Thursday, February 04, 2016

Tim Daggett Invitational - January 2016


Jordan just got back from his first gymnastics meet of the year.  Together with his team, he travelled to Springfield, MA for the Tim Daggett Invitational.  He competed again in level 5.  Jeff accompanied him abroad over the weekend of January 29th - 31st.Grandma H and Grandpa Michael joined them (and shot some of these great pictures too.)


Jordan was excited.  He's worked hard all summer through the fall and winter, after recovering from pneumonia in August.  He sprang back though, and has been working on perfecting all the events and bonus points.

Back home, Mina, Theo and I anxiously awaited results.  I refreshed the online meet scores at least twenty times, and was glued to my phone, texting Jeff for the details.

"How is he?  Is he nervous?  Does he seem nervous?  What did he eat for breakfast?  Remember not to give him a huge lunch before he competes!  Stick with a big protein breakfast in the morning, and keep him away from junky snacks!"

I was obviously more worried than Jordan.  He did amazingly well.  Out of six events, he medaled in four of them.  His scores were high enough to put him in the top ten gymnasts in his division.  Out of 47 boys, he ranked 9th.

It hasn't been forgotten that this meet came on the same week as the anniversary of Jordan's heart transplant (January 26 - 11 years ago.)

Our heart angel, Breanna, lives on and lives strong.  I hope she would be proud of what her guy is up to.

This is what a transplant patient can do.










Floor - 9.5 (11th)
Pommel - 10.2 (8th)
Rings - 10.8 (6th)
Vault - 9.5 (12th)
Parallel Bars -9.9 (11th)
High Bar - 8.9 (12th)
All Around - 58.8 (9th)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Turning 11 - Birthday celebrations for Jordan.

We are going on six years now since we moved to Bermuda; and somehow during that time, this guy turned 11.

This was what Jordan looked like when we first moved here.  November 2010.  At the playground at Somersfield Academy.


And now:  January 17, 2016.


How did that happen again?

To celebrate, we had a full weekend of festivities.  Grandmas Helene and Grandpa Michael joined us again from New York.  This makes their 12th visit to Bermuda!



Ice cream is yummy! So is the birthday breakfast brunch at Bouchee! Thanks for the special treat, Helene and Michael.

Jordan had a birthday movie party at the Specialty Cinema in town.  We watched the first episode of Star Wars - IV, "A New Hope."  Big thanks to Ana, who handled the booking.  After some miscommunication regarding party times, she contacted me later and adjusted the price of the party to reflect the mistake.  I never asked her to, she just offered.  I love recognizing great customer service like that.  The staff at the cinema the day of also should be commended for keeping their cool and carrying on during the onslaught of 15 boys.

Oh look - there they are.

Group shot.





Jeff was the welcoming wagon:





The Star Wars cake, courtesy of The Marketplace. They did a great job, and given Bermuda prices, it wasn't that expensive.




Loads of presents from his friends.


That evening, we went out to dinner at Portofino - a family favorite.  Jordan was serenaded by the waiters, who delight in calling him various names.  It's usually Pasquale.. this evening they chose Miguel.  They also know he is a huge fan of the Parmesan cheese.  When the waiter comes by with it for the table, he heads to Jordan first.

Their desserts also don't disappoint.


This guy was allowed to leave the confines of his cage for a little while as well.  Look how nicely he is buttering his bread.  That lasted for about 30 seconds.  And then he was a disaster.  He's not the best age for restaurants yet, but we try in limited doses.  Portofino is fabulously accommodating on that front. 

The next night was a Monday, and the actual date of Jordan's birth, but he had gymnastics after school.  He doesn't get home till after 8, but we all waited to eat with him (well, except Theo..)  A cheese plate and wine helped tide over the grownups until we feasted later. 


First there was steak.  Then there was cake.
I made a two layer chocolate cake and covered it with sprinkles.

He loved it.


Hard to believe that our time here is now marked in terms of "this will be the last time.."  But it's true.  I'm fairly certain this will be the last time we will be celebrating Jordan's birthday in Bermuda in January! 

Hope he remembers it fondly. 


Thursday, January 07, 2016

Throw Back Thursday, random snippets

Thinking this is February 2010, judging from the roses, which Jeff sent me for Valentine's Day.  If I recall correctly, he was traveling to London, during one of the worst snow storms we had in Leonia.  I believe that was the winter I cursed the sky and prayed I would never have to shovel snow again.  Look how that turned out.  By September I had quit my job and we were living in Bermuda.

I love that she used to let me pick out her clothes.  That top was from Boden kids.  The glasses (her nod to fashion) belonged to her Brownstone Buddies doll.  She decided she looked better in them.  I don't even try picking out clothes for her anymore.  The things I buy on my own, with her in mind, are just left hanging in the closet, untouched.

Ms. Ann's dance and song class at the Leonia rec center.  Mina never met a costume she didn't love.  Those were fun classes.  It was such a great idea having something for the little kids to do, and I remember thinking how clever Ann was for organizing them.

Eventually, of course Mina was old enoug to start pre-school.  She joined her brother, Jordan at the Greenhouse in Fort Lee.  I loved that school.  I wonder if it's still as I recall.  Theo won't be quite old enough to go there when we return, alas.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Our 2015 Year in Review

We started out 2016, as only you can in Bermuda - outside, enjoying the warmth of the sun and sand.  A trip into Warwick playground, and a glimpse over the cliff reminds me of how incredibly lucky we are to have been blessed with health, happiness and family.

Doesn't this path look like it leads to the heavens?

Here's a recap of our 2015.

One of the joys of being a seasoned parent is knowing that  babies at this age are relatively portable.  Thus, I dragged my family out kicking and screaming (ok just Jeff screaming) to celebrate the New Year's eve at one of our favorite restaurants - L'Oriental.  Theo spent most of the time in the portable car seat, but he made a brief appearance close to the end of our dinner.  Since he had no sense of day or night, it was all one big party for him.

What I remember most about this - how early we got there, and the fact that I managed to shower, put on a proper little black dress and do my hair, which was still in the lush effects of post partum pregnancy glow.  The rapid falling out began about a week later.  It doesn't matter if you are a first time parent or a seasoned veteran.  Sleep deprivation, breast feeding every two hours, and caring for a newborn (plus two) is insanely exhausting.  But we did it.

Theo was a doll though and slept through most of dinner.  We had sushi and steak (Jordan) and it felt wonderful to rejoin the land of the living after several months of newborn induced zombie like sleep deprivation.


Jordan turned 10!! 

This boy, lurking there in the middle, is now in double digits.  Thank you, Universe, God, Nikki, Breanna, and the staff at Morgan Stanley/Columbia Presbyterian.  I don't know if I say this enough; but there are not enough ways to describe how incredibly lucky ... blessed... we are as parents.  I've tried for ten years to comprehend it.  I will never be able to put it into words.  The magnitude of the gift we received can't be stifled into the language we use so casually.  There are human angels amongst us.  That is all I have to say.  And she knows who she is, despite how humble she makes it seem.


Celebrating was simple to start..  a few friends for tappenaki, loads of dessert, and a promise to go big on a vacation. 



The little guy.. maybe not so little.. continued to amaze us with his strength and determination.  Here he is at the Mid Atlantic Meet, where he wound up medaling on his rings routine.


We did deliver on our promise - celebrating TEN at Atlantis Resorts, Paradise Island, Nassau Bahamas.

The best part - celebrating with our dearest friends, and their just-turned-ten daughter!!  These two have known each other since they were in diapers.


Now... This guy took the plunge .. into the abyss.  And Jeff and I lost a few years of life just watching him.


Balcony shots with my babies.


Pretty quiet month, as Spring hit BDA.

Theo milestoned the six month mark, and my camera was ever ready.


We did some family fundraising on behalf of the Argus Walk the Walk, to raise monies for charities across Bermuda, including Jordan's gymnastics program.  I love a  family 5K, during which Theo slept the whole time!!




In April we celebrated across the board, with both Passover and Easter festivities.  Our good friends, the Schwarz' hosted an amazing Passover meal at their home and welcomed a huge assortment of friends, now family..


That beautiful cream banquet chair is to die for, and you wouldn't know it could seat so many!!  Something to consider...

So much to celebrate...

Easter brunch at Lido, then down to Elbow Beach..

Finally got the macaroon recipe perfected (three tries before I got them to stiffen up and no puddling.)


Kite flying on Horseshoe Beach


Glorious Bermuda lilies that will perfume your entire house.  I adore these.  Once upon a time, BDA was known for its lilies (onions too, but that is another story.)  There are still a handful of farms on the island that grow these gorgeous clusters.  Traditionally, a bouquet is still air shipped to her Majesty in England.  Can you believe the grandeur!

In my own simple way, I will try to remember little things like this, because they are so quintessentially BDA for me.  I recall the first time I bought a bouquet of these flowers on the road stand (Amaral Farms, thank you..) and realizing that my car smelled like lilies for days after!!  They are stunning.

Embracing the BDA holiday weekend. Sweet smelling lilies today, kite flying, hot cross buns and cod fish cakes tomorrow, Seder Saturday, Easter egg hunt Sunday morning and family dinner at home. Embrace it all I say.

We did our annual Fairpoint Easter egg hunt, and even an a little impromptu brunch on the patio for the moms.  Despite the rain, the kids had a blast.


Easter dinner proper:  Theo awaits - Indian Style marinated lamb chops, ala Suvir Saran, cooked on the grill, thanks to Jeff!



My very understanding husband, gifted me with an overseas trip to celebrate Mother's Day.  I say understanding because only someone with whom you have spent the last 23 years would know how much a weekend to myself could possibly mean. 

This was so special.  I got to see friends from all stages.  My pledge girls and alter egos! Hitting John Dory for some oysters and bubbly.  These two have seen me at my best and at my worst, my most brutal and my most honest.  And we are still friends!!  Holy moly!  I can't believe it!

And then my Jersey girls the next day!

My Jersey girls hit the rooftops. #gallowgreen

Tearing up the roof at Gallow's Green.  I cannot describe how excited I am to be returning to my hometown crew.  Friends come to us in all stages of our lives.  But there is something unique about those friends who nurtured us during the years when we were first time moms.  I have laughed and cried and laughed again so much with these girls.  I can't wait to see them again.

Yay! You to my Phi Siggy and mama in arms!!

The weekend was made even better because I got to see this guy!!  Oh lord.. we tried to do a NYC brunch thang.. which used to be my thang when I was younger.  Except, this time I showed up at this fancy pants hotel, and they gave me a salad. 
And it wasn't the salad I was looking for.

But smartypants Eli over there got the big ass sandwich and he gloats.  That's ok.  Wait till my niece and nephews are older.  I have Sooooo many stories to share.


The seasons of goodbyes.  I hosted a little dinner in May, as we started to say goodbye to a friend who would leave our shores.  The goodbye cycle is ever present on this island.  Knowing our time is coming to an end made me even more aware of it.

Look at the neverending construction going on over there.  There are no words for what we went through this year with that.

Backyard madness. Not the construction.


My most gorgeous girl. 

She took her first Royal Ballet School graded exam, and she was so good.  I am so proud of my daughter.  She stuns me.  How does she keep so cool?


June was a little wonky though.  A freaky case of chicken pox broke out on the island and all hell broke loose (BDA is a small island.).  For the non immune suppressed amongst us, chicken pox is really not a big deal.  The chicken pox vaccine, aka varicella, is a relatively new phenomena.  When I grew up, it did not exist.

In fact, as I recall, I wound up having to get an adult vaccine when I realized I had never had chicken pox as a child.  Long story - but basically, an attorney I used to work with came down with it, and recommended we all get tested.  My tests showed that I had never had it as a child, so I got the (at the time) new vaccine.

Unfortunately, Jordan can't get the vaccine, due to his transplant issues.  At first, I was going to shrug it off and take our chances in school.  However, the school nurse was not as blase as I was.

A log discussion with his cardiac team also changed my mind. 

"Get him out of school as soon as possible.  Chicken pox can be life threatening for our transplant kids."

That's all it took. 

The next week- me and Jordan and Mina were homeschooling it.  Teachers of the world .. you deserve it all.  All of it.  You cannot put a price tag on what a teacher has to do.

#Queenofthehouse. School projects in June. Make a chair.

Once the dust settled, and we confirmed there were no more new cases, and the incubation period passed, it was time to celebrate.  The kids went back o school for the last week. 

Officially, me and the mums were celebrating before the end of school period, but you know...


July was the month of birthdays. There was this guy ... turning 21 again..

On the water.

And yet more birthday parties!!  My girl turned 9!!


"I want a tie dye party," she said.

So we did.




July was also the month the big kids went off to sleep away camp in the US!

Summer training.

Jeff, Theo and I did our own celebrating by attending our first ever cupmatch!


As wonderful as July was, we seemed to pay for it in August.  The construction that was the bane of our existence for weeks, was still going on.  Deep trenches, dirt, diggers and pounders and rain... and sure enough...

This happened.

The roof of the basement collapsed.  Again.  Collapse 2.0  Luckily, Theo and I had finished playing there just an hour before its demise.

On the subject of Theo, he had a very bad .. no, horrible month.

Where's Theo's belly?

He wound up in the hospital because his intestines were collapsing on themselves - a condition called intussusception. 

We caught it in the nick of time, thanks to the very able early warning diagnosis of his pediatrician at Wee Care.  After we brought Theo into her office, worried he might have a "stomach bug," she suggested we keep an eye out for possible issues over the next few days.  Although the odds of it being intussusception were very low, we managed to hit them.  Jeff called it, the night we took him to the ER.  Luckily our good friends came by to stay with the big kids and Oscar while we headed to the hospital.

A horrific barium enema procedure later, and a day or two of recovery for observation, and he was ready for discharge.

Here's even weirder odds - Jordan wound up with pneumonia while at camp.  He spent a week in the hospital too.  High fever off an on, raging cough and exhaustion, and of course weight loss.  He wound up missing the remainder of summer camp and coming home. 

But, thankfully, he recovered.


September -

Needless to say, I could not wait for summer to be over.

September was awesome because Theo turned one!!


P6 (5th grade) P5 (4th grade) and Theo - 1 year old

The kids were back at school too.  Jordan entered P6 (fifth grade  with Ms. Conway) and Mina was in P5 (Mrs. Doughty.)  Theo was happily toddling away - taking a few baby steps but not quite walking solo yet.


One of the things I will miss is this very quaint UK custom known as mid-term break.  Translated, it means the kids get a break in October.  That is right.  Barely eight weeks into school and they have a break.  It used to drive me batty, but I've come to appreciate its charms. 

Namely, no one else in the US has the holiday.  So, it is a great time to go to....





Despite some naysayers, I decided to host a proper Thanksgiving dinner.  It was small (20 total, counting kids) but wonderfully intimate and fun.  There was much planning and prep involved, but I am so glad I did it.  I love Thanksgiving, and it is just not the same if you don't have a real meal, surrounded by friends and family.

What a wonderful month.  There is so much crammed into these thirty odd days, I can't even begin to describe it.  Perhaps that is why I've posted as much as I have for December. 

In short, between the school activities, the plays, the concerts, the parades, the parties, the baking, the open houses, the shopping, the baking, the decorating ... I can't get it all in.


But it has been magical.  I could not ask for more.





Goodbye 2015. 
Hello new year. 
There is so much to look forward to.  I cannot wait!