Posts Tagged 'family'

New Year, More Blog

It’s hard to believe it is 2009. Some days I wake up and I can remember the mid 80s like it was yesterday. When people tell you that time moves so fast, they are certainly telling the truth. It’s been a while since I have written in my blog and one of my two real New Year’s resolutions is to get back to writing regularly. I’ll come to the other in a moment. I want to partially go back to my original plan for this blog which was to write about my family and I am going to do that. I also want to continue writing about things that I think about and current events. So as much as I loved writing a song of the day for every day, I am going to give that a rest. From time to time I may have a song of the day blog posting, but much less frequent. I have been thinking about starting to write movie reviews, so perhaps you will see some of those in the near future (or course they will mostly be reviews of movies I see on DVD and Blu-Ray as we rarely get to the movie theater).

So starting off this year of blogging I want to update on my family. I’ll start with the kids. Shayna is 3 years old and definitely going through a defiant stage. There is almost nothing that she will not try to defy us on, but unlike Avi, she does respond to the consequences of her actions, and I am confident that we will see the end of this phase soon. The other major obstacle with Shayna is potty training. When the boys were training I always remember people telling us that girls were so much easier. Well, I’m here to tell you that they must have been lying. She has been a nightmare with this. One of the main reasons we moved her to a different pre-school is because at her old school she could not be in the pre-school class without being out of diapers (but we are happy with the new school). Luckily, her class is doing a major push, since most of the kids in the class are not trained. God willing she will be a more regular pottier.

Noam is cursed with being the middle child. Definite Jan Brady syndrome. We try hard to give him the attention he needs, and I think much of the time we succeed. He is a fun kid, but is still hesitant with new things. He is starting to get into the cub scouts like Avi and I think he will slowly come out of his shell as he gets more into the scouts. He is really enjoying Solomon Schechter and soon he might know more Hebrew than me!

Avi’s ADHD (and maybe bipolar disorder) are continuing to be sources of difficulty in our home. He is still going to the special school (New Vue Academy) and is doing well there. They work on a point system and the max the kids can get in a day is 20. If Avi gets 20 points today it will be his tenth in a row and that will put him on honors (I’m not entirely sure what that he will get for that) and this will be the first time he will achieve that. Avi gets home at about 2:30 from school and Noam and Shayna at about 4. It is the time between 4 and when I get home that are the most difficult. Starting next week, we will have a behavioral therapist come to our house for 5 hours each week, so that will happen on two or three days a week during that time, so God willing things will get a bit easier.

Marsha is still doing the Pampered Chef thing and is working hard to build her business this year. If anyone wants to host a Pampered Chef party or do a catalog sale, let me know. You could get a lot of free stuff for hosting and you will certainly have a lot of fun.

Which brings me to me. Many people know that I have Crohn’s Disease. I have not had any major problems from this in years, but last week we got a little scare. I was in the hospital for a number of hours on Friday with abdominal pains. They did a CT scan and it was inconclusive (although now they think it was a kidney stone). I am long overdue for a Colonoscopy and I will get that done the week after next. I went to the doctor to follow up last night and he really scared me about my weight, and that brings me to resolution number 2. I really want to get down to a more healthy weight this year. Marsha is doing weight watchers and I have done that in the past, so I signed up to do the online version. I will update my progress here from time to time

Well that is enough information to last for a while. Happy new year to everyone!

Oh, and I was watching a clip from the amazing movie Fame yesterday. It is a great song from the 80s and one of the best movie songs ever.


Song of the day

My love of The Beatles has clearly transferred to my children. Both Avi and Noam know many Beatles tunes, and they can usually identify a Beatles song even if they have not heard it before (I’m very proud). Now Shayna is also getting into the groove and she also knows Beatles songs. Of course she knows many of the words in Yellow Submarine (which was also Avi and Noam’s first Beatles song), but there is another song that all of them seem to like and often ask for.

The film Yellow Submarine has a very interesting story. In 1964 The Beatles contracted with United Artists to make three motion pictures. The first was the wonderful A Hard Day’s Night and the second was the not as wonderful HELP! Soon after they produced the British television movie Magical Mystery Tour which was very poorly received.

Not really wanting to do any more movies, but still having one movie left to make for UA, the group agreed to give their music to an animated film. Five new songs were added to a bunch of Beatles hits and the movie Yellow Submarine was born. Actors were hired to do the group’s voices and the movie was a big hit. In fact The Beatles themselves like the movie so much they added a short live scene at the very end in which they all appeared.

My kids love this movie (after having seen it at our friend’s house in Vermont) and became particularly fond of the song All Together Now which is one of the new songs.

Here are two videos with the song, one is where the song appeared in the movie and the other is the reprise at the end of the film. My kids get a real kick out of the end in that the words all together now are translated into many languages including Hebrew so they all keep an eye out for that.


T Minus 6 days and counting

This coming Sunday we will be traveling to the happiest place on earth for our weeklong vacation. Of course, the “vacation” really starts now. Today mkm went to the local Disney Store and picked up our tickets for WDW and we have begun writing the lists. What clothing to pack. What supplies to pack. What food to pack. Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera! God willing everything will be done by Friday. Given that we don’t do any of this prep work on Shabbat, we need to have most of the packing done by Friday night as the plan is to pack up the car on Saturday night.

Yesterday, I helped my father-in-law but the carrier on top of his car so that will be ready. It is an SUV and we found that it is quite tall and not too easy to load and unload, but I am sure we will manage. Due to the lack of space, no suitcases for this trip! All of our clothing are going into these extra large Ziploc bags that are intended for clothing storage. Hopefully, we will go to bed (not too late on Saturday night and wake up ready to take on the day!

The plan is to leave the house by 8:00 am. We need to be in Lorton Virginia for the Auto Train by 2 pm for the 4 pm train (due to our oversized car). This gives us 6 hours to do a 4 hour trip. The real hope is to get there by 1pm so that gives us 5 hours and I think we will be fine.

So that takes us up to departure and I will pick up later this week.

Disney part 2

We are now one month from our trip to Mickey’s house (that is what Shayna calls it) and we are beginning in earnest to plan the trip. We actually planned one piece a while back. About two months back, I called 407-WDW-DINE and made a reservation for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. This restaurant, which is in the Contemporary resort near The Magic Kingdom, serves only Breakfast and Dinner and both meals are character meals. Different Disney characters will come out during the meal and visit each table and take photos and sign the kids’ books. Everyone always has a great time at these meals, and the book up very fast which is why I reserved so early. We are going on Wed at 8:15 am. Early, for sure, but we will then have most of the day at The Magic Kingdom without losing much time.

Beyond that we have not made any meal reservations. One thing about staying at a time share resort is that we save money by doing our own dinners. We may have dinner out once and mkm and I are definitely going out for a meal one night, but the rest of the time we eat in house.

Part of planning out the week involves deciding which parks to go to on which days. Disney sells many different kinds of tickets. The basic ticket allows you entry into one park for one day. You can then purchase multiple days which allows you into one park on each day. The interesting thing is that when you get to a four day ticket, any extra days are about $2 – $4 per day. So we are purchasing 5 day tickets. We will have Tuesday – Thursday to go to parks and we are buying the 5th so we can go for a few hours on Sunday as well.

The next part of ticket purchasing is park-hopper or no park-hopper. Park-hopper is a $45 add on which allows you to move between parks on any day during your stay. You can go to The Magic Kingdom in the morning and Epcot in the afternoon. When you are staying onsite (on of Disneyworld’s resorts) this makes sense but when you are staying off site, it does not, so we are not getting it.

We will arrive in Orlando at about 9:30 and by the time we get our car and get to our resort; it will probably be about noon. We’ll give the kids some lunch and let them go in the pool while we unpack and then probably go to Downtown Disney for a few hours at the end of the day. If you have not been to Downtown Disney it is a lot of fun. It is mainly a shopping area, but at the different stores there are lots of things for the kids to play with, especially at the giant Lego store.

On Tuesday we will most likely go to Epcot. This way we will know if we want a second day there or not later in the week. Wednesday is The Magic Kingdom and the rest of the week is yet to be planned.

Come back to find out more!

Happy Birthday Noam

Tomorrow is Noam’s 6th birthday. At his school the kindergarten class has parties for each kids’ birthday. Since his is in the summer, they had the party in June. This photo is from that party.


I now know what a red day means for Avi.  On his first day at Nu Vue, Avi got 18 points which was great.  On his second day, he got only 14 points.  This put him in red for today and that means that he lost a privilage today (in this case computer time).  Well, today, he got only 10 points.  So he will be on red tomorrow as well.  I guess that with this type of intense behavior modification one has to learn the consequences of his or her actions before the program starts to work.  Hopefully it wont take Avi too long to figure out that if he follows the rules he will always have green days.

Where we are

Yesterday, Avi started his first day at his new School, Nu Vue Academy.  It is a therapudic school, for bright children who suffer from behaviorial and emotional disorders.  The first day went well.  His bus picks him up at our door at about 7:10 so he now needs to get up earlier than he ever has.  The good part of that is that I get to see him before I go to work.  I wake him up when I go downstairs in the morning and he gets dressed in his nu vue uniform (a nu vue polo shirt and kakie or blue shorts).  I made him breakfast and we got to spend a few minutes before I had to go to work.

mkm said that when the bus came, he was hesitant and very huggy with her (which is not normal for Avi), but he is allowed to be nervous on his first day.  We get a report back each day from them which we need to sign and return.  At the start of school they offer breakfast, but he ate at home, so he met another student and they played a game together which 6 months ago probably never would have happened.

They use a points system there as part of their behavior modification plan.  Each day is broken up into ten segments.  Each segment is a different task or lesson.  It could be math, or group therapy, lunch or gym, etc.  For each segment he can get two, one or zero points.  So the max is 20 points for the day.  They get green (I am not sure yet what this means) if they get 16 to 20 points and red if they get 15 or less.  Avi got 18 on his first day and we were so proud of him that mkm bought his the soundtrack from Camp Rock.

Later on in the year, they will be able to use the points to actually purchase things.  I don’t know what, but I am sure it will be fun for the kids.  So time will tell how Avi does, but we have confidence in him.

This week was also the start of camp for Noam and Shayna.  They are going to a day camp run by the local Yeshiva.  The came is very good and they attract kids from outside of the Orthodox community (such as us).  They have a beautiful in ground pool and they do all kinds of fun day camp activites.  Noam is in the older bunks and they used to go each week for a day trip on Thursdays.  This year, due to gas prices, they are bringing a lot of activities in rather than the kids going out, but they are having a wonderful time.

Noam, unfortunately is afraid of the water, and we are going to try a star chart to get him to go in the pool and learn to swim.  We’ll see if that works.  Star charts never worked for Avi, but Noam is a little easier, so maybe it will.

UPDATE.  mkm just called me.  She spoke to Noam’s counslor when she dropped him off today.  She said that Noam really likes one of the swimming instructors and he IS going in the pool.  They give him stickers when he does and when he participates, so maybe I dont need to do the star chart after all.  And get this.  Noam is teaching the boys in his bunk chess.  He learned how to play a few months ago.  He is not that good yet, but I am sure soon he will be better than me.  Adi (his counselor) said that yesterday he had 5 boys around the chess board for over 30 minutes!

Shayna is about 30% on her way to being pottie trained.  She has gone a couple of times by herself, and we are now taking her all the time.  She is still in diapers, but we hope to get her in pull-ups very soon.  She loves the pool and they wont take the kids in the big pool when they are in diapers.  Pull-ups are ok, so we are hoping that soon she will be in the big pool.  I took her to a friends house where they have a pool and she is so ready to swim.

So that is where we are.  We are going to Disney at the end of August, so I am sure I will be blogging about that as we get closer.  We will be travelling down on the Auto Train so there will be lots to talk about.

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