Monday, December 22, 2014

Tis the Season

To be sick :/. I haven't forgotten you all.  A family that is rarely sick has been non stop sick.  Z tested negative for Strep, Flu and Mono, 10 days on an antibiotic.  A week later nurse calls that Kieran has same symptoms.  That night he wakes with a BAD stomach virus.  That was Friday morning.  He hasn't eaten and began to vomit again this am.  D took him to the ER, he has Strep.  No fever, never complained about his throat.  They have him a shot of an antibiotic, hopefully it is healing him quickly.  

Yesterday I saged the house.  I never did it when we moved in and it is time to get rid of all the negativity surrounding us right now and move in to the new year with a fresh and positive outlook!  

I promise a nice post to follow up on the holidays by the end of the week, if I don't come to ramble sooner!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A sick birthday, Southern Hospitality style

Well, Tuesday night before bed Zoey started to complain that her throat hurt.  She woke Wednesday crying that it hurt so bad and had a low grade fever so I kept her home.  Thursday she was still complaining and stayed home again, but began to perk throughout the day and was asking to return to school Friday, which was her birthday.  Then came Friday morning.  Her throat hurt so badly she couldn't brush her teeth :(. We looked at her throat and it was bright red.  We rarely go to the doctor and all back to school exams were done before we moved so we don't have doctors out this way as of yet.  My poor Princess spent the morning of her 8th birthday at Urgent Care getting her throat and nostrils swabbed and her finger pricked.  The PA said her tonsils were so enlarged they were touching but she tested negative for strep, mono and the flu.  4 hours later we left with a prescription for an antibiotic and called Grandma to come snuggle.

I had emailed Zoey's teacher in the morning before heading out to let her know Zoey would be out again and to please tell her friends we would reschedule her birthday party for after the holidays.  Later on came a text from a local number I didn't recognize with a video attached.  It was Zoey's class singing Happy Birthday and then each student said hi and they missed her, feel better soon, etc!!!!  Mommy was blubbering like a baby!  Later in the day, I got another text that there was a folder with missed class work that would be sent home in Kieran's backpack so Zoey could start catching up.  Well, it wasn't just class work, each studen made Zoey a birthday/get well card!!!  All this love helped Zoey to barely notice that we skipped her party Saturday afternoon.  She just took out her pile of cards and drawings and pretended her friends were with her <3

Presents came early, I felt badly that Daddy missed the opening, but if she had to spend the day sick in bed, she should get to open her presents when she wanted :). Zoey has been asking for Ruthie, and American Girl Doll for quite some time, and was very disappointed when her retirement was announce this past Summer.  Little did she know Mommy had ordered one before they sold out and I have been hiding it for MONTHS.  NOT and easy feat!  

Grandma brought the Our Generation Diner, new at Target and made to fit all 18" dolls.  So much fun packed into one toy!  Tons of tiny play food, neon lights, a working juke box, you name it, it has been played with non-stop for 2 days now!

Two and a half days of medicine under our belt and we are feeling MUCH better.  More of just a bad cold now, no more sore throat.  She is very anxious to get back to school and make up her missed spelling test, catch up with all of her assignments and play with her friends.  As for me, I am just glad she is feeling well enough to do so!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Birthday, Zoey!

I have not fallen off the face of the Earth, I promise!  I was going to write this post last Tuesday after the other, but as most of you who watch the news know, we had a terrible tragedy here in Knoxville involving 2 school buses and I just didn't feel that a post of celebration at that time would be appropriate. The next day I fell prey to the goop the kids like to pass around school, finally, I am feeling human and ready to type once again!

So the Summer between Kindergarten and First Grade, Zoey discovered the amazing world of American Girl dolls.  Our lives have never quite been the same since.  She has sold all her Barbie dolls, saved up all her allowance and bought several dolls on her own.  With her birthday and Hanukkah falling somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is hard for Poppop to be here for all holidays, so a new tradition was begun.  For the past 2 years, we have traveled to Atlanta on Thanksgiving weekend where Poppop treats Zoey to a shopping spree at the American Girl Doll store. Don't worry, Kman gets some fun in at the Lego Store while we are there as well!  If you have never been, it is dolly wonderland for anyone who plays with dolls, used to play with dolls, even those who had sisters that used to play with dolls!

Zoey decided to bring Mia along for the trip, she is the Girl of the Year from 2008.  I had found the matching sweater at a local thrift shop for $2.99 and lucked out on the of the buy/sell/trade groups on the skirt for around $10 with shipping, the Converse were a lucky coincidence.

This year, the Girl of the Year is Isabelle, she attends a special school for the performing arts, she is a ballerina, and much like Zoey, she loves to sew!

We booked an appointment with our favorite personal shopper, Cindy.  It is a free service offered by American Girl.  They show you around the store, teach you the history of each of the dolls, show you what is new, and they hold all your items while you shop so you don't need to walk around a crowded store with everything.  They also have their own register, so no lines at check out, and you get a free gift, usually a poster, a book and a small accessory related to the current Girl of the Year.

Zoey decided on the new Corgi dog, the new horse and some outfits.  Kieran also picked the new Himilayian cat and the holiday outfits for his Bitty Twins.

After we shopped until we dropped, we headed back to the hotel.  We stayed at the Residence Inn Atlanta North Point, right across the parking lot from the mall.  Poppop surprised Zoey with the American Girl suite which came with pink linens and a fold out bed for her doll that we got to keep!

Other cute extras included milk and cookies in the room, plus 2 American Girl movies featured nightly!  We opted for the 7:00 showing of Isabelle, Saige was at 9:00 and it had already been a super big day. There are tables set up for the adults, but the main part of the room is a sea of pink bean bag chairs of various sizes, and complimentary popcorn and pink lemonaid are served.

Zoey has managed to save up enough so we will be taking a (long) day trip on January first to be there for the reveal of the 2015 Girl of the Year.  She is rumored to be named Grace and supposedly travels to Paris on Summer vacation to visit her cousin and opens a cupcake stand.  Since Zoey dreams of Paris and LOVES to cook and bake, this one is a must have for our collection!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Being (kind of) Jewish in the heart of the Bible Belt

I love living in East Tennessee.  Our mountains are amazing, we have the perfect balance of all four seasons and for the most part, the people are some of the friendliest I have ever met.  You will never meet a stranger here.  Everyone is quick to hand you a nice tall glass of iced sweet tea, and then they ask you, "Have you found a Church yet?" Or, "What Church do you attend?"  We usually stutter and give a reply along the lines of, "We haven't found one we like yet."  They always invite us to come by and visit their Church and we always thank them politely.  

I was not raised very religious at all.  I never went to Hebrew school. We celebrated all the major holidays with family, I know the Hanukkah prayers and I had my own Haggadah.  I even had a little plate I made myself for the Passover Seder.  It wasn't until we moved to South Florida when I was 12 that I really ever attended Temple.  I would occasionally attend Friday night services with the next door neighbors, and of course once I approached 13, there was a flood of Bar and Bat Mitzpha invites to attend.  But that was pretty much the extent of my religious upbringing.  

I have ALWAYS loved the holiday season.  I know it upsets people to hear "holidays" rather then "Christmas" but as Hanukkah goes by the Hebrew calendar and Christmas is the same year after year, plus a week later you have New Years and then Three King's Day, it truly is a season full of Holidays, not just one.  As far back as my memory goes, I remember going to my parent's business partner's house on Christmas Eve.  Her kids were teens, much older then I was.  We would go out before dinner, buy a live tree and decorate it, the. The kids would all shuffle back out to the mall and do their shopping last minute, lock themselves in their rooms wrapping while I just stared in pure joy at the twinkling lights and shiny ornaments.  Should Hanukkah overlap with Christmas that year, they always welcomed us to bring our Menorah and light the candles with them.  The flames would dance off the tinsel like Sprites.  These are some of my most fond memories.  Notice there is very little religion on either side.  It is the brightly colored decorations, the excitement, the togetherness, the family, that I love.

When we moved to Knoxville almost 4 years ago, I found not a single roll of Hanukkah wrapping paper.  I finally found light blue with 6 point snowflakes and decided it was close enough.  My mom mailed me candles from FL which somehow managed to get mangled in the mail, so she brought another box when she came up for Zoey's birthday.  For some reason, not that I was somewhere my "religion" wasn't, it called on me to want to find it, I was going to show Knoxville there was more the. Just Christmas.  The following September we were roaming Toys R Us and overheard a family suggesting to their young daughter that she should add the item she had just seen to her Hanukkah list.  These poor unsuspecting souls.  I still apologize to them on a regular basis.  I almost literally jumped on them in the middle of the store and screamed, "Where do you buy Hanukkah wrap?!?!?!?"  They invited us to an open house at their Temple the next day for the start of the Sunday School year.  We went, bought some wrap at the gift shop, Zoey even attended the Sunday school for a while.  We did make a couple of friends, but the Temple was far, and 5-year-olds don't much care for getting up at 7:00 on a Sunday to go to school.  It was then I realized I was there more because I had to prove I could find it, then because I really wanted to be.  We still occasionally visit with our friend who are now with a different Temple, still quite a distance, but I like it there a lot more.  It has more of that homey/family feel.  

Now we live up in the mountains, in G-d's Country.  Both kids are in school this year and every Monday the talk at lunch is what all the others did at Church the day before.  There seems to be 2 main Churches in the area, a Baptist and a Methodist.  Deron was born Methodist, but he is quite far from a religious person today.  Zoey is asking.  Zoey has actually begged.  Her friends learned this about Jesus, and they know that about Jesus and I want to go to Church with them.  I am not going to lie, I have considered taking her.  It would be a great way to meet people as we are new to the area.  But I feel as if I would be deceiving them, meeting under false pretenses.  It leaves me quite torn.

So now the holiday season is upon us.  The Menorah has been cleaned and the tree is up.  I guess we'll just continue this journey as we have been, one day at a time.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Back tracking

Last Tuesday I went to Zoey's class to help with their Thanksgiving party.  Zoey put together a little plate for me, and pulled a crate over to her desk for me to sit with her.  There were MANY other mommies and daddies there, more then I am used to seeing at these events, which made my heart feel happy.  But my favorite part is what I want to share with you.  At the very end, before we all left and the kids headed off to music class, the teacher instructed the students to take out a special Thanksgiving packet they had been working on and to turn to a poem on the last page.  She proceeded to hand out pipe cleaners, and took out several bags, each with a different color bead to put on the pipe cleaner to make a bracelet.  Here is the Thanksgiving Story Bracelet:

With this bracelet you will know (start with a pipe cleaner)
The first Thanksgiving that was long, long ago.
The Pilgrims set sail from far away
On the Mayflower with tall white sails. (place a white bead on the bracelet)
They sailed many days across the ocean blue. (add a blue bead)
The seas were rough, but the ship came through
At last the spotted land so green. (string on a green bead)
They were so happy they cheered and screamed
The first year was so horrid and black. (now a black bead)
Many died and wished they could go back.
But the Native Americans gave them a hand
And helped them survive in the strange new land.
They decided to celebrate in a special way
And that became the first Thanksgiving day.
They prepared a feast with turkey brown (add a brown bead)
And red cranberries that they had found. (time for a red bead)
Yellow corn that they had learned to grow (insert a yellow bead)
And orange pumpkin pies, don't you know! (Last is an orange bead)
But before they ate the turkey and dressing,
They all held hands for a Thanksgiving blessing (twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to make a bracelet)

As everyone placed on their last beads and twisted the bracelet closed, Zoey raised her hand.  When called upon she asked, "May we give our bracelet to someone we are thankful for?"

"Of,course, Zoey, it is your bracelet to do with as you please," her teacher replied.

Zoey turned, took my hand, and placed the bracelet on my wrist.  It took every ounce of strength I had in me not to cry right there in front of all those other mommies and daddies.  Like the Grinch, my heart grew 3 sizes that day <3

Friday, November 28, 2014

I survived!

Fried turkey, homemade mac n cheese, balsamic and bacon Brussels sprouts, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sausage stuffing and crescent rolls.  It was alllllllll delicious.  Kman ate an Easy Mac :/. Everyone else ate and ate and ate some more until we just couldn't eat anymore.

By 5:30 we were still stuffed and bored, so I made an attempt at Target.  24 miles away, where I have only been 3-4 times ever, and requires several one way roads and I have never been in the dark.  I am one of those people where my clocks are always running fast or slow, so my GPS likes to skip steps as well.  After our third circle of the area and missing one last turn and getting back on the highway towards home, I took it as a sign and went there.  I was bummed, Z has been begging for a sewing machine for over a year and there is an offer for a free Isabelle gift through American Girl with the purchase of any Singer machine through November 30th.  Luckily my mind was not completely fried since that was the extent of my Gray Thursday shopping and I thought to check online.  BAM what?!  Done and done with free shipping and 4 Swagbucks for every dollar I spent!  

This afternoon we went and had some lunch and shopping at Bass Pro Shops.  It is Kman's most favorite store!  He played all the games in Santa's Village while Z rode the Merry go round and colored :). Tomorrow we are off for Zoey's early birthday celebration in Atlanta.  American Girl and Lego Store, here we come!!!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


As I sit on my couch surrounded by 8 family members, I reflect on the past year.  All the friends I have made, lessons I have learned, experiences I have been blessed with, make me who I am today and have brought me to this place in my life where I write to you about whatever is on my mind at that particular moment in time.  I am thankful for my loving husband, my awesome kids, my supportive family, my amazing friends and all of you out there in Blogger-land that come to check in on me!  Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!!!