Saturday, December 29, 2012

End of Year Wrap Up

It's been a busy couple of weeks (as usual). So lots of bits and pieces to report.

Josef's Bar Mitzvah

Today was my dear friend C's younger son's Bar Mitzvah. Instead of celebrating at their synagogue, they rented the Ashland High School auditorium, cafeteria and gymnasium. We had a lovely lovely Shabbat service in the auditorium. Our friend D, who is the Ritual Director at a large shul in Newton, helped the Bar Mitzvah boy lead the service. Micah and I read the first two Torah readings - Micah was first up, and he was terrific! Everyone was so impressed at this little guy (whom many remember as a baby). I was so proud of him.

Sofia, of course, kept us busy during the whole service. She spent a lot of time combing her doll's hair and putting "makeup" on me (mostly lip gloss), and then sat with her brothers and E (daughter of the guy leading the service; she is also a friend of Sam's from camp). E has beautiful long, straight hair, so Sofia had a great time with her!

Lunch was fun and yummy (C is a great cook, and she made all the food!), and then the kids all went into the gymnasium for games. Sofia of course was right in the crowd.

Near the end, the parents started gathering in the doorway to watch: the kids (led by a professional gym teacher-type guy) were playing some sort of dodge-ball/tag game. Sofia meandered through the gym, and occasionally tackled someone. Usually the shorter boys, occasionally the tallest (C's nephew, over 6' tall). The two shortest boys are my friends' sons. One was rather confused as to what was going on, but eventually she got off him. The younger kid....well, it was just hysterical. We were standing with the kid's parents. We watched as Sofia just totally tackled the boy, twisting his arms and putting him in a head lock. We watched as his brothers practically peed in their pants laughing, and as Sofia's brothers...did nothing. And we watched as another friend's sons came over and got her off of B.

My delicate flower.


Russian Adoptions

I'm heartbroken about this. It's bad enough that the thousands of "healthy" children in Russian orphanages will no longer be eligible for U.S. adoption. The really terrifying tragedy is for the kids with Special Needs.

In Russia (heck, in most of the world), kids with Special Needs are given up at birth. They may live in a Baby Center for their first year. But then they are transfered to the worst-of-the-worst orphanages. And when a child with Down syndrome reaches the age of 4 years old without being adopted, that child is then placed in a regular old mental institution...for the rest of their lives. (which, of course, are incredibly short, since they receive almost zero health care).

I can't describe it better than this lady, who actually did adopt Kirill after a long struggle.

But now, Putin as signed into law a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children.

I am heartsick about this. And I do not know what we can do. I just do not know.

So if you DO know something, please post!


Christmas Weekend

Last Saturday was my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Truly a miracle (a miracle that they have not killed each other!). David was still flying back from Ireland, so he missed the "party", but we (the kids and I, my sister and her family, and my parents) had a private room at a nice Italian restaurant in Hartford. It was a nice evening.

David met us at my folks' house, where we were to stay for the next few days (although the boys actually stayed at my sister's house two out of the three nights).

Sunday was spent with David's family - met his folks at the store, but then we all went out for Chinese buffet.

Monday, however, David and my mother had a horrible argument, so that made the next 36 hours less than perfect. Very tense. We took our kids and my sister's twins, and met Laura and Lilie, to go bowling/laser tag. In the evening, we left Sofia with my parents and met my sister and her family to see The Hobbit.

We went to my aunt & uncle's house for Christmas day. My aunt J is Catholic, as are my cousins. Uncle P is my dad's youngest brother. Such a nice day. I thank Facebook for improving my relationship with my uncle; I think he finally realizes that I am NOT a clone of my mother ;)

Sofia LOVED the Christmas tree (she's been begging for a tree all month), and spent a long time re-arranging the ornaments. She also had a blast helping hand out gifts. She's not that into her own possessions. She just enjoys giving (and unwrapping). She hummed her way through all the gifts; so excited.


Handing out Candy

Speaking of Sofia's penchant for giving...

At today's bar mitzvah, as well as at the bat mitzvah on the 16th, Sofia did something special. It's traditional around here to throw soft candy at the bar/bat mitzvah child, for a sweet celebration. Then the little kids run up and collect the candy.

Usually kids keep the candy.

But Sofia is different. She collects a big armful of candy, and then makes her way back to our seats (we usually sit in back), handing out pieces of candy to people! She did it today, too. She comes back to our seat with just ONE piece of candy, but she is SO happy to hand candy to others (sometimes she has to use a little force to get them to accept it).


Newtown, CT

Another "no words" topic.  But I had five kids here all that afternoon (my own three and two others), and there was no way I could stay hovering over the news.

I certainly do not think that there should be armed guards in every school. We can't pay enough teachers and librarians. How the heck are we supposed to pay guards?

I worry when my boys get too "into" a violent video game. And I have long talks with them about that kind of violence.  And I generally do not let them play that kind of game, although sometimes it slips in.

They are good about it. And gentle and caring. And loved. And supported.

I hope that is sufficient to keep them safe.



I love it!

I've been going since the week before Thanksgiving. It's a more Western setting than when I went a few years ago, big on relaxation as well as treatment. But it's working. I have not had a migraine since I started (even after eating my uncle's delicious-but-usually-migraine-inducing fried eggplant). I can feel a difference in the fybromialgia pain. And my massage lady was amazed at how many muscles she could get to!



I'm trying not to think about this over vacation, but once school starts up again, I have to design a family-friendly Shabbat service for the day school Shabbaton on January 26.   A service that will both satisfy the prayer needs of the handful of more ritually observant, and that will not alienate those who want a shorter service. A service that will involve the students and engage the parents. A service that will be everything to everyone.

I know. Not possible.

And it's a special Shabbat (Shabbat Shira, when we read about crossing through the Red Sea) as well as Tu B'Shevat, the "birthday" of the trees holiday.

No pressure.

So if you have any ideas or suggestions, please please please share!


Snowboards and Sleds

Sofia has spent every day this week asking to go Sledding. Back in November, I bought her a new, pink sled (for $5 at Target).

So yesterday I made Micah and his buddy take her sledding on our front hill. Which had barely a dusting of snow on it.

But at least she went.

Meanwhile, my parents bought Sam a snowboard (and boots, bindings and helmet) for his bar mitzvah, so yesterday David took him up to southern NH to go boarding (David skis). They had a good time, but Sam was so sore this morning from trying to do turns.

Micah and I prefer to be indoors.


Another Sleep Study coming our way

We took Sofia to the Sleep Clinic at Boston Children's Hospital on Wednesday. (Actually, we also took the boys and two other kids with us!).

I had made the appointment a couple of weeks ago, when I noticed that her apnea-like symptoms were particularly bad. She did have a stuffy nose, but her sleep was so very uneven. And she continues to wake and come in every night, and moves constantly.

So off we went. They could not find any record of the sleep study from two years ago, which I thought had been bull&^%$ anyway (the technician kept yelling at me to keep her flat on her back, which is definitely NOT how she sleeps).

So we are scheduled for another study, this time in Boston (last one was Waltham) next week. Should be interesting. Meanwhile, I have to track what time she goes to sleep and what time she wakes up. And they suggested we make her bedtime a bit later; apparently, kids with DS don't "need" as much sleep as typicals sometimes (certainly Micah is not a big sleeper, too).


Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a sweet, happy, and healthy New Year. May 2013 bring peace and joy to all of you.