Jack’s Bar Mitzvah

By the way, I put up the photos of Jack’s Bar Mitzvah.

I wanted to write a flowering blog post about what an amazing son I have and how the party went off without a hitch, but by the time I got the photos, everyone was completely overwhelmed with Coronavirus.

I reserve the right to come back at some point and write about it, but in the mean time, hope you enjoy seeing the photos…

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Two More Weeks of ‘Shelter at Home’

It has been another two weeks of the “Shelter at Home” ordinance with no end in sight.

In the past two weeks, we were informed that schools will not reopen for the rest of the year.

We were also informed that the state of Illinois will continue to “Shelter at Home” for the entire month of May.

As time goes on and we settle into this long lock down, I can’t help but reflect.

Is it because we have more time to sit around and think about our lives?

Or is it because life as we know it has been ripped out from under us and we are all at home picking up the pieces? Perhaps we find they no longer fit as well as they could or should.

Lately I’ve been noticing how happy I am for what I don’t have.

I don’t have a dog I have to stress walk every day, dodging fellow dog walkers in a game of chicken.

I don’t have a cleaner I have to pay then do the work myself, or worry I’m starving someone by not paying them during this time.

I don’t have to wake up in a panic every single school morning, feeling that I’m already behind and won’t be able to get everything done that I need to. Now Adam and I can lay in bed and snuggle, chatting leisurely and only getting out of bed when one of the kids starts complaining that they are hungry. (I think this is my favorite part of this quarantine.)

I don’t have any sort of beauty ritual. No dying, plucking, waxing, or painting that some expert needs to do to me on a normal basis.

I don’t even have a haircut that needs cutting that often. I’m lucky if I go every six months. So happy I never got those bangs I was thinking about!

Now, the boys (and man) in the house are a different story. This week Adam and Ben reached their comfort limit, their hair was just too long. So, in addition to my new ‘Shelter at Home’ job of full time teacher, I became a hairdresser too.

Adam was so annoyed by his Ronald McDonald bushy sides that he was walking around with a cap on most days. Finally, he let me try to cut it. We figured if I did as bad of a job as I did the last two times he let me cut it, he would just shave it off.

Adam Before
Adam After. Not bad, eh?

After Ben saw Adam’s hair, he let me have a go at his…

Ben Before & After

Ben’s is a bit patchy in the back but, hey, he can’t see it. I figure it will grow out before anyone notices.

I actually thought it would much worse. We couldn’t find the clipper guards in the house, so I did this with just a pair of kitchen scissors and a comb!

I’ve also been trying to cook new things. And bake. I went to the supermarket three different times and each time could not find flour so the next time I went to Costco I broke down and bought a 25 pound bag of it.

Adam found these huge empty popcorn bins to store the flour in.

You think I’m crazy but a short two weeks later I’m almost done with one of the bins.

“Almost No Kneed Bread” from America’s Test Kitchen’s Bread Illustrated. So good I had to make another one the next day.
Deep Dish Pizza
Cinnamon Buns
Fluffy Dinner Rolls (with Greek Chicken, Greens Beans in Gremolata Sauce, and Minestrone Soup.)
Every time I go to the store, Ben wants to try something new. This is Blackened Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa, Wild Rice and a side salad.
Loaded Nachos. Not new, just a family favorite.
Teriyaki Salmon, Rice Pilaf, and Sauteed Spinach.

Another highlights of the past two weeks was a basement Easter Egg hunt.

The twins got a 10 second head start.
Checking out the spoils. Look at all of Aaron’s golden eggs!

The remote learning has started to settle into a routine. We’ve fallen into a staggered schedule, which gives me less time but makes me more available for all of my needy kids. (Except Sam. He can work independently.)

When we can, we try to get the kids out for some exercise and fresh air. At first they were too scared to go anywhere but the deck.

A game of musical chairs gone wrong.

Eventually we got them out for a walk, with masks.

When they saw all the people out and about without masks, we were able to go further. Today we found a patch of grass where we could kick the soccer ball around and throw the football.

Next weekend is the twins birthday. They will not get their annual Dunkin Donut breakfast, or dinner out at the restaurant of their choice. They will not give out little gifts to their classmates. They will not get a birthday party either. Instead I must find a way to make this birthday special for them without throwing a bunch of money at it. It is one of the things I have been reflecting on these days. Can a birthday be special for the kids without all the bells and whistles? And how did we get to a place where it may not be in the first place?

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Another two Weeks of “Shelter at Home”

How is everyone settling into quarantine?

For Chicago, it has been 5 weeks.

It feels like the 5th month that I gave birth to any of my kids.The excitement of the new situation has died down, the casseroles and sympathy have stopped rolling in, but you are still just as, if not more, exhausted as before. And now being alone in your new reality is really starting to set in.

This past week three of the kids had Spring Break. It was helpful, as the one kid who didn’t was my special needs kid. Being able to devote all my time to finishing his work is a full time job and I was glad this week to be able to cover it. One day we started at 10am and by 8:30pm we still had one more thing to do!

Most days can feel like Groundhog day in the house. Which makes every little event that happens a big deal, a marker to show that time is indeed moving on.

One night we got a delivery from our friend who owns Geja’s, a fondue restaurant. He treated us to salads, cheese and chocolate fondue.

The kids were super excited for the special treat and, as a bonus, we got more kids hooked on eating salad!

I’ve also been trying to cook new things. Every time I go to the store I try to find something new or different, mostly for Ben who loves trying new things.

We celebrated Passover last week. I couldn’t find a Shankbone so skipped the Seder plate. Also, no brisket or turkey breast so we ended up with Flank Steak with a gremolata sauce. And we bought the last box of Matzoh, which happened to be everything flavor and gluten free. But hey, like the Jews in Ancient Egypt, we had to be flexible with our food.

I’ve tried a few other new things too. Chinese lettuce cups….

English meat pies….

Swordfish with carrots and chimichurri…

We’ve tried our best to keep the kids off screens and interacting with us. Adam has been good about getting them to read to him most days.

One day it was nice out so we set up the bags and giant jenga.

Some of the kids did an impromptu work out.

In fact, daily workouts have been a big thing for the three younger kids…

One cold day I managed to get the kids out for a walk with the promise of hot chocolate afterwards. They are scared to be outside so mostly we stay indoors.

Sometimes we do workout videos.

Sometimes the kids workout on their own.

We’ve done more puzzles.

Lots more puzzles.

Or board games.

And really just coming up with any old game that keeps them busy and engaged.

I read today that New York is keeping their kids out of school for the rest of the year so I’m bracing myself for that inevitability as well.

Hope everyone reading is staying safe, is healthy and keeping their sanity in check. Look forward to seeing you – face to face – on the other side.

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