put both boys on a second round of antibiotics (Micah's cough was already going into its third week, and Sam was absolutely no better after 10 days of zithromax). Unfortunately for Micah, he's allergic to Penicillin and can't swallow pills (and doesn't weigh very much anyway), so he has to take liquid meds. He's VERY sensitive to flavors, so I have them really strongly "grape" anything, but he still hates the taste.

Fortunately, the meds made both of them better for the rest of the week (although Sam's sick again today! Fever, aches, etc. UGH!).

Wednesday we celebrated Tashlich with the day school community. It's one of the best yearly activities. We all gather at school, and then walk down the street to the park, where there is a river. We reflect on the past year, and the kids write down their wishes for the coming year. ALWAYS the weather is great!

After Taslich, it was an early release day. The 7th graders all walked down to the local pizza place (we're trying to give them some more independence), while 5 or 6 mommies took about 20 kids (lots of extras) to Panera for lunch. It was fun. I drove 4 kids to Panera, got rid of one, picked up Sam and M, so I brought my two and two extras home (after driving M home). The two who came over are siblings, and their mom came for Rosh Hashanah dinner that night. It was nice to have company for the holiday, even if it was a last minute plan.

We didn't go to services at night, since they didn't start until 8pm, but we were there bright and early the next morning. This was my first time going the whole holiday as a congregant in a very long time. Mostly I liked it, although I miss singing. We sit in the Tent - there are 900 people in Sanctuary/Social Hall, and "only" about 400 in the tent, many of us the Shabbat regulars. It was nice. I really love my Temple Israel "family".

I hate going to Childrens' Service with Sofia, but David and I took turns, which was ok. I also got a last minute shofar-blowing assignment; I'm not satisfied with how I did, but I guess it was ok.

After services, our friend K and his 4 kids came over (wife home recuperating from knee surgery). Good to see him. I made brisket and chicken and soup and things like that. Laura and Lilie arrived a little later in the afternoon, and we all collapsed into naps - the weather was very overcast all day, which does not make it easy to wake up! Missed the real Tashlich service, but that's ok, since it monsooned during that time anyway.

Friday services were fun. I love watching Sofia and Lilie together. They love being together, and they get along better than friends, more like siblings who aren't fighting. It's sweet. They hold hands, they consult with each other, they play together, they copy each other. Since the tent was even less crowded on Friday, the girls sat nicely with us in services until it was time for Laura to take them upstairs for the Childrens' Service. Sofia, on both days, did a lot of dancing during services. I especially liked her Dance Interpretation of the Shema.

Sam wore his suit both days, and looked SO handsome. I wasn't the only one who thought so - he was generally flanked by several young ladies from USY. Sweet. He helped lead Ashrei on Friday with other 6&7th graders. Micah, meanwhile, ran around with his gang most of the time. I know they did go to their age service, but I frequently spotted them outside, too. I'm just glad they are so comfortable there, and I am comfortable letting them be on their own.

We went to our friends' house for our annual lunch, and had a wonderful time as always. Got home around 5, and at 6 another set of friends came over to celebrate Shabbat (VERY light dinner - gefilte fish and soup only!).

Saturday, we went with my friend N and her kids up to Salem, to the Peabody Essex Museum and then walking around Salem. Fun. And yesterday we went to the Big E, in Springfield. Also fun! I'm SO tired now!

I promise more pictures and more stories about the weekend, but I need to go get Sofia from public and bring her to the day school!