The Ferraris

Romper Room at Jess’

One on my favorite things about visiting Florida is getting to see the Ferraris. I have been friends with Jessica since my freshman year high school. We have many memories together, but none is more dear to me than when she married Adam and I in a beautiful, musical, joyful ceremony on the beach at sunset.

Me & Jess

Miraculously we have managed to have kids around the same time. Her oldest is Ben’s age. Her youngest is only 4 months older than the twins. Visiting her house is like an oasis in the dessert of tshatshkes that fill both my parents houses.

Jessica’s parents, Byron and Ann Turnoff with Sadie and Eliana

It’s hilarious to watch the older kids interact. They sat at the kids table, telling butt jokes. Sadie made googlie eyes at Jack. Ben made googlie eyes at Sadie. It was a little love triangle that I fear will repeat itself many times over the next 15 years.

Collaborative Lego building.

It’s adults only tonight for New Year’s at the Ferraris. After the babies woke us up all night last night, I hope Adam and I can make it to midnight!

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Family Party

Friday night Dad had family over to his house for a bit of a reunion. Irwin, Dawn, Shea, the Wightmans, Auntie Doris, Uncle David and Carol, Julian and Alex, Dad’s long time friend Jeffery Small, Dad’s wife’s daughter Tamara and her four kids, and an interesting couple who live across the street from Dad. The wife was a TV producer and the husband a ship captain.

We were late. It seems like if you try to respect both of the twins naps like we did Friday, it doesn’t leave much time to be outside the hotel. We also shamelessly brought loads of laundry by. It was easy to do during the party, though. With so many people playing with all our kids, I could easily launder up and hold a glass of wine as well.

Jeffery has 6 grand kids and is a natural with the twins.

Lovely as it is to see family, I couldn’t help but walk away feeling so lucky for the life I have. Job loss, impending spousal death, and money problems were some of the things people were having to deal with. At one point, while talking to someone about how much laundry we have, we were asked if we had a laundry machine in our house. In our little circle of friends laundry machines is a given!

It wasn’t all bad news, there was also college acceptance, new jobs, and new family members. And there was always the warm fuzzies I get when I see family.

Every day Ben sings the Hanukkah blessing. He has made the connect between the blessing on the candles and new toys. Since we’ve been here, our boys have been spoiled with toys, candy and money. I think Ben is confused and believes it’s still Hanukkah!

Whoopsie Cushions are fun for all ages!

Uncle David was a delight for our kids. All the Devenskys are good with our kids at any age, but Uncle David always stands out as a star when we see him. He got Jack wonderful, old school presents that any naughty 5 year old would receive with glee. A whoopie cushion and surprise snake in a can of peanuts kept Jack occupied for ages. He even had the twins giggling together over a bouncy ball.

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A Helpful Family

Yesterday Adam spent some time in the local office here while I spent some time with my family.

Mom, Lara and her kids + Me and my kids all headed down to the dim sum place Mom frequents.

dim sum

I’m very lucky to have such a helpful family. This trip would not be possible without them. Mom and Lara took turns holding and feeding babies while Clay and Brandy entertained the older kids. At one point I noticed Jack and Ben poking Clay with chopsticks, but he didn’t seem too upset.

There was the usual fight over the bill. Lara distracted Mom while I slipped the hostess our credit cards. I knew Mom disappeared for a while with a baby, I’m sure she slipped our waiter another card because she’s not that subtle. Later when he was serving us, she was winking at him and grabbing his shoulder. He turned to her and said, “Don’t touch Chinese people about the shoulder. It’s bad luck.”

Not sure if that’s true or if he just didn’t appreciate being felt up by my Mom. Either way it wasn’t so upsetting to him to take her credit card over ours. One win for Mom, but Lara and I aren’t through yet.

Later we headed over to my father’s house. He had arranged for some of my Aunt Doris’ friends to come to dinner to see both our family and Lara’s.

Adam got back from work before the party and took Jack for a swim. While he did that I tried walking the twins around in the stroller. They slept their second nap in the car. As they get older, this gets harder to do. Aaron ended up with a short 20 minute nap and was exhausted all afternoon.

Real Men

Victor brought his homemade salsa and made margaritas for all. Dad put on an impressive spread. Jack and Ben ran around with Victor and Rhonda’s three sons, Victor, Waukeen and Alex. People held babies, Adam, Aunt Doris, Dee, but no one was more helpful than Lara. She volunteered her kids for babysitting Ben when he fell asleep in the car. She walked Ben and Aaron around the block. And so much more…

Double hold. Seriously, could she be more helpful?

Brother in laws

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The Beach on Boxing Day

Yesterday I scrolled though facebook and noticed that it has finally started snowing this winter in Chicago. While the kids would probably be upset if they knew they were missing their first chance to go sledding this year, I couldn’t be happier to be doing this instead…

Picnic with Bob’s Pizza. Reminds me of the good old days at Deerfield Beach

We were joined my sister and her family…

I was so happy to see Lara!

Also my friend Gina, her sister Natalie and Natalie’s son Joey joined…

And Gina!!!

We left the twins in the hotel with Japo so we could fully enjoy this day with the older boys. Cousins Clay and Brandy took turns playing with them, as did Adam…

Burying Ben in the sand

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Christmas

Japo is happy to see the kids

My mother’s Christmas tradition is to spend the day at Uncle Tony and Aunt Nenoy’s. If we are in town, we join her there.

It’s always an interesting mix. My mother is full Chinese, born and raised in Jamaica. People always find it an odd combination when I tell them this. But it’s actually not that odd to Jamaicans. In fact, Chinese in Jamaica are so prevalent that taxi drivers have nicknamed them. When you get out of the airport, they will yell, “Mrs. Chin, Mrs. Chin, you want a ride?”

Majong

Uncle Tony is Chinese from Jamaica and Aunt Nenoy is Chinese from Asia. I love to see the dichotomy it brings.  They will serve sorrel, a Jamaican Christmas drink of rum, sorrel leaves, sugar, ginger and cinnamon. It tastes kind of like mulled wine without the tart taste that the wine adds. Next to the table with sorrel is the majong table.

Dinner includes the Jamaican rice and peas dish, which is really rice and kidney beans cooked in coconut milk. A Jamaican staple. Right next to it the Chinese staple at every meal, white rice. Jerk Chicken sidles up next to Singpore noodles in a harmonious blend.

The White Elephant Game

Every year they play the white elephant game. You know the game, where everyone brings a gift, you pick a number, then you get to open a gift or steal from someone who already has a gift. Mom brought three gifts, one for her, one for Jack and one for Ben. Ben fell asleep in the car over and missed the fun, but Jack took his number and surprisingly opened a perfect gift for him. Avengers puzzle, glow stick, and disguistingly sticky superman gummy. He opened a back and neck massager for his Japo and pencils, puzzles, dominos and coloring book for himself.

Disgustingly Sticky Superman Gummy

Everyone was super helpful watching our brood of kids. With my hands free I ended up eating three platefuls of dinner and grazing the dessert table even more. So good, so good.

Is that purple or fuchsia?

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Trip to Florida

I know it’s going to make us sound crazy. Attempting a plane ride, car rental and hotel for our family of so many small children. The combined age of all four kids is only 9!

The text messages back and forth from my friend Jessica had me thinking that way. She is a mom of 2 girls, who recently travelled to Chicago with her husband and kids. She wrote after her own plane ride, “Please tell me you and Adam have another adult traveling with you.”

Luggage for 6, minus 2 strollers

No we didn’t. I was wondering if we would be seen with pity, awe, or distain from our fellow travellers. Perhaps it was the holiday spirit but everyone was super nice. About ten times in the airport someone said, “You really have your hands full.”

How we looked in the airport

Yes we did! Not just our hands but our backs, our chests carried a babies as well. Jack pushed Ben in a stroller.

The logistics were pretty intense. Two days of packing, our sitter had to drive us to the airport where we curb checked the bags.

Santa makes a random appearance on the tarmac

The plane ride went remarkably well, thanks to the world of electronics! Both Jack and Ben stayed in their seats watching their movies and getting plowed with snacks. Adam and I juggled the twins.

On the way out of the airport we needed two carts to get our stuff to the rental car shuttle, then another two to get us to the counter.

Nothing better than arriving in South Florida. There are things that you can only see here. Like the woman with an exploding muffin top, skinny jeans, a see through lace white top and florescent blue bra underneath.

Since the flight was delayed, by the time we got to the hotel, 3 out of 4 kids were asleep. We managed by 11pm to get them all in their jammies, teeth brushed and back asleep. I was so tired near the end that I was having trouble figuring out how to put the sheets on the pack and plays. The dehydration head ache from breast feeding and flying didn’t help.

There was also moment after we’d gotten in the rental car and were congratulating ourselves for a job well done where Ben started melting down. We still hadn’t had dinner and because it was Christmas Eve, even MacDonalds was closed. We finally found a supermarket that was closing in 10 minutes and grabbed something quick. Aaron had a monster poop up the back and through the pants. We were doling out processed ‘Lunchables’ for the kids and I was changing Aaron in the front seat of the car. I was so tired I felt like just putting him back in his car seat in his diaper. But the moment was white trashy enough so I mustered up the energy to find clothes and dress him. Ben fell asleep ten minutes later with his entire meal in front of him.

The hard part came later, when Sam decided to wake up every hour and 30 minutes crying. Surprisingly it didn’t wake up any of the other kids.

Mirrors, Hours of entertainment for the twins at our hotel

It was all worth it this morning, though. We got our free hotel breakfast and, after putting the twins to sleep for their morning nap, I took the older boys out to enjoy the sunshine. Adam was stuck in the room working. Hopefully the run he’s taking now while I’m sitting here blogging will make it finally seem like he’s on holiday.

Fun in the warm Florida Sun, Patch Reef Park

Only in Boca.

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Fresh Picks Dec 19th

This week I received Beets, White Hakurei Turnips, Yellow Onions, Japanese Sweet Potato, Acorn Squash, Pea Tendrils, Spinach and Rosemary.

Immediately I put the beets and sweet potatoes in the oven to roast. The sweet potatoes were mashed up as a side dish for the kids one night. The beets cooled and stored in the fridge for salad.

The pea tendrils and spinach made for a lovely salad…

Spinach, Pea Tendrils, Pomegranate Seeds, Feta, Red Onion, Walnuts in a Balsamic Vinaigrette

I used the rest of the beets and spinach in another salad another day.

I had no idea what to do with all those green peppers. In the end I added one of them to the coleslaw I made with the cabbage from the last delivery. Adam does not like the creamy stuff so I used a sweet vinegar base instead.

Acorn squash made for a nice soup. Actually since we are going to Florida soon I added the acorn squash and any other veggies I had in the fridge that seemed suitable in a soup. Cauliflower, carrots, onions, celery, spinach, all got chopped and dumped in a pot with a box of strained tomatoes and some water. It was seasoned with the fresh chopped rosemary, salt and pepper.

The poor turnip got ignored. I need to up my turnip game if they decide to keep sending me such a varied assortment of them.

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The Cracks are Showing

Yesterday Angelica came early and, after a trip to Costco and the grocery store, I jammed in a quick pedicure before I have to show my toes in Florida.

I was sitting in the chair, eating lunch and having a starbucks AND reading a book on my iPad. The pedicurist thought it was funny to see me doing so many things at once, so I told her, laughing through a mouth full of egg salad, “I have four kids ages 5 and under. I have to do multiple things at once all the time.”

The woman in the chair next to me was shocked. She asked if I had multiples. She had seven year old twins. She had no idea how I did it. I have no idea how I do it. And sometimes I realize, like today, that I’m not doing it that well.

Aaron was up from 12:30 until 2am last night. I managed to feed Sam in between fielding a crying Aaron. I went to bed and fell asleep for what felt like a second before Ben cried out around 4am. I joined him in his bed. Sam woke for the morning at 5:30, but luckily Adam took that one. Jack climbed out of the bed above me around 6am and passed me by, finding Adam and Sam downstairs. Ben woke at 7:15.

We were suppose to have Ben at school no later than 8am today for his holiday show.

This morning besides Ben’s holiday show, he also had his Winter Gingerbread house project which I said I’d attend. And yesterday I stupidly booked someone to come fix a cabinet in our rental unit at the same exact time. So much happening all the time!

“Was I suppose to put him in something special?” I asked Adam, frantically rustling through my papers to find the sheet with instructions. It took all my will power to ignore the sink full of dishes. No time for that now.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get him dressed. Can you pack his lunch?” Adam called out from the back room.

Crap. Lunch! I packed in a hurry. Adam reorganized his morning so he could take each kid to school individually. While he took Ben, I fed a twin, packed Jack’s lunch and helped Jack with the few things he still needs help to get dressed in the morning.

Luckily Adam had a plan. He would get the kids fed for school and drop them off. He would cover my mistake with the repair man if the two appointments overlapped.

After Adam dropped Ben he came back for Jack. I dressed while he was gone, fed another twin, then put them both in their winter suits. I was just putting the second one in the stroller when Adam arrived. Perfect timing. We walked over to Ben’s school.

Since the repair man had not arrived yet, we both managed to catch the play. Ben didn’t flop on the ground the entire play like the last time. This time he wandered around the length of the stage in his black batman shirt with attached cape (while all the other kids wore white shirts). The other kids stood in their assigned places singing. It was quintessential Ben. I don’t think we helped by putting him in the wrong shirt, though. It just made his free spirited nature stand out even more.

Afterwards Adam went home to let the repair man in while I stayed to do Gingerbread Houses. It was really cute and fun. Ben mostly ate the candy while I decorated, but I could see how much fun he was having. And I thought it was super nice of him to talk about sharing it with his brother later today…

If I have Batman for a son, then my husband must be Superman. I returned home to see the sink empty and clean and the dishwasher running. The twins were well cared for in my absence and the cabinet was fixed.

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Seven Months & Standing

I know it seems like with each new baby the time goes faster.

But with Sam, he really is going faster.

I came downstairs to see this the other day…

He’s only seven months yet he’ll already pulling himself up to standing? That’s a nine month old thing, at the very least. Which is only 2 months, I know. But at 7 months, that’s like almost 1/4 of his life faster. At this rate he’ll be in kindergarden by 3, his bar mitzvah will be at 9. Crap, I need to go hide the liquor bottles now.

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