Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So I'm back

And I really don't know what to say.

Life is not supposed to be this way.

I was not supposed to go be menachem avel (pay a condolence call) to my 37 year old friend who just lost her 14 year old daughter.

I wish that I had some wise words to say that might give some clarity as to why this tragedy occurred.

But I don't. I really, really don't.

What amazed me the most yesterday is that Eli was comforting those who came to comfort her. Eli who was going through the most unimaginable thing a parent can go through, was stroking other people's backs and telling them that it was going to be ok.

My friend Eli is an amazing person and mother.

All I can do is wish her comfort and strength.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Never A Good Idea

To mess with a stressed out mama.

So yesterday was not a good day.

I'm just heartbroken over Chavie.

It really threw me off kilter. Kind of like my world shifted a little. It's just not the way we expect the world to work.

I kind of felt like I was functioning as if I was looking at the world through a veil the rest of the day.

For those of you who might be wondering, no, she did not have FD. Dovi looks like a healthy normal kid compared to what beautiful Chavie went through.

I finished up at work, got Benjie to book me a ticket to go pay a condolence call to Eli on Monday (I will not be posting on Monday-no worries-I'll just be on a plane to Philadelphia. To drive to New Jersey. Tickets to Philadelphia were less than half the price of tickets to Newark or New York. So I will fly to Philadelphia and then my lovely mother and I will road trip it to New Jersey. She'll go visit my nieces and I will go visit Eli. But I digress), and went to pick up Elisha, Shana, and Jakie to take them to the dentist.

I heard the school bell ring to dismiss the kids for the day. Next thing I knew, Elisha, Shana, and Jakie were FLYING towards the car. My kids must be the only children in the world who are thrilled to go to the dentist. Our dentist is just so amazing that my kids literally jump up and down with joy when I tell them it's dentist day. And that is even after getting cavities filled! If you live in Chicago and are in need of a fabulous pediatric dentist, I highly, highly recommend Dr. Robert Johnson on West Lake Ave in Glenview. The man is amazing.

We got done so quickly that I decided to swing by Nordys with the kiddies to exchange Shan's sneakers. I'd gotten her a pair of Nikes a few weeks prior and the soles were already separating! That should not be happening when you spend $45 for a pair of kid's sneakers.

So we went. One of the main reasons I buy from Nordys is the customer service. They really bend over backwards to help out. Today ended up being one of those times, but it was a little iffy for a while.

Here was the situation:
  • defective sneakers
  • no receipt
  • bought by my mom so I did not have the credit card to look up the receipt
  • no more in her size in stock
  • they'd have to order them
  • I could not return the defective shoes because she would have had to leave the store in her socks (although in retrospect, why couldn't I have just carried her to the car?)
  • they wanted me to pay for a second pair to be shipped to my house and then when I returned the defective ones they'd refund me the money
Ummm no. I was not going to pay another $45 (even temporarily) for defective shoes. It was not my problem that they were out of stock (is it just me or is Nordys ALWAYS out of stock in various sizes? Drives me batty). These shoes were new for the spring three weeks ago. SO not my problem if they don't have a full stock now and the shoes they sold me were defective.

Not. My. Problem. And I was not a happy girl today.

So I might not have been as nice as I could have.

Long story short?

Shana picked out a very cute pair of Pumas that cost $10 more than the Nikes. But they gave them to me for the price of the Nikes.

Lesson to be learned?

Don't mess with an unhappy mama.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Heart Breaking

I just heard that my friend's daughter passed away this morning.

My friend Eli Stein. Her daughter Chavie was a true angel on this earth. She lived a life of sickness and suffering every day of her life.

Please say a prayer for the Stein family that they can be comforted during this horrific time.

I wouldn't believe it

If I hadn't seen it myself.

A friend was posting a comment on a blog.

A random blog.

Not my blog.

A random one.

It had word verification.

Let's discuss the insanity of this:
  • randomly, my last name was generated as a word verification word
  • of all the thousands, probably millions of word verification pop ups every day, MY FRIEND got this one
  • she actually thought to stop, get her camera, and take a picture
Unless I'm missing something here, this was pretty. darn. cool.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It was early.

We got back from the wedding at like 11:00, and D didn't get to sleep until 11:30. But our appointment was at 9am, and without traffic, it takes about 45 minutes to get from Teaneck to Dr. Feldman's office. So Rabbi Wiggles (Simcha Willig) picked us up at 7:30. How awesome was he! He didn't get back from the wedding until after midnight, and then he actually thanked me for allowing him to get up at 6:45 to come and pick us up from Teaneck and drive us to the city. What a guy. I only backseat drove a little. But I've driven there like 4 million times! But umm my backseat driving sucked a little when I told him to get off the FDR 1 exit too late and we had to backtrack. But he was so nice about it.

So we got to Dr. Feldman on time. We took lots of xrays. He has the snazziest new digital xray machine. It makes everything go sooooo much faster! Usually we sit at his office for hours. This time we were in and out in only an hour and a half. Which brings us to the happiness of our trip. Not.

So on a good note, Dr. Feldman was thrilled with his back. Said it looks amazing.

I went with an agenda to speak with him about Dovi's need for ankle braces. Remember how a few months back we were switching all over the place with different braces etc? And Dr. Feldman said he couldn't give any opinion without seeing him. So he saw him. And frankly, his opinion just sucks.

No, Dovi does not need orthotics.

What he does need, instead, is a series of two surgeries on his left leg.

It seems that were have two issues at play here.
  1. Dovi pronates his left foot very badly. That is what is making his ankle collapse and roll inwards. He's currently walking on the side of his foot.
  2. Dovi rotates his left leg out from his knee down, thus walking with his foot facing sideways instead of frontways.
Orthotics will not fix this.

It seems that what will fix it is
  1. surgery on his left foot on April 27
  2. surgery on his left calf on May 8
Don't ask me what they are doing. You don't really want to know. It involves bone grafts and breaking bones.

He will be in the hospital (in NY) both times for about two days, and be in a cast and non weight bearing for about eight or nine weeks. Smashing. But he'll hopefully bedone by the first or second week of summer camp, and totally done before Camp Simcha, which is the end of July.

Having gotten the loverly news, we waited for his counselor Raphi who was ditching school for the day picking us up, going out to lunch with us, and taking us to the airport.

So we went to Circa. Raphi thought it was closed, but lucky for me it wasn't! I had such a yummy wrap. Which you kosher food starved midwesterners will know is cause for great rejoicing.

Waddaya know, Dovi had pizza. And french fries. As did Raphi. I asked him why he didn't get anything more, you know, fun. He reminded me: " Sara, this isn't so exciting for me". Be quiet, lucky restauranting New Yorker.

Then Dovi took pictures of me checking our flight time
And of his hand. I deleted about 3 others of the same shot.

Then we went to the airport. Thank you Raphi for taking time out of your bust schedule to run us all over the Tri State area!

Just so I can get a little appreciation, check out our load of stuff. I had:
  • BiPap (blue bag)
  • oxygen accessories (tubing, spare battery, etc in the black bag)
  • backpack of meds and crap
  • purse
  • rolling oxygen concentrator (remember the Sequel? Well it rocks. But it's heavy)
  • stroller that is broken and doesn't steer very well (new one is ordered. This one is like eight years old)
  • Dovi

OMG was it hard to get through the airport! Luckily Raphi helped me get in to the check in line, but he couldn't go through security with me.

So I did it. Not even sure how. It involved me pulling the oxygen with one hand, and pushing the stroller with my other hand and my stomach.

I felt bad for the people behind us in line at security.

Then Dovi decided he needed snacks and I spent $5 on a freaking box of animal crackers and a coffee for me. Which was really, really needed. I was about to keel over.

We got home, got attacked by the kids (nothing like a running jump into your arms by your kids to make you feel appreciated and loved)

And thus ends Dovi's triumphant? Exhausting? trip to New York.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


So Wednesday was rather busy...

Benjie left at 6:45 to return to Chicago...he had to work on Wednesday. So he left nice and early. Except that whenever someone needs to make an early flight, I get all wacky and wake up like 8 million times during the night because I'm petrified they are going to oversleep.

So he left. D and I slept in the cave my sister's basement (no windows in the bedroom) until 8:30! Then we got up and got ourselves together and hit the road for Teaneck. Well first we needed to fortify ourselves against Yitzie's screams the traffic with Dunkin Donuts. I got ice coffee. They were out of cream. What kind of coffee shop runs out of cream? The amazing fresh coffee roll did help with that though.

So we went to my sister in law Tamar in Teaneck, and met up with my other sister in law Debby for lunch. Dovi had pizza and french fries for the 8 millionth time. It was so lovely-I don't think we've ever done that-all four sisters/sisters in law out for a ladies lunch. Of course, we forgot to snap a picture.

Then, Dovi and I went back to Tamar's to get ready for the event of the century....

Dovi, as you all know, has gone to Camp Simcha Special for 5 years. For the first 4 of those 5 years, he had the same counselor, Nochum (Nuchie) Schapiro. They absolutely adore each other.

Wednesday night was Nuchie's wedding. (This part is for my Orthodox readers). Nuchie is Chabad, so like most good Chabad boys, he got married at 770. I've never been to Crown Heights before. It was an adventure. Since Benjie had left town, I enlisted my brother Aaron to chaperone us to the blessed event. I think he enjoyed himself.

We actually missed the ceremony because I didn't bother to check the invitation and notice that it was a start of 4:30, with the ceremony at 5:30. And Aaron had a conference call from 4:00-4:30. At his office. 45 minutes from Teaneck. Which is in turn 45 minutes from Crown Heights. Without traffic. Oops. But anyway, the dancing wasn't scheduled to start until 8:30 so we figured we'd be fine. Which we were.

We got there at 7:45ish. First, we ran in to Ezra, Dovi's BFF. Great hugging and squawking ensued.

Seriously. How cute are they?

They hugged continuously for like 20 minutes.

And then walked around holding hands.

After finding Ezra, we went to find Nochum/Nuchie (for some reason, when he introduced himself to us, he did as Nochum. So we call him Nochum. But the entire rest of the universe calls him by his nickname, Nuchie. So we've been trying to switch to call him Nuchie. But Dovi keeps correcting us)

We found him. Nochum left his picture to hug D.

So happy to see him, before the hug.

Immediately post hug. Look at Dovi's face GLOWING with joy!

Then we took pictures with Nuchie and Chavie. We felt so fancy. BTW how studly does Dovi look in his suit???

He seriously cracked me up-he was so proud!! And how amazing was Chavie's dress???

It was so sweet of them...

Then, we found the famous Rabbi Wiggles. Happiness again.

Then we hung out for a while. They were serving dinner. It seems that in Crown Heights, at the dinners, it's open seating. That is not something I'm used to. Oh yeah and it's separate seating. Since Dovi and I were in pictures, and I hate open seating, we kind of missed dinner. So the counselors (Sammy and Hudi again, among others) stormed the kitchen to get Dovi dinner. Here's the very fuzzy picture of that.

I was like 150 feet away. I love my new camera. The waiters did not want to give them food. But they pulled the "disabled child needs food" line (which he did because I stupidly did not bring any formula) and managed to score a dinner for the D man.

Then it was time to dance.

These pictures are actually a very big deal. Dovi is not one for crowds, or anarchy. Which this certainly was. It was a bit...ahem...wild. But he LOVED it!!

then he danced with some counselors.

And chatted with the singer.

Then D went to sit again. And then he pointed. Look!
In the air!
It's a bird!
It's a plane!

It's the groom on a table! In the air! Dovi was amused.

Then we hung out a little longer.

Dovi smiled winningly.
Even agreed to take a picture with his annoying paparazzi-like mother

Sat on the floor with some counselors

And then we left. It was late. He was tired. And we had to get up at 6:30 for a 9 am orthopedist appointment the next morning. Which will be just a smashing story. Stay tuned. It will make you unhappy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tuesday we go.


Our flight was at 9:40am. Here's what I have to say.

Sequel Eclipse Personal, Portable, Airline Approved Oxygen Concentrator???

Life changing.

Seriously, honestly, life changing.

We flew Jet Blue. That is something that we have never been able to do before. The "low cost" airlines do not offer green tank oxygen rental. Jet Blue? Divine. Nothing, and I say nothing, beats individual in flight Direct TV. Dovi was happy (Noggin). I was happy (HGTV). Benjie was happy (ESPN).

Back to the Sequel Eclipse. So lovely! Easy! Discreet! It was super fabulous. We simply rolled it on and turned it on, and off we flew.

Landed at 12:45, then walked no less than one mile from the gate to get our rental car. It took for-freaking-ever.

On the way to the 2:30 doctor appointment, we called Raphi for emergency provisions. He volunteers at Sloan on Tuesdays. Chai Lifeline puts out a lunch spread at Sloan on Tuesdays. He stole took some wraps from Sloan and brought them to NYU for us.

Dovi's appointment went well. Frankly, we know nothing more today than we did on Monday. They do a whole long exam and then we get a whole long letter with recommendations. It turns out that the D had an ear infection so he started Augmentin. I personally think that whenever he flies his ears look infect-y. But it sure isn't hurting him.

Then we left NYU and scooted over to Walgreens to pick up a prescription that was forgotten in Chicago. Tragically, a coupon for a gift card with transferred prescription was forgotten as well.

Then, the real fun began. We drove. Correction: we inched to Far Rockaway. My sister lives there (well she lives in Bayswater but no one ever knows where it is) and we were staying there that night. I needed to meet one of the cutest, spittiest babies ever, my nephew Yitzie. He spits. A lot. But luckily he is very cute.

We decided to go out to dinner. At the King David Deli, which is owned by a Camp Simcha Special counselor. But we also decided to see if any counselors could come too. They did. This is what ensued.
Everyone at dinner. Guy in front? Eli, the owner of the extremely elite King David Deli.
Headband girl/bald guy behind her? My twin sister Rebecca and her hubby Nahum. Gaggle of little boys behind them? My cutie nephews, AKA The Boys in the White Shirts. Except they weren't wearing white shirts. Those who get the joke are amused. Three guys? Asher, Sammy, and Hudi, respectively. Sammy got back from Israel that morning and came and joined us! We were happy. I'm sure his mother was not. But she might have been knee deep in his laundry anyways.

Same picture, but with me.

Dovi and Hudi. Think he looks a tad happy?

Yes. That's a large slice of tomato in Hudi's mouth.

After dinner, dancing. In the restaurant. The video of this is at the bottom.

My nephews liked Asher. A lot. It might have been the White Shirt connection. If the water pitcher was not there, you could see my nephew Akiva attacking Asher. There was something involving Asher's Ranger's scarf. And wrapping it around necks. Who knows.

Additionally, it was Asher's birthday. He's 19. I'm almost double his age. I could be his mother. I am old. But I digress. When you are at Camp Simcha, and it is your birthday, or your counselor's birthday, or your rotator's birthday, or your 15th cousin 28 times removed birthday, or you simply want to, you do this.

You sing. Don't ask me why Asher had a light saber.
Then you wait for your counselor to blow out the candles. Then you take the cake

ever so carefully. And smash it into your counselor's face.

as hard as you can.

Everyone laughs.

You hug.

And then you find some leftover french fries on someone else's plate to eat.

Then you dance. In a restaurant.

And a successful Tuesday comes to a close.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We are back. We are tired.

We had a blast.

It was seriously the Trip of Camp Simcha Special 2009. We partied.

I have sooooo many pictures to post and soooo much to update. Much information from the doctor appointments. Some good, some not so good. If I have time before Shabbos I will write some stuff/upload some pictures. But being as I'm sitting at my desk at work, catching up from being gone three days, and when I get home from work I need to drag the kiddies to the grocery store and buy some food, y'know, for Shabbos, there might not be much stuff written today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

We're Leavingl...On A Jet Plane...

We DO know when we'll be back again...

Benjie, Dovi, and I are off to New York in the morning for a combination doctor visit/Camp Simcha Counselor Nochum's Wedding trip.

We'll be leaving in the morning and coming back Thursday night (hmmm maybe I should give some thought to Shabbos before we leave!).

While there, we'll see Dr. Axelrod and Dr. Gold (Dysautonomia Docs) and Dr. Feldman (orthopedist).

We'll go to Nochum's wedding in Crown Heights. I've never been to CH. Looking forward to it. Should be interesting. Benjie is actually going to be returning to Chicago on Wednesday morning so my brother is being the Benjie stand in and taking us. Aside from 45 minutes wasted looking for my shirt for the wedding, I think we're ready to go. Of course, I have an Excel spreadsheet detailing the Dovi packing requirements. It's rather extensive.

I'm going to see my new nephew YITZI! Hopefully he will not vomit on me. I've heard he does that often.

We'll dine in the elite King David Deli in Cedarhurst, owned by another Camp Simcha Special Counselor.

We'll see Simcha Willig, Dovi's learning counselor at camp, who is graciously going to drive me from Teaneck to the doctor in Greenwich Village on Thursday morning. That's a large shelp. At 7:30 am.

We will ALSO see Raphi, Dovi's current CSS counselor, who is meeting us for lunch on Thursday (c'mon, do you REALLY need to go to class, Raphi? Come meet us at 11! School is highly overrated) and taking us to the airport afterwards.

I'm not a huge fan of driving in the city :)

Now everyone say a prayer that our plane is...ahem...on time tomorrow. We land 2 hours before Dovi's appointment and it's a 45 minute drive from the airport to the hospital. Without traffic. or baggage claim. Or lunch. Yikes.

Pesach is coming! Pesach is coming!

EDITED: You should be able to access the file now. Sorry about that-I've never done Google Docs before.

Not to panic, my dears, but Pesach is a mere 3 1/2 weeks away...I was panicking too-until I made it:

2009 Pesach Planner

If you click it, it will take you to a google doc with all of this year's Pesach plans. Not to pat myself on the back, but by following my Pesach planning schedule, you will be able to make Pesach without freaking out or going to sleep at 4 am. A few notes.
  • Juta is my cleaning lady's friend who comes the day I turn over for a few hours. A few hours of Juta and I'm ready to go.
  • I DO NOT clean like a maniac.
  • I do not wash all my toys in the washing machine.
  • I do not crawl underneath things.
  • I do not shake out every book I own.
  • I do not empty all my drawers.
I believe that I have a cleaning lady every week who cleans my house well. I also believe that there is a reason I say "kol chamira" and G-d does not want me to clean my baseboards with q-tips. OK off my soapbox.

Happy cooking, everyone!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hey Shosh M!

Can you email me at please? I'd love to talk further.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Dovi currently has no voice. He came home from school 2 days ago a little hoarse, but yesterday he came home with nothing. No. voice. at. all.

It's actually rather bizarre, because, aside from a slightly runny nose, he has no other symptoms of illness whatsoever.

But his voice is so cute and raspy I keep making him talk to me because it cracks me up :)

I actually kept him home from school today-he went to work with Benjie. I figure if he can't talk, he can't do much at school. So between Purim, him today, and Shana yesterday, it's been a nutty week of school attendance.

And I realize I haven't mentioned what Shana did yesterday.

I have mentioned in the past (but I can't find the post by searching the titles and refuse to read all 283 previous posts that I have written so if you really want the whole story you will have to do that yourself) that she seems to suffer from morning sickness.

Periodically, my lovely daughter will wake up very early, puke 1-4 times, go back to sleep, and wake up just fine about an hour or so later.

She did that yesterday. Woke up at 5:45. Puked twice. Went back to sleep by 7:15. Woke up around 8:15ish. Was fine the rest of the day.

But she did not go to school, because I was NOT going to be that mother who got the call..."your daughter just threw up on the hallway floor at school-and she told us that she puked twice this morning. Why was she at school?"

Needless to say, the little stinker was just fine.

Any ideas about this? Our newest hypothesis is that she gets like this when she is very overtired. And the week was just nutty what with Purim.

But anyone have any other ideas? It's driving me bonkers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

He kills me.

So last night as I was putting Dovi to bed, we had a little chat. About my upcoming birthday (it's in April. I am old.)

"Mommy, how old you be on yo birdday?"

"How old do you think I'll be, Dovi?"


"No, D, a little older"


"No, D, you know how old I am"

"Oh, yeah. I so silly. You be tirdy-too"

"Yes, Dovs. What are you getting me for my birthday?"

"Hmmm. I get someting wif Abba. A gur ting"

"Dovi, what is a girl thing?"

Pauses. Thinks a little. Hmmms a little.

"I know, Mommy. Nood"

"You want to get me a snood for my birthday?"

"um hmm Mommy. Tat gur ting"

"Is anything else a girl thing, D?"

"yesh, Mommy. I ge you may-up." Gestures face.

"You want to get me makeup?"

"yesh, Mommy"

"Anything ELSE, D?" (At this point I was seriously cracking up)

"hmmm. I know Mommy. I ge you aitel" (gestures to his head)

Oh dear. This now means that I need to explain hair covering to you all. I'm lazy. I'm copying the following text from Chabad. Go there for more info:
Jewish law requires married women to cover their hair when in public. Aside for the profound mystical reasons for this practice, it serves to safeguard the woman's privacy, creating a personal, sensual space reserved for her husband.

OK back to Dovi.

"You want to get me a new shaitel (wig) for my birthday?"


So there you have it.

Girl things?

Make Up, Wig, and a Snood. Nice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We Survived.

Can't say that much for my dining room table. It is COVERED in food. I feel like we got more junk this year-I *think* because my children gave, and in turn received, no less than THIRTY packages of crap to and from their friends. It was a little scary.

My table.

Benjie and his brother David on Purim night

Jakie who decided at the last minute to be a Cubs player instead of a Bears player. I tell you, my kids are very original.

Shana the Kitty Cat, my niece Nava the rubber ducky, and my nephew Gavi the bathing beauty
Two more bathing beauties, Miri and Tari. The theme of their family's mishloach manos (food package)? A day at the spa. It was way cute. Nice job, Rochie.

Seriously? How cute are they?

Nice pose, Jakes

Shana is OBSESSED with her tail. It's really soft and silky so she keeps rubbing it on her cheek :)

And if wearing that darned costume for a day and a half wasn't enough, she informed me that her teacher told her they could dress up today as well. I sent her school uniform in her bag. The costume is a bit..ahem...dirty.

I realize there are no pics of Dovi! He's wearing his costume today as well, so I'll grab a few this afternoon and put them up. But, shockingly, he's a Cubs player too. I know, astounding. P family kids? sports obsessed? nah.

Benjie took the kids delivering in the morning from 10:30ish until 12:45. I stayed home and cleaned the house and rolled eighteen rolls of sushi for the seudah (dinner). Then they all came home for lunch, ate more junk, and I took them out for another 45 minutes to finish up. We had some nice quiet time until our seudah at 4:30, and we were home by 9pm.

Then, of course, Benjie and I ended up watching a movie from 9:15-11:50 (seriously the most bizarre times! What was Encore Movie Channel thinking?). So I didn't go to bed until after midnight. Must. go. to. sleep. early. tonight. Benjie is going to the Blackhawks game so I hope to be tucked in by 9:30. Will report in tomorrow.

If you must know, the movie was A Time To Kill, and I definately think Matthew Mcconaughey looks much hotter in that movie than now all overmuscled. OK it's time to stop typing now. Obviously I'm very tired.