I’m not a computer girl.  My mind doesn’t really flow in that computer-jargon sort of way.  For example, I know that this computer that I’m typing on is black.  I couldn’t tell you what KIND of computer it is, or what operating system it uses.  But I do know that it was working for a long time, and then it died.  For reasons that I can’t explain..  And now suddenly it’s working.  One of Marc’s friends came by, and I mentioned in passing that it wasn’t working, he sat down at it, and typed a bunch of buttons, and BANG – it’s good once again, and I feel like a new woman. (Quick update – I started this post yesterday, and in the time between writing this opening paragraph and now, the computer has died again.  Am bitter)

So much exciting stuff is happening here – and I haven’t blogged about it years (it’s possible that I exaggerate for point of emphasis…)  Here’s a quick bullet list of things that have happened lately…

– Jessie kicked butt at her Model UN debate in school.  Being a wise child, she chose to debate on Israel’s behalf and totally owned the debate.  She knew more, and was more passionate, about the issue (they were debating the Palestine/Israel situation) than anyone else there, and came home immensely pleased with herself.

– Both Sam and Jessie need glasses.  Bifocals, and they’ve taken to them with varying degrees of enthusiasm.  Jessie LOVES hers, Sam less so.   There was a rotten second grader who called my little boy “four eyes.”   As you can imagine, this did nothing to improve his desire to wear them.  He came home on Friday (the day he got the glasses) and was so upset.  After a weekend of pep talks and I-don’t-care-what-he-says-you-still-have-to-go-to-school-and-yes-you-still-have-to-wear-your-glasses conversations, he went in on Monday morning, and when that little twerp started with him, my son calmly looked at him, and said “F you.”  This was NOT what we had talked about – but oddly enough, seems to have solved the problem completely.  He said they played together at recess, and were still good friends – and I learned again that I will never understand boys.

– Julie does not need glasses.  She probably will eventually, but she’s got perfect vision right now.  Which is actually not great, because kids her age are supposed to be a little bit far sighted, which means that in a few years, she might be near sighted.

We are moving ahead with busy, busy Passover plans.  And Easter plans, because that’s how we roll.  Passover comes first, and we’ve got seders going the night before Passover starts, and then seders the first and second night, then Easter Sunday, and then we’ll wrap up with one final seder on the last night (conveniently scheduled for the Shabbat of the following week).  I love the Passover holiday, but really don’t like the food.  I like matzoh brie, though, and expect that we’ll be eating a lot of that.  I don’t keep kosher for Passover, but Marc absolutely does, and Jessie usually does for the whole week too (except for Easter, she eats Grammy’s cupcakes).  Sam and Julie usually keep a little bit kosher for Passover, but not entirely.

Spring is coming and the snow is melting.  Slowly, slowly, but you can see the grass, and my massive snowbank that I bumped into every.single.night when I pulled into the driveway is almost gone.  We’ve still got out the winter boots, hats and mittens.  Julie is a hat/mittens girl, which I realized the other day when we accidentally left without them.  She had thought they were in the car, and when they weren’t, she totally fell apart.  She is very much Marc’s daughter, there are things that matter enormously to her, and she’s very quiet about them – unless something happens to prevent her from whatever she’s doing.  She’s also got a schedule on the refrigerator that she keeps religiously organized – drawing pictures of her moods, or people coming to visit or activities planned for that day.  And I had no idea, until I accidentally moved the pen that she had been using for the past several weeks.



While the snow piles might still be taller than I am in many places, and I still have to pause at every intersection to peer past the piles to see any on-coming traffic, I’m also in a pair of cut-offs and barefoot.  Because it’s spring, dammit, and I’m all about if you dress for it, it will come.  We’re supposed to hit the mid-fifties today, , and you can actually see grass on my lawn.  Sort of.

Sam is home sick today, and I’m coming down with it.  The dreaded cold, sore throat, sneezing and coughing.  Julie is still sniffly and clingy.  Jessie bounced out the door this morning, she’s been adamant that she can’t get sick because she doesn’t want to miss any school (and can we take a minute and just reflect on how AWESOME that is?).

Julie and I are writing together, she’s snuggled up next to me with her laptop.  Her writing is going better than mine is, honestly – she just keeps clicking away and never stares off into space or wastes time on facebook.   I’ve got a big long list of stuff I have to do today, and I’m not really doing any of it.  Lazy day, I think.  Maybe I’ll bake something brilliant or actually fold all the clean laundry.  This weekend is going to be a frantic rush of running from one event to another, and the next several weekends are already booked up as well.  There might be something slightly wrong about the way my life is structured, that my weekends are insanely hectic and a Wednesday is perceived as a day off.  Especially when one of the kids is home sick – Sammy missing school meant that we had an extra hour or so to chill this morning, and the afternoon pick up process is going to take ten minutes instead of an hour and a half (the fact that I don’t have to pick up Harrison factors into that).

I wonder if it’s nice enough to dig Sam’s bike out of the back shed.  Or if he’s feeling good enough to ride it.


She isn’t sick, not really.  And again, she’s not a baby either, with her fifth birthday looming next month.  But my Julianna has been suffering through a cold, and we’ve had a whole lot of snuggles on the couch and curled up in bed together.

She’s much better today, asking for food and actually drinking.  She hadn’t really eaten much at all for the past three or four days, and (much more concerning) wasn’t drinking anything either.  Long gone are the days when I never worried about what she was drinking because I knew she was nursing.  I was aware of what she wasn’t eating.  Every meal she skipped, every drink that sat beside her, and got warm.  She was sneezing and coughing, no fever, and no vomiting – not sick enough to be miserably ill, just sick enough to stay home all snuggled up.

In other news – nearly perfect weekend.  It was Purim, and I’ll admit it here – I wasn’t looking forward to it.   Purim is my least favorite Jewish holiday.  We read the Book of Esther, and the story of how the Jews survived a plot to exterminate all of the Jews.  Everyone dresses up in costume, there’s usually a lot of drinking, a lot of carvnivals and yelling.   I’m not a huge extrovert, so big parties tend to make me want to hide with a book, and Purim was always a challenge for my kids, Jessie was scared of the costumes when she was little, Sam didn’t like people in general, and screaming people with noisemakers were even less to his liking.  But this year – the party was kind of awesome, and I have to say that I like Purim a lot more after this year’s celebration.

This year, Julianna was starting to get sick, and fell asleep on my lap.  The party lasted until close to midnight, and we stayed until the bitter end.  Jules was out cold on my lap, and Sam was running around like a mad man with his little band of buddies.  All three girls were there, dancing their little hearts out.  They’re all so very cool.  Lilli is gorgeous and effortlessly cool – Sarah is so social and all over the place, and Jessie is just on the brink of being a teenager.  They danced, together, with Marc, separately.  They sang karoke, and the high point of the night was Marc’s rendition of Bye Bye Miss American Pie, with the girls as back up.

Shabbat isn’t always the easiest of days for me.  By the time Friday comes, I’m usually pretty worn out.  Marc gets up at five most mornings, and I’m up along with him.  The week is busy and chaotic – fun and filled with activities, but also messy and stressful and exhausting at times.  Some Fridays, I’m on the ball, so to speak, and manage to get challah made, chicken breaded and baked, and a lovely table set.  Some Fridays, I stagger to the finish line, and dinner is a haphazard mess.

Last night was one of those nights.  It had been a crazy kind of week.  I was babysitting a little guy all week long, he’s eighteen months old, and not at all enchanted with the idea of hanging with me instead of his parents or grandparents.  In fact, the only thing worse than being with me was being without me – he cried whenever I went more than two or three feet away from him.  He does love being in the car, which works well for me, because there are a couple of afternoons when I get in the car at two and don’t get home until five thirty or six. 

Once a month, my synagogue does a family service at five thirty on Fridays.  On those Fridays, I never manage to pull off Shabbat dinner.  Marc goes to the gym three days a week, and goes early on Friday so that he’s home for Shabbat dinner.  We normally get Lilli and Sarah for the night, sometimes the in-laws come over.  Last night, we had Lilli here and our friend Mike – and dinner was… okay.  But the night itself was kind of lovely.  Sammy was in his room, wrapped up in minecraft videos and dismantling his furniture (he likes to take the mattress off the boxspring, and then set up a little bed under the mattress).  Which is odd, but keeps him happy.  The girls and I were in the living room.  All curled up, draped over the couches and snuggled up under blankets.  Julie was bouncing on Lilli, Lilli was relating this long involved movie plotline to me, Jessie was snuggled up next to me reading.  Marc and Mike were in the kitchen, deep frying French fries and making chicken and veggies. 

This morning, Sammy was up at five.  He tried to be quiet, but I heard him getting breakfast.  So I got up after him, did a load of dishes, tossed in some laundry.  Made the coffee, kissed the boy and did some work on an article I’m trying to write about why my kids don’t go to religious school.  Then it occured to me that it was barely seven o’clock, and why not go out for breakfast with the Boy?  Of course, in the process of getting ready and whispering to Marc that we were going out, I woke up Julie and had to bring her along.   We brought back breakfast for Jessie and spent the morning all cuddled up in the living room, talking and reading and debating.  We’re going to go to services this morning, but neither kid wanted to go to religious school..  Again.  And it’s Shabbat.  So I’m not going to fight them on it, we’re going to go to the synagogue together, and spend the rest of the afternoon together, and then we’ll hit the Purim party tonight. 

Because Shabbat might not always look the way it’s “supposed to,” but the spirit of it is one that I try to accomplish.  We might not always get the table set, with candles burning and covered challah, but we do get family together and connect.  We might not get to religious school, but we talk about God and we spend time with our religious community.  And there may be a whole lot of squabbling and bickering, but there’s some honest to goodness fun and love and family connection there too – and that’s really what I’m going for anyway.

I snuggle my kids to sleep.  I’ve never been particularly “good” at putting the kids to bed.   For Jessie, I created this elaborate bedtime routine, involving many stories, a variety of songs and then I’d rub her back until she drifted off to sleep (she’s still the toughest one to get down to sleep – she fights it like you wouldn’t believe).  For Sam, he was always, always my easiest kid, in terms of sleep.  He nursed well into toddlerhood, and the one just before bed was the last nursing session that he droppped.  He’d sleep anywhere and everywhere.   He napped on the couch, with kids running around all over the place. 

The bedtime routine has changed over the years.  More recently, I’m adjusting to Marc being here at bedtime (which is a pretty significant change).  I’m able to put them all to bed the way I always wanted to – but was rarely able to because either I was picking Marc up and had to bundle them into the car in their pajamas or was the only adult home and had to balance which one needed me the most at any one point.

Last night, I was putting Sam to bed, and really took the time to luxuriate in the whole process.  His little-boyness -this gorgeous stage that he’s at now.  He’s SO big – all long legs and big boy shoulders.  But he’s still so little.   He wraps his little arms around my arm, and snuggles into my embrace like it’s exactly where he wanted to be.   I don’t have this stage with Jessie anymore.  I say that not to contrast the two, but to point out that I know now that this doesn’t last forever.  He won’t always want me there to snuggle into when he falls asleep.  Soon he’ll be big.  Too big.  I’ll get the kiss before he goes to bed by himself – and that will be sweet, and lovely.  But it won’t be this.  It won’t be him and I, talking and whispering before he drifts off.  He tells me about minecraft, or how mean his substitute teacher was, or why he’s pretty sure that zombies are real.  He lets me brush his hair back from his forehead and kiss his little cheek. 

He’s growing up on me.  These little moments, when it’s just us – they won’t always be there.  I think I thought that they would be.  I knew they’d grow up – logically.  But in my head, in my heart, I kind of always thought that they’d be MINE.  And they are, on some level – but they also start to belong to themselves more and more.  They don’t need or expect bedtime snuggles all the time, they grow up and blow kisses at you from the doorway. 

I’ll adjust, I will.  And I’ll even find that I love that stage with him – I do with Jessie.  She’s so bright and blossoming and beautiful (check out that alliteration….) – and this stage is so much fun with her.  It will be with Sam too.  And I’ve still got a ways to go with my Julianna.  But every one of those bedtime minutes with Sammy now feel precious and finite.  They don’t last forever – and I already feel like I’m missing this little eight year old boy.