Zev Newsletter

April 1998 - June 1998

April 1998

A friend of Jonathan's invited him to see Beauty and the Beast on Ice. We reciprocated by taking them to the new Science Museum afterwards (The museum is across the parking lot from where Beauty and the Beast played). Both Jonathan and Benjamin astounded and pleased Jackie by sitting nicely through the entire show (not that she didn't result to food bribes to achieve that objective!)

Passover was great. First seder was at Jackie's mom's house and second seder was at Marc's father's house. Marc led the first night seder, using a haggadah that he had put together from a variety of sources. It got rave reviews. Particularly noteworthy was the play using the 4 four-year olds. When Marc told Jackie that he wanted to do a play involving the kids, she was skeptical. How do you do a play with no rehearsal with kids who don't follow directions anyway? But creativity won the day and made a great play. Marc stood the kids up on chairs (so that people could see them!) Then, he read the story of Passover, handing the kids pictures (which he had made up in advance) to hold as the story unfolded. It was very cute. A high point was the parting of the Red Sea. Marc held up a paper with the word "SEA" (in red, of course) and tore it in half.

The following week, Marc had another trip to DC, which made Jackie crabby because she had to make up Jonathan's lunch during Passover. (A big "awwwww" for Jackie.) Usually Marc does Jonathan's lunches.

The Platt Ranch Library annual birthday celebration was the following weekend. The celebration involves a book sale, entertainment (including a magician and dancing), free cake and ice cream, fire trucks and police cars to see and climb on, arts and crafts, balloons, face painting, etc. etc. Jackie's sister-in-law, Sue orchestrated the whole affair, and boy did she do a great job! Jackie's dad runs the book sale, and her mom and brother Don do what needs to be done. We pitch in by helping watch Don and Sue's kids, and of course we enjoy the festivities!

On the 26th, Jackie removed the divider between the rabbit's cages when cleaning out the cage. She didn't reset the latch when she put the divider back, and the male bunny pushed the divider forward and slipped into the female's cage. Marc asked, "Do we know for sure that she's pregnant?" Jackie's only response was, "They're BUNNIES!" Gestation for rabbits is 28-30 days.

May 1998

Of course, May always begins with Jonathan's birthday! This year it fell on a Friday, and so Marc had signed up to be Shabbat Dad that day. He took the day off from work, which made Jonathan the proudest boy in the whole wide world. Marc made cupcakes for Jonathan's class. After school, we decided to make another try at family pictures. (You may recall that we tried to take family pictures in March, and Benjamin would not smile for the camera.) This time, when Benjamin was clearly not going to smile, we just went ahead and took the picture anyway. We also took separate pictures of each of the kids. We didn't have any problem getting Benjamin to smile for that picture. He'll smile if he's looking at us, but not if he's on our lap. Oh well, what can you do?

Jonathan's birthday party was the following Sunday. It was a science party, and a scientist came and did lots of scientific demonstrations. The finale was a dry ice demonstration, which was, of course, quite the hit. The kids also got to make slime - what fun!

The following weekend was Mother's day and Marc did his annual Mother's day brunch. He made crab salad, shrimp, marinated mushrooms, stuffed grape leaves, and this baguette stuffed with something delicious. For dessert there was blackberry tarts and a meringue thing with a cream topping and fruit. It was impressive looking and more impressive tasting. Afterwards we sent the boys home with Jackie's mom, and went out to a movie and then to dinner. We saw "Les Miserables" and had sushi for dinner (not something we can do with kids!) It was a marvelous day.

The next weekend, Jackie was invited to a tea in Pasadena. We decided that the whole family would visit Rachel and Kevin, cousins who live near the hotel where the tea was. Jackie and Rachel would go to the tea, while the boys hung out with Kevin and Abigail (who is 9 months old). Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice and men... Less than a mile from Kevin and Rachel's house, Benjamin threw up. Then while Marc was cleaning him up at Kevin and Rachel's house, he threw up again. Jackie went off to the tea, and Marc took the boys home. All in all Benjamin threw up six times that day, usually on Marc . Jackie was glad she was at the tea. Her mom gave her a ride home. The next day, Benjamin was clearly sick and still running a temperature, but didn't throw up.

The next day, Jackie nursed Benjamin and gave him some water (always trying to push fluids whenever someone's sick). Benjamin eagerly sucked down a bunch of water, and then ... threw it all up again. He actually threw up twice, once at the table, which Jackie managed to catch neatly in a nearby bowl, and once on Marc . But if Marc felt put out that he was always the one who had to change clothes, he got his revenge. After changing, he left on a 3-day business trip to DC. Benjamin threw up each of the following two days, each time after the 6 am nursing. Jackie decided that it was nursing on an empty stomach that was the problem (not that Benjamin wasn't sick - he ran a fever and was lethargic all week long.) On the third day, she made Marc (who was back from DC) get up with Benjamin, rather than bring Benjamin to be nursed. That did the trick. It was clearly related to being sick. Once Benjamin was healthy, Jackie was able to return to her old pattern of nursing Benjamin at 6 am without any problem.

On Thursday, Jackie picked up Jonathan from school, and he was clearly sick. A forehead strip pegged his temperature at 102 (not that we trust a forehead strip!) So on Thursday, Benjamin was still sick, Jonathan has a fever in triple digits, and we have plans to get away to Lake Arrowhead for Memorial Day weekend, including a non-refundable deposit on a cabin for Friday and Saturday nights. Sigh. The best laid plans... We were able to change the reservation, so we changed our plans for the weekend to "hang around and get better!"

And while Jonathan was still running a fever in the morning, by Friday night it had cleared up. Benjamin was also much better. It always happens that way doesn't it? One positive ramification of staying home. The whole family pitched in and cleaned out the garage. Now I think of that commercial every time I walk into the garage - "Honey, we've been robbed! All my stuff is gone from the garage!" On Sunday, Benjamin laughed - for the first time since he had gotten sick a week before. That made Jackie realize how sick he had been. Benjamin was healthy for a few days and then started a runny nose, and an intermittent fever. Marc thinks he's teething. Jackie doesn't know what to think. At least he's not acting sick anymore. In fact, he's been trying to give up his morning naps, something Jackie's not too happy about!

Now that Jonathan and Benjamin were relatively healthy, Marc got sick. He was in bed for two days, and then got tired easily for a week after that. Jackie is just waiting for the axe to fall.

Near the end of the month, we eagerly awaited the birth of baby bunnies, but nothing happened. A week after the expected due date, we took the nest box out. A couple of days later, Jackie let Benjamin chase the female all around the yard. The next morning, she found a stillborn baby bunny in the female's cage. Could she have erred on the date of conception? No. We think that the baby died in utero, and thus didn't trigger labor. Then, either the stress or the exercise of the day before finally got things moving. Jonathan was sad and helped bury the baby in the backyard.

June 1998

With June came swimming lessons for Jonathan. We enrolled him in classes that are a half hour, every day, for two weeks. Unfortunately, it wreaked havok on Benjamin's napping, which was in flux anyway. After the first week, Jonathan got sick and missed the entire second week. Still, he got the basic techniques down in the first week, although he can't use them to go very far.

We discovered that Marc was right about Benjamin teething. Jackie pried Benjamin's mouth open, and discovered 4 molars in there that she hadn't known about. When did those come in? Jus a couple of months ago he didn't have any! No wonder he's had so many runny noses in the past couple of months, and hasn't been eating well.

In June, we also took our delayed trip to Lake Arrowhead. We took long walks, went fishing, and enjoyed being together without any pressures to rush here or rush there. It was very relaxing. We didn't do anything taxing, partly because Jackie wasn't feeling all that well. Nothing definite, just kind of lightheaded and tired.

When we came back from Arrowhead, which is up in the mountains, Jackie found that her ears wouldn't clear. She was also having symptoms much like the asthma problems she had had when pregnant. Benjamin seemed sick too. We had plans to fly to New York on July second, so seeing a doctor seemed like the better part of disgression. Turns out that Jackie had an ear infection, a sinus infection and a bronchial infection. Benjamin just had an ear infection. After three days on various assorted medications, Jackie was clearly better. Benjamin was not. So back to the doctor, who determined that Benjamin's antibiotic was not working, and switched him to another antibiotic. Jonathan was also having some problems, and was put on an inhaler. After a couple of days on the new antibiotic, Benjamin broke out in a rash. The doctor suspected that the rash was a reaction to the antibiotic. Rather than switching antibiotics (again!) we gave him Benadryl for the rash. Are we having fun yet? Benjamin also had his 15-month checkup. He's grown two inches, but hadn't gained any weight. He's now 85th percentile in height, but only a mere 60th in weight!

June's traditional earthquake came a few weeks early, with a 3.0 and a 3.9 earthquake; both centered only a mile or two from our house. I say that it came early because there's been earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or better on Marc's birthday (June 28) twice in the past ten years. Fortunately, a 3.0 earthquake barely rattles the windows, even if it is right under your house (which this one pretty much was.)

June brought another tradition - graduation! That's right, Jonathan graduated from preschool. The Temple had a very, um, bittersweet graduation ceremony. My baby is growing up too fast! In the fall, Jonathan will go to kindergarten at the local public school. One of the reasons we chose our home is that the local public school is in the top 10% of all non-magnet schools in the Valley.

Turned out that the baby bunny was just practice for another sad event. On the 22nd, after a typical lifespan of 2 years and one day (exactly), Little Jackie (the hamster) died. Jonathan had been warned, and was not overly upset.

The rabbits also got together again. This time the male managed to bypass the latch. Jackie put a second latch on the divider. Nothing like closing the barn door after the horse is pregnant. The first time the rabbits got together, we told everyone. This time we were more circumspect. June ended on a happy note, with the surprise 40th wedding anniversary party that we threw with Jackie's brother and his wife for Jackie's parents. We took them to a restaurant for a nice dinner, and 50 of their closest friends and relatives just happened to be there too. Don used his frequent flyer mileage to fly in all three of Jackie's parents' sisters for the occasion. We also *borrowed* photographs from Jackie's parents and had a video montage made of photos from when they were children, to their marriage, to life with kids and finally to life with grandchildren. The whole thing was a lot of fun, although the week before Jackie was a nervous wreck worrying that someone had spilled the beans.

Marc's company is so pleased with the work he is doing that he was given a mid-year raise. This is on top of the raise and the bonus he got at the end of 1997. Since mid-year raises are uncommon at his company, we're pretty proud of him. Jackie thinks that it doesn't quite make up for all the traveling he's had to do, but it's nice that he's appreciated.

That's all for now! You can check out our websites at http://www.isx.com/~jzev and http://isx.com/~mzev/personal. The former has past newsletters (also listed below) and a complete genealogy. The latter has pictures of the boys.

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Created 8/16/98. Send corrections, criticisms and comments to Jackie at: jzev@isx.com