Bubbie’s 85th Birthday

Bubbie’s birthday this year was a big one – 85 years old! For this milestone birthday, we headed back down (twice in one year!) to Arizona to celebrate.

Bubbie planned a big birthday extravaganza – with 85 of her friends RSVPing to her 85th birthday.

Everyone in the Picture is wearing a Shirt once bought for Jack
Bubbie’s 85th Birthday Speech

We ate, we sang karaoke, and we met many of Bubbie’s wonderful friends. But most importantly, we got to spend time with family.

Dinner at “It’s Greek To Me”

We also got to spend time at Bubbie’s walking her dog Daisy.

Walking Daisy

We stayed a the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson. It was such a short visit we didn’t have enough time to enjoy the pool. It didn’t help that Adam fell ill with the flu almost the moment we arrived. We did manage to fit in one fantastic hike at a nearby trail, the Linda Vista Trail. The kids really enjoyed investigating the different rocks and cacti, as well as the views. They also insisted we run the entire way back! It was a downward sloping trail for a long part of the run and at one point Ben was behind me and I could tell I was slowing him down. I let him pass and told him I was sorry I wasn’t faster. He turned and said, “You’re doing pretty good, Mom” before sprinting off on his young, nimble legs.

At the Hilton El Conquistador
Linda Vista Trail
Checking out the Inside of a Cactus
Tree Pose
Never Walk When You Can Run! – The Calisoff Motto
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Seventh and Eighth Nights of Hanukah

It’s been over a week since the last two nights of Hanukah. It’s been a busy week, compounded with the fact that most of the Calisoffs have been taking turns having the flu. But finally, with the forced down time of winter holidays, I eventually found some time to catch up with this blog!

But you guys don’t care about that, right? Just show me the Bears, you say? Okay, here they are…

The Seventh Night was an idea I had when Fortnite went OG. This is generational slang for ‘original’ or ‘old school’. Fortnite hit a high a few years ago and all four of the kids were playing it non stop. Later, Fortnite got in a fight with Apple and stopped releasing its iPad version and as a result they lost the twins attention. Then the older boys started to lose interest in the maps. None of the kids played Fortnite for years. So, it was kind of cool to see Fortnite OG back in the house. Everyone was contacting people they played with years ago, some of the kids are at different schools now so it was a reunion of sorts. I was so excited I picked a Fortnite theme for the bears this year. Of course, by the time Hanukah came around, Fortnite OG was gone and everyone had lost interest in the game again!

Seventh Night of Hanukah – Fortnite Theme
Wild Card Skin
Fish Stick Skin
Merry Marauder Skin
Aspen Skin

The kids were completely unimpressed with this set up and Jack told me I picked terrible skins (skins are what Fortnite calls avatars). So, as fun (and labor intensive) as this one was to create, I probably got more enjoyment out of it than the kids.

For the Eighth and final night of Hanukah I made a cardboard airplane for the bears.

The Bears Flying on ArizonaAir.

This was not just any airplane. This was ArizonaAir, with the tag line, “We Will Never Desert You”.

ArizonaAir, “We Will Never Desert You”

This was suppose to be hanging from the ceiling but the ropes broke when I went to hang it up and because we were leaving on a plane to Arizona to celebrate Bubbie’s 85th, I didn’t have time to fix it.

Which leads us nicely into tomorrow’s blog post, stay tuned for ‘Bubbie’s 85th Birthday”…

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Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Nights of Hanukah

Ah the Bears. What have the gotten up to next?

Candy Trap

On the Fourth Night of Hanukah the Bears set up a candy trap. The kids were all happy to help me clean up this scene at the end of the night!

On the fifth night, the Hanukah Bears had fun with the photocopier.

Hanukah Bear in Costumes from Previous Years.

The Bears used a mismatch of costumes from prior years. One used the Groot costume from Guardians of the Galaxy and took a photo with Starlord and Rocket Raccoon. Another two used different Christmas costumes and a mustache. Finally the last one used stuff from our Jamaica scene and very naughtily photographed his behind.

The sixth night was Hanukah Bears baking Hanukah Bear Cookies. I made a chef hat out of tissue paper and copy paper. Then I added two aprons from Adam and my’s “East Meets MidWest” Party that we threw when I first moved here. He wore, “Pork Fat Rules” and I wore, “Dog, the Other White Meat”.

Hanukah Bear Themed Cookies

Two more nights to go! Stay tuned….

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First, Second and Third Nights of Hanukah

Given the recent gambling rage at our house, it seemed fitting that the Hanukah Bears started off their first night of mischief with a gambling themed scene.

Bear’s Craps Night

The Bears were dressed in gambling themed onesies, with help from Jack the day before.

Can you Guess Which Slogan is for Which Kid?

The four shirts said, “I’ve seen my hand, You should quit”, “World’s Okayiest Player”, “I Bought This Shirt With Your Money”, and “I Don’t Gamble, I Invest in the Outcome of the Game.”

I was able to find lots of cool chocolate coins at World Market.

Chocolate Dollars and Coins

That night, after Adam got home from a work dinner, we lit the candles and opened presents.

Thanks to Hebrew School, the Twins were able to Recite the Special Prayer for the First Night of Hanukah.

Afterwards, we got straight down to gambling away the chocolate coins stolen from the bear’s gambling scene with some rounds of the dreidel game.

Aaron eats so many Chocolate Coins he quickly has none left to play the game!

The next morning, the kids woke up to more Bear mischief….

Mustache Mischief. Ben Looks so Unhappy with his Fu Man Chu!

Later, after school and after the twins soccer practice, we went for a family dinner to celebrate my birthday at our traditional family birthday dinner restaurant.

Ben Drank TWO Shirley Temples and was in the Bathroom when we took the Picture

We also ate my birthday cake tonight, a Chocolate Ganache cake. I used my new plates that my sister got me for my birthday. I didn’t realize I needed them but have used them every single day since they arrived.

Chocolate Ganache Cake from Lutz Bakery

We also opened more presents and spent some time enjoying them.

Sam Opened his 100 Magnetic Balls Tonight
Ben Opened Pokeman Cards while Jack and Adam built Aaron’s new Gaming Chair

The next morning, the Bears were at it again, taking metals and bibs from our recent Turkey Trot run.

The Bears Wear the Boys Bibs and Finish in the Same Order as the Boys Did

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51st Birthday

My 51st Birthday landed on a school day, which I found a favorable outcome. During school hours are the only time I can get some guilt free down time for myself. I had a leisure day planned, a long run, reflexology, a hot shower and a good chunk of time to read the novel I’m totally into this week, “I Have Some Questions For You” by Rebecca Makkai.

We started the day waking early to go get the Calisoff birthday tradition breakfast that everyone on their birthday gets – donuts and egg sandwiches from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Birthday Breakfast and Gifts

I was spoiled by many gifts this birthday: money, massages, expensive chocolates, Lululemon gift cards, kitchen supplies, a blanket and gloves from Adam, my father and my sister as well as a check from my mother-in-law.

After we got rid of all the kids, I was daydreaming about all my free time while on the way to drop Adam at work that morning. Then, the phone rang. It was the car repair shop letting us know the car is ready. Being frugal, I insisted on driving up and getting the car that day. But in our haste we forgot that the second key to the car was at our house. We didn’t realize it. until we drove an hour away to the suburb that our car was in. So up and back to the suburbs twice was how I spend most of my free morning.

When I got back I realized I had to finish preparing the Hanukah bears before I took any time to for myself.

Jack has early dismissal on Wednesdays so he came home while I was fussing over the bears and very sweetly helped me dress the bears for their scene in the morning.

Jack Helping me put Onesies on the Bears

Jack struggled mightily stuffing the bears into onesies and when he finally wrangled them in, the onesies was backward and he had to start again. I told him he would make a terrible father and he jokingly started punching the bears in response.

When we finally got the bears ready I had less than an hour before the twins after school pickup. I could have read then, but I decided I would go support the high school soccer booster club that I’m volunteering for. They were having a team building event for the girls teams. I’m glad I went because it gave me a better sense of the girls side of the program, which I was never privy to before I volunteered.

After that it was time to pick up the twins. It was surprisingly warm for this time of year so they stayed and played for a bit in the playground.

When we got home I had just enough time to make dinner for the kids and change for my date night with Adam. I booked a new Indian Michelin Starred restaurant called Indienne. It was gorgeous food but very fancy and I suspect Adam dutifully suffered without complaint through the entire dinner, good husband that he is.

YOGURT CHAT – Crispy Potato, Raspberry Chat Masala, Assorted Chutneys

When we got home, we found the kids all in the basement fighting with each other. I pulled the twins into my room. Aaron was complaining bitterly about how he just wanted to play in the basement but everyone was in his way. I explained to him that the basement belongs to everyone, it’s a common space and we all have to learn how to share. Later I realized that all the kids felt the same way, that they wanted to use the space and felt entitled to it, and the other kids were encroaching. Everyone was operating from their own point of view and no one was thinking about the other persons point of view. Perhaps instead of gratitude training in the house we should be doing empathy training?

Once that settled the kids got in line to get homework help from me. The kids needed me to help them regardless of the date. I am fully aware that the secret to happiness is not the pursuit of hedonistic activities, but feeling a sense of purpose in life. However, getting the reminder of my purpose as a mother on my birthday kind of sucked.

Finally it was time for bed and I asked Adam as a final birthday request that we go to sleep early, to skip watching a show together as we sometimes do before bed. I needed to get up early to stage the bears.

It was not the birthday I planned in my head in the weeks and days leading up to this day. However, in the end it felt better to go to sleep knowing I got everything done that I needed to instead of trying to carve out free time where there isn’t any. Confucious said, “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” I’d rather bend to the storm than break trying to stand my ground.

Stay tuned for the Hanukah Bear show! Coming soon….

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