Monthly Archives: December 2012

Online autism conference lectures available online

I recently became aware of a number of fascinating online lectures that have been made available for free online.  These are from the 2012 AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference.  Just look at the list of topics – they’re all so fascinating that I want to listen to them all!  Not that I have the time to do that, but I wish I did!

This year they had a track for T21, since 10% of those with T21 have autism as well.  The T21 talks are listed at the bottom of the page of recordings, just scroll down if you’re interested.  I’ve only listened to three of the T21 lectures, but I appreciated them all.  I’ve spent a number of hours learning about the biochemistry of T21, and I was very impressed at Dr. Anju Usman‘s talk, in which a number of these points were very simply and succinctly explained.

What I love about things like this is that there is so much known about what is going on with these diagnoses, and there are people who are taking action based on that information.  I just love this kind of information.  You won’t hear it from your doctor.  You won’t hear it from most people around you.  I’m learning to keep quiet with medical professionals because if I even mention anything slightly non-mainstream that I’m doing for Yirmiyahu (eg the pediatrician didn’t like that I give him a special vitamin supplement formulated for those with T21 that includes iron – she would prefer that I only give him the iron supplement that they recommend to all babies, the physical therapist didn’t like that we made an appointment at the Feuerstein Institute for an evaluation- and to me these hardly touch an alternative approach), I’m spoken to in a way that I find disempowering and unsupportive.

But there is a lot – a whole lot – that we can do to help our children outside of the standard recommendations given.  There is so much information here that will be of value to any parent, regardless of if they have any kind of diagnosis or not – for example, I’d been thinking about what I can do to rebuild ds13’s digestive system, which has necessarily taken a hit as a result of the high dosage of antibiotics he’s been given to treat the hip infection.  Then I saw Biofilm, Bugs and Bowels: Rebalancing Your Child’s Gut, and watching this reinspired me to get back to making fermented vegetables on a regular basis, something I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had enough motivation to push to the top of the list.  The curried sauerkraut is now in two jars on the counter.  :)

There are tracks about: nutrition, biomedical research and treatments, gastrointestinal, chiropractic, vaccines, education, therapies…there’s so much good information out there, and even if we learn just a tiny bit, that tiny bit when applied will help our families.

Avivah

Frugal option to buying canning jars

>>I have a son’s bar mitzvah coming up for which my mom is coming, and she is going to try to bring a small number of canning jars with her – maybe a dozen…they sell basic canning supplies from Ball right in the grocery stores, at what I considered to be very reasonable prices. However, I have never canned and wondered if you might have suggestions as to brands of jars, lids, etc., and also what other canning supplies are necessary for water bath canning and where I might purchase them cheaply (in the US). I assume I need to purchase something that the jars rest on to keep them off the bottom of the pot?<<

As many of you know, I was an avid canner in the US and had a huge collection of canning jars (about 1000) but downsized my collection along with everything else when we moved here.

The reason I felt able to do this was because I had an alternate plan for canning supplies when I moved to Israel .  This is a good tip for anyone interested in canning, wherever you live, but for those in all countries but in countries where you can’t get canning supplies, it makes the difference between being able to can food or not being able to.

Here are the jars that I use – below they are filled with rendered beef fat, but I use them for just about everything – like storing foods in the pantry and refrigerator as well as for canning.

beef fat

These are glass jars recycled from store bought products – in my case, marinara sauce.  You can use jars of any height or width, small or large.  The main thing is that they have pop top lids.  You see these safety seal jars everywhere – the lids pop up when you open the jar.  The lids operate as a vacuum – and these lids can be resealed again and again if you’re canning (the heat of the rendered fat in the photo above also caused the jars to seal).  The lid will be indented when the seal is strong, popped up when the seal is broken.  If you don’t buy foods that come in this kind of packaging, then ask friends to save jars for you – I have one friend who has been the source of all of my jars; I probably have about fifty jars thanks to her!

It does take some preparation to use these jars.  If you’re a religious Jew, they will need to be toiveled, and completely getting the sticky residue off of the outside of the jars so you can do this is where the real work comes in.  What I do is put the jars in boiling water to loosen the labels, peel the labels off, pour a bit of oil on the outside of the jar on the residue, then scrub it off with steel wool.  I usually save up a bunch of jars and do them all at once.  Fortunately it only has to be done once!

Foods that can be waterbathed include jellies, jams, chutneys, fruits, juices, and pickles.  All of these are high acid foods which means they are low risk and easy foods to can.  I believe that it would be possible to safely pressure can with these jars – assuming you have a pressure canner and follow proper safety guidelines – but I don’t have a pressure canner anymore so I haven’t tried.  Pressure canning requires a lot more knowledge and caution since you’re dealing with low acid foods, so my recommendations right now are just regarding waterbath canning.

If you want to buy canning jars, it doesn’t really matter what company you buy.  Most of mine were Kerr or Ball, which are the name brands, but honestly I don’t think there’s a qualitative difference between the generic jars.  They are all a standard thickness and the same size.  So go for whatever’s cheapest.

The other things that you’ll find helpful are a funnel (to get the food in the jars neatly), a canning jar lifter (to lift the jars out of the pot of boiling water) and a magnetic wand (to lift the lids out of hot water).  You can buy these as a set online; I’ve also seen them sold at Walmart. I bought a new set of these before moving, but one of my lovely children took it out of the box it was packed in and I’ve never seen it since.  It probably ended up in a box of things that were given away – along with some other new items that were purchased for our move and didn’t make it into the boxes – and whoever bought these things at the thrift store wondered why anyone would have given away those brand new items!  When you get a canning jar lifter, if you’re planning to do a lot of canning I strongly recommend getting a good quality one that is solidly constructed and will last.

>>Also, where could I purchase kosher pectin – the low sugar variety, specifically?<<

I bought the low sugar pectic made by Ball, which had a kosher certification.  I remember a reader emailing me information about buying pectin in bulk but don’t remember the specifics.

Avivah

Home from the hospital

Ds13 came home earlier than expected – he arrived a half hour before Shabbos!

The hospital is literally right by the Mediterranean Sea, which is stunningly beautiful.   Just a three minute walk from the hospital building and you see this:

visiting bin 017

Dd18 and ds13 together, enjoying the view.

visiting bin 019a

When dd18 brought the littles, we thought they’d enjoy seeing the sea.  The trouble was, it was already nighttime and they were really creeped out by the sight and sound of the waves in the darkness.  And ds6 was really cold (he was really sick later that night, but I can look at the pictures and it’s obvious how under the weather he already was feeling.)

visiting bin 059

The sea may have not been much fun, but wearing their big brother and sister’s sweatshirts and getting a ride on ds13’s wheelchair was definitely something they enjoyed.

visiting bin 060

So much fun that they wanted more and more rides when they were back inside the hospital!  Ds13 was very obliging.

visiting bin 050

We’re so glad to have ds13 back home with us! Ds3 told me he wants to go to ‘his (ds13;s) room’ again – meaning his hospital room.  I had to tell him that it’s not a trip we’re going to be making now!

Avivah

Making the most of the hospital experience

It seems redundant to say that things have been busy lately, since really, things are always busy around here!

Ds13 has been hospitalized for the last week, and people have been asking about what he’s there for.  He has a septic hip infection, which wasn’t symptomatic other than hip pain (ie no fever or sign of inflammation); this is apparently uncommon.  He’s being treated with antibiotics via iv as well as having had pus in the hip joint drained out a couple of times.  Most of the pain is gone though he’s been told to stay off his feet, so he’s getting pretty good at doing pop a wheelies with his wheelchair.  We hope that he’ll be discharged on Sunday.

I’ve enjoyed spending time with ds at the hospital.  Getting out of the house isn’t easy, but once I’m at the hospital I enjoy being there.  I’m getting to know more staff and other parents, know what to expect in terms of shifts and routines, and it feels increasingly more friendly every time I’m there.  I like connecting with people and I’ve had the chance for some interesting and meaningful conversations with other parents in the pediatric ward.

Yesterday a young secular mother who asked me what prayers her husband should say at the time of their baby’s operation.  I told her that I don’t have special powers that she doesn’t have because I’m dressed as a religious Jew and she’s not – that prayer doesn’t have to be formalized to be powerful.  I shared the belief that has gotten me through some difficult situations – we can’t avoid crises, but we can choose how we think about them.  This is often the only power we have in a situation.  However you define it, the reality is objectively whatever it is, and what determines how you experience that reality is based on how you define it and the meaning you give to it.

Then I spoke with a young couple there with a one month old baby (their first) and advised them about how to interact more effectively with the hospital staff.  I had overheard them say something to a nurse that I felt would position them to be treated poorly (because of their hands off approach to non necessary medical care).  I shared with them some of my own experiences; they were so appreciative to feel someone was validating them as parents.  I spoke with another mother who treated her kids holistically for years and now is having a hard time seeing her child having a major illness that she can’t do anything about.  I told her, ‘believe me, I know where you’re coming from!’

I spoke with an Ethiopian father and a secular Israeli father, with a couple of other secular Israeli mothers – all such nice people.  Ds13 is a people magnet and who he is has opened the way for some of these conversations.  Kids of all ages in the pediatric ward like him (as do their parents)- the two year old in his room who brings him balloons to play with together, an eight year old a few rooms away came to show him his new toy car, the eleven year old in the playroom did computer stuff with him and then found a wheelchair just like ds13’s so he could copy him…so talking to the parents of all these people is very easy.

It’s a nice to be able to interact with so many people in a meaningful way, which is a luxury you don’t get in daily life – everyone is always rushing somewhere, but in the hospital, we’re all there, without anywhere else to be or anything else to do.

Lest you think this has been a relaxing vacation-like week, I’ll just say, it hasn’t – all that time doesn’t come out of my empty schedule!  Dd18 has been an amazing help and I don’t know what I’d do without her; she’s rearranged her schedule so she’s able to take care of Yirmiyahu when I need to go to the hospital, and she goes to the hospital when I’m home.   Dd16 spent last Shabbos at the hospital and plans to go again for this Shabbos (though she’s sick so that might change).

At every hospital I’ve been at, I’ve noticed how the Arab families have so many visitors at times that don’t seem to be easy times for people to visit – mid morning and mid afternoon – and I really wonder about how they do that.  We’re really stretching ourselves to have one person at a time staying with ds at the hospital, forget about more than one person coming!   (Though last night dd18  brought ds3, ds5, and ds6 to the hospital with her to visit ds13, then after staying a couple of hours they left to go home with me.)  What I think is that the families live very close to each other and they take care of each other’s children, which is wonderful because they have so much built in emotional and social support.

I got home with the three boys from the hospital at 10:15 pm, then was up with Yirmiyahu until 3:3o am, since he had to be held upright in order to sleep so I put him in a wrap when I went to bed, then leaned against the wall while sitting and tried to fall asleep.  It didn’t work well.  :)  Then all of the boys ages 6 and down were sick today so they stayed home, along with dd16.  Hopefully I’ll get a decent night’s sleep tonight, and we’ll all rest up over Shabbos!

Avivah

Sale on fermented cod liver oil

I give Yirmiyahu fermented cod liver oil and butter oil daily, both powerful foods that work together synergistically in many ways for the body.

I’ve known about fermented cod liver oil for years but it’s so expensive that I just couldn’t afford it, and did the next best thing, use something less expensive.  Then when ds13 went to the US for a visit in October, he brought home a couple of bottles of both for Yirmiyahu.  My mom bought these for us, knowing that we have a lot of expenses and this was something that was very important for me to give to Yirmiyahu.  (One day I’ll try to get around to posting my thoughts on facial bone development and how this is an issue in T21 but in short, I feel these two supplements are very important in this area.)

Yesterday I learned that Green Pastures is having a sale on fermented cod liver oil – if you buy at the usual price at Amazon, it’s $63 per bottle, but at the Green Pasture site I think it was close to $45a bottle.  The sale price is now $29 per bottle, regardless how many bottles you buy. (Usually there’s a discount in you buy a certain amount, but even at the discount it would still be more than this sale price.)  That’s a really huge savings.

I don’t know how long the sale will last or why it’s on sale – I’m assuming it has something to do with end of the year inventory.  I stocked up and hope this will be of help to someone else!

Please don’t ask me about the kashrus of the cod liver oil or butter oil – this is one of the most common questions I get.  Neither of these products are certified kosher, and we’re comfortable using them both based on the conversations we’ve had with rabbis.  My response to others is always to ask your rabbi.

Avivah

 

Experimenting with formula replacement options – again

Finding something to feed Yirmiyahu has been an ongoing saga.  A while back I posted about needing to supplement nursing since he wasn’t gaining weight, and I made a homemade goat formula that I was very pleased with.  He was gaining weight on it, I was delighted that he was getting high quality real foods and he looked great.  Then we couldn’t get raw goat milk, so we used pasteurized goat milk instead.  Then the company that produced it had some kind of restructuring and the goat’s milk disappeared from the stores for a time.  My milk supply kept dropping and the supplemental bottles had become his mainstay.  So I had no choice but to buy formula.

Somewhere in there, Yirmiyahu got sick.  I assumed it was a cold that would pass, but it didn’t – his breathing became noticeably raspy and stayed this way beyond the time a virus should have passed.  I felt this was due to a milk allergy, though the doctors told me it’s because he has Down syndrome.  I asked them why his breathing was normal for the entire time that he exclusively had mother’s milk, and they said it was just a coincidence.  Yep.  Three different pediatricians saw him and all recommended we use a nebulizer, which we tried but it wasn’t helpful.  When I told his physical therapist my concern, she said as long as he gains weight, it’s not such a big deal – but if you’ve ever struggled to breathe, you know that it’s far from a small deal.

When the goat milk became available in the store again, I immediately went back to it.  His breathing remained noisy.  I tried the dairy formula, and I couldn’t tell if it was a coincidence that he seemed a little better or not.  I tried again a couple of weeks later, and after just one bottle of pasteurized goat milk formula, he was obviously more raspy.   I reluctantly back to the formula since I still didn’t have access to raw goat’s milk (the herd had been dried out, as was the herd of a friend who had been contacted on our behalf) – but his breathing still wasn’t good.

I took him to a naturopath for cranio sacral work several weeks ago and she right away commented on his breathing.  I told her that I felt it was caused or at least affected by a dairy allergy, and after a few minutes of observing him, that was her assessment as well.  She watched him drinking his bottle and noticed that he began squirming and showing signs of discomfort, and she showed me small red bumps on his knees and behind his ears that were signs of what she called ‘asthma of the skin’ (this is a translation of the Hebrew, I don’t know what it would be called in English; an Israeli friend told me it’s not eczema but didn’t know what it is in English).  She suggested a non dairy formula and I told her I really didn’t want to try soy, but she felt it would be better than dairy.

So off we went to buy the soy version.  You don’t know how hard it is for me to feed my baby formula, it’s just so much not the way I believe that babies should be fed.  (If you’re wondering what I mean, just look at the ingredient list – the top ingredient is some kind of sugar, skim milk powder for the dairy version and then lots of vitamins added in.)   And to give the most nutritionally vulnerable member of our family this stuff…..but his breathing really worried me.  Within three days of the soy formula, his bottom was bleeding, he had red rashy marks on the top of his head and the skin all over his face looked bumpy.  No more soy.

At this point I became determined to build up my milk supply again so that he could have my milk.   I notified my family that this would be my top priority.  I spent an entire day in bed with Yirmiyahu, just nursing, pumping, eating and drinking lots of fenugreek tea (to increase milk production).  I was trying to pump about every 1.5 hours, since I learned that what I had been doing previously (every three or four hours) wasn’t enough.  I continued doing this for the next several days to the best of my ability, working around appointments and the things I needed to do.  And there was hardly any increase in my supply.  At this point my reality and my desire to nurse Yirmiyahu collided and I had to have a very honest talk with myself about what I was capable of.  Back to the dairy formula for lack of a better choice.

Last week I had to take Yirmiyahu for blood work and his pediatrician told me his breathing was worrisome.  I agreed and told her that I planned to switch him to a different milk substitute as per the suggestion of our naturopath.  She became very annoyed and told me for these issues you don’t turn to a naturopath, you go to a doctor.  She then suggested we give Yirmiyahu two different medications daily via an inhaler- one medicine four times a day, one to be given twice a day (one is a steroid).  How long was he supposed to get this until it made a difference, I wanted to know?  She said they were to be given daily the entire winter.

We bought the medications and dh gave it to Yirmiyahu for a couple of days while I was in the hospital with ds13.  When I got home, he told me that he was concerned at the reaction to this that Yirmiyahu seemed to be having.  My strong feeling was is that we need to remove the allergen first and then see if there was still a breathing issue.

And that brings us to today – I began giving Yirmiyahu almond milk and will be observing his reaction for the next week.  I hope that this agrees with him; if I could get raw goat’s milk again I’d go back to it in a second.  Hopefully this is the point where he starts to get better!

Avivah

Weekly menu plan

Friday night – challah, chicken soup, roast chicken, potatoes, squash, roasted carrots, sesame stir fried vegetable, cinnamon buns; Saturday lunch – challah, hummous, beef stew, sesame chicken, kishke, potato kugel, zucchini kugel, sweet potato pie with crumble topping, pepper salad, pomegranate salad, fresh salad, brownies, rugelach

Sunday – lunch – chicken, kugels, salad; dinner – stuffed peppers

Monday – l – chicken lentil stew; d – baked sweet potatoes, salads

Tuesday – l – noodles and cheese sauce; d – Mediterranean white bean soup

Wednesday – l – shepherds pie; d –

Thursday – l – chickpea and sweet potato burgers; d – Mediterranean white bean soup

Friday – l – CORN (clean out fridge night – though it’s not night :))

My weekly vegetable shopping trip didn’t happen at the end of the last week since I took ds to the emergency room instead, so I’m low on some key veggies and out of fruit.  I hope to go shopping before I go back to the hospital so I can get everything stocked back up again.

I didn’t write breakfasts for this week, since it’s usually the same – oatmeal, polenta or eggs.  I’m trying to minimize grains which is why you don’t see many starches other than sweet potatoes or potatoes on the menu.  That means more beans to replace the starches.  As always, the kids take a midmorning snack to school as well as lunch on a few days; fruits and vegetables available for snacks aren’t written in.

Avivah

 

At the hospital…again

Tonight I’m posting from my ds13’s hospital room in Haifa.

We spent hours in the pediatric emergency room, after beginning our day at the pediatrician, being referred to an orthopedist, and then being sent here.  Do you know what tomorrow is?  The end of the world according to the Mayan calendar.  Hence, all the programs on the National Geographic Channel (which is what was showing in the emergency room) were about this.  The rapture, mark of the beast, apocolypse, huge amounts of birds and fish dying in a close geographic range, ten ways the world could come to an end…somewhat interesting but very inappropriate for a children’s waiting room.  I passed my sentiments on to the staff.

We’re here because ds woke up on Shabbos morning with pain in his hip, which got worse within a short time.  It’s pretty intense and it’s constant.  He’s spent all day and night trying to find a comfortable position to sit or lay in, and only gets up to walk if it’s absolutely necessary.  Painkillers dulled the pain but it wasn’t passing and I was concerned about the possibility of infection in his hip joint.

The xrays showed everything was fine with the bone itself and he didn’t have any external signs of infection, but to make a long story short,  the blood work showed an infection so they decided to hospitalize him for treatment.   I’ve spent this week being really concerned and I’m relieved that this will be treated now.

In light of the upcoming apocolypse I should be appreciative for being alive :), and I am glad we have access to good medical care, but I’m honestly getting tired of hospitals.  Prior to moving here, we rarely saw a doctor and had just three emergency room visits for all of the kids together throughout the years.  I’ve been to more doctors than I want to think about, we’ve been to the emergency room at least six times, and that’s not including the four days I was in the hospital after Yirmiyahu was born, the daily visits until he was released from the NICU, or the visits to my mother when she was hospitalized recently for hip replacement surgery.

When we were told to take ds to the emergency room, thanks to my increased familiarity with four area hospitals (five if you count the geriatric hospital my mom went to for rehab) – two in Haifa, one in Tzfat, and one in Nahariya – I was able to quickly decide which one would be best.  Since every time I’ve gone to a new hospital it’s taken time and effort to figure out how to get there, it was a nice side benefit of my past experiences that today I didn’t have to do that.  Since they’re all good, the biggest remaining part of the equation was which was easiest to get to via public transportation so that we can regularly visit him, which is why I chose Haifa.  It’s further from Karmiel than either Tzfat or Nahariya, but there are buses a few times an hour – and for some strange reason, the bus fare is a bit less than the other two cities even though it’s further away.

This is the same hospital that my mother was at for her hip replacement surgery but when I stayed overnight with her, I had a plain plastic chair to sleep on.  In the pediatric department, there are cushioned chairs that fold out into a bed, which is is so much more comfortable!  As of now I’m assuming he’ll be here for Shabbos, so I’ll stay until Friday afternoon when dd16 will come to spend Shabbos here with him.  Even though I wish we didn’t need to be here, I do appreciate being able to spend time with just one child without anything else that I need to do. It’s actually almost relaxing.

The nurse has just come in and said he needs to have another xray (at 9 pm!), so off we go!

Avivah

Don’t give up on your dreams just because it makes others uncomfortable

>>I’m glad you didnt (at least seem) to be upset by my comment. (She’s referring to the comment quoted in the beginning of the post, ‘Am I out of touch with the realities of raising a child with T21?‘)  (The reason I felt bad about what I wrote wasn’t because I took any of it back, but because what was the point? What’s the point in bursting your bubble and trying to get you to look at the negative instead of looking at the world with rose colored glasses.)……I guess that was exactly my issue with your last post- it seemed very much like you were romanticizing it.<<

I’m going to post a response but a private email came in on this in the meantime, and it’s so similar to my perspective that I’d like to quote it here:

>>As for romanticizing kids with special needs I would love to point out to your commenter that everyone else gets to romanticize / have rose colored glasses about their kids, why can’t we have them about ours. The medical community here is working as hard as possible to keep our “expectations” reasonable as are our friends and community.  But they get to have unreasonable expectations of their “typical kids”. !!!  Not every kid is going to be a Dr/Lawyer or even employable. There are plenty of 20 somethings who can’t find themselves…. I don’t think there is any chance that mothers like us have a chance of being too optimistic with all the gloom and doom out there.<<

It’s so interesting to me that some people – I’ll assume they’re all well-meaning – feel the need to make sure I’m ‘realistic’.  I wonder why that is.  Do they really think I don’t have an awareness that there will be difficulties as my baby gets older?  Believe me, I’d know that even without being told! Do they think that I don’t have challenges right now?  I can assure you that I do.  Do they believe I’m harming myself or my family by choosing to find happiness in the life that I have right now?  I can’t see why that would bother them.

Last year my children entered school after homeschooling their entire lives, and shared some of their observations with me.  One dd said that she learned that it’s not considered cool to have a good attitude – she was struck by the pervasive negativity in conversations that she heard taking place every day.  I told her then, it’s not just high school girls – it seems more socially acceptable to grumble and complain, and in some ways seems people prefer it that way.  It’s common and it’s predictable and that makes it comfortable for listeners.      

I don’t talk about my expectations for Yirmiyahu.  Not here (other than my recent comment that we expect him to live an independent and productive life as an adult) and not in real life.  That’s because I’m not interested in hearing that it’s not possible.  When professionals (to date that includes doctors, a social worker, and a physical therapist) have told me about what to expect – even what they intended as encouragement was negative – I’ve kept quiet and nod my head to acknowledge that I hear them.  Then I continue believing that things can be better than their predictions and looking for encouragement from those who are further down the path that I hope to take.  And fortunately, those people do exist!

If you’re going to share your dreams, it has to be with others who can support you, who can believe in what you believe in.  You have to guard your dreams from ‘dream stealers’ – people who for whatever reason will pull you down and tell you it’s for your own good.

A couple of days ago I was finally able to schedule an appointment at the Feuerstein Institute in Jerusalem for an evaluation for Yirmiyahu.  It was so nice to hear someone – who has years of experience working with children with Down syndrome- talk about how bright they are, how capable, about all they can accomplish – and how critical it is to actively and consistently support them to enable them to overcome the challenges that come along with their extra chromosome.  I wasn’t told, ‘It’s nice that you’re so idealistic, but you really should understand all the limitations of a child with Downs.’  Not at all.  What I was told is that belief in our children is a major part of their success.

I’m reminded of a story of a student asked to write his life goals as part of a school assignment.  He got very into it and wrote a detailed plan for the ranch he would own, etc – when it came back, the teacher had given him a failing grade.  She told him, ‘You’re the son of migrant workers- there’s no way you can ever accomplish this.  It’s totally unrealistic.  Rewrite your paper to have goals that are more in line with who you are, and then you’ll be able to get an A.”  The boy took back his paper and said, “You keep your A, and I’ll keep my dream.”  This story was shared years later by a wealthy man living on his own ranch, living out the details he had penned so many years before – the boy who refused to sell his dreams short.

Those who think I’m naive, unrealistic, that I’ll change my tune when my son gets older – I know you mean well and I appreciate your concern.  Nonetheless, you can have your reality and I’ll keep my dreams.

Avivah

A birthday surprise for me

Last night I went out to a womens’ event in the community, feeling somewhat conflicted about leaving the house since ds19 was home and almost everyone was sitting down to dinner together except for a couple of kids who were sick.  It had been a busy day with not having so much time to connect with most of the kids, and I really felt like I was missing out by leaving just when my family was ready to relax together.  But I enjoyed my time out, especially since in the cold weather I haven’t been seeing friends or aquaintances much.

As I was walking home, I noticed my ds10 at the window looking out and waved to him, while wondering why he was still up so late (it was 11 pm), particularly since the next morning school was starting again after the Chanuka vacation. When I opened the door to my house, I understood!  He was set up as the look out person.  :)

The lights were out and as I entered the living room, everyone (ages 10 and up) began singing happy birthday to me!  Dd18 had set up some kind of strobe lights using the computer and put on background music, and they were all wearing party hats and huge smiles.  Dh had drawn a birthday poster, the table was set beautifully (you can’t tell in picture), the computer had been set up to flash strobe lights and play lovely background music – it was very nice and I was very,very surprised – my birthday was a month ago and they did a good job of catching me totally unaware!

With birthday trifle

With birthday trifle

Two of the kids who had been sick but were up and singing, swaying back and forth with their arms linked around each other’s shoulders along with everyone else.  It warms my heart and brings me so much joy when I see all of them together like this.  I don’t expect anything for my birthday but they didn’t want to let it pass without some recognition.  And as far as my earlier conflict about leaving the house, the kids told me how happy they were that I went out so they could plot without me being aware of anything!

Avivah