Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day Trip to New Hampshire

My very dear friend, Alexis, sent me a text last Friday, telling me she was in my area (read: within a 100 mile radius) and asked if I would like to see her and spend some time up at the lake. Well, considering how often I get to see Alexis, there was no way I was going to pass up the chance. So, I got in the car and drove two hours north to the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire to spend two hours at the lake.

Being there was like being back at camp. It felt so right, and I wish I could have stayed longer. Just being out in nature is incredible enough, but getting to spend time among people I love at the same time made it extraordinary. The water there is so clear you can see right down to the bottom, and it's so shallow by the shore that I could have easily caught a fish with my bare hands. Hopefully I'll be able to take the kids up with me next time so they can go swimming, ride in a boat, and of course they'll get to see Alexis and her family!

Enjoy the pictures of the hidden beauty that can be found just hours from the bustle of Boston.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Huge Update (Part 2)

In November 2014, Ron, Gavriella, and I attended Rhode Island Comic Con in Providence, RI. Once again, we had a fabulous time meeting interesting people. I dressed up like Tauriel from The Hobbit.

Here I am with Colin Baker, most noted for being the 6th Doctor in Doctor Who.

We all then got to meet John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli in Lord of the Rings and Sallah in Indiana Jones.

Gavriella got along really well with George Takei, who played Sulu in Star Trek. He was so sweet to her and kept shaking her hand.

From that point, school and work basically took over my life. When I wasn't doing one, I was doing the other, except during my two week breaks between semesters. In the spring of 2015 I started to get back into acting, something I did quite a bit of as a teen and that I miss doing. I auditioned for many student and other films, and I was lucky enough to be cast in a few of them.

The first one I did was called "The Edible Phase." It's an incredibly creepy 2 minute film with no dialogue and a whole lot of symbolism. See if you can get through the whole thing. haha You only get to see my face at the beginning, but if you stay until the end you get to see Gavriella make her film debut.



I was also cast in many roles in a horror film that is hopefully coming out in November called "Once Upon a Deadtime Story." I don't have any clips from that, but when it comes out I will be sure to share with you how you can see it. On the same day that I filmed my first scene for the horror movie, I also filmed a short called "The Catcher," where I play a hypnotist. You can watch that one, and it is much less creepy than the first film though still somewhat creepy.



I haven't been cast in anything since then, though I have sent in quite a few auditions for things. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to participate in more things as time goes on.

In May, I took a two-day trip to New York to meet my grandpa for the first time. I know I wrote about finding my mother's birth family way back in 2013, but this was the first opportunity I've had to meet her birth father. Grandpa Joel is a hoot! We had a great time together, and I wish he lived closer so I could see him more often and introduce him to the kids. We didn't exactly get the greatest picture of the two of us, but it's something.

We attended another comic con within the last few weeks called MASSive Comic Con in Worcester, MA. Our entire purpose was to go see Sean Astin again, and we actually ran into him completely by accident on the way out of the parking lot into the convention. He is a real gentleman and talked to us for over 10 minutes as a line formed at his booth. We took a video, but it's not very good. Either you can see us well and not hear us or hear us well and not see anything. haha But feel free to enjoy it anyway!


That brings us almost entirely up to date. I will do my best to post more regularly, but no promises. School and work have me running like a nutcase, though I am grateful for both! I will be starting clinicals for school in November, but I'll be doing them about an hour and a half from Boston. Sounds like a lovely commute, doesn't it? But it's all I have, and I will take it gladly!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Huge Update (Part 1)

Whoops... I can't believe it's been almost a year and a half since my last post. That's unreal!! So much has happened since then that I don't really know where to begin with it all...

Back in August 2013, even before Gavriella was born, I started a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program at Western Governors University. I continued the program after Gavriella was born, really pushing through as hard and fast as I could. I was able to complete the entire thing in 5 months and earned my degree at the very beginning of January 2014.

I made my sort of annual trip to Missouri just around then (Jan 2014) and was able to meet my student mentor from WGU, since she lives in the area that I was visiting. It was perfect timing, and my trip was awesome as a whole. I brought Gavriella along with me so she could see all of the people who were so excited when I first got pregnant the year before. I also got to meet some new people, which included my friend Heavyn's other best friend, Victoria. Less than a month later, the day before Heavyn's birthday, Victoria was tragically killed in a car accident. I feel so privileged to have met her and had the chance to spend the afternoon together before she died. I'm only sorry I didn't take a picture with her to remember our time.

I had another fun travel experience in March 2014, when I went to Louisville, KY for Louisville Comic Con. Gavriella came with me, of course, and we got to meet some fantastic people.

For example, Matt Smith (The 11th Doctor from Dr Who)

Karen Gillan (Amy Pond from Dr Who)

Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite)

And Sean Astin! (He's in too many films to name them all, but most importantly he was Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings)


Sean loved getting to hold Gavriella. We had spoken via Skype about 6 weeks prior to the convention, so he was looking forward to this for weeks. It was funny, because the first time I walked up and saw him he didn't recognize me for a minute, but when he finally did his face lit up and he came around the table to give me a big hug. If you call my phone, you can hear his personalized outgoing voicemail message.

The day after I got back from Louisville I started my first hospital nursing job as a med/surg float pool RN at Carney Hospital. I worked per diem for there for a little over a year.

We had a bit of some turnover with childcare over the course of the past year, but our one rock is our 'manny' Ron. His first trip from his old home in New York to his new home here in Boston was in March 2014. Starting in May he was commuting from NY to Boston (and back) every week to help us out. He finally made the official move to Boston a few months ago.

Right after finishing my BSN I applied to an MSN+DNP program in midwifery at Frontier Nursing University. Ever since I decided I wanted to be a midwife, that is where I wanted to study. I didn't really have any other option in my head, and I made the deadline to apply in order to do my orientation in May and start classes in July...I only had to be accepted. I got that acceptance letter at the beginning of March, attended the orientation in Hyden, KY in May, and began my first classes in July.

The kids had a decent school year in 2013-2014. Chana and Dovid were at Torah Academy in the pre-k, and Tzipora was at a family play group. Even though there were struggles, the kids got through. During the summer they all went to Camp Shemesh, and during one of the weeks in between camp and school they traveled down to DC to visit with Aunt Shira and Uncle Ben. They had a wonderful trip and got to experience a week of camp down in Virginia.

In early August 2014, I got to attend Boston Comic Con with the whole family. I had the opportunity to introduce all of them to Sean Astin, and I got to meet John Barrowman (Captain Jack from Dr Who).




John had a particularly good time making Gavriella laugh. At first she was a bit leery, but then she cheered up, as you can see.

I think that is plenty for you to read for now, but more updates will follow. I promise!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Haunted House

Ok, my house is officially haunted, and I think it's probably Grandpa Irv having himself a little fun. The TV turned on TWICE over Shabbos and no one had touched it. At 1am the TV went on, so Shmuel got out of bed to yell at whoever did it...except no one was there. So he left it because it was Shabbos. At 4:30am I woke up and heard the TV (I slept through the noise until then) and grumbled at Shmuel to yell at whoever turned on the TV on Shabbos. So he got out of bed again to look and again no one was there. At some point in the morning once everyone was up, one of the non-Jews living with us turned off the TV so we could have a peaceful Shabbos. Then in the afternoon Shmuel noticed an ambulance across the street and was standing looking out the window at it, Dovid was running into the other room to look out another window, Chana and Tzipora were playing on the floor, and I was sitting on the couch with Gavriella when the TV went on AGAIN. No one had touched anything, so we went looking for the remote control to see if maybe I was sitting on it or something. Nope. Remote was off on a shelf with no one near it. Super weird. Then, to top it off, I just found Chana B's glasses which have been missing for 2 weeks. I saw them on the ottoman just outside my bedroom door next to my purse. NEXT TO MY PURSE PEOPLE! No way I missed that for 2 weeks... Now I'm wondering what's next, though at least I know it's a friendly ghost.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Remembering Grandpa Irv

I lost a dear family member this week. Your first instinct is probably to ask "which side of the family was he on?" Well, he was my sister's husband's grandfather - Grandpa Irv. Many times family is created through marriage, but honestly I feel as though the Simons became family long before my sister (Shira) and brother-in-law (Ben) were married. And now, every night when my husband tucks in the kids, he goes through a laundry list of people that love them. "I love you...and Mommy loves you, and Grandma loves you, and Grandma loves you..." After Grandma and Grandma always came Grandpa Irv...even before Aunt Shira and Uncle Ben! And every single Simon gets mentioned in the nightly shpiel - Ben's parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, niece and nephew. That's how close this family is to us.

Shortly after Shira and Ben's wedding (15 years ago!), Ben's grandparents (on his father's side) moved to Rochester. Since I was still in high school at that point I had the opportunity to spend time with them, and they came to my choir concerts, plays, etc. They also became friendly with my parents and grandparents. After my grandparents died, they became a surrogate set, and I loved them just as much as I loved my own grandparents. They treated me as their own, and I think somewhere down the line Grandpa Irv probably forgot that I wasn't blood related to him. :)

Grandpa Irv and my father became close after my Grandpa Bill died. They used to solve the world's problems over lunch each Tuesday. It's quite possible that after my father became ill he told Grandpa Irv to watch over me, because he certainly did. There's a favorite story of mine that really shows how Grandpa Irv had "adopted" me as one of his grandkids. About a month after I met Shmuel I was home in Rochester for winter vacation. It was about 6 weeks after my father had died, and the whole Simon family had come over for dinner. At one point Sheri (Ben's mom) was talking about how there were so many people getting engaged lately. I sat there with a smirk on my face, and when she noticed she called me out on it. I explained how I had met Shmuel and that we were seriously dating. At some point it was mentioned that he's 14 years older than I am, and Grandpa Irv really let me have it. Here are some quotes as I remember them: "What does he want with someone so much younger?" "Your mother doesn't want you to date someone so much older! Think about how she feels with your dad gone. He was a lot older than she, right?" "You know I'm only saying this because I love you, and your father's not here to say it for himself!" I tried to explain that he wouldn't be saying these things if he had met Shmuel and to wait to pass judgment on him. I knew that once they met that Grandpa Irv would have no problem with it. A few months later Shmuel came to Rochester and met the Simon family, and Grandpa Irv fell in love with him. Honestly, I think it was love at first sight with those two. After that all I ever heard from Grandpa Irv was "how's my Sammy?" It always used to make me grin, since I knew how upset Grandpa Irv was when I first mentioned I was dating someone older, and now here he was welcoming Shmuel with open arms. But that's just how he was...full of love. He loved us, and he loved my kids. I sent him a family picture with Gavriella in it a few weeks ago, so he was able to see her before he passed. I'm just glad the rest of the kids were able to spend some time with him when we went to Rochester this past May.

I did not used to be a very emotional person. When my father died I knew it was coming several weeks in advance. But I never cried at anything back then, and I stoically sat there during his funeral and even at his graveside with not a tear to be found. I wanted to cry, but for some reason my body just couldn't. Same thing at my grandmother's funeral a few months later. Same with basically every other funeral I've ever been to or when someone calls me with news of someone's death. Until this week. I knew Grandpa Irv was sick, and I knew this phone call would be coming, but for the first time ever I couldn't speak while Sheri was telling me that Grandpa Irv had died. I was trying not to cry into the phone or betray my emotion, so all I could give her was one word answers. I loved him as if he were my own grandfather, and in many ways he was. I will miss him terribly, but I hope he's getting to spend some quality time with Grandma Harriette who he's been missing the past 6 years, and I hope he gets to go back to having Tuesday lunches with my father so they can solve the problems of the world. Goodness knows this country could use their help.


This is Grandma Harriette & Grandpa Irv at my wedding - Aug 27, 2006. Not a great quality pic, but you get the idea.


This is a gorgeous picture of the Simon family taken in May. (From L to R: Shira, Grandpa Irv, Ben, Robert, and Sheri)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

She Flips!

Sept 20 (21 days old) - She's only three weeks old, but Gavriella flipped from front to back today! Shocked the living daylights out of me... I put her down for some tummy time and within a few minutes she started squeaking, because she had turned herself over, and I think she was a bit surprised. I didn't think babies were supposed to be able to do that until they were like 3 or 4 months old! I thought it might be a fluke, but she repeated the feat the next day. Super baby!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thought of the Day

For someone with misophonia, the sound of someone eating can be like nails on a chalkboard. Poor Shmuel gets "the look" if he tries to eat carrots in my presence, and there are times I need to just wear ear plugs during a meal. Yet the sound of Gavriella gulping down mommy milk during a feed is nothing short of the most delightful sound on this planet. It brings me no end of joy. Go figure...


Seriously she's gotten bigger in the last few days, and it's not surprising. She's been eating CONSTANTLY. Growth spurt!