Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I haven't written you for a long time. I just keep talking to you in my head and writing these notes on scraps of paper that I have all over the place.

I finally decided it was time to get back to it. Here goes.

We went to St. Michaels this weekend for Memorial Day. It was Papa Sy's 77th birthday.

Andrew and Tracy and your cousins were there. Our friends Hugh and Mary Beth and their family rented a house nearby and spent a lot of time with us. Nice.

We did the usual stuff. Rode bikes, played baseball, saw a lot of animals, went kayaking (just me -- no-one ever wants to go with me -- I am officially "Chopped Liver"), put boats in the water and stuffed ourselves silly.

This snake was on the driveway when we came home from riding our bikes into town. He was "sunning" himself. Joe and Sam and I watched him until he slithered away.

This is a bird that Joe and I found in the batting cage at the local St. Michael's high school. We couldn't hit 'cause we didn't want to hit the bird.

The bird wasn't moving. He didn't seem like he could or that he wanted to fly. I opened up the netting to let him out and he didn't budge. It was then that I realized that the bird was staying inside the batting cage for protection.

I told Nana about the bird and she said she had a friend who "rescues" birds. I went back later on to put the bird in a box to bring to Nana's friend and the bird had died. When Joe was going to bed that night I asked him what the highlight of the day had been. He said, "the bird." I didn't have the heart to tell him what had happened.

This is a really blurry picture of the Vice President's helicopter over Papa Sy's house. I recognized the whirr of the rotors from home. His helicopter is the only thing that can fly over our house in DC and the house in St. Michaels.

The Vice President gave a talk to the soldiers graduating West Point in the morning and by the afternoon he was in St. Michaels. Mom said that he lands at the Inn at Perry Cabin and then drives up to his house. I still want to get the ride from our street in Washington to here in the helicopter. No traffic!

Uncle Andrew and I helped Papa Sy put the Tashmoo in the water. The battery was dead so I had to paddle it to the dock. We got Rulen the Waves in halfway. It is a great adventure helping Papa Sy with all of these boats. We needed a higher tide to carry the sailboat off the trailer. I felt bad leaving Papa Sy without having gotten that boat all the way in.

The pool was freezing but that didn't stop your brothers and your cousins. I was in the Broad Creek a bit and that was fine. A lot of muck and ooze but no jelly fish, so I was happy. Joe looks pretty happy here.

Tonight is Michael's birthday. He is 13. A real teenager or a Jewish man, take your pick. His other grandparents, Arlene and Harvey, are having a pool party at their house tonight. We'll be seeing everyone all over again.

Some of the notes I am keeping are just things that I want to tell you about your brothers. Here goes:

-Every morning I find an entire playground's worth of wood chips in Joe's sneakers. For the life of me I don't know how he walks around like that all day and doesn't seem to notice or complain.

-Jack did incredibly well on his tests in school. He is really smart. I am proud of him. He is way smarter than me. Yesterday he started telling me that he thinks about what happens in different dimensions. I don't even know what other dimensions there are. He explained to me that there are other universes and he thinks about what those other universes are like.

-Joe has decorated his room in pictures of athletes that he has cut out of magazines and books.

-Your brothers, both of 'em, won't wear jeans.

-Joe has the bad habit of admiring his hits in baseball. Mom explains that he is the only player who turns triples into singles because he stands at the plate after he hits the ball to watch how far it goes. He reminds me a bit of Manny Ramirez of the Red Sox.

-Jack is a big fan of comedy. He listens to Steve Martin, Bill Cosby and Monty Python.

-Joe isn't big on learning to swim or ride a bike. This frustrates me a lot but I know it is only a matter of time. Patience. He can't go through life not knowing how to ride a bike, right?

-Both guys and Mom became fans of this show called American Idol. Joe was crushed when his favorite, a guy named Blake, didn't win.

-Jack watches the Simpsons... maybe too much. The Simpsons Movie is coming out soon.

-Joe watches SportsCenter all the time. Our routine is that he comes down for breakfast and we watch the highlights together. He always asks me "Who won," and I try to teach him to read the scores and learn for himself.

-Jack had a ceremony at school where he and his classmates got their own Chumashim. What was interesting for me is that when the whole class was singing I could hear Jack's voice separate from everyone else. I guess that is what being a parent is.

-Joe is obsessed with jigsaw puzzles. He went from ones with a few pieces, to 100 pieces to 200 pieces and I think he is working on a 500 piece one. Mom helps him out, but he is good on his own.

-Jack likes the Red Sox and Joe is a Yankees fan (I am rooting for the Nats and wish they would too)

So I guess what I want to report to you Big Brother, is that your two younger brothers are doing great. Jack needs to be a little nicer to Joe but otherwise, they're cool.

Aside from Mom's trip to China... here are some pictures from that...

...there is other big news that I didn't report. First, Zhenny left us. She wasn't working enough hours, so she needed to go to a family who needed her more often. You were the one who told me to hire Zhenny. I still remember calling her from Minnesota to tell her that we were coming home without you. She had only been working with us for a few weeks at that point. That was hard. We are going to miss her - Joe most of all. They have an incredibly close bond and Joe is so tight with her husband Peter and her son Jeff. Hopefully, Zhenny can come over to babysit from time to time.

The other really, really big news is that Papa Teddy is getting married to his friend Jeri. That is happening in June. I am Best Man. I am really happy for him.

Papa Teddy and Jeri just went to Italy for a visit. Here are some pictures of their trip.

Aunt Abby, Uncle Andy, Cousin Michael, Rachel, Joshua and little Noah are heading to Italy next month. Bill and Cristina went to Italy this weekend for a few days themselves. Seems like the place to be. I told Mom that I'd like to go to Israel after we go to Spain next summer with everyone for the 10th Anniversary of Bill and Cristina's wedding. You and Grandma are the ones who made the original trip who won't be there for the reunion.

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That's a picture of you and me on a boat from that trip.

Hey, we had 3 Israeli girls stay at our house this weekend. They are going into the army soon and before they start their service they travel to the United States for a while. I'm glad we were able to host them. They said to visit when we go to Israel. Maybe we will.

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