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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hanukkah 2009

This has been one busy but wonderful Hanukkah.

I was really looking forward to it this year. We don't buy a lot of toys for the kids during the rest of the year, so Hannah began making requests in September, and I felt so fortunate to be able to get her so many of the things she wanted. But the big cause for excitement was Max. At this age, Hannah attended a family daycare, so Hanukkah wasn't such a big deal with her. But with Max attending the JCC, he had the holiday down. We'd been hearing about candles, dreidels, latkes and Chanukiahs for weeks, so he was ready to go.

We had some wonderful events during the last eight days. The first night of Hanukkah was Shabbat as well, so we got to enjoy celebrating both simultaneously. We opened the Wii Fit, and (mostly) Hannah's been enjoying that. Saturday night Marc and I attended a holiday party at our friends Darci and Ben's house, and we had a great time there. On Sunday I finally got to meet my friends Allison and Mark's new baby, Micah, who was just adorable (and loves being bounced around). Sunday night brought Julie and Mike over for our 3rd annual Hanukkah celebration with latkes and more time with the Wii. On Tuesday night Marc took the kids to the Temple Emanuel Hanukkah party while I attended a party for work. Wednesday night Marc and the kids also made a stop at the JCC ELC Hanukkah party. Thursday was our last night to celebrate at home, after Hannah enjoyed an after school play date, and Max was a bit upset when he woke the next morning and saw there were no more presents to open. Friday night we traveled to Hartford to spend the last night of Hanukkah with Marc's parents, and then Saturday morning we had a mini-family party with Rachel, Jon and the twins, and Aunt Melinda, scaled down because of the impending snow storm. Hopefully we'll get to see everyone else when we try to reconvene the party next weekend. We definitely crammed a lot in.

It may be a bit gratuitous, but I'm going to list what we got for the kids this year. We really put a lot of thought into what we chose for them, and I think it was our most successful flurry of presents yet. We bought almost all of it online this year, and if I was really motivated, I'd put in links for everything, but this will have to do (it doesn't total to eight since Julie and Mike were one night, and the Stobers another night). Hannah got American Girl doll bunk beds, Bendaroos, a color-your-own messenger bag, a candy jewelry maker, the Littlest Pet Shop game for Wii, and a really girly kipah. Max got a stuffed Torah, new letter magnets, wooden blocks and a wooden helicopter, and two sweaters, one with a train and the other with a Jeep. Marc's present is this new sign for our kitchen, reminding us of a great trip we took to New Orleans in 2001 (and documenting the most requested items in our kitchen, coffee and milk). I received a new scarf to go with my new winter coat.

So today we'll be sitting home and admiring the snow. Marc will finally get to try out our new snow blower. I'm only working three days this week, and will be taking a bit of time off to spend Hannah's first winter break with her. We've got a lot planned for the coming weeks as well, so stay tuned!

A few images to leave you with...





Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not-Your-Average Morning

Today had the kind of morning that while still in the midst of it causes me to stop and think "I can't believe I'm doing this."

There was only supposed to be one wrinkle in the day: Max's classroom Hanukkah party. Since I'm at the JCC so infrequently, I said I'd attend it. No big deal.

Then Marc scheduled an appointment to finally get his seasonal flu shot at 8:45 this morning. But again, no big deal. I had Max, Hannah would be off to school by then, Marc's time was his to use to his liking (if you include getting flu shots on your "liking" list).

Yesterday we woke up to the local weather girl harping about a bad storm to be hitting during prime commuting time this morning. I tried to reassure myself in various ways: if it's that bad, school will be called off or delayed; the forecasters will be wrong; how bad can it possibly be?

Well, it was pretty bad. Down right awful by my "I hate to drive, especially in the snow, with my children in the car" standards.

And wouldn't you know it, that after waiting at the stop for 30 minutes, the Hannah's school bus didn't show? And Marc had to leave to make his appointment?

So I piled both kids in the car and drove Hannah to school. Down a narrow, not well-plowed street. With Max kicking my seat and screaming (because I'd told them to be quiet). And almost hitting a parked car. We all had to get out, walk a block and take Hannah in to school and tell the office she'd arrived safely. And Max and I walked out just in time to see the kids getting off her bus.

Which sent Max further spiraling into tantrum mode. He wanted to ride on the bus, and I was the most horrible Mommy ever for not letting him. As I carried him to the car, he pounded on my (thankfully hooded) head. His poor hands, since I hadn't brought him gloves, were bright red with cold and wet and fierceness of tantrum by the time we reached our car. He continued to SCREAM as we drove to his school, for a time stuck in traffic due to a downed tree branch in the road.

Finally we made it to the party. Max seemed shocked by the sudden transition and a bit overwhelmed by all the people in the room. I snuck out at 10 - I have no idea how he may have reacted when he figured out I was gone. Somehow I got the car back home, pulled out my umbrella and walked to the T. Thankfully fewer people were driving around at this point, so only three cars splashed me on the side of the road. For once a Green Line employee saw that I was coming, took pity on me and held the train for 30 seconds as I made my way to the door. Phew. I don't think I've ever been so happy just to sit on the train.

So that's my contribution on how one morning can go from slightly complicated to completely insane in four moves - class party, doctor's appointment, snow storm, delayed bus.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stuff

The last few weeks have gone by very quickly, filled with lots of "stuff." We've had playdates, doctor's appointments, hair cuts, and all the usual errands. Here are some of the highlights:

- Hannah went on her first elementary school field trip to the Jackson Homestead, and is still talking about it, weeks later. She also attended her first kindergarten birthday party, but thankfully it's not the crush of parties that summed up the preschool years.
- Max had his first playdate with a friend from the JCC. We knew they were a bit young for this, but they seemed to enjoy having each other around (even though Max got hit on the head repeatedly, despite being much bigger than the other boy!).
- We did our annual pilgrimage (HA!) to Solon for Thanksgiving. This year's drive was our best ever - the kids held up so well, with less whining than we'd probably have experienced had we just been at home. They also got to ride a carousel on both legs of the trip at two malls in NY. Thanksgiving itself was wonderful, with Grandma Susan and Grandpa Hal, Uncle Ryan and his girlfriend Allison, Allison's parents Barb and Jim, and my Aunt Debbie. It was wonderful getting to spend time with everyone, and special thanks to Ryan for bringing along his Wii. Hannah and Grandma Susan both really enjoyed bowling with it, and it was fun to watch. Even Max got in the act by cheering for everyone. Max also really loved Grandma Susan's doggies, and he's now telling every dog he hears "quiet doggies!" Thanks for having us, Mom and Dad, and thanks for all the early Hanukkah presents too!
- The week we got back was pretty chaotic. Work was suddenly very busy, and the kids weren't on the top of their games. Hannah took a tumble off the balance beam in PE and hurt her ankle. The following morning I took her over to Newton-Wellesley Hospital and she got her first set of x-rays and a first ride in a wheelchair (but thankfully, she's fine and fully recovered). Max is letting us know that he's turning two any day now with all new tantrum abilities, and he's had a few good falls resulting in a bruise on his face and a bloody nose while at daycare. But his vocabulary is exploding, and he's recently picked up "latke" "dreidel" and "kiah!" (Chanukiah). I also went to my own doctor as well as physical therapy, so needless to say we were ready for a quieter weekend. Thank goodness that it was!
- Well, quiet except for really getting into the swing of the upcoming Hanukkah and birthday-double-header season. We (mostly) finished shopping for our gifts (thanks to Fillis and John for watching the kids yesterday!), sent out an Evite for Max's birthday brunch, ordered our New Year's cards and are organizing Hannah's party as well. We did the vast majority of our present shopping online this year, so our house has seen a parade of cardboard boxes. I need to start getting things wrapped up - can't believe Hanukkah starts on Friday night!

So that's the big update with us. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying this busy season too!