Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 25, 2013: Family and Fall

This week's shabbat thankfulness:

Mira, in full fall mode. Same outfit as summer, but with a hat. 

Ian: I'm thankful for my family.

Lucy (our neighbor and favorite 5 year old): I'm thankful for my family and my school and my teacher.

Mira: And your sister!

Lucy: No, I said my family.

Mira: For my family and shabbat.

Nora: For kids sharing and for the visitors Papa and I saw this week. And for the authors' tea at Ada's class.

Chris: That we got to see friends from afar and the nice fall weather.

Ian: For my two pumpkins!

We are also thankful that we got to see Chris's cousin and his wife this past weekend.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Old News...

I wrote the following in March 2012, got around to posting it in October 2013... 

On Sons

Or more specifically, my son. It feels a little like "all Ian, all the time" around the blog these days. He's verbal, he's funny, and he has such an energy that he's hard to ignore. Which brings me to a recent Saturday

We were at Chris' parents house, toward the end of the day. As it was already past 5, we decided to feed the kids before we left. As we cleaned up, the kids scattered for a few more moments of play. Normal stuff, until grandma Sally walked in holding three small (and empty) syringes.

"Ian was on the bed with these and said 'I'm sorry' when I found him." she said she thought that one of these had been filled before. With his grandfather's liquid morphine.

Frantic running. I went to the bed. I felt the blanket and finally took a breath when I found it wet.  Chris located Ian. I scooped him up and in my most calm happy voice asked if he'd emptied the syringe. He happily said he had.

"did you get it on the blanket?"


"did you taste any?"


Okay, good.

Crisis averted, we calmed enough to remember that liquid morphine tastes bitter. Even if he'd tasted it he would be unlikely to want a whole dose. And the dose to which he had access is small to begin with.

Still. This is the kid who tried to climb a shelf last year, biting clean through a third of his tongue. The only one of the three who has been in the ER. The one who thinks a flying leap off the couch is an appropriate hello.

I'm not grey yet, but I think now may be the time to buy stock in Clairol.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Things to be Thankful for, Two Fridays in July

With family on the California coast, we were thankful for:

Chris: We got to splash in the ocean.

Ada: For the whole entire wide world.

Ian: The ocean.

Nora: Decorator crabs, family olympics, and getting to spend time with my family.

Anthony: That Minya and Bop originated this family reunion tradition.

Mira: Having a slumber party with my friend Avery.

Karen: For getting to have this cousin time.

Minya: For wonderful grandchildren.

Aviva: Bop!

Bop: The opportunity to have three generations of our family together, and for the cousins to get to know one another, and to get to eat Anthony's great food.

Chris: To see a part of California we have not seen before.

Ada: I got to see a real, live hammerhead shark.

Mira: To camp in a tent.

Back home, we had shabbat without guests this week.

Ian: I wish for babies. I'm thankful for unicorns and ponies and babies.

Ada: For everything.

Mira: Even the sky.

Chris: I got to spend to dad days with Ian and Mira.

Nora: Ada came home from camping.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The "All Things Considered" of Gratitude

The past two Novembers, Ada received an assignment at school to make a poster-sized picture of a tree. She was to cut leaves out of paper and use them to record the things for which she was thankful. It was a month-long assignment, meant to get her thinking about all the wonderful people and things in her life.

Last November Ian and Mira participated in the creation of the "Thankful Tree" along with Ada, Chris and myself. Ada wrote things like family and writing, while Mira offered "silence" and "peanut butter and jelly sandwiches" and Ian expressed gratitude for clouds and milk. I declared my appreciation for my husband and warm socks.

When we got together at Thanksgiving we got Chris' parents, sister-in-law, uncle and cousin to contribute leaves . It was a great thing to do, especially at a time when Chris' dad's health continued to decline and we all knew it was likely that this would be his last Thanksgiving.

Thankful tree, with more foliage
Ada, showing some of the progress on the 2012 Thankful Tree

At the start of this year, Chris and I instituted a weekly observance of shabbat (Jewish sabbath) at our house. On Friday afternoons I pick up a loaf of challah on the way home, along with whatever groceries we need to round out our end-of-week supplies. We make dinner (and yes, occasionally get take-out), light the candles, mangle the Hebrew prayers and happily devour the challah while each saying what we've got to be happy about that week. Most weeks we invite friends over. Once I decided that the dinner could be low key (pesto with sausage, store roasted chicken, make your own burritos...) the barrier to inviting people over was removed and we reached out to close friends we do not see enough, neighbors we are always happy to see, and other people with whom we'd like to spend time as families. These families, mostly not Jewish nor religious at all, have participated in our observances and added to them as we talk about children, the news, jobs and the other stuff that fills our days.

A few weeks ago it occurred to me that I should be writing down the words of thanks, recording them in order to make more concrete our momentary appreciations. I bought a notebook in which to record the thoughts, but decided I would also like to record them here. We'll see how that goes, but I'll start today by sharing what people said the past couple of weeks.

One last thing. My family and I have so many things to be thankful for. Over the years I have joked about my charmed life, but in so many ways it is true. We are so lucky and have so much. My hope is not that any one week will let us express all the things we are happy about, but that over the weeks and years we will express so many things, that we will start to see the pieces together form the web of our lives. I think of it a little like the NPR program "All Things Considered" - no one show does address everything, but over time they report on so many things that the listener gets a view of the vastness of the universe. Never a complete picture, but an ongoing attempt to fill it all in.

** * ** * ** 

Now that we've been doing this for a while, one the kids usually spontaneously starts to talk. If no one does, I prompt them by asking: "what are you thankful for this week?" Here's what I have gotten recently:

APRIL 20, 2013
Mira: Mommy, Ada, Ian and Daddy.

Ian: My house.

Ada: My friends in the play.

Chris: That my students and colleagues are safe.

Nora: To have such a wonderful, loud family.

APRIL 26, 2013

This week Ada had been invited to spend the evening with our neighbor friends Lila and Lucy. The girls decided to join in the shabbat activity (most importantly to them, the eating of challah!) before they went down the street. Our sitter was still over, and Chris was not yet back from his department BBQ.

Ian: My family.

Mira: Mommy and Ada and Lucy and Lila.

Lila, age 7: Michelle.*

Ada: Lila, Lucy, Gabby, movie and ice cream.

Lucy, age 5: Ian and Mira and Gabby, and Lila and Ada and Mr. Kurt and Miss Marissa.** And Nora and Chris.

Ian (again): Ada and Mira and Gabby and Lila and Lucy and ice cream. And Mommy and Daddy and ice cream.

Ada (again): And Michelle.

Gabby: All my kiddos and sunshine and good health.

Nora: That I got to walk Ada and Lila to school today.

*Ada and Lila's teacher for the past two years.
**Lucy's teachers for the past three years.

This week's view, at the end of my first 11 mile run. Celebrating with pork ramen from #bokebowl #runningalone
I also continue to be thankful that I live in this wonderful city. 
And that my knees didn't fall off when I ran 11 miles today. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Pirates Can't Swim

I got to have lunch with Ian in his class. He was holding his hands up around his eye to look at something across the room. I asked him about it and he put his hand over his eye and asked: What does this look like?

Me: A pirate!

Ian look pleased. 

He asked: What do pirates eat? 

I thought for a moment, then answered: Arrr-tichokes!

He shook his head no. 

Me: Let's see, pirates live on boats, so maybe they eat a lot of fish. 

Looking at the seaweed on his plate I added: And seaweed, I bet they like seaweed. 

Ian: How do they get the seaweed? 

Me: Well, they could pull it out of the ocean, or go out on the beach and get it there. 

Ian: But Pirates don't know how to swim. 

Me: Oh, they don't? Well, they need some swim lessons then, don't you think? 

Ian nodded. 

Me: Can you imagine a pirate in your swim lessons? It would be you, those two girls from your swim class, and a pirate!

Again Ian looked pleased. 

Me: Do you think the pirate would be scared to go in the water? 

Ian: No, because it is surrounded by walls. 

Me: Oh, so he could just go over to the edge of the pool? 

Ian: Yes. 

Me: Would you teach the pirate how to blow bubbles? 

Ian: Yes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Back before Ian and Mira were born, someone gave us a CD of Led Zeppelin songs performed "lullaby style" (essentially, the songs are done in an annoying, twinkly way with no vocals).

Recently Ian has gotten interested in playing this CD, so it has come into the rotation of CDs they put in the player (along with a LOT of Yo Gabba Gabba and lesser amounts of Dan Zanes and Captain Bogg and Salty). This morning Ian said to Mira:

"I want to hear Stare Away from Heaven."

"I don't like Scare Away from Heaven," she replied.

Ian, exasperated, yelled: "Not Scare, STARE Away from Heaven!"

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Stupids Step Out

Mira, to me: Mama, Ian said I was stupid.

Me: Did you tell him you don’t like that?

Mira, returning to talk to Ian in the living room: Ian, I don’t like being stupid.