Thursday, December 30, 2010

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Yesterday Marc and I took Hannah to the Museum of Fine Arts. We left Max at daycare for this trip, and it was really nice to enjoy time together as the three of us.

I love this museum. My mother's favorite painting is there, and when we came to tour colleges when I was a junior in high school, the museum made a big impression on me. When it came time for me to rent my first apartment after college, I found one right nearby, crossing the Fens area to Park Drive. I walked through the MFA parking lot almost every day to get to the train (until I started taking the bus). Marc and I had a membership to the museum before the kids arrived, and I think we've still gone every year or so since then. There's always something new to see.

Yesterday's visit was no exception, as we had to see the new museum expansion, which is mostly complete after years of work. One section is slated to open next fall, but the new "Art of the Americas" wing has been debuted. Before we made it there, we sought out the temporary exhibit "Scaasi: American Couturier" featuring dresses made for various members of society and celebrities such as Barbra Streisand and Natalie Wood. The dresses were just beautiful - hopefully Hannah will actually become a fashion designer some day and make something like that for me to wear.

We wandered through some other galleries until we found one of the many children's activities that are set up throughout the museum. Hannah created the triptych (yay, words remembered from my one art history course!) you see above featuring her in the past, present and future. It's easy to be inspired to create self portraits when you're sitting in a giant gallery filled with portraits.

We then made our way to the New American Cafe in the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard (yay Shapiros!), and while I waited in line, Hannah filled out a "passport" to use as we toured the new wing. We had a really nice lunch in an absolutely beautiful setting, complete with excellent people watching as almost all of Boston seemed to parade in front of us to get to the new wing.

Finally after lunch we walked through all four floors of the new space. There are 53 new galleries, with art from the Pre-Columbian era through the third quarter of the twentieth century (according to the MFA website). I loved the lay out - as you began in the basement level and worked your way up, it was like watching American history unfold before you. Items were grouped together on each level by period of time, so you moved seamlessly from paintings to sculptures to jewelry and furniture. There was so much to see, but since the museum was very crowded, we couldn't cover it all in detail, but I hope we'll get back there soon enough.

Hannah really enjoyed herself, but couldn't pick a favorite piece she saw. I have a feeling her favorite part was using her allowance money to buy something at the gift shop, but that's an important part of the museum experience too, right?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December Round Up

Okay, okay, you've caught me. I'm trying to beat my number of posts for 2009, so I've gotta bang out a couple more before the end of the year. Thankfully, December is busy enough to provide the necessary fodder.

Hanukkah ended, but of course the business did not. Hannah went to see another production of The Nutcracker with a camp friend. We all went to a neighbor's holiday party and had a ball catching up with our neighbors while indoors for once! Of course, the play dates and birthday parties continued too. Hannah and Marc went to see "Tron" while Max and I had fun at the mall. Max was Shabbat Helper. We all went to see "Tangled" for Max's first movie experience on Christmas Day, and he thankfully stayed in the theater the entire time. We hunkered down for the blizzard and ended up spending the two days potty training Max. Hannah and I spent a morning shopping for a rug and desk chair for her new bedroom set up, and mattress for Max's.

And I've still got DAYS of my vacation to go! We'll be heading to the Museum of Fine Arts tomorrow to explore the new wing, and then we have a few days of adventures scheduled with Fillis and John. It should be a nice end to 2010!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Break

After hitting my 5 year anniversary with my firm this year, I received an extra week of vacation time. I'll be putting that week to good use by staying home with Hannah over her upcoming winter break. A whole 10 days with nothing major planned - I can't wait!

But how exactly to pass the time?

We're planning to go to see Tangled on Christmas Day (Max's first movie theater experience!), visiting the new wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, celebrating Max's third birthday on New Year's Day, plus Shabbat Helper, swimming at the JCC and a trip to the mall with Grandma Fillis. But there's still a lot of time left to be filled in.

Any suggestions? Anyone want to have a play date?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hanukkah 2010

It was another great Hanukkah. I thought we had excited kids last year, but this year was even better. I loved that it was so early this year, as it felt very distinct from Christmas (as it should), and I really enjoyed so many of the viral videos that really came into their own as a genre this year.

Marc made latkes twice this year, and we enjoyed celebrating at Max's JCC class, Hannah's religious school class, with Marc's family in Hartford, at our synagogue and with Julie. I purchased all of the kids presents online this year, which worked out really well given my off and on back issues and not wanting to trek around a mall or super store. Again, the kids were thrilled with everything they received, and I felt so lucky to get spend such a nice holiday together. Now I'm looking forward to the end of 2010 and the start of birthday season around here!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I have a lot to be thankful for this year. First and foremost, my wonderful husband and beautiful children, but that almost goes without saying. It takes a lot to make a life run well, and to have a little fun along the way. While this year has had its bumps in the road, I'm thankful for the following:

- My parents, especially my mom, who still wants an email from me every morning just to make sure I'm okay
- My brother Ryan, who is one of my best friends and is marrying the amazing Allison
- My in-laws, Fillis and John, who dispel every in-law stereotype
- Rachel, Jon, Nate and Evie, who will soon be far away but always in our hearts
- For discectomies
- For the ability to express myself through my blog, facebook and Twitter, and for the communities who respond to my random thoughts and epiphanies (and for my iPhone for giving me constant connectivity)
- For two supportive bosses, who praise me by saying I am a "fully formed person" and seeing potential in me that I didn't know I had
- For the MBTA, which despite my constant griping, provides me with an efficient, budget and environmentally friendly way to get to work each day
- For the JCC Early Learning Center and for the Bowen After School Care Program for letting me work while not just taking care of my children, but helping them learn and grow
- For our amazing synagogue community, which encourages me so much
- For Glee, Gossip Girl and most things Bravo for providing me a bit of escapism
- For husbands who like to cook but still let us go out to eat, for blanket and blue boxes of vanilla soy milk and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, for headbands and early reader books and the Disney Channel
- For Maidpro and Massage Envy, which help me keep my sanity
- For online shopping, which makes life so much easier
- For the friends that I don't see often enough in person, but who make it feel like you've never been apart

For this and so much more, I'm very thankful. What about you?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Funky Month

November has been a bit of a drag. Not a lot of exciting plans, lots of sick days. It's left me in a bit of a funk. I function best when I have something to look forward to, and while I do have some exciting things ahead (staycation in December, Paris in February, California in July), it's all too far away for now. But with Thanksgiving finally upon us and Hanukkah just a week away, I'm getting getting past my funk and looking forward to the end of the year craziness.

Here's the catch up:
- Halloween was a total bust - both kids had fevers and couldn't go trick-or-treating. Hannah also missed a special program at religious school, so it was a really tough day all around. Fortunately Max got better quickly and was back at school after another day of rest, but Hannah ended up having strep throat. She took too long to recover, and so we had the fun rounds of blood work and chest x-rays. Just as she finally felt better, Max again got sick, this time taking down Marc as well. But, a few weeks have gone by, and virtually knock on wood, everyone is fine now.
- I had a lovely day attending our synagogue's Sisterhood annual donor brunch and then our rabbi's son's bris. It was great to have so many uninterrupted adult conversations with my TE friends, since typically we're trying to take care of our children at the same time.
- Marc has been really busy with a few different projects that he can tell you about. It's meant a lot of evenings out of the house, or on the phone and the computer, but I'm really proud of him for the excellent work he's been doing, and I know there are more good things to come.
- My back is continuing to be an on-again off-again issue. Very frustrating and disconcerting. The biggest problem seems to be carrying the almost three year old - I really can't do it. But sometimes I really want to, so it's a difficult balancing act for me.
- After years of thinking about it, I finally decided to try a keratin treatment on my hair. The jury's still out on this one - it doesn't look different at all, but it's blow drying in half the amount of time. I'm waiting for a really humid, rainy day to really test it. I did an express treatment, which meant I couldn't wash it for 24 hours, so it's not the full plunge, and therefore may not be as effective. We shall see.
- And not to be remiss: date night with Marc at 51 Lincoln and LimmudBoston, two massages, a play date, Hannah going to Bright Horizons, Fillis staying with us to watch Max on a teacher work day, religious school parent-teacher conference, lots of synagogue-related committee meetings, a birthday party, dentist appointment, serendipitously catching up with a high school friend now living in Philadelphia over coffee here in Newton, and lots of good developments at work. Phew.

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving, filled with lots of love and good food.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Past and Present

Halloween seems to be off to a good start this year, beginning with Hannah's school parade and assembly this morning. I'm not positive Hannah's costume, in its current, hemmed form, is going to make it through the school party tonight and trick-or-treating on Sunday, so I took the pictures this morning just in case. It's pretty funny how the kids ended up color coordinated this year.

As we waited at the bus stop, Hannah and I talked about all the costumes she has worn over the years, and we had a hard time coming up with them all (and actually forgot the year of the cheerleader). So I'm going to post some reminders of them here. It's a pretty amazing progression.







And 2010:

While I don't find organizing the costumes and the actual trick-or-treating all that fun, it *is* pretty cute looking back over it now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Twitter Success Story (My 33rd Birthday)

I don't wear a lot of jewelry. My wedding and engagement ring, watch, necklace, earrings. Usually the same things day in and day out. Shortly after getting engaged in May 2001, I bought a ring for my right hand, to match my new platinum band. I loved that ring and wore it constantly.

Constantly, that is, until I spent two months in bed with my back. During which time I lost weight. And the ring that had always been a bit loose was now falling off completely. I was so sad not to be able to wear it any longer.

So I began casually looking for a replacement for my right arm - a ring or a bracelet. Being a big fan of Twitter, I tweeted that I was looking for something new. Instantly, several companies started following me, to encourage me to look at their jewelry. It was quite a response, but there was only one company that caught my eye: Objets d'Envy.

I'm a sucker for colorful, shiny and sparkly (despite the fact that I wear black almost every day of my life), and in my opinion the jewelry is just gorgeous. So when they tweeted that a sale was coming up, I sent my favorite color of the Rock Candy bracelet to Marc, and it was a done deal. I just had to wait until my birthday to actually open the present! So here it is:

It's a true Twitter success story, don't you think? And if anyone needs ideas for Hanukkah...

PS: I'm wearing purple in the picture above in support of LGBT youth. The It Gets Better videos are amazing, and so is the Spirit Day campaign, but I really hope we soon don't need to have events like these, and that everyone gets the encouragement and love they deserve.

PPS: This is my 100th blog post! I began on March 16, 2007 with Mr. Bee and BusyBee and eventually BabyBee falling away as I began linking this to my facebook page. I've really enjoyed getting to share my little corner of the world with you all, and am thankful that you've come along on this journey with me. And thank you all for the wall posts, tweets, ecards and birthday love. Here's to the next 100!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Trip On My Own

Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Buffalo to attend an engagement party for my brother Ryan and his fiance Allison. I took the trip there on my own, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed getting some time away. I flew out early on Friday morning, and spent most of the day with my parents, Allison's family and the happy couple. We had excellent Buffalo wings and enjoyed a really nice art museum, and then Allison's parents threw a very lovely party. It was great to meet more of Allison's family, and I'm really looking forward to celebrating with them and the rest of my family next summer.

While I definitely missed Marc and the kids, it was wonderful to have a little alone time. I had so many uninterrupted conversations and really savored not having to take care of anyone but myself for a while. Allison's mom volunteered to spill a drink while at a restaurant, just to make me more comfortable, but I didn't take her up on that one. :)

When I got home on Saturday evening, everyone was happy to see me. We had a nice little dinner on Castle Island before driving the rest of the way home from the airport. On Sunday we took the kids to the playground, went out to lunch, and then tackled projects around the house. It was a great weekend - the perfect mix of time home and away. Too bad they can't all be three day weekends!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just for the Mitzvah

This post could be taken exactly as the title says, as I could be writing it just for the mitzvah of letting people know about this great company with the hard-to-find website. With last year's BBQ craft, apple picture frames, a huge success, I wanted to find something even better this year. So I had the idea to prepare Simchat Torah flags, and to encourage everyone to bring their flags back for our celebration of the holiday later that week. After a lot of searching around, trying to cobble together the items I'd need, Stephanie sent me to the following.

The company is called Just for the Mitzvah, and can be found here. You can't order things on the site itself, and it looks like the site is composed of catalog pages. So really, there's not a lot of detail. But I took a gamble and ordered the velour Simchat Torah flags, with glue-on Torahs and sequins. I bought glue and some markers as well.

The craft was great! The kids were really creative with how they decorated the flags, and since the projects took a few minutes to complete, it gave me time to chat up their parents too. And I did see a few of the flags at our synagogue celebration as well. All in all a great project, and I would happily recommend Just for the Mitzvah!

Meet Me at the Fair

Our plans for this weekend made it on the calendar several months ago. Fillis had mentioned wanting to go to a fair with all of us this fall, so I looked up the dates for the Big E, which typically conflicts with the Jewish holidays. But the fair concluded October 3, so we were able to find a day to go.

Being a bit tired from all of the holidays, we spent a lazy Saturday morning at home. Marc made us a brunch feast, which we all really enjoyed. Later in the day we made it to Hartford, where Hannah got to show off her attempts at riding a bike without training wheels. Nate and Evie were visiting as well, and we had a great time going to the playground with all four kids. After the younger kids went to bed, Hannah and Fillis settled in to watch "Meet Me in St. Louis" to get ready for the fair the next day.

Marc and I took advantage of the free baby-sitting opportunity to go see "The Social Network," which we really enjoyed. Afterward we went to the Goldroc Diner, which has become a bit of a post-late-movie-in-Hartford tradition for us.

Unfortunately, Evie woke up the next morning with a bit of a cold, so she and Fillis had to stay home. The remaining six of us piled into the Traverse, and the two little boys had a ball being in the car together, and later, sharing the double stroller. We had a great time walking all over, seeing the animals, sharing the junk food we bought, and putting Hannah and Max on a few of the rides. Nate behaved so well - far better than our kids would have at his age! We stayed until the parade had finished passing us by. After dropping off John and Nate, we headed home. It was a really great day!

End of September Catch Up

- Both kids are doing well at school so far. Hannah's enjoying the challenge of first grade, and is excited to be taking both karate and pottery during After Care this year. We went to the Back to School picnic and curriculum night, and later this week is the After Care potluck. Hannah also had her first "sharing day" today and she had to bring three special items. She chose her Torah from last year's consecration ceremony, her purple karate belt, a picture of her "Mary Poppins" Broadway show snow globe (no way was that being brought on the bus!). Max really enjoyed the JCC sukkah and is remembering more about his days at school too. I also attended curriculum night there, and did well on a quiz to identify each kid in the class. Max's clue was "I have an older sister and I love Thomas trains" - definitely accurate.
- Yom Kippur had a couple of nice moments this year. I took a vacation day the day before, so we had plenty of time to eat a meal together before the holiday began. Hannah joined me for Kol Nidre services, where I got the very special honor of holding a Torah scroll during the main prayer itself. I was pretty nervous, especially about how my back would hold up, but it went well. All four of us made it to the concluding services this year, and the kids loved receiving glow necklaces during Havdalah.
- Sukkot was a great success this year too. Fillis and John came to help us put up the sukkah, and we had plenty of time to get it all done in advance of the holiday - I even used the staple gun for attaching decorations this year. We had some very nice meals in the sukkah, including dinner with Julie and Mike, and threw our annual sukkah party. We had a great time catching up with so many friends and neighbors, and it was wonderful to actually get to be outside this year, on what turned out to be a very hot day! It was especially great to have Rachel and Jon bring my niece and nephew, Evie and Nate, to our house for the first time!
- The annual synagogue BBQ was also during Sukkot, and it was another great event. We rented an extra large bouncy house this year, complete with a basketball hoop and slide (thank you DifferRentals!). Once again, Ana did an excellent job with face painting, and the balloon twisters are always a hit. I also had a great craft this year, with more details to come in another post. (Marc also took Max to Touch a Truck while Hannah and I got everything ready at the BBQ!)
- Finally, Simchat Torah began on September 30. Marc let the kids take a day off from school on October 1 to join him at synagogue.

September was totally crazy, celebrating all the holidays during the start of the school year, but I think we managed to do everything we wanted to do and more (like getting the kids their flu shots, and getting our dishwasher, oil lines and sprinklers all fixed and/or maintained - oh joy! [Thanks, Marc!]).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Life Is, Indeed, Good

We spent Labor Day unpacking from our trip and letting Hannah have one last day at home before the start of first grade the following morning. Marc took Hannah to her first day back at Bowen. She is off to a great start, liking her teacher and having lots of friends in the class. She seems to have fallen right back into the routine.

I had two busy days at work, and since the JCC was still closed for the week, I brought Max downtown to Bright Horizons. He loved taking the commuter rail and had a great time there. And then we were thrown right into the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which fell so early this year, followed on its heels by Shabbat. It was a pretty quiet three days, which included the celebration of Marc's birthday. Hannah started religious school on Sunday (same comments on great start, teacher and friends apply here), so it was four days in a row of being at Temple Emanuel.

After religious school we made our way to Canton to attend the annual Life is Good Festival, which was held for the first time on a much grander scale this year. There were stages for both kid and adult acts, though our kids seemed equally happy to dance around in front of either stage. Everything was very well organized though we were very tired and dirty by the time we left. We had a great time though, and Hannah said that Marc and I are "cool." Well, maybe in the eyes of a six year old, but I'll take it where I can get it. :)

Max started back at the JCC yesterday and was anxious to get back there this morning to play with the toy bus. The next few weeks are filled with back to school events and meetings, plus Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Life is busy as always, but indeed, good.

"Vacation, All I Ever Wanted"

After carefully planning our vacation time to coincide with an end-of-the-summer gap in childcare, I was so very ready for a break when we finally packed up the car on August 31.

We began with about an 8 hour drive to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, all of us using our new passports for the first time. Max informed us along the way that we were going to "polka dot" and then chimed in from the backseat when Marc informed the border guards that we're from Newton, Massachusetts. We arrived at our hotel and took in the great views before getting dinner and walking along the falls. We used the "incline train" to get back up the hill to our hotel and then we all went swimming. Hannah must have gone down the water slide two dozen times, absolutely loving it. We made it back to our room just in time to see fireworks over the falls. The following day we took part in a tour that took us to all of the main Niagara Falls attractions - Journey Behind the Falls, Maid of the Mist, a butterfly exhibit (one landed on a very displeased Max's head), and the Skylon Tower. We had such a great time, and were so glad we made the side trip.

We drove the remaining hours to Solon and arrived late in the evening on Wednesday. We spent most of Thursday at home with Grandma Susan, where the kids really enjoyed all of their new toys and playing with the dogs. On Friday we tried to go to the zoo, but were foiled by rain, so we ended up at the Western Reserve Historical Society, and then had dinner at the best pizza place I know, Geraci's. Saturday started out rainy, windy and cold, but we persevered and went to the Taste of Cleveland for lunch, and then to the Cleveland Air Show. Marc and the kids toured several of the dozen or so planes they had assembled, and then we watched the Blue Angels show, which was incredibly impressive. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, Max, or Grandpa Hal getting to be there with Max. Marc and I got to meet up with Betsy and Bill, and it was great to catch up with them. We had such a great trip, that even 13 hours in the car to drive home couldn't put a damper on it. Thanks again for having us, Mom and Dad, and we hope to get to see you again soon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August - Get Rid of It?

It's been a rough August. On Slate, an annually recycled piece encourages us to just get rid of the month. After a very busy and fun July, I have to admit that this month has been kind of a drag.

We attempted the Southwick Zoo in Mendon the first day of the month, but left after only a couple of hours because all four of us weren't feeling all that well. I took just ONE picture on that excursion, when normally I'd have taken many, so that's a strong indicator of how we were all feeling.

The following weekend was quiet - we attended the new Family Service at Temple Emanuel, which Marc and I are helping out with (but really, it's all rock star Pam). On Sunday Newton had an event where they closed the streets to traffic near Crystal Lake, and we had a great time, with Marc and Hannah on their bikes, and me pushing Max in the stroller.

Unfortunately, that ended up straining my back muscles too much, and I have been in pain for about two weeks now. Definitely nowhere near the level of pain I experienced last winter, but not insignificant either. I've been trying to take it easy since then, and now I know that pushing the stroller is a bit too much for me, but it's still very disappointing.

Fillis and John came over to hang out with us the next weekend, and it was great to see them when we didn't have a big event to attend. Marc and I took the kids to buy new sneakers - specifically to the Sketchers store. Sketchers advertises CONSTANTLY on the channels the kids watch, and it is one of the few brands that Max can proudly identify (even if he can't quite pronounce it). Max chose some totally obnoxious light-up shoes that look like flames are emerging from the toes (he loves them) and Hannah got her first pair with laces. Another fun milestone to pass.

Max also got to spend a day with Fillis and John on his own, and he had a great time going to the beach and riding in a boat. Hannah had her second and final Arts Nite of the summer; this time she played the part of a duchess and said "do drop in for tea sometime" in her best British accent, wearing a very fancy red dress.

This past weekend wasn't all that fun. Our dishwasher stopped working on Saturday, after just 3 years in use. We are awaiting a repair person, and we'll see what happens with that. It's an LG, and I've use the #LifeIsNotGood hash tag on Twitter to describe the situation. We're also attempting potty training with Max. As Marc said, if potty training were similar to getting your driver's license, Max could easily pass the written test, but he's not ready for the open road.

Camp is now over, and Hannah's in an extra week at the JCC for "vacation camp," which thankfully is going very well. This weekend we'll be packing up for our annual road trip to Ohio to see my parents. We leave on Tuesday, and will be spending the night in Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side (yay for our new passports!). Then we'll have three days in Ohio, and we're hoping for good weather so we can check out the zoo and the air show. After the drive home, Hannah will have Labor Day to rest at home and purchase any last minute school supplies, as she will start first grade on Tuesday. Max doesn't go back to the JCC until September 13 due to Rosh Hashanah.

So even though August wasn't the greatest month, I guess there was still plenty to write about. I'm very excited for September though - I love fall and we have so many exciting plans ahead of us.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July Rolls Along

Highlights from the past few weeks:

- Hannah started camp at the JCC, meaning Marc gets the honor of both dropping off and picking up the kids each day (yay for me getting to work early! SUCH a difference in my day). She's enjoyed camp, but has been very tired and often cranky. Her first Arts Nite of the summer was this week, and not only was she a "star" in her group's show, but she made some lovely artwork as well. We stayed to watch the Upper Camp's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and I was incredibly impressed.
- Over Fourth of July weekend Marc and I left the kids with Fillis and John (thanks again!) and had a great time. We saw a movie, ate out at a few restaurants, and tackled some big home projects: painting our dining room and hanging a bunch of pictures along our staircase. Both projects came out beautifully, and I'm so thrilled to have them done. The kids had a great time away too.
- We had some fun dinners catching up with the Weitzman, Falkenstein and Tarr families. I love how summer makes things seem simpler and getting together for dinner, even on a weeknight, is easier.
- I had multiple cavities filled. Since they were in different parts of my mouth, I had to do it in shifts, and one of the three experiences was totally awful. I am so relieved to have that behind me, and am hoping for a stretch of time without any major medical interventions (PLEASE).
- Marc's parents spent some time on Cape Cod and we joined them for a day on the beach and around Hyannis. At first Hannah was scared of the water, so I had about an hour of swimming and floating to myself, which was so relaxing. Marc and I got very sunburned though, but his body deals with it better than mine it seems. He's gotten a tan while I'm still peeling and as pale as ever.
- Max had his turn as Shabbat Helper for the Room E Elephants. He did a great job with the songs and prayers, including saying his "Shabbat feeling" was over on the table where the candles and kiddush cup were (you're supposed to say a body part, as in, "I've got that Shabbat feeling here in my heart").

And now we're in the middle of Julie and Mike's wedding weekend festivities. Last night we had a lovely Shabbat service and dinner, and this morning we're going to the aufruf. Marc will be chanting Torah and Hannah can't wait to throw candy at the bride and groom. Tonight I'm having a mini-reunion with some of my Brandeis pals, and tomorrow is the big day. I'm so happy to be included in all of these wonderful events, and absolutely thrilled for Julie and Mike. I never imagined the first friend I made at Brandeis would still be my best friend fourteen years later, and I feel very blessed to have them both in our lives.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Hour's Drive

We recently went to two places about an hour's drive from Newton for some family fun.

We did our annual summer trip to the Mendon Drive-In on a recent Saturday night to see Toy Story 3. Marc and I have been going there for many years now, and it's a great evening. For $20/car, you can see two movies, usually a more kid-friendly one first, followed by one for the adults. They start letting in cars at 6:30 on the weekends, but the movie doesn't start until it gets dark. Fortunately, if you arrive early, you can hit their great snack bar for a dinner of junk food (we recommend the jalapeno poppers) and ice cream. Families spill out from their cars and kids run around playing catch and soccer until it's time to use your car's radio to tune in to the movie. We were excited to take our new car there for the first time, and both Max and Hannah surprised us and stayed up until the movie ended at nearly 11.

This past Sunday we traveled to Edaville USA in Carver for the "Day Out with Thomas" event. Max was really excited, and knew that it was the day to ride Thomas as soon as he woke up that morning. We arrived right as the park opened at 9, but I was a bit sad to see that it was a pretty run-down place. The rides were just okay, and while Hannah had a reasonably good time, Max was upset that we didn't get a turn to ride Thomas until our ticketed time at 10:50. We rode the train for about twenty minutes with a Thomas soundtrack accompanying the plywood animals that decorated the path. Then we had lunch and left, getting home by 1 pm. I was a bit surprised by what was a pretty lackluster experience, but it did inspire Max to play with a wooden train set that he'd largely ignored. I'm glad we went, but it definitely didn't live up to my expectations.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A 20 Minute Drive Makes Me 10 Years Older

This past weekend was my 10 year Brandeis University reunion. While I debated whether or not I should go, since many of my closest friends wouldn't be able to attend, I felt compelled to be there. I live less than 20 minutes from campus, and had no other major plans for the day, so I couldn't justify sitting at home instead.

I signed up for the Saturday daytime events, and drove to campus by myself early that morning. And I missed the turn off of Route 30. I can't tell you how many times I've been through that intersection, and it made me laugh. But, in my defense, it was my first time actually being the driver on that route, since I didn't have a car back then. Pulling up to the half-circle driveway was surreal. The campus volunteers pointing out the parking lot were SO YOUNG, and how could I possibly be older than them? It was a similar set up to our first day on campus, when you spent time waiting in the parking lot until there was room for your car near the dorm, and while I didn't feel quite as excited as I did in 1996, I did feel like I was home.

The day went by quickly. I picked up my registration materials in the room where we used to hold weekly Shabbat dinners, big enough to accommodate a crowd of 400, but now feeling so small. I attended a lecture on health care featuring two of my old professors in one of the new buildings on campus, realizing I can't remember what the building was that used to be there (though I think it might have been where BEMCo, the Brandeis Emergency Medial Corps, of which I was a member, albeit a very fractional one, was). Marc and the kids arrived after going to services, and it was raining, so the BBQ that should have been outdoors was held under a big tent. We all got fairly wet, but the kids enjoyed the bouncy house, Build-a-Bear craft and balloon animals. We waited around until the class photo, and it was amazing to see how many of us were actually there. I took some photos of the kids by the Justice Brandeis statue (hello, admissions applications of 2021 and 2025!), and then Hannah and I took a quick tour of the library and the old student center before arriving at the Castle. I was lucky enough to live there sophomore year, but was a bit sad to see that living conditions hadn't improved at all for all of the students since then. We had our ice cream sundaes and I had a few conversations, but the highlights were getting to see old friends Carl and Arye. Hannah and I walked back across campus and spent a little time in the troubled Rose Art Museum before heading home.

It was a great day, and I'm glad I went. Looking back now, my time at Brandeis went by in the blink of an eye, and it was fun to revisit the person I used to be then.

An Event A Day

The past few weeks have been quite eventful, but a lot of fun. Here's the run down since my last post:

June 4: both kids stayed home from school with mild illnesses
June 5: we took the kids to apply for passports, and I attend Julie's bachelorette party at King's that evening
June 6: Marc attended Sarah and Josh's wedding in New Jersey, Hannah and I went to Julie's bridal shower and Max did his first solo baby-sitting stint
June 7: JCC daycare end-of-the-year picnic
June 8: I had a cavity filling that filled me with dread
June 9: parent-teacher conference for Max (and Grandma Susan's birthday!)
June 10: end-of-the-year class party for Max and I had dinner with Stephanie and Ana at The Local (and I had a fantastic time!)
June 11: Marc attended Hannah's end-of-the-year class party
June 12: my Brandeis reunion (see the next post for more details), Max had a birthday party
June 13: both kids had birthday parties

Which brings me up to yesterday, June 14, a strikingly normal day! The next few weeks are busy, but not in quite the same way.

Thanks for all of your suggestions on places where Marc and I should try to get away - we're keeping them in mind, but it looks like we'll be spending our next kid-free weekend getting some things done around the house. Staycation it is!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Back To Life - And Maybe an Escape From It?

It's been a while since I've updated things here, and that's honestly a good thing, since it means I've been back to my normal, busy life. My back is doing very well. There are little twinges here and there, and technically I'm still healing from the surgery, but I'm doing really great. I went back to work on April 26, and it's been incredibly busy there (which is definitely a good thing). While I still don't love my commute, I am happy to be back in the office.

May was a really busy month for us. It began with a bit of a crisis here in greater Boston, with what became known as the Aquapocalypse, as we were under a boil water order for a few days. We escaped to Connecticut for part of that time to celebrate my niece and nephew's first birthday, and we all enjoyed their party very much. Max attended two of his classmates' second birthday parties, and Hannah had two religious school assemblies, a Spanish class party, a school fair and a class picnic as well as a field trip to the zoo (which I chaperoned and thoroughly enjoyed). Marc chanted Torah for the first time on the holiday of Shavuot and also was elected to our synagogue's Board of Trustees. We had friends over for Shabbat dinner one week and another family over for a BBQ the following week. I saw "Babies" and "Sex and the City 2" with friends and enjoyed the time out on my own. We bought a few new things for the house, and most importantly, after about two years of discussing it, we finally bought a new car. It seems like every day has had a big event, but it will be nothing compared to the month of June with all of its end-of-the-school-year celebrations and transitions to camp and new daycare classrooms, events for Julie's wedding and my 10-year college reunion.

And all of this has gotten Marc and I thinking that we really need to take a break, just for the two of us. We tried to do this last December, but our one night away wasn't enough, especially because my back bothered me for most of that time. But where should we go? Should we use part of that precious time to fly somewhere new, or have a staycation on our own? What would you do if you could get some time away? Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ah, Scheduling!

My calendar stresses me out.

This is something I say fairly often. It could be the millions of birthday parties and playdates, but really, I'm okay with all that. It is the constant juggling of our work, school and daycare schedules that totally pushes me over the edge. If you want to have any vacation time as a full-time employee and parent to say, actually take a vacation, you must be extremely careful about juggling who is going to be where when. Thankfully, we have Bright Horizons Back-up Solutions, of which I've written previously, and wonderful extended family members who always can help with a day here and there. But it is the scheduling of all this that drives me absolutely insane.

So I'm sitting here filling in the our Google calendar (G-d bless the Google calendar) with the dates for Max's daycare next year, and I had to share this phenomenon with you, by posting the email I just sent my husband, who is working at our other computer downstairs (I'm even spelling out our usual acronyms for you, and putting in a bit more description). Enjoy the chaos.

Subj: end of summer

I'm putting everything from the Early Learning Center (ELC) in the Google calendar and just feel like emailing you this instead of interrupting your work. Plus I'm not sure I could say this all out loud.

ELC is open for full year kids (Max attends full year) during the week after Kaleidoscope (Hannah's camp) ends. It might make sense for Hannah to do the vacation camp program this year for that week because...

The following week, the JCC is open for FY kids on Monday and Tuesday. So if we're going to go away we might want to wait until Wednesday, 9/1, to leave and Hannah can come to Bright Horizons on Monday and Tuesday because...

Once Hannah goes back to school the day after Labor Day (assuming that remains the same), Max is still off that Tuesday. On Wednesday is the ELC Open House, not that we'd definitely need to attend, BUT...

There's still no school that day because it's Erev Rosh Hashanah. And that means he effectively has no school all week.

And if we were to take off all of those days, we will have no vacation time left to go to Paris (which we are hoping to do at year end).

Gotta love the end of summer.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So I Had Surgery

I wanted to capture some of the experience I had this week, having two herniated discs repaired in my lower back. It was the first time I've had surgery, and only my third hospital experience, the others being the births of my children.

Marc and I arrived at the surgical center at the hospital just before 10 am on Wednesday morning. There was a check-in process that involved a few pagers, similar to waiting for a table at a restaurant. Marc was eventually given a old-fashioned pager so that the surgeon could contact him by phone after he was finished (though I guess he never used it, as my surgeon found him in person instead). We were taken back to a pre-surgery area, where I met with a nurse, my surgeon and the anesthesiologist, who eventually administered some lovely drugs that knocked me right out. I have no memory of the operating room.

However, I have a VERY clear memory of waking up in the recovery area, which was one big room with many post-operative patients and lots of hospital staff running around. I was lying propped up on my side and facing a wall, so I couldn't see other patients, and it was sometimes hard to see the people taking care of me. And I was in PAIN. Before the surgery, I had said my level was 8/10, which I think had been amplified that morning because I was so nervous. Afterward, I was definitely 10/10, and I probably would have said 20/10 if they'd let me. The nerves in my legs were on fire. I was wearing devices on my legs to help with circulation, and every time they turned on, the pain became unbearable. I was given lots and lots of drugs. Marc came to see me, but was taken away pretty quickly because I was in such bad shape. He was brought up again later, and I had a total meltdown because the pain was still so bad and, from my perspective, no one was helping me. I had been sedated by the medication, so I'm sure I wasn't communicating clearly, but I couldn't figure out what else to say other than that I was hurting. The nurse mentioned to the anesthesiologist that I would need to go to the ICU if they gave me more drugs, and I pleaded for them to stop, that I would somehow tough it out, but I think that was what made the anesthesiologist review my chart again. He discovered that I hadn't been given a medication for nerve pain, despite his thinking that I had received it, and I was finally given the right stuff. The pain calmed down and I was transferred to my hospital room just before 6 pm - maybe two or three hours later than we'd expected prior to surgery.

I was kept at the hospital overnight because I was having surgery on two levels of my spine (usually it's just one) and because I am a diabetic,. When I reached my room, the pain was definitely less, but I still felt terrible. Marc didn't have much time to spend with me, since it was so late and he needed to get home to the kids, and I felt so bad that I didn't want him there. I shared a room with another woman. I'm not sure what she had done, but she received a lot less attention than I did. Meaning she slept. AND SNORED VERY LOUDLY AND ALL THE TIME. It was miserable. I was very concerned about my blood sugar levels, since I'd been told that keeping them in control would help prevent an infection. Every 20 minutes or so, the nurse would check my vitals (blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature), but I kept reminding them that I needed my sugar checked. Due to the stress of the surgery (I hadn't eaten for about 24 hours at that point), my blood sugar was incredibly high. I was given, again from my perspective, very small doses of insulin, and my results just kept getting worse. Finally around 1 in the morning I got permission to do half of my normal insulin dose, and by morning I was back at normal levels. When Marc came to see me that morning, he had realized that I'd been feeling so badly that prior evening because of the high sugar levels (remembering that I wasn't the nicest person before I started being treated for diabetes).

My pain was about a 4/10 the following morning, but it was all in the incision site. My legs felt amazing. I hadn't walked much yet, but I could already tell that the surgery had been a success. It was such a huge change from the night before. After walking down a hallway and up and down a flight of stairs, I was cleared for discharge. It was totally surreal to be going home just about 24 hours later from what had been such a life-changing experience.

My brother Ryan had flown in from San Francisco to help out with the kids and taking care of me, and it was wonderful to have him here.* I think the kids almost wished I could have more surgery just so he'd come visit again. I received lots of lovely flowers, balloons and food, plus plenty of prayers and encouragement from family and friends. I am getting stronger each day, walking and sitting and finding it all totally novel. I have to retrain my mind to not expect pain with each and every movement. I've gone for a couple of small walks, and I'm feeling very optimistic that I will be completely healed soon. I can't adequately express how thankful I am for all the kind words and acts over the past two months. While the surgery was definitely not the easiest thing to go through, I am thrilled that I did it.

* I would be remiss if I didn't mention that in all of Wednesday's chaos, my mom called Marc to tell him that my grandfather had passed away. Marc had to break the news to me once I had stabilized and reached my inpatient room. While I was very upset, I think being in the hospital at the time actually made it a little easier to accept. Having Ryan here with me was beyond wonderful as we were able to both be on the phone with my mom together so easily, since our normal lives were already totally disrupted. I wasn't able to travel to attend the funeral today, and I am sad not to be there. My grandfather, Max Curtis, was a survivor of the Holocaust in a truly amazing story of luck. My most fond memories are of riding in his green station wagon when I was a kid. He was a house painter, and so the car was filled with paint cans, drop cloths, ladders and FUMES. He'd take me to McDonald's and then to a toy store called Children's Palace, and I'd come home with an upset stomach from the fumes and the excitement of it. My son is named for him. I am glad that I got to see him one last time at Thanksgiving, and I am going to miss having him in my life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pain Fest 2010

On February 13, I put my son into his car seat. Given my long-term struggle with back and leg pain, it's not something I do terribly often, but I was anxious to get on the road to start a weekend trip away. I was tired and hungry, and I just wanted to GO.

And it sent a searing pain down my left leg, and I have not recovered since.

After a new MRI I was diagnosed with a second herniated disc, and the first one, which I thought had gotten mostly better, was determined to actually be worse. So now I have one on each side of my back, affecting nerves running down my legs, and I can no longer walk or sit without pain. Lots and lots and lots of pain.

Other than a few disastrous attempts at going in to the office, I have only left my house for doctor visits, and recently, to see a chiropractor. I have missed a tremendous amount of time and activities with my family and friends. Fortunately, I am able to work from home, and have been saving my best efforts to focus on my job.

I've been wanting to write an entry here, but I've been stuck on exactly what to say. This blog has always been about how busy I am - it is the name, after all - and technically, things have been busy. Just not for me. Marc has worked like crazy to keep things going for the kids and the house, and he has done more laundry and dishes in the last few weeks than he has done in the last few years. He has had to drive me everywhere and come along to every appointment. The kids have still been going to school and temple, out to birthday parties and restaurants. But I have been home, mostly in my bedroom. *I* have not been busy.

But in the midst of this lousy experience, there have been some wonderful things. I have an awesome extended family that has been helping out in so many ways, and I am extremely grateful for that. I have friends who have sent flowers, brought food, or just came by or called to chat. People have driven Hannah around when our family needed to be two places at once, and one of those places was not my bedroom. It has been amazing to see this community I've built try to rally around me, even though I am not very good at accepting help.

I am still in the process of figuring out what will happen next, but some kind of surgery is likely. I feel so fortunate to have health insurance and access to very good medical care so that I can face this dilemma without additional worry. I hope to be back on my feet again soon, so that I can get back to the busy life I want to be living.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Morning Perfection in Four Pictures

Mornings around here can be pretty crazy. Marc will tell you that I get so stressed out some days, that I am horrible to be around. So on a recent morning when everything was calm and quiet, I had to document it. My perfect morning means I get the kitchen clean, both kids play on their own without haggling over toys, and Marc gets a bit of computer time. Awesome.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are Your Weekends Like This?

Lately I've been feeling a bit over-scheduled. We've had a few weekends in a row where we've had morning and afternoon plans for both days of the weekend, if not a marathon string of events. It's all my own fault, as I could easily say no to something. But with little available free time during the week, and the alternative being bored kids who just want to watch TV, it seems better to be keeping busy.

Last weekend, we decided to take the kids to the Institute of Contemporary Art for their free, kid-friendly "ICA Playdate" series. We had a great time taking Hannah to the same event a couple years ago. The museum itself is gorgeous, with it's view and giant glass elevator. The permanent collection though is rather small and, at this time, wasn't all that kid friendly. It seems that this event has become more popular as well (can you do better than indoors and free during a 10 degree day?), which meant everything was terribly overcrowded. So it wasn't the greatest outing, but I'm glad we tried. We'll definitely head back to the ICA when the kids get older, and go on a day when you have to pay the price of admission.

Sunday was jam packed. I first ran to Rosenfeld's, our favorite bagel shop, to pick up breakfast. Then Marc took Hannah to religious school and attended a special tefillin minyan. I brought Max to synagogue an hour later to attend a Tu Bishvat event for the under 5 crowd. Max didn't actually get involved in the activities, but Marc and I had fun catching up with everyone. Marc took Max home while I picked up Hannah and we picked up some lunch for everyone. After lunch I spent an hour trying to convince Max to nap while Marc did a fast grocery run, then Marc actually got him to nap while I took Hannah to a play date that ended up being fun for both of us. Unfortunately we had to leave early to attend a concert by Josh Nelson, a Jewish musician, back at our synagogue. The concert was great though, so we were glad we made the effort. Afterward Marc left the three of us to attend another event so I got the kids dinner, had a little dance party and then got everyone off to bed. A long, but fun day!

This coming weekend looks crazy too - Max has two birthday parties, Hannah has a play date, we need to go buy her a flower girl dress, religious school, and the kids and I are being filmed as part of a synagogue project on the descendants of Holocaust survivors. I'm tired just thinking about it!

So, are your weekends like this too? If not, how are you doing it differently?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Being Sick, Well, Sucks.

Max has been sick this week. I don't want to say much about it because it's been so awful, but in the end he'll have gone to the doctor five times in six days, assuming tomorrow's visit is the last one and it goes well. He's had blood work and a chest x-ray, driven by very high fevers and very labored breathing. He's on antibiotics now and is getting back to his normal, rambunctious self, but it's been a scary, stressful week. I feel so fortunate that it wasn't something more serious, and that the drugs are doing their job to fix him. But yea, this experience has totally sucked.

Hannah Turns Six

Just four days after we celebrate Max, we get to celebrate all over again with Hannah's birthday. It's hard to believe I've been a mom for six years already, but she's there in all of her lovely, enthusiastic, caring self to prove that it's true.

Hannah's birthday was on a Tuesday this year, and she was excited to be in school for it. She got a certificate and special "birthday pencil" from the principal and her class made her a giant card. Parents can come in to help celebrate, but Hannah decided she'd rather we didn't come in. She chose The Cheesecake Factory for her birthday dinner, and the four of us had a nice meal together.

The following Sunday was her party, at Build-a-Bear Workshop at the Natick Collection. Ten of Hannah's girlfriends joined her and Max to pick, stuff and clothe new bears. Afterward we trekked across the mall to the food court for a pull-apart cupcake cake. I think everyone had a great time, and aside from some drama with a lost (and then found) coat, it went really well. Grandma Fillis and Grandpa John were a great help, and we all had a nice dinner together after the party.

Hannah is an amazing girl. She is very sensitive and cares deeply about her family (particularly Max) and her friends. She's very curious about the world and wants to understand how things work and why it's so. Hannah is at such a great stage of life, where she is now so independent and can do much for herself, but still wants to hug her mom several times a day. She's doing really well in school, learning to read and working hard, and now has the presence to stop and ask when she hears a word she doesn't understand, rather than let it sail past her. She is beautiful, generous, funny and kind, and I couldn't ask for a better daughter. Happy birthday, Hannahbelle.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Seven is a big number in our house right now.

Hannah, at the time of this writing, has lost seven teeth. The first two "shark teeth" came out in December 2008. Numbers three and four spent months doing some dramatic wiggling and shifting into new positions before coming out with very little drama (except that we accidentally threw out #3 - oops). Number five was assisted out by Max (when he happened to kick her in the face - don't worry, all okay). Six fell out at a playdate, and seven happened at after school care yesterday. I'm a bit worried that the dentist won't have anything to look at when she has her next appointment, but also hopeful that her mouth won't be a mess of gaps at Julie's wedding next summer.

Meanwhile, Max is repeating practically everything that we say. Or rather, he's repeating the last syllable or so. Therefore, guitar becomes "tar" and we'll hear "gofen" when he means to be saying the Hebrew prayer over wine. But the funniest version of this trick is the silly screaming of "seven!" For those locals out there, that would be the end of the jingle we hear quite often in our car: "Magic one-oh-six-point-SEVEN!" Max has impeccable timing when he hears it and chimes in with that final number, but he'll bust out a "seven!" at other moments too, seemingly to lighten the mood. So, SEVEN!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Max Turns Two

So New Year's Day will always mean something extra to celebrate around here - Max's birthday. My little boy is officially two. Not that he has any idea what that means. :)

Max was up early, of course, but for once it was helpful. His birthday present was a new toddler bed, which uses the same mattress as he used in the crib. Marc and Hannah had worked together to assemble the bed the night before, so I quickly sneaked back upstairs and put his new "Thomas the Train" sheets on the bed. Max was beyond excited. He seemed to get the importance of this transition, and looked back at his crib fondly and said "all done cribby." He's done amazingly well with it, too. After being put back in the crib for one nap where he refused to go to sleep, he's slept every other time in the bed without any issues. We worried that he wasn't quite ready, but he is very, very proud of his "Thomas bed."

We invited families from Max's class at the JCC to join us for a New Year's Day brunch and birthday party for Max. It was a bit chaotic, and Max had a hard time sharing his stuff, particularly his new bed, but I think he had a good time. Hannah was very helpful with taking presents upstairs and playing with the older siblings of Max's toddler friends. We had seven two-year-olds, plus three siblings and a slew of parents here, but it was fun to celebrate together.

Max is becoming less and less of a toddler every day. He speaks so well, and is beginning to hold real conversations to tell you about his day. He loves Hannah so much, and wants to be wherever she is. He has a favorite blue and white blanket, and calls the tags on it "dee-dee" (I have no idea where that came from, but I'm thrilled I figured out what it means). He prefers to snack instead of sit and eat meals, but seems to enjoy vegetables more than anything else (I'm sure this won't last much longer though!). While he's a typical boy, wanting to run and create as much mischief as he can, he's also very sweet and loving. While I often get frustrated with this stage of childhood and wish he was older, I know in a few years I'll look back on it fondly. So happy birthday, little buddy, and thank you for giving me a reason to always be happy about a new year ahead.

Rounding Out 2009

As I said in my last post, we had a lot going on during the final weeks of 2009. Here's what we were up to.

Christmas Eve was the start of Hannah's first official winter vacation. It was funny to have to explain the concept to her, as she had no idea she was getting a break from school! Hannah and I had some girl time and went to see "The Princess and the Frog," which we both really enjoyed, and then went to get burritos (Hannah's choice). Then we picked up Max from school and Marc joined us at home as we hit the road to go back to Connecticut. We met up with Grandpa John's side of the family at Aunt Carol's house for her traditional Christmas Eve party, and it was great to spend a little time with that side of the family, which seems to be growing by the minute with new cousins-in-law.

On Christmas Day Marc and I left the kids with Grandma Fillis and Grandpa John and started a mini-vacation of our own. We had a traditional Jewish Christmas featuring Chinese food and a movie, "Nine" (I know, two movies in two days! Amazing!) which we both enjoyed. Then we drove to Foxwoods Resort and Casino, where we had reserved a room in the new MGM Grand portion of the giant complex there. The room itself was really nice, and we enjoyed a night away. We had dinner at Alta Strada, which was good, but not as good as this place, and lost a little money on the slot machines. We even checked out the Shrine nightclub (SO not my thing). But my favorite part was room service for breakfast. Any meal I can eat in my pajamas that I don't have to prepare myself or clean up has to rank pretty high on my relaxation list.

So that brings us to the day after Christmas, when the four of us, Marc's parents, and Marc's sister Rachel, her husband and 7-month old twins all went for a photo session at Portrait Simple. The photographer made a great effort to get 10 people, three of them under the age of two, to look at the camera at the same time, if not actually smile. Max was very reluctant to participate, but in the end I think we got some nice photos that capture who we were as a family at this moment in time. Afterward we had a little party to celebrate Max's upcoming birthday.

The following day we reconvened Grandma Fillis's side of the family for one last serving of latkes at our annual Hanukkah party. We had fun catching up with Marc's cousins there as well, and Max loved having Aunt Melinda's home to explore. With this last party, our holiday season was officially over. A fun, but busy, season, to be sure.

Max was able to go to school all last week, which was truly a blessing. While I was at work, Marc took Hannah to the Museum of Fine Arts one day, and then helped her work on a school project the next before picking up Max and driving back to Connecticut for the third time in two weeks with the kids. Hannah was left behind to take a trip to New York City with Grandma Fillis and Grandpa John to see "Mary Poppins" on Broadway (yes, she is the luckiest little girl alive). But this suddenly left me with an evening to myself! So I took full advantage of that by getting Thai food and scheduling a massage. :) While Hannah was gone on Wednesday, I got to continue some "me time" and finally got a much-needed haircut and had a lunch date with Marc. Thursday morning I spent a bit of time at school with Max to read his favorite book ("Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?") to his classmates as a special treat before his birthday. Hannah got home from her trip and we all spent a relatively crazy night in for New Year's Eve. Marc and I enjoyed some proseco given to us by Rachel and Jon, and I have to admit - I was asleep by 9:30. Midnight and I don't know each other well these days.

And that's the last moments of 2009. I know it was a rough year for so many people, but I feel very fortunate. While I'd been dealing with lots of pain issues since April, December brought some progress on that front and I've been feeling a lot better. Marc and I both have good, stable jobs that have afforded us the opportunity to take the kids to Disney World and Storyland, and we've had lots of wonderful times with family and friends. It's been a busy year, but I hope 2010 brings no slowing down. Wishing you all the best for a wonderful new year!