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!