Sunday, December 30, 2012

Almost 3 weeks

Its almost 3 weeks since Mira entered our world -- almost halfway through maternity leave. Aaah!

Quick recap on the past week since my last post;

Really busy end of the week. Fun and maybe a bit too much but it was good to be busy.

Wednesday was my good friend's wedding. It was also miserable out. I also spent two+ hours at the WIC office trying to prove that Ad's income was 'real'. Tough for someone self-employed to prove their income. Oh, and I had Yak with me. Poor bored kid. Thank god they turned on some cartoon. And Mira cried a lot. I nursed her in the office so they didnt have to ask 'do you breast-feed?' In the end, Ad brought my pay-stubs and even though I'm not working anymore, its what we used to qualify. I just did not want to walk out without my checks so i'm glad we stuck it out. But by the time I got home, I was tired, and wondering if i'd have energy for the wedding. After a yummy nap with my baby girl I felt more rested and was a little more in the mood of the wedding. We got a sitter, I pulled out my wedding outfit, jewelry and wig and actually managed to pull myself together and look half decent. As we were about to run out, we discovered the bathroom was locked. And I had to get my makeup from the bathroom. Ad got it opened while I got Mira ready and off we went. On the way I realized I forgot my makeup at home. Gosh. Even someone like me who is two weeks postpartum and not a make-up wearer could not walk into a wedding with no makeup at all. We got to the hall and I went into the ladies bathroom -- thankfully some lady was putting on makeup and she looked really nice and friendly and I asked if i could borrow. She said sure, I put some nice stuff on my face and we ended up chatting and become friends. I went to wish mazel tov feeling a lot prettier. Everyone was amazed that I came and that I looked good and actually did a little bit of dancing. It was nice to be out, doing someting normal and chatting with friends I hadnt seen in a while. I was definitely a little 'out of it' and spacey. Mira also misbehaved for a decent part of the wedding so I spent time comforting her and feeding her. All in all, it was good for me to go and the bride was so happy I came. Everyone had a good laugh at the make-up story and the funniest part of all - on my way out, I checked the diaper bag for Mira's cloth diaper -- and there, sitting innocently on top - was my make-up. Which I had indeed stashed there before leaving. Half a brain, I tell you.

Thursday was the holiday party at work. I had in mind to also do some shopping after. Got a nice lazy start to the day but still did a little tidying up. I showed up at work about 11:20 (party was from 11-12:30). I decided to dress up a bit for the occasion. Happily I fit into this cute short skirt which I matched up with a blue sweater - first non maternity/hoodie top worn since the summer. Black boots, a grey hat and I felt good. I got tooonnns of compliments -- on the baby and how I looked. It felt great to be around my coworkers. I really enjoy being with them and at least going back to work means spending time with people I love. Only 3 kids (out of 11) were in my classroom, so both assistants were downstairs. I ate, chatted, got to participate in a work game and exchanged presents. Mine said 'for the kids so Mom can rest' so I figured I'd let the kids open it later. At a certain point Ad called and told me he had to go into the city yet again so I should work out pickups. I decided instead of having friends pick the kids up, I'd try pickup myself with the narrow inflatable 'Bubble bum' booster I had just gotten that day. After nursing Mira and spending more time with coworkers, I handed in my disability papers to be signed and left. At this point it was close to 2. Kids dismissal was 3. Not enough time to go home. Enough time for one shopping trip. So I did some WIC stuff and it was only 2:20. IN a flash I realized it would absolutly make Shain's week if I actually walked into her classroom with her baby sister. So thats what I did. Found a spot right across from her school, took the baby out of the car and into her school we went. Instantly we were surrounded by a super happy big sister and 15 adorable little girls oohing and ahhing over the baby. It was so adorable. A few kids even knew the baby's name and one little girl kept nudging Shain to tell Mommy what her name was. I guess that this must be the Meira in her class. Shain floated out on cloud nine and we went to get Yak from school. It was tight but we all managed to fit. Part of the issue with the back seat is that I find it way easier to use the infant seat base, instead of strapping the straps through. But that adds extra room to an already tight back. I'm going to order a car seat extender which I hope will help and i dont see the three of us going out THAT often at this point so i think our setup is dealable. I got home with all 3 kids and groceries and brought evertything in and was zonked. I was so glad I had that present which ended up being amazing -- a big sticker thing with cakes for Shain to decorate and an I Spy game for Yak to play with. Really a life saver!! I emailed my director asking who my Secret Santa was -- I wanted to thank her! Made me feel a bit bad tat I just gave a crystal serving platter to my lady. But anyway, it was another busy and productive day. I rested and even gave the kids dinner put them to bed. Go SuperMom!

It was nice to have the weekend at my Mom - the packing is a pain but it was nice to hang out there and not have to do any sort of work or walking around. I rested a lot (and ate a lot!) I had a friend from the Upper West Side visit today with her daughter and it was great, the kids hadnt seen one another for a long time! Always a breath of fresh air to hang out with this friend.

This week is hopefully going to be slower and less busy than last week. And now that I'm a little more 'myself' I hope to accomplish a few simple errands. Get insurance for the baby (shes on mine for first month).  Organize some of the baby's clothing. Organize some of the bigger kids clothing while i'm at it (noticed some stuff getting small on them). We are getting one more awesome week of meals(!) but I have to get some groceries, including some WIC stuff. I hope to have a couple of friends visit this week too and Ad wants us to spend some family time on New Years so I have to think of an easy family activity. Not sure yet about this shabbos. It was so nice by Mommy but I know Ad likes staying home so we'll have to see....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Two weeks postpartum

We're almost 2 weeks AMB (after Meira Baila). I'm definitely on my way to recovery. My body is a lot back to itself, now I'm just dealing with normal fatigue of a new mom. I'm already (gulp!!) a third of my way through Maternity leave. How nuts is that. No clue what i'm doing for babysitting yet, but im working on that next week. Anyway Mira is a pretty good baby. She cries plenty but she nurses well and stays in bed with me at night so its not THAT exhausting. Slowly I'm getting back into doing things like laundry, some basic housework, climbing stairs, etc. This morning Ad had to go in to the city early (so he could park by 8 and get the early bird special) so I actually got both big kids dressed and ready! I had a friend take Yak to school and I actually took Shain to school! It was my first time behind the wheel and its a little adjustment just mentally to sharpen my instincts and focus more. It also took me a bit of time to warm the car up, get Mira ready and pack all her stuff into the car. After dropping off Shain, i went to WIC to get forms and than to my Dr and kids Dr to get stuff filled out. I treated myself to a bagel for brunch and wrote some thank you notes as I ate (third kid so less thank you notes than with the older ones ;) ). Then I went back home and rested while nursing Mira.

This week is definitely going to be busier than last week. As I get more into things I'm going to expect more of myself. I've been pumping every day (hate pumping but gotta get that milk stored and ready) and have been organizing my stuff and putting away maternity and stuff. But I have a bunch of things coming up this week.

To backtrack for a second - sorry brain is all over the place but wanna first write about past few days. We had a very nice and relaxing weekend. Mommy went away for Shabbos so I had my two oldest nieces from Queens come. They are 13 and almost 12 and are major helps. They can take care of babies and big kids, clean up, make salads, etc. I took great care of them and spoiled them when I was the young (rich) single aunt so I have no qualms asking for their help :). I actually love how things come full circle like this and I promised them that one day Shain and Mira (and maybe even Yak) would help them with THEIR kids!

On Sunday a lot of Ad's family was going to an aunt and uncle in Philadelphia. And even though it was a 3 hour drive, they dont keep Kosher (so we'd be bringing our own food) and - oh btw i am 10 days postpartum and have a newborn baby - we were still planning on trying to make the trip. And Ad was fasting until sundown, a Jewish fast. But in the end, there was an issue with their dog -- my kids are afraid of animals especially HUGE dogs like this aunt and uncle have. We asked if they could have the dog in a room or by a neighbor for the few hours wed be there. In response we got told not to come. Not 'hm, that may be hard but we still wanna see you, what can we work out?' But 'Forget it, uncle is going to be too nervous' They are older and never had kids so i get that it was overwhelming for them. And I'm sure it would have been very challenging for us so we were not too disappointed. Its just surprising to get that type of reaction - I was raised that family is THE most important thing in life and you do anything for them. I see my siblings and mom all the time and its so strange to me that others aren't on this same page. But anyway, Ad's mom is coming back in a month to see the baby so hopefully some of his sibs will come then as well. And I'm digressing. The point is we had a very relaxing Sunday instead. My bro and his wife came and we set up like 3-4 football games to play on various TVs and computers in the same room. There were a lot of important games to watch. Ad took kids out in afternoon so the rest of us chilled and watched football :).

We've been getting these awesome dinners every night. My friend set us up on a 'meal train' and we got over 3 weeks of friends and neighbors signing up to make dinner M-Th the past week and the ones coming up. Its so fun to get various different foods, fresh, hot and delivered to our door! And no cleaning up before or after. I really love our community even though I sometimes complain about some aspects of it. When I had my bigger kids, I got a few meals here and there but this is really amazing.

OK, back to my week. Tomorrow is Christmas....we dont celebrate obviously and the kids actually have school. But most adults have off :). Well Ad is taking advantage of no traffic and free Manhattan parking during the week (which happens all of 5 times a year on the Major legal holidays) and is going back to the client he was at today to finish networking stuff. I told him if he has to go again he should go next week on New Years. Anyway bro and SIL are here again and were going out for brunch tomorrow. Yay :). Wednesday I have a WIC appointment in morning. Yak has to come. Sigh. I'll bring him to school late I guess...or maybe pull him out and bring him back? I hope they take Ad's self-employed form as proof as income. They are so the type to give a hard time even though supposedly a supervisor OKed it on the phone. OK, so Wed night we have a wedding. Yay! A close friend of mine who was dating last year and after I knew I was pregnant I said 'You better end up getting married at a time I can come!' So 2 weeks postpartum is not THE best timing but its better than morning of. They were going to get married in Brooklyn but the hurricane messed up the hall and its not back yet so they actually changed the location to a hall in Woodmere, not far from us. We'll prob only go for 4 hours or so. Already booked my kids favorite babysitter. And of course, Mira comes with us so I can feed her and we can get all sorts of compliments on how cute she is :). Hope I'm not too tired to enjoy somewhat but at least we'll make a presence.

Thursday my work is having a party! Usually my work is off the whole Christmas - New Years break. This year, because they missed so many days due to Hurricane, they had to open Wed-Fri of this week. So they are making a big party with music, secret santas and good food. This is pretty big of my work. Usually they just put out some pizza and salad. Its nice they are doing more. And I plan on showing up with baby :). Its 11-12:30 which is perfect. I also have to hand in disability forms to sign and stuff. So that should be fun. And then, after that its Shabbos again! Ad was all like 'lets stay home again' and i'm like 'No way'. I feel like going to Mommy every single Shabbos that shes home until maternity leave finishes! The packing and shlepping is annoying, especially with three kids and a newborn and a small car. And its a lot more back and forth for him. But its soo much easier. As great as Ad is and as great as my nieces were, theres nothing like going to Mommy. She really takes care of me, takes the big kids, takes the baby and puts me to bed, etc. Plus its a small and cozy apt so less going up and down and all around. Its definitely warmer. My house can get a little drafty and her apt is warm and yummy (sometimes too hot i'll admit). And also my Manhattan friends can come visit Sat night or Sunday :). Its way easier for them to visit me there than to shlep all the way to Far Rockaway, especially the ones without cars. I already had one friend visit last time I was there and two more want to visit the next time i'm in. So we'll go and hang out there and if Ad needs to go back and forth a little, he'll survive.

OK, I'm just blabbering now. Glad I got back into writing. I spend most of my day in bed or on a couch (watching something from afar or on my iPad) so its hard to get into typing. But here and there i force myself to sit in a chair and actually do old fashioned web browsing and blog updating and stuff.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Long awaited birth story

On Monday, December 10 I was feeling crampy. I had been feeling contractions for at least a week and it always turned out to be nothing. I'd wake up in the morning and it would be gone so I wasn't sure whether to believe it or not but it did feel somewhat stronger and more real than anything I had felt previously. I wrapped up a few things at work including straightening my desk and doing an observation at my son’s school in his classroom. It was very cute. Got the kids, made it home and rested a little bit. I put up spaghetti and meatballs for dinner which got a little burnt because I was too tired to watch it. I told my mom that I might be needing her later, but I knew she had a few things to take care of in Brooklyn, so I said it's probably not going to be until much later and I might not even need her at all. We lit the menorah, it was the third night of Chanukah, and we ate dinner. The next morning was a bris for a cousin of mine in Brooklyn. I set out nice clothing for the kids and told my cousin we were hoping to make it. I also had my daughters 'Mommy and Me' Channukah party the next morning. I thought that it would be somewhat typical of me to have a baby the day I have something else going on. With both of my other births, I missed a wedding, so a bris and party weren’t too bad to miss should that be happening. I had my mom on reserve for Shain's party in case I couldn't make it.

The night went on I felt the contractions a little bit stronger but still not strong enough to make me believe it was definitely immanent. Mommy kept calling asking ‘should I come now or can I do xyz?’ and I’d tell her she just has to be there over night – just in case. Nothing was happening earlier. I made a list of things I have to take care of including folding laundry, organizing my stuff, packing last minute stuff in my hospital bag, activating my new phone that Ad had gotten me, etc. Slowly but surely I made my way through the list. I even loaded the dishwasher and tidied up the kitchen. I took a nice relaxing bath and spoke to my unborn baby asking if this might be the night and wondering if she would be a girl. I g-chatted with a few friends, telling them I might be in labor but I wasn't hundred percent sure. I timed my contractions - they were getting more consistent, about 10 minutes apart but then they would stop. Ad, who never knew whether to believe my contractions, asked me at one point 'Do you think we're making it to the bris tomorrow' and I said 'No'. He asked 'Do you think we're having the baby by morning?' I thought for a moment, paused, looked right at him and said 'Yes'. That freaked both of us out and Ad decided he was going to get an early night of sleep. I made him sleep in my spot which is near the wall. I told him I would definitely be getting out of bed more often than he would. I wanted to go to sleep early too, but I had to wait for Mommy who ended upcoming a little after 11 o'clock. I warned her that it wasn't for sure happening but I was grateful that she'd be there no matter what. I also showed her where the kids’ lunches, knapsack, clothing and coats were. And to bed I went, wondering if I'd wake up in the morning with no labor or perhaps very active labor....

I woke up a few times during the night, around 1:00, 2:00, 3:00...each time I wondered if it was morning and realizing that it was not. The contractions were definitely getting stronger.  About 3:45 I got into the bath to take the edge off the pain that helped for about 20 minutes I timed my contractions in the tub and they were between 5 and 10 minutes apart. I got dressed and into pajamas at the same time and woke up Ad and I told him ‘This is it, we're going to the hospital.’  Mommy woke up, helped me breathe through a painful contraction and wished me good luck. She gave me a hug and told her to be in touch as soon as anything happens. She made me promise that she’d get a phone call and not just a text (my sister did that oops). I tried reaching the doctor, but when I pressed 6 for an emergency, the first thing that I was told was to call back in 15 minutes if nobody calls me back. I didn't realize I was supposed to stay on the line to get someone. In any case, I figured I’d call again from the car but I have to use Ad's phone because mine still wasn't activated. We left our home about 4:20 in the tranquil silence of the night....I teared up as I told Ad 'We’re leaving our home as parents of 2, god willing, to return as parents of 3'.

And we headed for the hospital. It was the third time we would be going to the hospital in the middle of the night. Pretty cool to see the empty roads that were usually so crowded.  We tried calling the doctor again and got the same message. I held on for a couple of seconds longer but it didn't look like anybody would be picking up the phone so I hung up I figured they'd reach my doctor once we got to the hospital. It was an exciting and magical ride mixed with a couple of very painful contractions. The contrast was pretty interesting. We got there in a very short amount of time, not even twenty minutes. Ad helped me inside and then went to park the car. It was a long wait; well it felt like one anyway, probably took about 5 minutes in reality. I sat in a wheelchair waiting and grimaced through another painful contraction. When the security guard saw my husband he told me 'he's coming!' and then told my husband to hurry up.

Finally we reached the L&D floor... Definitely brought back memories of my other two. I used the bathroom, changed to my gown and got this point it was a little after 5:00 and I was about 6 cm dilated. Always a relief to know I was definitely in labor and able to be admitted. It’s my biggest nightmare that they'll send me home and say ‘Lady, you're only 2 cm dilated’ (although that never happened to me). So I’m definitely admitted and figure I probably have 3-4 hours to go, based on my last birth. Nurse gently asks ‘have you considered an epidural?’ and I’m like ‘I haven’t NOT considered it! Please lets do it!’ But I know how it works, it’s not something that happens instantly. First you have to sign a buncha stuff, then they need to find my vein (always a challenge for some reason), then drip an IV for half hour and finally THEN can I get that much needed pain relief. Good news is that the hospital reached my doctor and he’s on his way. Bad news is contractions are fast and furious. I’m also less able to move into more comfortable positions because I’m on the bed and hooked up to stuff. Ad goes to admit me. At this point, between the IV drip and my active labor, I start shaking uncontrollably. This is besides for the painful contractions. And in between the contractions there is no relief because I know it’s going to start again any second. The nurses, like the last two experiences I had at South Nassau, were just ANGELS. I mean it. It’s such a hard, vulnerable and painful time when things were so out of my control and I almost felt like an animal and they were so reassuring, let me squeeze their hand, kept saying ‘You’re doing great, etc’.  God bless them, especially Caroline and Cindy. I kept looking at the clock and thinking ‘I just have to make it till 6, that’s when ill have enough IV drip and get my epidural’. The minutes went by slowly. At one point the baby’s heart rate went down and they paged a resident. That was very scary for me, they gave me an oxygen mask and I realized how scary this whole birthing process really could be. Was so glad to be in a hospital, being monitored and all. Thank Goodness heart rate picks up. Ad came back and joins in the reassuring choir.

Its almost 6:00. (I’m reassured the anesthesiologist is on his way up. It’s a small hospital and I’m on the 3rd floor, yet it always takes forever for him to come up). Another painful contraction but I just have to get through it because then I’m getting my epidural. But it’s so painful. ‘I can’t do it. I feel like I’m dying’. ‘Yes you can, you’re doing great’. It occurred to me that those awful feelings of giving up are usually right before birth is imminent….could it really be? And suddenly ‘I feel a need to push’. ‘OK, let’s do another internal before the epidural. Lay down…..Oh my I see the head!!’ And all of a sudden things began to move massively fast. I know from last time a whole buncha things get ready when you get to 10 cm….now they were trying incredibly fast to open the lights, prepare the weighing tray, page the covering OB (mine hadn’t made it yet), etc. No one expected me to be ready so quickly, least of all me! The various personnel in the room were all like ‘DON’T PUSH’ which I still don’t get but honestly I didn’t care who was there at this point or how ready anyone was. My body was in pain and telling me that pushing was the appropriate thing so the heck with all of them…I pushed and all of a sudden out came a baby. 

It was so shocking honestly and a bit anticlimactic. Like ‘huh? Already?!’ Usually I’m at 10 for a while and have to push a bunch of times and get all this encouragement till the baby comes out. It was so unexpected I didn’t’ even know how to react….I don’t think anyone did. I took a look and first thought it was a boy and then realized it was all clear there – it was a girl! Just like I had wanted (secretly of course). They had to clean her a bunch but she was alert and cried and she looked absolutely perfect to me. She was 7.7 and 20 inches long. My poor OB showed up a couple of minutes later, scrubbed in, and helped deliver the placenta which took a lot more time to push out. Yay him lol. He mentioned that he was going to change the answering service so people know to wait on the line and not hang up. I hope he still gets paid for my delivery even though the other guy showed up for two minutes and caught the baby (or did he, I’m not even sure). PS: Lenka, below reminded me of something funny - the covering dr's name was put on my card as 'Mother's Doctor' so my OB crossed it out when he came to check on me the next day :)

Recovery was amazing. It was my first time that I didn’t tear and didn’t need stitches and it makes a huge difference in recovering. Not having to push much meant I wasn’t sore. No epidural, just like with Shain who came too fast, although I didn’t noticed a difference with my recovery when I did have the epidural with Yak. I’m still very pro epidurals, ill just have to get there sooner next time! In total, I was in the hospital bed less than an hour. Was walking around soon after, using the bathroom normally, nursing well right away. My body, which so often feels subpar, totally rocked this labor and delivery. And the whole pregnancy. You go body! :P And I guess it’s good to know that some of my nerves work very very well.

The next couple of days were good and quiet. Mommy filled in beautifully at Shains party where she was the center of attention….i think I would have spent my time socializing with other moms, but Bubby really interacted with her. I got some visitors from the immediate family (sister and kids, mom and my family). My kids were excited to see me and their sister – but more excited to push the buttons on my hospital bed and run down the hallways….good thing I had the iPad with me. I ate like a horse (I forgot how hungry nursing makes you!) and asked for a sleeping pill both nights and relaxed a lot with my babe. What a little miracle :) The LC would pop in and I’d roll my eyes…its my third kid! Oh and I finally got my dumb phone activated, I only needed to download google talk on my iPad and spend 50 MINUTES talking to the dumb lady until it worked. And once it started a ton of messages started pouring in…

So that’s it. I am officially a Contemporary Mother of Three. I can’t believe it. Meira Baila (I’ll probably name her Mira here) is so delicious. She doesn’t sleep so well but I nurse her in bed and we get through the night. It’s going to be really hard once I have to go to work. Now I’m taking it one day at a time, slowly getting back into things. Ad has been amazing taking care of the home and bigger kids. I think he’s a little stressed but he’s managing. Were both a little nervous about our finances but we hope to rent out part of our house soon so hopefully that will help. I’ll probably get on WIC so I can at least get formula which ill probably need down the line. My body is recovering normally. Interestingly my hands definitely feel weaker than normal, even though they didn’t really go through any trauma. It’s my first baby in the house, as opposed to our small apartment, so I’m trying to limit my times up and down the stairs and have set up stations with diapers, wipes, clothing, etc on both floors.

I think I am hearing my Meira now…..Meira means ‘light up’ btw, which we thought of because she was born during Chanukah. This has been an insane couple of months; first with the hurricane and losing power and all, then bombs being thrown in Israel and the awful awful incident that took place last Friday…..Life can really get so hard and can be so depressing and difficult sometimes, we could all use a little light to help us get through and remember that good times are ahead. May she, and all of my children, help to bring light to us and anyone else that they meet….

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Its a Girl!

Meira Baila

Our beautiful daughter was born Tuesday morning at 6;06 AM. I really wanted to update earlier but the iPad wouldnt let me and thats all I had in the hospital. So much I want to write but so tired. As Michele pointed out, this blog needs a minor name change :)

I'm a (Contemporary) Mom of Three!

Hope to update and write more details of the birth some time this weekend.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Into month 10

See not everyone can say they are in their 10th month. I'm very special :). Apparently my uterus is so super-cozy that baby just doesn't wanna leave. Cuz this is the third time I've been late. 3 for 3. I had fun looking at my old LJ blog cuz I forgot just how late I was with each. With Shaina I was due Jan 8, she was born on the 12th so 4 days. With Yak, he was due March 15 and I was just 2 days late, on the 17th. Now it looks like baby #3 will probably be the winner as it was due on Dec 6th and we are almost at the 10th with nothing doing. Well I shouldn't say nothing doing. I've been having fake labor on and off for over a week. About a week and a half ago, Ad made some awesome chili. That night I really thought I was in labor and I started to FREAK out. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING was ready. When I woke up and realized that I was not in labor I started making massive lists of things I needed to do to get ready; wrapping things up at work including finishing some reports, meeting a sub, contacting some parents, etc. I started making calls to friends to find out who could take the kids if we'd need to be in the hospital during the day. I started locating and collecting some baby stuff although we don't do every last bit of planning in advance. I kept adding to the lists and checking things off as the days went by with no baby around. I have to say, I'm a lot calmer and more ready now than I was 10 days ago. I even spent those 2 minutes packing that so overly touted 'hospital bag' with stuff that I could easily pack while in labor or have Ad bring if need be.

So am I impatient? Do I want baby out already? Am I going bananas? Hmmmm. I don't think so. Not quite yet. I know that once baby comes along my life will be turning upside down, nights will be taken, boobs will no longer belong to me; new schedules will need to be arranged and my whole life will get a lot more complicated. Thankfully and blessedly and because of the most wonderful reason in the world, but still complicated. So I'm enjoying the peace and quiet, the ability to chill and do nothing at night, to just throw my two kids in the car and go off (cringing imagining the two of them AND the car seat in my tiny little car). When we have the opportunity, Ad and I try to spend some time together and my mom here last night so we went out to celebrate first night of chanukah and perhaps our last pre-baby time with one another.

With every weekend that passes I'm relieved to have gotten through shabbos without worrying about plans. (we've had guests each time just in case). As I said, I keep knocking things off my to do list. My living room corner downstairs looks like a baby center. I even got some fun stuff from this 'city moms' baby shower that I won a ticket to. Slowly but surely I'm tracking down baby stuff i lent out and I'm going through both boys and girls newborn stuff and I am mellllltttting. This stuff is sooo ridiculously cute!! I'm also enjoying Chanukah which started last night and I know things will be crazy once I have the baby. So im glad we had two normal nights so far of lighting the menorah, eating latkes, giving presents, etc. At this point I'd like to hold out til Tuesday when Shain has her 'Mommy and me' Chanukah party. But my mom is on call just in case. Ad is holding out for Wednesday which would be 12/12/12.  Pretty cool :). Now with everying being said, the fact that its Chanukah and I have no clue when the baby is coming or what gender s/he is, it does mess up plans a little. Mommy wants us all to come to her next shabbos but if its a boy, we'll want to be here to make the shalom zachor (special party for the first fri night a boy is born). So everyone will come here although I will hiding in my room and not making a single bed or cooking a single dish. Who knows I might still not have the baby by the weekend! That'll make me like 9 days overdue but its not unheard of! So maybe we'll even go to Manhattan next weekend sans baby.....its better to be closer but its not like its THAT much further to my hospital; maybe an extra 20 minutes. And I generally go to the hospital in the middle of the night so no traffic and there is an awesome car service by mommy that always has cars and gets there in 5 minutes. But all this remains to be seen. I'm guessing that as the week progresses and I don't have the baby, I'll get more and more impatient. I have a fetal monitor coming up Tuesday afternoon which should also shed light on if anything is going on, otherwise Dr will talk about induction which Im not really hoping for.

Me and a bunch of stuff I brought home from that shower
Now as to how I'm feeling physically - well remember that whole post I wrote about how lovely being pregnant with CMT is? Well don't get me wrong, I am still loving the whole pregnancy thing. But its getting a little tough. Switching positions is very hard. Getting out of bed in the morning (or middle of the night as often happens) sends shooting pain in my back and sometimes up my legs. And than theres the fake braxton-hicks contractions that I've been dealing with. So thats a lot of fun. I've been taking baths every night which seem to help. Stairs and bending is really hard. I try to set my expectations low and take things slow. I'm also not sleeping well so that makes things harder during the day. I have been conking out after putting the kids to bed. Oh also my feet totally swelled up. I can only really wear crocs now and these booties that are somewhat big on me. Its possible its CMT related. Who knows. Truth is, I'm just grateful to still be making it and able to get around. Mum with CMT said something so smart to that post that I think about often. As a CMTer I'm so used to my body NOT working for me and messing me up. In a way its kinda awesome that this aspect of me, thank god, has been absolutely wonderful. My ability to conceive, keep and grow a child and carry to full term, and push it out when ready is kinda cool. Even though its so normal, its still great that its something I can do. And all of this while still maintaining a normal life as a mom and working full time -- I get some credit, right?! It does help that I carry small (people dont believe I am overdue they think i'm in my 6th month or something!) My assistants at work have been just wonderful taking care of me, having me sit, etc. I bought them little holiday gifts although we dont usually exchange gifts and hope to give it to them tomorrow.

Will keep you posted if anything is going on!! Sometime this week this CM of Two will god willing become a CM of Three!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Moving ON

I'm a little tired of writing about Sandy. I'm sure you are tired of reading about it. There are still so many people suffering but the community is pulling togehter and really trying to help them out; financially, emotionally, legally, etc. Its going to be OK and we're a stronger, better community when all is said and done. I want to move on and blog about what is going on in my life now, namely a still unborn person who is likely to make an appearance any day now. And causing fun for my already limited body. Or chanukah. or my delicious kids including a little boy who is falling more than I'd like. But I've had these scattered thoughts saved and I need to put them out first before I can talk about anything else. So here goes, some random thoughts about various aspects of living through and after the Hurricane.

First I want to mention how grateful I am. I feel so grateful and happy with life and a hurricane might do that to you. We are so lucky; our home did not get damaged including the basement that we are almost finished working on. Friends that lost basements are having it the hardest cuz insurance barely covers anything. So I am grateful that the only challenges we had to endure were living like nomads for a couple of weeks and a little loss of business for Ad.

Speaking of work, I am grateful that my job was closed for the full two weeks. If I had a job in the city, who knows what I would have done with the kids. They are scrambling to make up days now and are taking away part of Christmas week (doesnt affect me, ill be on matern leave anyway hahaha). but in any case, I am so glad I was able to be there fully and completely for my kids throughout the whole ordeal.

And speaking of kids -- can I just say they are awesome. They are adorable and reselient and fun and adaptive and totally breezed through this whole thing. I know some friends who's kids were going insane from not being at home, sleeping in their beds, having structure, etc. My kids were thrilled as long as there were toys, food and Mommy nearby. I actually really enjoyed my time with them and was continously amazed how OK they were with the whole escapade. Another massive thing I am grateful for; their ages. They are 3 and 4 (1/2). Not too young to need a lot of help and care, not too old to be traumatized or bored. And they had each other. Wherever they went, they just went right into things and played together. Did House. Colored. Shared stuff. They just had one another and it was amazing. A 2 and 5 year old, for example, would have been a lot harder to entertain. They were thrilled with the libarary, pizza store, etc. Everything was fun. The one day that I sent Yak to school and not Shain, she asked where he was and looked a bit unsure of what to do. It ended up being fine cuz we took trains and busses (wow! Seriously she couldnt decide which was more fun!). But im glad that for almost the rest of the time they had one another. And I didnt have to care for an older bored child or a baby. Or- yikes - a newborn.
Which brings me to my next grateful thing; I was not due yet. I think this whole thing would have been sooo much harder if I had a newborn or even if I was due around then. The stress probably would have sent me into labor. So many times I looked at my belly and said 'You are in the best, warmest and most comfy place and are out of everyone's way. Please stay put!' At a couple of points where we thought it would take weeks more to get the power back I imagined having to give birth while living elsewhere or in a dark home. The thought made me cringe. Thank god I am in my warm, lit up, powered home now that my due date is actually here. More gratefulness.

Finally I am so massively grateful to be part of my family, neighborhood and community that pulled through like they did. I had a wonderful place to stay for the whole week and other options when I needed to. When I was home, I felt so taken care of by the community who was constantly offering free food, legal service, other help, etc. I feel so warm and mushy by how people just came through to help one another. Its interesting how the hurricane affected so many people from all different walks of life. Rich, poor, mansion owners, projects dwellers, Irish, Jewish, Catholic, and not religious at all. It did not discriminate with who it hit although some might have a harder time recuperating then others. I feel so lucky and grateful, really and truly to be in an area where people are there and helping each other, even when they are also suffering. 

A couple of more thoughts -
driving post hurricane was surreal. Stop signs were a relief. Big intersections were petrifying. Driving at night was just not an option. There was a massive gas crisis but thankfully my tank was full and stayed ok until the crisis past. There was a police presence everywhere. Something that struck me was this was the first time I could remember that sirens didnt completely freak me out. Usually I see a police car and my heart freezes. Sad to say but they are public enemy #1 when I drive. And its amazing that this whole time they were actually our friend, not the enemy. Not looking to give out tickets or pull people over or lecture. But to help folks get through traffic OK and keep people safe. How refreshing.

Finally on CMT and the storm; it was barely an issue. As I mentioned above the storm affected everyone, no matter what they are and who they are. The stress level was similar for anyone even those with perfect feet. The only time I found it very challenging was the morning after it snowed when I went to my friends house with my laundry. Having to make several trips to the car with the kids, clothing, laundry, etc and dealing with stairs and snow was not fun. But it was OK and I survived. I also got some really awesome astronaut socks that they gave out to keep people warm. And lord knows my feet need to be kept warm in the winter, even though we have heat at home. In fact I'm wearing them right now :).

OK I think i said what I needed to say and can finally move on to other stuff......thats a wrap folks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getting back to normal

The rest of the week:

Gosh. What a bizarre few weeks. Tuesday was the morning after my first night back home and also my first day back at work. Only 5 out of 11 kids showed up and it was a good way to ease back into things. I felt like my life had completely been on pause for the past 2+ weeks and I was only starting to get back to normal. Life also was not completely normal yet. I knew several families that were displaced and lost so much in the hurricane. I think I was finally starting to feel their pain and devestation; my life was on pause, theirs was on backwards mode. Many people had to find temporary, or even permanent, places to live. A friend of mine that was due around this time was staying at her mom in Connecticut. Her apartment was unliveable. I heard she had her baby but not sure where, I have to give her a call. Other friends of ours lives in basement apartments and literally have to start from scratch. People have been amazing about donating things but still, imagine how hard that must be. I feel so sorry for people who have been set back financially, insurance is only going to cover so much. Thank god no one I knew was harmed or killed though we are aware that there were fatalities. But everyone is grateful in one way or another. But many are hurting and feeling very overwhelmed and worried about the future at the same time. I’m not sure if everyone will be able to stay in my community which is sad for some friends and neighbors I have grown to love.

In my own personal world, things were not completely normal either. Although I was grateful to be home with power and cook my own dinner and spend time in my own 4 walls, things were not totally perfect either. Our heat is giving us issues. The first couple of days home we managed with no heat, it was somewhat warm outside. Then it started getting cold. My BIL, who does plumbing and is massively busy now still came by. He is the one who installed the boiler said something wasn’t working quite right. He thinks its due to some work that was going on in our basement (weve been fixing it up into a rental the past couple of months). So at least now its working but you cant leave it on for more than 2-3 hours at a time because it cant regulate. A bigger issue, for me, is that cables are not working which means our phones and Internet is still not working. I am a big Internet gal, that’s how I watch my shows and connect with the world, in the comfort of my own home and PJs. Its hard that I don’t have that option now. I am not a big phone person, but it does help me get through chores and the like and not having it is hard. My cell phone is very old and really limited and not good for long conversations. So I’ve been really kinda down the past couple of nights and have been massively unproductive. I spent a bit of time doing crosswords and finishing albums but more time just playing dumb computer games or flipping through old movies. I managed to do some very basic cleaning and laundry but now I have piles to fold and theres still clothing left on the table from when we were running around from one place to another. I have some bills waiting to be paid. And I just haven’t been doing it. I couldn’t even bring myself to blog offline and transfer the data. I just wanted to do nothing.

I’m allowing myself these few days to veg and be blah. I think its probably a combination of still recovering from the ordeal and not having much access to the outside world. I think as challenging as it was not to be with power, I had something keeping me going and the adrenaline carried me through. Now that the worst is over I’m kinda collapsing and just taking it easy. Sometimes the magnitude of what has exactly happened to myself and so many others I love gets overwhelming to deal with too. I have not stopped eating btw but that’s a story for a different time. As far as no phone / TV / Internet, I think this is something that would be hard for me no matter what. But especially to go from being so socially surrounded by others to so isolated is almost shocking for me. Again, as hard as it was to constantly be a guest and at the mercy of others, there was something very healing and enjoyable about connecting with real human beings, most of whom I’d only be seeing at holiday parties or whatnot. I really got to catch up with and connect with relatives and friends and theres something very soothing and healthy about sitting and drinking a tea with someone and catching up on a random Tuesday weeknight. I think the being with others is something that massively helped me get through all of this. And now, I had nobody. No one online. Noone at home besides for my husband. Some access to people through an old crappy cell phone with limited service. Almost completely isolated. And I am a people person. The contrast has been super tough.  My limited ways to just chill, escape or help me not realize I’m doing chores has been tough. How can I complain, I am warm and at home. Just explaining why its been a little blah. I go to work and just get so happy to be able to surf during my break. For those who think Interent is dumb and a waste of time (which admittedly, it definitely can be) and that we’d all be better off without it, I can attest that its not true. I have no doubt that I’d be more productive and ‘myself’ if I had access.

Ad needs Internet for work, hes having a really hard time without it. He bought this ‘hotspot’ thing which can get you wireless anywhere. It was expensive, $50 for the device and another $50 for the month. But its worth it. So starting late Thursday night we had SOMETHING. It goes slow as heck and is almost pointless for watching shows so im trying to download shows instead.
Because the heat is still on the fritz and because Ad’s friend from a nearby community invited us, we went away for shabbos. Really glad we did even though I would have thought id never want to leave again. But it was nice to be taken care of, not to worry about cooking and cleaning and most importantly not to worry about the heat. Plus we were home since Monday, and as I mentioned, pretty isolated, so it was ok to be with others.

I wanna write some more thoughts on the hurricaine and stuff, hopefully in my next post.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SAHM in Brooklyn

(Or Living as a Refugee part II)

(sorry its been such a long while, ive been without Internet, doing this at work).

So Sunday 11/4 was here. A full week after we left our home, rolling our eyes, expecting to be back any day. Ad went into the area to do work for people. People needed offices moved to locations with power and some residents did have power. It was good he was getting back to work. When you work for yourself and miss a week for weather related crap, its a good quarter of a paycheck down. The plan at that point was for him to come back and sleep with us and the whole family to go back to our area the next day. At that point, both of the kids schools were hoping to open via generators and a good friend of mine who lives not too far said we could come sleep there if needed. So I figured one more day, not bad. I hung out at home with kids taking it easy. Made macaroni and cheese for lunch and cleaned the pot very well so it didnt look like I was messing up their kitchen. I also checked my email and Shains school was not ready for tomorrow. Boo. Oh well. We'll figure out tomorrow later, lets focus on today. What to do with kids.

I checked online and just as I thought, the library that was a couple of avenues away was not only opened on Sunday (most arent) but they had some sort of Kindergarten program going for kids 3-5, perfect for my little ones. I borrowed my cousins double stroller and walked there. When was the last time I walked anywhere? It was tiring but good to get out and walk. The library was stroller friendly, with an elevator and the program was fantastic. Apparently it was the last of a 6 week session so not only was there the usual reading and songs but there was this cute sink-float experiment, a static electricity thing with balloons and a growing thing with beans. PLUS each kid got a book and pencil when leaving and a balloon. Score one for the displaced Lej family! We hung out a little longer at the library. It was not so pleasant as it was super hot and the kids spent most of the time playing with or watching these dumb computers. Why do they need to have it in libraries right near all the boolks?! My cousin ended up joining us with her kids and we went home soon after. There was leftovers for dinner, kids got bathed and put to bed (oh right it was daylight savings so they were exhausted!). Ad came home and we decided to get sushi. We found a new place right down the block that had sushi and had a 50% off deal. Ad went a little nuts and ordered 3 rolls, two of which were expensive! So it ended up being a lot. But these little things made the whole situation more manageable. I also found out that Yak's school wasnt starting the next day either. OK at least neither will be going in....and I guess im sticking around just ONE more day.

Monday 11/5. A friend of mine from Bayswater (R) is staying at her in-laws 11 blocks away. Her big boys didnt have school and thats really rough. They put together a makeshift school in a center somewhere from 10-11:30 and she was going to come visit between then. It was soooo good to see her. Her basement was completely flooded. Ad went to see it and saw a mattress and computer floating around. So sad. It will take a lot longer for life to get back to normal for her. Anyway it was soo nice to see her and commiserate with another refugee, one worse off than we were. Our kids played together for an hour and a half and we decided to meet at library again later.

I decided to treat myself and kids for lunch. I found a place not too far that I thought took credit card. Went in, ordered a nice salad and veggie slice for myself and pizza and fries for kids. Total was $20. I was about to pull out cc when I saw a sign that they only take cash. ATM next door. I dont have cash. My heart started to sink. There was my delicious salad. The guy was asking how did I want the pizza cut. I was STARVING. And I didnt have enough money to pay for it. I started stammering 'can i pay by check?' they said no. What am I going to do. My kids were climbing on the table. I started pulling ones out of my pocketbook The owner asked 'how much do you owe?' I said '10' and he just kinda looked at me like not sure what to tell me. I started tearing up as i said 'I'm not from here. I'm displaced and I thought you took credit card'. And of course once that came out, I just started crying. I'm so bad like that once the tears started. The guy said I should just come pay it later and be brought the food. I saw there just wiping the tears away. My kids seemed oblivious. All the craziness of the last week+ were just catching up and once I start crying forget it. The owner was like 'eat while its hot' which only made me cry more. Eventually I got my act together and enjoyed the food. That was my one sorta breakdown the entire time i was away. The rest of the day was fine, library was more staring at computer and a drop of reading. My aunt made ziti for dinner. Ad brought home some 'relief sandwiches' later. Found out Yak had school next day, Shain still didnt. Fine Ad will bring him in morning and R said shed take him home.

Tuesday 11/6
Hard night of sleep cuz boiler overheated and had to wake up aunt and uncle at 2 AM to fix it. They said it was good cuz prob saved them a broken boiler or maybe even a fire. Sent Yak to school, gave Shain my iPad to watch shows and went back to sleep til 10. Just me and Shain today so figured we could take a train or bus somewhere. Was going to try another library program which started at 1. Took some rice cakes and cheese to go and went to the Q train. One stop to the next station and a bus to the library. It ended up taking way way longer than I thought. Bus took forever to come, didnt get on till almost 1. But I realized as we were riding that Shain didnt need to really go anywhere. As a 'burb girl, we barely ever took trains or busses and unlike the subway from my moms house, this one goes outside! She was in heaven saying 'whee, this is sooo fun!' So I figured just riding it may be enough. I also realized if we rode the bus a bit further, we could take another train to my moms work. That would be fun! The D train station actually had an elevator which added to the fun and my mom was thriilled to see us. We enjoyed her lunch break together while shain colored with highlighter markers. Here are some pics from our day. It was really a lot of fun.

Shain on the train with her baby, Waiting for the bus

Bubby and Shain at her office

On the way back we had to wait a long time for the bus. It was getting cold and Shain was getting impatient. I was massively stressed trying to connect Ad with my friend R who was supposed to bring Yak home but didnt have her cell phone on her. At sons school, they told Ad that she had already left. Ad's phone was low battery and service was spotty so we were texting. In the middle of everything I got insuffecient funds for texting. I have 1000 a month and was due to refill automatically the next day. Usually its more than enough texts but not this month. So Shain is kvetching, its getting cold and I dont know how my son is getting home and I cant reach Ad (he wanted to sleep in the area that night). I'm freaking out. Finally the bus comes and its PACKED. Mommy warned me its usually packed and you cant always make it on. I tried squishing in the back and this mean guy wouldn't let me on. I was like 'I have a little girl with me...'. This other nice lady says 'she's pregnant, let her come on' and somehow I managed to get on. It was very crowded but Shain was a sport. eventually someone even gave me a seat so we both got to sit and stand together. R called to tell me she was waiting for Yak at her moms place. Couldnt reach Ad, had mom text him. called him again and he answered yay! He had already started to drive Yak to Brooklyn but turned around when he heard R was still around. I was masively relieved that they all connected and that we were on our way home.

Got back, went online, refilled my texting and chilled. I had to walk to get Yak from R's in-laws. It was starting to get really cold and i didnt have my winter coat. It was a 12 block walk with stroller and we had done a bunch of walking and stairs earlier. I was getting tired. But i couldnt ask anyone for a ride cuz of the whole gas situaiton. Got to R's in-laws. It was warm and yummy food was cooking. Gave Yak a big hug and we ended up staying for dinner. God bless R's MIL who cooked delicious food and insisted on driving me home. At this point, we once again heard that Yaks school was opened on Wed but not Shains - her school had been flooded so each time they thought they would be ready with generators or whatnot, another issue popped up. We also knew that a Noreaster' was coming our way the next day with winds and snow :(. Just what we needed. I decided I was going to keep Yak home the next day after all the drama of gettging him back, just wasnt worth it. Ad was going to sleep at home but realized it made more sense to come back to a warm, powered up Brooklyn and do work from there the next day. Was really great to see him at night. Oh btw it was also Election Day. I barely even cared.

Wed 11/7
Cold and rainy. So glad Ad and car was around. Couldnt imagine doing trains and buses in this weather. We went to another library but it was a babyish program. i didnt care. It was something to do. We went out for lunch and had a great time eating homemade warm rolls and soup, perfect for a rainy gross day. Came back about 2 and it was starting to snow. So glad to be inside. Gave the kids the tablet and conked out. At this point Shain's school was supposedly DEFINITELY going to be open tomorrow. They were ready and generators working so we were all going to go in THrusday morning. Except. It was now snowing. This was the email we got late Wed night: 'Due to this ridiculous weather and the unsafe road conditions we have made the very difficult decision to close all divisions tomorrow. We are truly sorry.'
Could you just cry for how frustrated these poor principals and school officials must have been? All other local schools were also closing. Remember it still wasnt safe to drive with downed wires and non worknig traffic lights. My sons school was wavering: This was their email.

'We are having a very hard time making a decision about closing school for tomorrow.
The roads now are not great but the weather prediction is for snow to turn to rain by midnight , ending at 2 A.M. Additionally now much of the power that was restored has gone out again, perhaps it would be better for children to be in yeshiva then in a cold dark house.
We will decide tomorrow morning between 6-6:30 A.M.'

I was so touched at how much they were trying to help the kids. So we figured they'd probably both be home another day. And I did another load of laundry but, for yet another day, I didnt pack up and wondered how we were going to spend Thursday.

Thurs 11/8
I check my email around 7ish JUST in case....and Yak has school! It was decent out and I so wanted to just be back in my area already. One of the hardest things of living in Brooklyn was that everyone there was living normally and I was stuck in this crazy funk wondering about the people and places back at home. So when I heard at least one of the kids had school it was the push I needed. I through things into suitcases and hampers and started getting the kids ready. We had a LOT to pack up. Ad had brought computer equipment and I had brought all of our laundry a full week before, adn already washed our stuff twice. Somehow we made it out around 9ish and began driving home. What a good feeling.

Got over the bridge. Beach Channel Drive looked like a war zone. HUGE garbage area in one area. lots of lights and emergency vehicles. still barely any lights but now there were crossing guards helping with traffic which helped. It was so nice to be back in 'Ground Zero' with others going through the same thing as we were. WE dropped Yak at school and went home. My eyes were tearing up as we got inside. The house looked so innocent and like nothing was going on. I wish we could just stay there. Shain was happy to play. I unloaded and arranged laundry. Dug out my winter coat and the kids hats, scarves and gloves and boots (it was in the 60s the rest of the weekend of course). We went to get my car from mechanic. Gulp, over $500. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Chabad center where they had delicious food, wifi, warmth, kids activities, etc. Chanie W who runs it was so nice and inviting, telling everyone to eat and make themselves at home. The food kept switching for each meal. She made sure the table was nice and clean, telling one of the volunteers 'this is someone's home, would you want to eat on a table like this?'.  We left to go to the OB.and thats all anyoen talked about. My OBs home and other office got flooded. Its amazing how far this affected people; folks from so many of the different areas of Long Island were affected just as much as the Rockaways. As I mentioned above, just good to be with others who arent going about their daily lives normally. In between talking about generators and flood insurance, the doctor assured me that 'babys heartbeat sounds good' and 'strep culture was done'. When I was told to make another appoinment in a week, it hit me that I was officially in my ninth month. When did that happen?! I was so busy running around I almost forgot I was pregnant at all! After I picked up Yak, I decided to go back to Chabad and that I didnt want to go back to Brooiklyn or to my mom in Manhattan. I wanted to stay put with my people and let the kids both go to school tomorrow, even though it was a short day. Chabad ended up having a ridiculous amount of good food for dinner and I then crashed at a friends house. Ad didnt want to come and roughed it at home. I ended up sleeping in the family room of this friend, kids shared a big mattress and I slept on the couch. There was a bed in an extra room down the hall but I didnt want Shain to freak out when she didnt see me there the next morning. So I didnt get the best night of sleep but it was worth knowing the kids were happy.

Friday, Saturday, 11/9-10
Good to be going back to Mommy and I looked forward to catching up on some R & R. Interstingly even though I had no work for two weeks, I still found myself exhausted and barely able to do anything. I just kinda got through each day without doing much more. On the way to Mommy, I commented to Ad that we were coming full circle -- almost 2 weeks ago we were driving this very route laughing at the fact that we had to evacuate...felt like so much longer than just weeks but also felt like a big funk and not two full weeks.

Shabbos was nice. My brother and I got into a whole arguement of whether I was allowed to feel sorry for myself because, in essence, I didnt lose anything. Just misplaced and uncomfortable but its a temporary inconvenience. Whatever, everyone besides him empathized and agreed that it was a tough sitch to be in. And I wasnt moaning and groaning, just feeling a little sorry for myself. I was grateful for many things, and I tried to keep reminding myself but it was OK to be real about the challenges of constantly being on the move. At this point, noone really knew when power was coming on and we were even hearing rumors of 2-4 weeks....well into when baby is due!!! I hoped it wasnt true. Sat nite Ad and I went out to Tiberias. We both love that place, modern but cozy and warm. We truly enjoyed it.

Sunday 11/11 - I told Ad he could go home. My nieces were making my sister and BIL an anniversary party for dinner in Queens, so I figured we'd sleep there. ITs crowded (3 BR for their family of 8) but one night was doable. Then, I heard some great news. My work had power on and parts of my area were getting power back!! maybe even by today!! Also heard on the radio that by Tuesday at midnight, 99% of our area should have power. So exciting!  Spent the day with mom and SIL. Went to a chinese auction but the kids were bored besides for making cookies which we left at my sister by mistake. The party was adorable, my nieces are so good at this stuff. As the day was progressing without good news from my block, I staretd getting disappointed. I really was hoping to sleep at home :(. Oh well, i dug out PJs and clothing for next day and we slept at my sister. I swear there were 7 kids in one bedroom. My kids loved it but they did not get a lot of sleep that night.

Mon 11/12 - Dropped kids off at school, despite 'observed' Veterans Day. I had a meeting at 10. Went home still no power :(. WEnt to work, might as well. Internet is down there. So good to see my coworkers. Hugs and stories were exchanged and we called parents to tell them that there was school the next day. Before I picked up kids, went home again. still no power :(. It seemed like the rest of the neighborhood had. Yaks morah said he wasnt himself and was fallng asleep. Not surprised. It was a very nice day out so I decided that we could just hang out at home until the last possible minute. Which we did. It was so nice to hang out at home. I put on shower to get steam in and the oven to get extra warmth in kitchen. I rested on couch in playroom and dreamed of lights working. I, once again, packed up clothing for the night and next day and decided to head to a kind friend who offered her place. 4:30 started getting dark so I knew we had to leave already. I saw some LIPA trucks on my block and figured I'd ask them if anything was new on my way back. Headed to the local YI where they were serving supper for the last time.  Would rather not bother the kind friend for dinner besides for lodging. Supper wasnt there yet. So i decided to just go to my friend. ON way there, passed my block, figured I'd ask the LIPA guys. I saw a light on my block and figured it was my neighbors with generators. Then I looked again.

It was coming from my house. The playroom lights were shining through the window and the outdoor lights of my very own house were on. Cue Christmas music. THe street lights were starting to come on, one at a time. I pulled into the driveway and started to cry. 'Guys do you see that?!' They were confused why I was crying. I just could not believe my eyes. This nightmare was finally starting to come to an end. I went back to YI were dinner had come, and ate it heartily surrounded my neighbors and friends, so grateful to be going home later. THe kids were NOT happy that they werent going to a friends house and they complained but i didnt care. I brought them inside and went around switching lights on and off, jumping up and down each time. Gave them a bath and through them right into bed. The heat wasnt on yet but it was OK. They both fell FAST asleep and slept 13 hours straight, for all their partying, they also needed their beds.

At this point the phones, internet and heat was not working. But the power was on. And we, for the moment, were not displaced and were back in our very own home. And nothing could be better.

TBC - rest of the week, thoughts on the whole experience and how I recuperated.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Living as a refugee

I'm tired. I dont have energy to write coherently and organized but i want to put my thoughts down, so bear with me. I have been living as a refugee the past 10 days. Its ridiculous. People who live at home with power and lights and heat, appreciate it!

Ill start the timeline from last weekend, Oct 27. It was a gorgeous shabbos. we all commented how this was the 'calm before the storm'. I had lots of sleepover company and some guests for lunch. It was a calm and enjoyable day. We had kinda talked at work that day about the 'what ifs' of Hurricane Sandy and stuff but the truth is we were all poo-pooing it. Remember, Irene had come just 14 months before with a lot of hoopla and very little damage. So we werent too concerned.

Sunday 10/28, I decided to take my kids to a free science museum (if you get there by 11). I figured there was a chance i'd be stuck at home monday and maybe even tuesday if it was reeally bad, so lets give the kids a fun time. we had a super time there.

At abut noon, I started getting calls and texts from my brother and mom 'Are you in Zone A?' 'come to the Lower East Side'. My bro and SIL were there anyway. And apparently the mayor was calling for us to evacuate, just like by Irene. School was already cancelled for tomorrw. I called Ad and asked if we were indeed supposed to leave. FIrst he thought no, then realized yes. OK, so I left museum after lunch and came home. Packed for two days and figured it was more than enough, we would be back by Monday or Tuesday the latest after the non storm. Packed a bunch of leftovers, got to Mommy about 4:30 and enjoyed the rest of the night in good spirits. Kinda fun to be forced to spend family time on a random October night. Even a little exciting. Thought about going to get some food but it seems most places were taking these warning seriously and were closed. So glad I wasnt due yet, was just imaginging how awful it would be if I was.

Monday 10/29 - it was windy and rainy but not TOO bad. We kinda felt like school didnt HAVE to be cancelled but ok it was. As the day progressed the winds picked up. Mom doesnt have wi-fi so I walked a block away to see if I could get it elsewhere on my tablet. I ended up deciding it was too rainy and windy but I passed an opened $.99 store and bought the kids coloring books and each their own box of crayons. It ended up being a great thing cuz they used it very often. Its getting later and we can really hear the winds howling. We felt safe cuz it was in an apt buildling. Ad calls it 'Helms Deep'. Shaain needed a change of scenery so we walked through the buildling and hung out in the laundry room where we found We watched some of the coverage and realized it was pretty bad in some places. I also finally got brave enough to borrow wifi from a neighbor and got back onlne. Ahhhh. GOod to be connected again. I also started seeing some freaky pictures of what was all going down back in our hometown of Far Rockaway. OMG. Good thing we evacuated. A street in my neighborhood and my daughters school:

My kids were having a hard time sleeping cuz of the noise. The building and Facbook people and the radio were warning that we might lose power. We didnt really believe it but halfheartedly looked for some flashlights and battery operated radios (and batteries), coming up with the former but not really the latter. And about 8:30, all power went off adn we were like 'ohhhhh' altogether. Shaina cried and we comforted her. We lit candles, put on flashlights and started to look again for a radio and/or batteries, this time with more ernestness. My husband and SIL were laughing at us as myself, mom and brother scrambled here and there searching. We needed SOME sort of connection. Mommy found a big radio that took 6 D batteries and she started emptying out flashlight batteries but it wuldnt work. Finally brother borrowed 4 new batteries from a neighbor in a different section (which meant going up and down in pitch black stairwell). Mommy put it in, played around and voila! Noise from the radio!! What a releif to feel connected again and we sat there for at least an hour just listening to what we were realizing was a really bad situation.

Tuesday 10/30 dawned pretty nice. Storm was over. Great. Ad was itching to get out of there. He wanted to go home and check out the situation. Like right then. I wasnt ready, told him to go ahead and maybe wed come back later. I needed time to pack and regroup and stuff. But one thing was clear. Between not having any more clothing and being in a fortress that was 5 flights high without power or water (oh did I mention that, they go off together in her building), there was no point in staying much longer. We made some lunch on the stovetop and the kids colored as I tried to reach Ad numerous times. It was very challenging because service was spotty and the batteries were running low. At 3 or so I figured if I didnt hear from him i might try to go to Brooklyn or something with my mother where they had electricity. I finally heard from him like 3:30. He told me that a lot of homes had flooded basement as did our synagouge but our home was thankfully dry and untouched. 

There was no power anywhere in the area but we did have water, both hot and cold. i told him to come get me and packed up while we waited. Finally he came. We went down and saw the supermarket across the street had a line to get in. They were letting one person at a time. i didnt see the point of shopping without a refrigerator. 
Driving home was a relief. Jut to get air. It was also bizarre, especially as we got closer to the roads to our home. No lights anywhere, including traffic lights. Very scary. Cars abandoned in streets - cuz of no gas? Worry about flooding? Trees down all over. We got home, lit candles and put on flashlights and made some chicken nuggets for dinner. Our old oven is on gas and worked great. After kids went to bed, Ad and I watched a movie on a netbook that has a long battery life. It was challenging but doable. 

Wed, 10/31. I cant begin to tell you how much we appreciate morning and the sunlight. We can do things!! Lots of it! Without any help! I took hot shower which was great, gave kids cereal and finished the milk. Delicious coffee. Yay for running water even if we had to boil it in a pot instead of our urn. Surprisingly fridge and freezer stuff was decent. I put some stuff in freezer that i wanted to keep fresh. Did a little cleaning. Kids were happy to be home and played beatifully. Ad was called to do some computer work at a community center about 10 minutes away. They were up and running and from the first block in the greater area to get power back already. They were offering hot food and a place to recharge. Ad was there since 10, I only came about 2ish. Didnt realize what was going on cuz email was down, otherwise for sure would have came earlier. There was really good food and places for kids to play, videos, etc. I recharged my ipad and phone and felt so good to be able to surf again. Surfing and being connected further made me realize what a crazy situation it was. boardwalks and homes were washed away. Tons of people homeless. Fires burned down some homes not too far from us. People had died from trees and drowning. Manhattan, the metropolis of the world was not enterable from most bridges and tunnels which shut down train systems as well. At least on the lower end, there was no getting in or out and no power. HOV rules were being enacted. I was glad i was no longer there. Some pics for those who havent seen any:

Anyway, We left the warm lit center at 4:30 to get home before dark. Both wanted to refill our cars with gas and knew it wouldt be too easy. Thankfully it wasnt too hard either as we only had to go to three gas stations and wait for about 10 minutes at the last one. Only in the days to come did we realize how ridiculously dire the gas situation was and still is. Still the whole thing took time and it was getting dark as we were going home. My car also hit something at some point and was making a very funny sound. I was glad kids were with Ad. I slowly made my way home. It was one of the scariest rides of my life. getting dark, scraping noise and no lights once we entered our community. It was hard to see everyone crossing the streets and the last intersection before my house was big and petrifying. Thanfully I made it but boy was it scary. I threw together 'hurricane meatballs' (mixed random sauces that i needed to finish up) and rice and put kids to bed. Since the little netbook was charged we got to watch two movies. Not much else to do in the dark. That night I started getting tired of not having electricity. I also was very scared overnight, kept thinking I was hearing looters. I knew there were patrolers around but still I kept thinking my neighbors broken fence was someone breaking in. I resolved to go to brooklyn the next day.

Thursday 11/1. Somehow it was November. Yay. morning again! Time to be productive! I cleaned some more, confirmed with my aunt in brooklyn that we could come for shabbos and started packing. Im definitely more productive when there are basically zero distractions to slow me down. It was 60+ hours that we were living without power. Not so fun. Ad went back to center with my cell phone to charge it, it was nearly dead. so no way to reach anyone at all. Yikes. It was a relief to leave at about 4:30. I brought ALL my laundry besides for towels. Ad thought I was nuts. I knew i was smart. Who knew when i'd have a chance again and how long I'd be in Brooklyn. The drive in was nuts. We drove half the way with no traffic lights. All the way up the Rockaway Peninsula. Actually went pretty fast because we were on the main road. Saw army trucks coming the other way. Saw a bunch of torn down gates by the water and debris all over. It was such a relief to get to Brooklyn and have power once again. I did lots of laundry THursday night but didnt fold it. Some other people from my area were staying there too and it was a bit tight cuz they were in basement with us. Thankfully they were leaving for Shabbos. Bro and SIL came as well, nice to see them again. They had to leave car on LES cuz no gas and came by public transportation.

Friday and Shabbos 11/2-3. Good to have a normal morning. Folded laundry. Aunt and Uncle have a huge 2-family home that they converted into a big one family. Cousins live on top floor with 5 kids, they live on bottom. Each floor has 3 bedrooms. Basement has two newly added small bedrooms plus a small main area to play. Took kids out for pizza. lots of people around for shabbos. My family and bro and SIL staying in basement. Cousin from Lakewood has no power and are staying on first floor along with single cousin who lost power in his dorm. TOp floor also has cousin's sister and her 3 kids from Elizabeth, no power either. Anyway both floors had full meals and it was a lot of fun, maybe just a tad overwhelming to be with so many othyer people. Saturday nite a bunch of us went out to Cafe Hadar. Why not. Kids are sleeping and there is babysitting at home, might as well take advantage. I'm realizing these little things are keeping us sane throughout this whole ordeal. At this point, while people were finding out that power was going back all over Jersey (my mom had gotten it back before Shabbos), we were getting news it would probably take weeks longer. Weeks. Like as in the week we just completed. its easy to stay upbeat and happy and positive for a few days or a week. Longer than that it can get near impossible. :(

** Tired and so happy that Ad is home, he told me he'd be staying home tonight but he came in the end. So i'll continue this tomorrow. We're up to week 2 of ordeal, sunday 11/4.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

busy sunday

** way harder than it should be to find free wifi in Manhattan....finally on a Starbucks during break. Crazy day but going well. this is typed up last night **

October 20, 2012
i'm here at my moms place after a very enjoyable and relaxing Shabbos. We spent some quality time together and some relatives were visitng from out of the area so we got to see them too. THis post will either get posted or not. Mommy does not have Internet access, crazy as it sounds, so I have less distractions and can just type but not sure if I'll be able to post anywhere. Ad went home right after Shabbos and left me with this cute little netbook so I can entertain myself. So its just me and the kids for right now and I'm excited for my super busy day tomorrow.
FOr those who dont know, Sunday is usually a slow day for me. I do the single Mom thing as Ad works (for himself but customers need him on weekends and its a good day for him to get thisngs done). So I usually either hang out with the kids at home and do laundry / cleaning / errands or sometimes I take the kids places. But I generally dont have much going on on Sundays.  The past few Sundays have basically been eaten up by holidays so in a way this is my first real free Sunday in a long time.

And as luck would have it, two pretty amazing things are going on tomorrow - events that Id normally be thrilled to just do one of and I couldnt believe they were taking place the same day. I'm going to try and swing both, they are both that important and that infrequently taking place.

The first is a full day course in a topic I am very interested in - its basically bridging two very succsesful and proven methods to deal with special needs kids, especially with autism. I won't bore you with details, if you are not in th e feild, it probably won't be too meaningful. But they offer this full day course once a year and I really believe in the 'Floortime'/DIR method as a method for helping really ANY kids, not just kids on the spectrum. THere was a time I wanted to get more certified and knowledgeable in this area and was even willing to travel to get certified, I believed in it that much. But school didnt always have funding and I didnt want to pay out of pocket. A couple of years back, the guy in charge of the Floortime technique died and it split into two different tracks, one of which was right in New Jersey. Last year they offered a similar course, but again, no funding. We found in the summer that they are offering this course again in October and my work has funding. Yay! Myself and two coworkers who are as interested as me in this topic signed up right away. 'It's months away and I'll figure out what to do with the kids as it gets closer'. And then I pushed it to the back of my mind.

Then a few weeks ago, we heard really exciting news. Bernadette is an awesome CMT gal who actually produced a movie about CMT. I met her mid-production at one CMT event and actually spoke at a question-answer thing, not sure if its on the video or not. Anyway, after years of hard work, it was finished and produced several months back. I really wanted to see it but couldnt make it to Philly for the opening. So a month or so ago we found out that Bernadettes film would be playing at a film festival right here in NYC!! Amazing! I saw that it was over a weekend and my first thought was 'I hope its not Friday nite or Saturday' (shabbos for me). It wasnt, it would be shown on a Sunday! Yay! So I went about trying to figure out who I could take and who would want to go with me. This one was busy, that one couldnt commit so early, the next one needed to watch his football games on Sunday. Sigh. By the time I turned around, two sessions had already been booked. I emailed the guy in charge and found out that there would be one more showing at 4:15! Yay! And not only that but my good online friend who I had yet to meet, Michele, said she bought a bunch of tickets! I asked Ad if he might be interested in taking off time from his busy day and joining and he said 'sure'. Great, I had a partner to go with and a chance to meet Michele and see the film, so I booked the two tickets and was set.

I looked at the date and was like 'why is that so familiar?'. After a quick search in my email, I noticed it was the same date as my conference. At first I was really upset. And I thought I guess id just cancel the conference. After a little more thinking, I realized I may just be able to swing both. Some thoughts that came to me were:  1) They are bothg in Midtown, one at 34th and 7th and one at 44th between 8th and 9th. Easy enough to get to both. 2) The kids are already taken care of (at that point I had enlisted my Moms babysitting services). 3) Its a good thing I didnt get one of the earlier movies - the 4:15 could work out. I checked the program and it would mean just missing one parent presentation and a question answer session. So I think it could work out.

And here I am, typing in the wee hours Sat nite / Sun morning. Need to be up in 6-7 hours to get ready for my busy day. I hope I can upload this at the conference if I get there early enough. So pumped to learn and question and than meet and greet and learn some more. I'm a drop nervouse that the film will be somewhat depressing as its mainly about Bernadette and I know shes very badly affected by the disease. HOpefully it wont be all negative and the good will far outweigh any bad.

Hope this goes up sometime during the day! Cant wait!