Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is this normal?

So Dovi got the okay on Thursday night to take off his boot and start walking.

And I'm a bit concerned.

Here are some visual aids:

Last Tuesday:


Last Tuesday:


Last Tuesday:


And my question to you, dear readers:

Does it look more swollen today? Or am I nuts? Well you already know that I'm nuts-so am I more nuts than usual?

Now I know the angles are a bit off, but try and help me out here, k?

I have a call in to the ortho but I am FREAKING out here!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not Me! Monday

I know! You're shocked.

But I decided what the heck! I haven't done it in a long time...

You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Now, on to me!

This past week...

I did not skip showering my kids one night, figuring that running in the sprinkler in swimsuits qualified as taking a shower.

My house is currently not the messiest it has ever been. The sink is not piled with dishes, laundry is not on the living room floor, and the floor has CERTAINLY been swept since Saturday.

I am not getting heart palpitations sitting at my desk at work just thinking about it.

I did not serve 6 hungry Camp Simcha Special counselors hot dogs in my kitchen on Thursday night at 1 am.

They did not eat 12 hot dogs and an entire bag of french fries in under 5 minutes.

I did not take my kids to the pool at 2:30pm on Friday afternoon. Having not made a blessed thing for Shabbos except for chicken soup and sherbet.

I did not then proceed to stay there until 5pm and shower my kids in their swimsuits in the cold water showers at the pool (hey, I brought soap and shampoo!)

I did not allow my thrill seeking six year old ( ooh I have a fun idea: a free bottle of ketchup to the first person who figures out which one of my six year olds it was-and you must explain WHY you guessed that child) to ride the Viper, the Demon, and the Eagle at Great America yesterday!

At Great America, my husband was most certainly NOT mistaken for a counselor because he does NOT have the maturity of a 15 year old and did NOT start a huge water fight at lunch.

I did NOT get up after 8 am this morning, the first morning of camp, when I had nothing done.

I did not then offer my kids the following lunch: sandwich of bagel and nutella (thank you Amy, for introducing me and my kids to the glory that is nutella), bagel and butter, or bagel and chumus, because that's all my feeble mind could pull off this morning.

I did not have to make some of each (darned picky kids!)

I am not relieved that camp has started.

I am not dreading going home to my terrifying house.

What about you?

What didn't you do this week?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ask Sara! Answer 5

Writer Girl asked...

I just want to know everything. I'm nosy that way. I really want to know, I guess, if I will ever stop hurting. You seem in such a good place. I want to know how you got there. Am I the only ortho chick who has MAJOR issues with God? I have a hard time believing that

Oy. Writer Girl. You really go for the sucker punch, dontcha?

You also give me way, way too much credit. Firstly, Dovi is six years older than your son. I've had a lot longer than you to come to terms with Dovi.

On Thursday, I had possibly the worst hour and half of my life. I attended the funeral of a 14 month old baby. A baby who never learned how to walk. He was a perfectly normal, healthy 14 month baby last Monday. Thursday, his parents had to bury him. It was the most awful experience I have ever had. And if it was unbearable for me, I cannot even begin to fathom what it was like for his parents.

All I could think about at the funeral was that there must be a plan. There has to be a plan. If there is no plan, there is absolutely no way whatsoever to survive the unimaginable. If there is no plan, how on earth can we live through the experiences that have no explanation?

So there must be a plan, dear Writer Girl.

The only problem is that we have not a clue what that plan is.

Dovi has FD. Dovi suffers, day in and day out from his disease. He wakes up every morning retching (imagine morning sickness every day of your life) and needs medication to be able to function. He struggles every moment of every day to communicate. He cannot eat correctly, walk correctly, talk correctly.

If I let myself, I would lose my mind trying to understand WHY G-d felt it necessary to make Dovi the way that he is.

What good can come from an innocent child suffering? For that matter, what good can come from anyone suffering?

I could spend all day, all my life seeking out answers and explanations.

But the bottom line is that there is neither an answer nor an explanation that you or I can understand.

There is absolutely nothing I can tell you that will suddenly make the clouds of uncertainty part and you will say, "Aha! now I understand. Now I get why 14 month old babies die, and kids have FD, and Sotos, and all types of really awful things. Now I understand why Chai Lifeline has to exist. Why people have to struggle and suffer"

I can't give that to you.

Benjie and I often speak about parents who suffer from what we call "HIS Syndrome". As in "Head In Sand Syndrome". Meaning: If I pretend really, really, really hard that my child is just fine, he will be just fine. I will not acknowledge that my child actually has something wrong with him or her, because as long as I do not acknowledge that problem, my child is "normal".

I suppose to some degree that I suffer from my own strain of HIS Syndrome.

I cannot understand. I cannot fathom. Therefore, I don't even try. I make no attempt to comprehend why on earth G-d decided to give a baby with FD to a couple of 20 year olds who had not even celebrated their first anniversary (as a sidebar, did I ever tell you guys we spent our first anniversary in Evanston Hospital getting Dovi's g-tube put in? My mom brought us Chinese food that we ate in the parent lounge of the NICU and the roses Benjie bought me sat at the nurses' station).

I cannot understand.

It is impossible.

Therefore, I don't. Maybe it's simplistic and I am not truly exploring the depth of my emotions and pain regarding the absolute havoc and suffering that Dovi's FD has wrought upon not only me, but my husband, other children, and family at large.

But I just stick my head in the sand and say "I don't get it. And I cannot get it. So I don't even try".

I guess another way to explain it is this: I get in my car and drive it. I do not understand, nor do I have any desire to understand, how it works. I just know that it does work. I get in, turn it on, and off we go (generally to Jewel to get free groceries but whatever).

But I really have not a clue how that car works. My mechanic does. And when I need it to get fixed, I take it to him, and he fixes it. It might cost me a lot of money, I may be inconvenienced to have it in the shop for a few days. But my mechanic does what he needs to do to get my car drivable again.

So too G-d. I don't understand how G-d makes the decisions that He does. Or how He "chooses" how things should happen. But just like my mechanic knows he needs to replace the belt in my engine to make my car run correctly, G-d knows what He needs to do to make my life, and the world at large, run correctly.

I don't understand why Dovi's illness improves the world. And you cannot tell me that Dovi's illness is some type of atonement for bad things that happen. Nothing makes me more irate than the opinion that a child's suffering atones for other sins in the world.

But what I CAN tell you is that Dovi's illness is somehow in integral part of the world at large.

That Dovi having FD is somehow part of the master plan.

One that I do not understand, never will understand, and make no effort to understand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ask Sara! Answer 4

Anonymous asked...

Hey- I am curious about what life was like when you brought the triplets home from the hospital. What was it like having a special needs child and three newborns in the house? You may have spoken about this, so sorry if you will be repeating yourself. Also, what was it like when you found out you were having 3? How did Dovi relate to his little brothers and sister when they were little? What about now? There's a few question for you now!

I often say that 3 babies that I could feed were sooooo much easier than 1 baby that I couldn't feed. They cried? I fed them. I wasn't spending hours upon hours sitting in doctors' offices and therapy clinics trying to figure out what on earth was going on with my baby.

I also firmly contend that the triplets were G-d's gift to me after Dovi. I spent 10 weeks on full bedrest with them, 4 of them in the hospital. Even with all that bedrest, Elisha, Shana, and Jakie were born over 10 weeks premature at 29 weeks 6 days gestation. They spent 4 weeks in the hospital (it would've been a fun time if I'd been a blogger then!). Even though they were so incredibly early and weighed a mere 2 lb 15 oz, 2 lb 15 oz, and 3 lb 3 oz each, they did not behave like the premature babies that they were. None of them had to be on ventilators-as a matter of fact, Elisha wasn't on oxygen of any kind after he was born! He was on oxygen immediately after birth, and ripped the canula out of his nose on the elevator up from the delivery room to the NICU-and never looked back. Elisha, Shana, and Jakie did not have any of the "typical" preemie medical issues. They were just itty bitty cute little babies that needed a few weeks to learn how to eat and get a little bigger. They were called "feeder and grower"s in the NICU.

We were very fortunate that when they came home from the NICU, they were on an every four hour eating schedule-so they ate at 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm, 2am, and began again at 6am. My neighbors don't call me "the prison warden" for nothing-we stuck to that schedule like glue-and they were sleeping through the night by November (born on August 12). We were also fortunate that for about 6 weeks, from the beginning of October until mid-November, we had a night nurse to help us out 4 nights per week.

G-d also blessed me with incredibly cooperative, contented babies. They rarely cried unless they were hungry or tired-and then we either fed them of put them to sleep. They were really happy, contented, swaddled little babies.

So. That was the story with Elisha, Shana and Jacob.

On to Dovi's opinion of them.

For the first almost 4 years of his life, Dovi was the king of the castle. I swear, no one was more adored, coddled, and spoiled than Chaim Dov. We were sooo lucky though-he wasn't a brat at. all. He was such a sweetie pie. However, he was not used to sharing any of the attention whatsoever. And when not one, not two, but three adorable little babies entered the equation, he was not pleased.
Miriam, this picture's for you. I found it and had to include it!

We were lucky, though. He didn't try and hurt them, or act out at all. He simply ignored the very existence of all three babies. And let me tell you, it's pretty darn hard to ignore three babies. They totally took over our house-their stuff was EVERYWHERE! Even though they were really wonderful babies, they still did cry. But Dovi just carried on in his life like they weren't there at all.

I would ask Dovi all the time if he wanted to hold one of the babies, or help me feed them, or change their clothes, etc-but he just ignored me totally.

One Saturday night in December (or was is January?) , I asked Dovi the same question, assuming he'd ignore me. But that night, for whatever reason, he answered me. Yes, he did want to help me.
And he never looked back.

He absolutely adores his brothers and sister, and they love him back.

It's become really interesting as they've gotten older. Shana really mothers him, and Elisha is Dovi's biggest helper-he runs and gets me whatever Dovi needs. Jakie loves to play with him. They are starting to really understand how Dovi is different than them and respects him and his differences.

Thanks, anonymous, for sending me on a trip down memory lane!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ask Sara! Answer 3

Anonymous asked...

you once said there was a story behind Dovi's name, care to share?

Dovi's full Hebrew name is Chaim Dov, and his English name is Joseph.

Anyone who knows Hebrew is very confused right about now.

You see, the Hebrew of Joseph is NOT Chaim Dov. It's Yosef. But Dovi is Chaim Dov.

Here's the story. We had chosen Chaim Dov for Dovi's name. However, there is no real translation for Chaim or Dov. Hyman? Ummmm he was born in 1997, not 1957. We wanted him to have an English name so he'd have choices when he was an adult and in the business world, because neither Chaim nor Dov is easily read phonetically.

So we decided to choose an English name that we liked but did not particularly love the Hebrew version of. I apologize to all the lovers of the name Yosef out's just not one of mine (different strokes for different folks!).

So we chose Joseph.

I love love love the name Joseph. In retrospect maybe it has something to do with Donny Osmand in the Broadway version of Joseph that I saw twice in high school? And the fact that when Dovi was born I was only two years removed from high school? Oy!

I figured we'd use his "legal" name once a year at the pediatrician, on his school forms, and his SAT forms. Ha.

Instead, I have a boy with FD who responds to not only Chaim, Dov, Dovi, Joseph, Joe, and Joey.

Lesson to be learned? Never allow a woman who is 24 hours postpartum to make any decisions of any importance. Many of you might recall my beast of a 15 passenger van that I drove for 2 years thanks to another immediately postpartum decision!

Bad, bad idea, the Joseph/Chaim Dov fiasco.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ask Sara! Answer 2

OK, Anonymous asked me:

How about more details on how you spend next-to-nothing on groceries? I'm sure you could help out a lot of us.

Firstly, my IRL and bloggy friend Shosh had a great post about couponing here. BTW, Molly, Shosh is a Jewish blogger like me :)

So. Back to stealing getting cheap/free food.

I (and Shosh!) spend lots, and I mean LOTS of time getting ourselves ready to go shopping. I NEVER shop without a list or a plan. And RARELY do I ever get anything that's not an AWESOME sale. But when the awesome sale is going? Beware! I might run you over with my cart full of 50 small cans of Hunts tomato sauce, like I bought recently. Why 50 cans of sauce? Well, you see, we use small cans of sauce every Sunday to eat our pasta with cheese and sauce (yes, we're losers and eat the same lunch every Sunday). We use 1-2 cans of sauce. So...there is an AWESOME sale, and stacking that awesome sale with an awesome catalina (remember what Shosh wrote about catalinas?), and stacking the catalina and sale and a few coupons, got me 50 cans of tomato sauce for $1.29. Yes, $1.29. For food I ALWAYS buy.

I went to Jewel and bought 3 items only:

2 eye shadows which were on major sale
50 cans of sauce
6 flowers/tomato plants which were 50% off-I had been waiting for plants to go 50% off, and I just picked up my tomato plants for the summer.

Total paid after coupons was $4.46, $1.62 of which was tax.

So it's really all about the planning, and not buying unless it's a rock bottom price. My major savings come from the catalina sales-Shosh and I figure out ways to buy the most products for the least OOP (out of pocket).

I also take advantage of the drugstore loyalty programs-CVS and Walgreens have the best deals--look at the ads for CVS-notice how they offer ECBs (extra care bucks) for buying certain items? Well, usually there are coupons for those very items-either from circulars or from printing online-so if you stack the coupon with the ECB offer, you can usually get toothpaste/shampoo/soap/mouthwash for, if not free, darn close to it.

Like Shosh said, there are many, many blogs that spell out what's going on and how to get things for cheap or free. Frankly, I often just follow the scenarios set out by the blogs-I'm a big copier! I remember the first time I came home from CVS...I was GIDDY! I could not believe it-how had I been paying so much for toothpaste when I could get it for free? And I never looked back. Now I have a stash of toiletries-I will never pay for toothpaste again!

Beware, couponing takes time. You will not walk into the grocery store, and POOF! only spend $15 on your groceries for the week. But if you're willing to put in the time and effort to really search out the deals, you will not be disappointed, I promise you.

And if you every want to talk coupons, email me at!

Still waiting for more questions....

Ask Sara! Answer 1...

Molly C (Hi Molly!) asked:

Maybe this has been answered but as far as educational accomodations what is done for Dovi?

I work at a special needs summer camp with a really large jewish population. So I always wonder how their religious education is modified. Most of my boys keep kosher, observe shabbos, and have a really good grasp of their faith. (minus the fact that a yarmullke can totally be used as something to toss as hard as you can towards the window when you are having a meltdown. almost lost a few that way!)

how do you observe shabbos in a hospital? assuming Dovi has been there on Friday nights before.

He is such a cutie pie, and I loved the video! It was nice to hear him talk

Firstly, Molly, I agree 100%...he is such a cutie pie. He's a MANIPULATIVE little cutie pie though, and as Benjie and I say, "Yes, Dovi, you may do whatever you want. You have FD" And no, he's not a brat at all. For some reason, Dovi completely lacks the brattiness gene at all...I guess that all went to my other kids :)

And now on to your questions about educational accommodations for the D Man.

Dovi attends a special education school (Keshet) here in Chicago. He is tuitioned out to Keshet by Chicago Public School. This means that because there was no appropriate placement for Dovi within the Chicago Public School system, CPS pays for Dovi to attend Keshet, as well as provides him transportation to and from school, and because he qualifies, he also receives extended school year services, so they pay for his Keshet summer programming at the JCC near our home.

All of Dovi's educational goals are outlined in minute detail on his IEP (individualized educational plan) which is updated yearly in a meeting between the CPS representative, Keshet educational team (including teachers, administrators, and therapists), and myself and Benjie. It is an exhaustive process but ensures that Dovi is educated up to his utmost potential.

Due to his impairments, Dovi does not take the standardized Illinois test to advance in grade level.

Dovi does receive some Jewish education at school. He learns a VERY modified curriculum from what a "typical" boy his age would be learning. My nephew is the same age as Dovi, and he began learning Gemarah (advanced Talmud) last year. Dovi still learns stories of the portion of the week. The fact that he cannot read Hebrew severely impairs his ability to progress in Jewish studies.

However, Dovi's Bar Mitzvah is coming up in 1 1/2 years, and we have great plans for that. This summer, Aharon, his counselor for the past 5 years at the JCC, will begin learning some Bible portions with him in the actual text, by reading and translating to Dovi. We hope that he will make a siyum (celebration for finishing a section of the Bible) at his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. Benjie is also planning on starting a similar project with Dovi at the end of the summer. So maybe Dovi will make two siyums at his Bar Mitzvah!

Additionally, since we are Orthodox, our entire life schedule is dictated by Jewish practices. He knows about Shabbos, Kosher, Holidays, etc simply from living them. Dovi loves to go to shul (temple) on Saturdays and is really the "mayor of the shul". He greets everyone and walks around shaking everyone's hands like a little politician! He also "helps" them when they read from the Torah (Bible) - he stands at the front of the Bimah (table where they put the Torah) and helps them open and close the scroll at appropriate times throughout the reading. Since he's had his surgery, he hasn't been at shul-and the Rabbi called us one day to tell us how much they are missing Dovi!

Now, on to Shabbos in the hospital. We are lucky that living in Chicago, most of the staff at the hospital we go to knows something about Shabbos and the rules that come along with it. The staff always offers to turn on lights, adjust the bed, etc etc etc to help us out. Also, when Dovi is in the hospital on Shabbos, we DO allow him to watch movies. The staff turns them on and off for us, but he does watch. I know that some Orthodox people do not do that, but Dovi is really miserable in the hospital and if watching The Incredibles helps him to rest and improve his health, we will do it. Benjie and I will take the stairs if we have to go anywhere in the hospital. Shabbos in the hospital is often verrrrry long. But we're used to it.

Coming soon... question "cheap" grocery shopping!

Ooh this is fun..ask MORE!

Ask Sara!

OK I'm feeling kinda low on ideas of what to post about, so I'm throwing this out there. Maybe I'll get a comment or two...

Is there anything about Dovi (or I suppose me?) that you've wondered?

Anything that hasn't been clear?

Leave me a comment with any questions you have, and I'll try to answer them...

Or if no one cares, just ignore my pathetic attempt at a post :)

Friday, June 19, 2009


Mt St. free Ice Cream...guess what we're having at the kids' birthday party this summer??

As many of my readers know, everyone in Chicago is heartbroken over what is going on with Todd and Naomi Cohn's son Koppel...please, please daven (pray) for Refael Menashe Koppel ben Naomi for a full recovery from his terrible illness.

As a zchus (merit) for Koppel's recovery, many women and girls have taken upon themselves to make Challah with a bracha this week. I decided to do that as well, but didn't have a big enough bowl...hence the Large-Rubbermaid-Under-the-Bed-Box-of-Challah dough...yikes!

And last but not least, Dovi got a tooth pulled today. Please excuse the absolutely HORRIBLE angle of the pictures-look at yesterday's video to be reminded of how cute he really is in real life. Be that as it may, he had a tooth that was in the wrong place.

We called it his spare tooth

And now, without the spare tooth:

Yay! He was soooo angry at Dr. Bob-but he's hardly bled at all and seems to be just fine. Hopefully he'll be able to get his braces off soon now.

Have a great weekend everyone, and DAVEN for Rephael Menashe Koppel ben Naomi.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Interview with Dovi P

I don't really even know what to say about this, except my voice is strange and bizarre.

But Dovi is really cute.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Story



You've been warned.

Scroll down...


Most kids have some type of security blanket. Dovi is no different. He has his num num-because when he holds it he makes this cute little sound-it sounds sort of like "numnumnumnumnum".

This security blanket is actually a slip. Yes, a woman's slip.

No, not my slip. We got him his own nums-they are long black slips (Raphi, you know exactly what I'm talking about!)-you can't really tell what they are unless you look closely.

Otherwise, they look just like black silky blankets. We've tried to buy lengths of plain material, but they just don't just it-Dovi likes the fact that they are sewn into a circle-he likes to get in his num-I'll have to snap a picture when I remember.

Background taken care of, let's move onto the story.

When Dovi was two, I went back to school to finish my degree that I had put on hold when he was born, and y'know, I had about 400 appointments every week, not to mention getting used to feeding my child via a tube into his stomach.

Well. Dovi went to this amazing, wonderful, generous ultra Orthodox couple that ran a home day care out of their house. They were magnificent-they learned how to feed him, and were patient and loving to him.

Remember, though, that it was a husband and wife-as in the husband was present

Now that we've gotten that out of the way.

So I started school a few days a week at 8 am (so I had to leave at 7:30), and day care opened at 8. Or some such thing. So my mother and mother in law would generously come over and watch Dovi for that half an hour and take him to day care, and I'd pick him up after I finished school.

I'm not telling who it was to protect the innocent...but...

One day, I went to pick him up.

I took him home.

I opened up his backpack.

And found...

A full slip.

Creamy, Strappy, Lace trim and all.

It looked rather lingerie-ish. (no it wasn't a negligee everyone. It was really a full slip. Not even sure why I owned it.)

Yes. It seems that whomever took him that morning was not able to find his regular num (maybe it was in the laundry?), so they decided to go into my drawers, and found a full slip.

Which they sent to the ultra Orthodox day care with the MAN who worked there.

They never spoke of the event, and neither did I.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Dovi's opinion of his doctor's appointment:

It went well. He's 80% healed and got his cast off. Now he's in a boot and allowed to walk short distances until I get him xrayed next week.

Then we went and picked up J2 Pizza and hit the road.

We stopped in a rest stop for dinner/pjs...and we let the kids run! I was cracking up-Shan was literally running around in circles on the lawn in front of the car, while the boys played catch.

Then we drove really, really fast and got home at 1 am.

And I still have not finished unpacking.

Which I should have been doing instead of spending the past 2 1/2 hours updating my blog.

You all better give me some darn good comments to make up for this.

Or come over and put away my laundry.

But the way I see it, I'm home all day tomorrow, thankyouverymuchswineflushana.


Monday was an exciting day...we were going to the Yankees game thanks to a very generous friend-with-season-tickets!

We spent the day just hanging out-we went to the park with Debby and Noam and out to lunch. We also rendezvoused with my friend Eli to return the pulse ox (rememer this story?)

As we were driving to the stadium? ballpark? what do they call such a place? I turned around an found this:

And of course, since we are SPAZZES, we got lost on the way to the game. We told Tamar's babysitter we'd drive her over the GW bridge. We were doing that anyway. Well I thought she'd tell us where to get off. Before we passed said exit. So we got lost. But then we saw a car full of guys wearing Yankees hats. Opened the window and asked them if they were going to the game. They said yes. We cut off another car to FOLLOW THEM!

But then they began to take evasive measures...because...ummm...they were being followed?

That adventure over with, we parked. The guy tried to get us to tip him to "show us the best space". Umm dude? The entire handicapped area is empty. We don't need your help. Then we went in. Nothing like a wheelchair to get you quick attention.

We had great seats! The kids were sooo happy.

And we were happy. Because Yankee Stadium has a kosher concession.

I spent more on five hot dogs and one chicken nuggets than I spend at the grocery store for a week (well for me that's less than $50 but whatever)

Then Shana got bored. We forgot to bring her book. She was irritated. Oops.

And we left.

Next up, Tuesday/the drive home!

The BIG Bash aka The Bat Mitzvah aka a story in pictures

Sunday was THE BIG DAY.

Kids were insanely excited. Elisha and Jacob were wearing SUITS! and TIES! for the first time ever. Well first Elisha had a tantrum because he thought his suit jacket was too long (it wasn't). But we got there.

How. fabulous. is. Shana's. dress?

My handsome foursome.

His tie was FAB! As was his smile.

Shana and her cousin Shoshie (remember her from Friday's pictures?)

Me and my twin sister Rebecca. No. We don't look anything alike. We are fraternal. Very, very fraternal.

My brothers. The bald one is the father of the Bat Mitzvah girl, the beautiful Yaffa pictured at the top of this excessively long post. Don't even ask. They're wacked out.


Four adorable girlies!

Dovi with Auntie Tamar

My mom with her four slightly insane children

But they CAN smile like normal people if they need to.

Kids' table...
Benjie and Estie...the little girls always love Benjie!

Could they be any more handsome?

Really, could they? I think not.

I lurve her.

David and Noam...he's SO darned cute!

Me and Meira, sweet sister of the Bat Mitzvah girl

Hi, Mommy!

Oh look! I got a picture of Debby, mom of the Bat Mitzvah girl! She was sneaky and evading the camera...

Yaffa spoke beautifully

As did David (and my mom too)

Debby spoke later and for some reason the picture is sooo dark!

Then the cousins did a little song (which my niece Estie-she of the Benjie smooch and hysterical personality-proceeded to teach to her entire preschool class on Monday)

Dovi enjoyed the giveaways!

And danced with Noam

Debby and the Adira, younger sister of the Bat Mitzvah girl

My mom, Hershel, and all the grandchildren!

The girls loved the dancing!
When the Bat Mitzvah was over, Yaffa decided to release her name balloon arch into the air...

And the day was over.

Wow. That took me a while.