Monday, February 24, 2014

February Vacation - Guadaloupe!

I am relaxed.


Like the "can we just cement this feeling into my body" type of relaxed I have not felt in a long time.

A week doing nothing more than following Sofia from pool to shore to restaurant, occasionally talking to the boys and David, and reading and sleeping, is apparently really good for me.

We left on Friday afternoon, right after school, for Logan Airport. Flight to Miami.

I hate Miami Airport. It's huge, it's badly marked, people are not nice, and it's overcrowded. And poorly planned. And slow.

But eventually we made it to the hotel for the first night, and then back to the same airport in the morning for our flight to Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean.

Sofia spent most of the flights watching movies on my Color Nook (the one that was Grandma's), because her movie player died after about 20 minutes. Time to get a new one. Bummer. But at least I'd thought ahead and put some of her movies on the Nook, along with my own stuff.

She also went to the restroom about 6 times, vaulting off each and every row of seats on the way down and back each time.

Otherwise, the flights were fine. Micah sat next to Sofia on the first flight, which was helpful. Sam sat there the second flight, which was not helpful.

Arrived in Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport, and found the Club Med staff. And we were off for a week at Club Med La Caravalle.

It was a lovely week. We had two connecting rooms, so the three kids each had their own bed (pull-out for Micah), and in theory David and I had our own room (although Sofia shared our bathroom, and came in for cuddles each morning).

We didn't do much beyond swim and eat. I tried putting Sofia into the Mini Club one morning so I could go windsurfing (which I did, and loved), but she was not at all happy in the club, so that was the end of that. I had to take her to activities instead. 

She tried the Trapeze (Club Med has a Circus School) - the first time, they carried her up the ladder and got her onto the bar and swinging before she even realized it, but the second time, she got a death-grip on the safety rope, and they ended up carrying her back down the ladder instead.

Micah got to do the trapeze once, and enjoyed it.

Sam did archery every afternoon, and had a lot of fun. He also tried windsurfing with me, and liked it.

David relaxed, too.

It was also Sofia's birthday on Tuesday, and they brought her a cake at dinner.

So here are some random photos covering the week:

Sofia taking a selfie


Sofia stops to take some photos of a tree-top while David watches
 Me and my love

More sunset

Swimming with my little fishie

Sam and one of the friends he made dug a huge hole on the beach
 Birthday Princess (I made the crown using the wrapping paper from the book I'd brought along for her)

Sofia getting carried up the ladder for the trapeze
 but not cooperating...

 Micah did it, though.

 Sam the archer

 Friday night award ceremony, Sofia latched on to the GO in the suit. She followed him around like he was her prom date.

 Me and my girl

 My loves

 Snacking in the lounge - she loved the tuna

 The photographers were excellent, and WICKED EXPENSIVE! I was only able to buy 7 photos (for 112Euros, which is a small fortune). Still regret not taking a few more, but gee-whiz, they were a fortune.

 The boys went on a Kayak ride through the mangroves.

 Contemplating the sailboards

 Hanging out in the room...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I should probably blog

I don't know why I have not written in so long. I meant to. And I had opportunity. Just did not get around to it.

Let's see, it's been kind'a busy...

On the 17th, I left for a conference in California. Since David wasn't going to come home from the Netherlands until very late that night, and I had to leave super-early in the morning, my parents came up on Thursday. They got here when Sam was home, before me and Micah, so they made dinner, which was good because Thursdays are busy with two b'nai mitzvah students and Micah's guitar lesson. This place is a madhouse.

Anyway, I had a 7am flight, so Dad took me to the Logan Express bus and off I went. I was at the hotel in LA before noon! First I had a RAVSAK SuLaM Shabbaton. (RAVSAK stands for "Reshet Bati Sefer Kehillotim" which means Network of Community Day Schools; Sulam means "ladder, or system" and was the program I attended twice last school year; a Shabbaton [here in the US] is a Shabbat plus usually Saturday evening and maybe Sunday morning spent together).

Anyway, this was the first time I was attending SuLaM by myself. Last year I had gone with our (now former) head of school and (now former) director of education. The HOS had been the official SuLaM participant; I was there as the community lay-leader.

But this time I was there on my own (since they are both no longer with our school) and as a staff person. And this time I got to really establish my own connections, without worrying about their interactions.

It was wonderful. We had four massive study sessions during the course of the weekend, plus services, meals, and other meetings/speakers. The four study sessions were all with a scholar-in-residence, Rabbi Shai Held. We discussed the concept of b'tzelem Elohim, being created in G-d's image. What does it mean to be created in G-d's image, what responsibilities does it bring, and what does it mean to consider other people (not just self) as b'tzelem Elohim? It was just fascinating.

By the time we were done with dinner on Saturday, around 7:30 pm, I was just fried. So many things running through my head, things to digest and consider and ponder.

I was lucky, the assigned roommate I had was terrific. She was from I think North Carolina, and also has three kids, about the ages of mine, although she's got two girls and then the boy. We got along great.

Sunday we had tefillah, a final study session, then a massive brunch (they feed us REALLY well!), and then the big conference started. "Pushing The Needle", the North American Jewish Day School Conference. 500+ people, from day schools all over North America. Fascinating stuff. My current Director of Education (S) and Director of Institutional Advancement (C) (i.e. my current bosses) both joined me for the conference.

Again, my head was just about ready to explode after three more days of learning and discussing and pondering and brainstorming. And it was good to be there with the two directors; I feel like we thought through a whole bunch of issues that we are facing at school, and came up with good possible solutions.

Meanwhile, David was home juggling his children. I don't know what was funnier - the calls from him or the calls from the boys complaining about him. (Although to be fair, after 24 hours with my parents, the kids were SO glad to have Daddy home!). It's good for them to get along without me once in a while.

I was supposed to fly home late Tuesday night, but because there was a huge storm anticipated in the NorthEast, my flight was cancelled. I made arrangements to move to a Residence Inn near Manhattan Beach (using Marriott points). C's flight was early on Wednesday, but mine was reshceduled for Thursday, so I had two nights. She stayed with me, since I ended up having a whole two-story "penthouse" suite!

She and I (we've gotten to be good friends - I really like her!) walked to the beach, and strolled around the shops, stopping for a wine tasting, too. Then we came back to the hotel. There was a cocktail reception every night at the hotel, too. C actually jumped into the pool in her dress, since the water looked so inviting ;)

Then she changed, and my friend E, whom I have not seen since I graduated college, came to join us for dinner. It was SO nice to see her! Feels like we'd only said goodbye a minute ago. One of the great things about Facebook is the ability to reconnect with people you appreciate.

I had all day Wednesday to myself. Unfortunately, I pulled a muscle or something, so sitting was uncomfortable, but I walked to the beach and back. Oh, and in the morning I got a manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow waxing.

Kind of weird to have nothing specific to do. I really don't "relax" well. I spent a lot of time surfing (we have a school subscription), so that was good.

Flight took up most of Thursday. I landed around 8:30, and was home by 10pm. Unfortunately I missed David's company dinner, which was at Blue Ginger (Ming Tsai's restaurant in Wellesley).

When I got home, the kids were all still awake. Sofia had cut her foot at swimming that afternoon, on a broken tile. (You can bet the folks at the swim place called to check up on her a bunch of times!). She bleeds like a stuck pig, so her foot was all bandaged up, and she wouldn't let anyone touch it except me. The cut was all the way down her pinky toe. It had mostly stopped bleeding, so I put a bandaid on it; by Friday it was ok.

Friday was my birthday! Coffee with the girls, a few errands, stop at school to restart the server. I had to go with Sofia to her ballet class. Not only has she not been cooperating well when the babysitter takes her, but she was HORRIBLE when my dad took her the previous week (not surprising). So now I get to go into class with her.

For my birthday, David and I went out to dinner with our "posse" of friends - 4 other couples that we've been very close to over the past few years from the day school. We had a blast. Went to the Aztec, my very favorite restaurant, a tiny little dive on 135, around the corner from the Framingham housing projects, next to Larry's Small Appliances, where you can buy a washing machine AND bird seed. Food is delicious. Staff is wonderful. All fun.

We slept in on Saturday, and in the evening went to school for the Havdalah program. (Havdalah is the ceremony marking the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the rest of the week). It was good.

Sunday was a little busy. Sam had Prozdor (judaic studies high school) so I had to get him to the bus. David took Micah on some errands. Sofia had a birthday party. And then David had to leave to drive to Orangeburg NY for the week. And we had more med students for Operation House Call (apparently I'm on two different lists).

The school week was good, except my muscles were all really tight, and of course I caught a cold the minute I returned from CA. Acupuncture and a massage both helped.

Friday was busy. Sofia and Sam had school, but Micah and I didn't because it was professional development day (I had to go in for a little while, not long). Instead, in the morning, I had Sam's IEP. It was the first time (we've been doing this since he was in first grade) that I went in completely on my own, no posse from MWJDS. Weird.

He's doing really well. They continue to be impressed with his study habits. They acknowledge that he's got some considerable anxiety issues (he's also been complaining of stomach ache for several weeks, coinciding with mid-terms; I think he talked himself into an ulcer).

So he's still getting support, although they want him to move up to CP2 English in the fall. He's moving up in History now, and he moved up in Science after first term. He has very specific academic goals for himself (involving a lot of honors courses when he is an upperclassman), so they want to support him and make sure he does not get overwhelmed.

I was happy with the meeting. Whew.

Anyway, in the afternoon, Micah was invited to a birthday party. Actually, Sofia had been invited, because it was for one of the first graders, but she couldn't go because of ballet. The boy really wanted Micah (and Sam) to come, too, because Micah's like a superstar for the younger kids. Micah was pleased to be asked.

But of course I had to take Sam to the doctor because he stomach had gotten so bad. And the mom who was supposed to drive Micah got sick. So after a lot of frantic texts, the host family picked Micah up at the pediatrician's office while we were waiting for the doctor.

And them more frantic calls to find someone to get Sofia from school, since the pediatrician takes forever to show up in the exam room (she's worth it because then she takes an equally long time with us, but it's anxiety-provoking when I'm on a tight schedule). My friend was able to go get Sofia, and then I got to see my friend who a whole minute when I picked her up.

Doc ordered some blood work, but we also talked with Sam about food and liquid and fiber. Trying a few OTC meds first to clear him out, which seems to be helping. But she thinks there might be a bit of a viral thing also. I have to agree, because my "hip and back" problem came back on Saturday, and I realized it wasn't so much muscle as gastric. Feeling better now, as is Sam.

Anyway, still on Friday, babysitter came to drive Sam to shul for a USY Shabbaton (he slept over at shul, too). I took Sofia to ballet, then raced to pick up Micah, then raced home to change, and then the three of us went to shul, too, for Shabbat dinner. It was lovely. I sat with the Cantor and his wife (who is a Rabbi herself, and teaches at our school) and their three kids, and my friend Y and her two kids, and my dear friend E, and the Rabbi, and Sofia. The boys sat with their friends.

Micah hangs mostly with the 7th graders. It's looking like this idea, to graduate him a year early, may really work. We've got a Cognitive Evaluation this coming weekend.

Anyway, we all had a great time over dinner. And David was home when we got back. We all went back in the morning for services (Sam and his buddy greeted us looking like zombies; they hadn't gone to sleep until 3am, so they came home after lunch).

Services were a bit stressful. David and Sofia were both in moods. Sofia was being really good during the Torah service and guest speaker - she took out all the books from the kids' book bin, and then put them all back in, one at a time - but then she got antsy. Sam was carrying the Torah at the end of the Torah service, so I let her follow him. She was so happy, shaking hands with everyone along the way, and she stood so nicely up on the bimah right between Sam and the Rabbi. She was really very well behaved.

Of course she didn't want to come down, so I had to get her, but it was smooth. Later, she wanted to go up again. I wouldn't normally let her on the bimah until the very end, but I'd been holding her wrists so tightly and she'd been fighting me the whole time, and it was Youth Shabbat. So when he called the 3rd and 4th graders up, I let her go, too.

Well, David came over and told me he was really pissed.

Ugh. So I turned baby and stopped doing anything.

I actually had a nice conversation with friends over lunch, since I didn't sit with any of my family.

When it was time to leave, I couldn't find Sofia, until the custodian told me she was back in the sanctuary. In her coat, holding a cup of seltzer, sitting cross-legged on the bimah (stage), just looking out and watching them clean up. She just wanted to BE there.


Naps for everyone when we got home! And my stomach and hips and back started hurting like crazy.

Sunday, Sam to Prozdor, and we took the little ones out for brunch. Then in the afternoon, David and I had an engagement party to go to, which was lovely. But we were super tired, so we left early.

Micah had a little Superbowl party, just two kids from school and two from soccer. It was cute, and they had fun. I went to sleep before 9pm; David finished hosting and sort of cleaned up.

Monday was ok; a little stressful because I wasn't feeling well. David had to leave in the late afternoon for his flight to San Jose, so he stopped by school to say goodbye. I walked with him to go see Sofia, who was in gym (she's at MWJDS on Monday afternoons). He walked right up to her, while I stood in the doorway. She took a look at him, and then poked her head around him and said "OH! Mommy Here!"  ha ha ha!

Monday afternoon Sofia left her glasses at MonkeyGym, so after we drove Micah out to Futsal in Southborough, we had to go back to Ashland to pick them up. And then Sam had a 9pm Frisbee game in Marlboro. It was a long day.

Tuesday was calmer. Feeling better, work, then haircut for me, grocery shopping, pick up Sofia, pick up Sam, take Sam for blood work (or as Sofia calls it, "Bloody Arm"), pick up Micah, stop at Fabric store to try to get Sam fabric for his weighted blanket (got some for me instead), then haircuts for the boys. Sofia REALLY wanted her hair done, too, but she'd just had a cut a few weeks ago.

Today (Wednesday) is a snow day. We weren't sure... the January day (when I was stuck in CA), they called it too early, and there turned out to be very little snow. So Ashland didn't call it until 5am, and Framingham until nearly 6m. I updated the website and the school Facebook page and went back to bed.

Only to be wakened by Miss Sofia, whom I normally need to drag out of (my) bed at 7am for school. At 7:15 today she was wide awake and ready to watch TV. Downstairs, so she could eat, too.


I never got back to sleep today, although I'm still in my pajamas ;)

I have been working my way though Glee. I had finished season 4 on Netflix the other day, and today I saw the "Finn" tribute, which was very sad. So maybe that's partly why I'm in a bit of  a funk.

The kids all went outside around noon. Sam used the snowblower to clear most of the driveway, and then he shoveled. Micah took Sofia out, first to start clearing the car, and then to just have fun. But somehow, somewhere, she took off her glasses. "Outside. In Snow." That's all she'll tell me.  We all looked all over the yard, but no sign of them. Will have to wait until spring. Good thing we have a spare pair.

Back to school tomorrow. The day school Shabbaton is this coming weekend (I know, it's Shabbaton season around here!), and I'm in charge. Ugh. I had forgotten to take my meds Sunday night because I didn't feel well, so I was in a "rip-shit" mood on Monday. People just were not sending in their RSVPs, and I need head counts for everything. I wrote a long letter to the room parents, which had to be edited by two people before it was fit for human consumption. But now I'm getting more responses back, so yeah.

Ok, brain has been purged. Time to go to sleep.