Zev Family Newsletter: April 2003

The theme for April was birthday, birthday, birthday – which is ironic, because none of us was born in April! Benjamin’s birthday party, originally planned for mid-March, had been postponed to the first week of April. His party was a classic 6-year old party – held in the back yard with a bouncer, art projects, games, egg hunt, cake, ice cream and what seemed like a zillion kids. Fortunately, we had hired a couple of teenagers to shepherd the kids through the projects and games. This made a huge difference in our sanity during the party. I heartily recommend it.

Jonathan, whose birthday is in May, chose a completely different tact to celebrate his birthday. Instead of a zillion kids in the backyard, Jonathan chose to celebrate at Disneyland with a couple of friends. This put us into a bit of a conundrum, because the boys have Track meets on Saturdays and religious school on Sundays, and we didn’t want to pull them out of either for a trip to Disneyland. Then we had a flash of inspiration. A couple of weeks before Jonathan’s birthday, LAUSD was on spring break, with a week of days we could go. Well, not quite a week, because there was track practice on Monday, Passover on Wednesday and Thursday, dinner with friends on Friday and a Track meet on Saturday. But that did leave – um – Tuesday! And off we went.

We brought the walkie-talkies and the cell phone – it was a good thing that we brought the cell phone, because the walkie-talkies were worse than useless. Worse than useless, because after separating to take the taller boys on the Indiana Jones ride, both Jackie and Marc heard someone else say that they were at Small World and each thought the other had said it. Jackie was able to establish that Marc was NOT at Small World, but not where he was. Fortunately, the cell phone did not have the same problem.

We all had a blast at Disneyland. The Disneyland tickets could be used to get into California Adventure as long as they were used within a month. Of course, we still had the Track/religious school problem. So on the following Sunday we went back to Anaheim to go to California Adventure. None of us had been there before, and while it’s not Disneyland, it was definitely worth going. Our favorite ride was the one where you are soaring over various places in California. We also really enjoyed the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” attraction.

The other “celebration” in April was Passover. We celebrated with our traditional contrasting Seders. First night Seder was at Jackie’s parents’ house, where 36 people attended. Second night was at Marc’s Dad’s house, where 8 people attended. Both were a lot of fun (and a LOT of food!)

Track continued throughout April, with both boys doing well. Jonathan, being older, has a wider variety of events in which he is allowed to participate, and had been sampling all of them. Both boys have been pleased to see their times improve since the beginning of the season.

Jonathan has recovered from the cold he had at the beginning of the month, without handing it off to someone else. We’re pleased that we’ve found a spray that appears to be pretty effective against his colds.

Two years ago, Benjamin was given two hamsters for his birthday. We lost one a long time ago, in an accident. The other (“Zebra”) is still alive. Since the normal lifespan for a hamster is about 2 years, and there isn’t a lot of variation in that number, about a month ago, Jackie started warning the boys that they shouldn’t expect the hamster to last much longer. This hamster was named “Zebra” because he was black and white. He’s not black and white anymore. The black has all faded to a light gray. Jackie also thinks that he is hard of hearing, and maybe losing his eyesight. Also one of his hind legs is paralyzed. Jackie’s been cracking sunflower seeds for him, because he can’t crack the shells anymore. But he keeps going. Jackie thinks we should change his name to “EverReady.” Every day, Jackie steels herself for a hamster funeral, and every day, she is amazed to find that he’s made it to another day.

What else is new? Marc’s non-profit foundation successfully achieved 501 C3 status, so now your donations will be tax-deductible. If you want to help start an interactive leaning space in the San Fernando Valley and get an all important tax write-off, let him know. If you want to learn more about what he is doing, go to www.fndil.org.

Jackie received a promotion at work. Her title hasn’t changed, but now she reports directly to the top manager in her division, and she is in charge of the budget for her project. Jackie is glad that the administration thinks highly enough of her work to promote her, but she is not so excited about the additional responsibilities. On the other hand, she’s more than happy to take the pay raise!

The last member of the family is our dog Moody. In the 6 months we’ve had him, he’s really turned into a different animal. The rescue people named him Moody because he was so fearful and because he would freeze up when he thought he had done something wrong. When we got him, he would not come to us, he would not wag his tail, he would not run or play. All that has changed. It’s been a real pleasure to watch him come out of his shell.

Hope life is treating you well!

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin