Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | January 24, 2016

Blizzard 2016

The storm is over. It’s a beautiful, sunny day now, unlike yesterday’s windy snowy day. We couldn’t even get good views of what was happening outside, as the snow stuck to the windows. We figure we got at least two feet of snow, though maybe it was more.

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The view from inside the house.

The big news in town was that our local Trader Joe’s roof partially collapsed, with its walls buckling. See the video here. That’s sad for a number of reasons, like the loss of business for them and employee jobs. Personally it’s sad for me because I shop there weekly and there are quite a few items I only buy there. Just checked the site – there’s another one maybe 20-25 minutes away, so I may have to check it out until this one gets rebuilt. I know, first world problems.

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The wind was blowing! Our garage was only open so Mark could put the garbage and recycling in. We did some major purging during the storm.

I took the quiet day at home as an opportunity to clean up the attic and basement a little. Even though they don’t look much different, we got rid of a bunch of bags of things, mostly the kids’ stuff they stored in the attic and some craft items in the basement that were partly used and no longer needed.

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As a bonus of doing this, Dori found a winter hat she lost and Zack found some Pokemon cards. And I found my winter boots.

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Mark went outside to shovel twice. This was before the first shoveling, because you can still see the planter. The screen door obviously wasn’t shut fully because we got snow inside the door and on the screen handle. Later we had to exit through the back because it was impossible to push this door open.

Read More…

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | November 19, 2015

Kaplan Family Bat Mitzvah Spotlight

For those who following this blog and our Bat Mitzvah journey, you may remember that I often referenced MitzvahMarket.com. They do Bar/Bat Mitzvah profiles. I have no desire to be featured there, but I did want to do a similar profile here. If you haven’t read theirs, you might want to do so before reading this, otherwise this post will make very little sense.

Some examples:

Jessica’s Shoe Gallery Bat Mitzvah

Brooke’s Bat Mitzvah

The Candy Bat Mitzvah

Okay, so now that you’re primed!

The Kaplan family of New Jersey celebrated Dori’s Bat Mitzvah.

The Theme

Dori decided not to have a theme (other than “I’m reading from the Torah and becoming a member of the Jewish community”). When pressed at mitzah fairs, though, she contemplated telling people she chose a “cow” theme.

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Read More…

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | November 3, 2015

Deer: a Love Story

Something unique happened today. Two deer spent several hours in our yard. We’ve seen deer in our suburban town before, but not at our house and rarely on our street (I can think of two or three occasions in six years when I’ve heard of deer on the street). So this morning after a late shower (late meaning 8:15 a.m.) I came downstairs to make breakfast and I got quite startled in the kitchen. There was a male deer outside the window. He was looking at me. I was looking at him. And then I was rummaging through my purse to get my little camera and my phone.

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I looked around and saw his companion on the back lawn. Read More…

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | October 26, 2015

Zack on Good Morning America

Zack got his second shot at fame on Good Morning America today. I wrote a long post about the experience over at Jersey Kids, so please head over there for my story, lots of photos and video links.

Zack and 19 other kids on Good Morning America with Jeff Kinney.

Zack and 19 other kids on Good Morning America with Jeff Kinney.

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | September 8, 2015

First day of school – 2015

Well, it’s back to school again – even though it seems so late and there are leaves on the ground. The kids are at different schools at least for the next two years.

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We had a little snafu this morning. High school starts ridiculously early. Dori managed to get up on time to leave for school. She went to her friend’s house to pick up her friend, only to find out that school started 45 minutes later today. Huh? Nothing on the school home page. Nothing in recent emails from the school (update: a friend mentioned a recent PTO email. Just went to look and bam, they did list the opening/closing time for school today. My bad! Granted they didn’t note that this was a change in the original schedule, which is probably why I missed it). Nothing from the freshman orientation. One mention in the back to school letter sent mid-August. Yes, I should have seen that. But would it hurt to make mention of it other times as well? Especially for the freshman? Because the other local schools (elementary/middle) don’t start late on the first day. Oh well. At least she wasn’t late.

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And Zack was off to middle school. And he was on time too – a good start to the year. May it last.

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 19, 2015

The Last Letter

I figured camp letters were over for the season, but today, less than 24 hours before the kids arrive home, we got one last letter from Dori. Here are highlights:

“Last Saturday evening during Havdala (end of Shabbat), they always have a slideshow of pictures that they took of people during the week and it’s really cool. They have categories like “in the pool,” “photo bomb” or “group photos.” I FINALLY got into the slideshow! But guess what category I got in? Awkward photos!”

(This is the photo that she described)

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Not so awkward

I think she got off easy. They could have posted this one: Read More…

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 18, 2015

Camp Mom and Dad

Every day, mothers like me check the camp website multiple times looking for newly uploaded camp photos. Dads don’t realize the website exists – they think the camp photos we show them just magically appeared. While looking at the website, squinting because perhaps we need reading glasses but don’t get them (or perhaps because the photos are so damn small), the photos are scrutinized. Mothers question how happy their child looks. We wonder how other children get the inappropriate clothing they’re wearing and we wonder why their mothers let them take those tight,low-cut crop tops to camp. And even worse, we worry that our children have been carried off by a bear with no staff noticing, if the children haven’t appeared in a photo that day (or for several days). Panic sets in.

Where's Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?

Of course I’m not this mother. Read More…

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 17, 2015

Camp: the time when Dori draws a phallic dog

Dori sent two huge letters a day apart, so I will be highlighting portions of each.

“Today my friend’s stomach hurt so my other friend gave her Tums. She’s not supposed to have them though (note from Debbie – no OTC meds in the bunk), and had it hidden in an empty candy box. You’re not supposed to have candy either. That’s like hiding a stash of pot in a bag of cocaine.”

“Tonight we had the Masada Golan (note from Debbie: 9th grade boys/girls divisions) lip sync which was pretty fun. The Masada Golan combined name is “Masgo” which is so STUPID. That sounds like a gas station that you see on the highway in the middle of the night. Like 2 letters are falling off the sign and some creepy hobo is sleeping there.” Read More…

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 13, 2015

Email from Zack

The boy wrote again! We knew it was him because the subject line was “Hi from your favorite child.” Wait, didn’t Dori just say something like that? Oh right, we knew it was him because Dori emailed two days ago. We’re glad to see Zack’s alive and sharing information with us. Here’s the email:

“Dear moom and daad
i expect quesadillas when i get home. im actually not l0ookig at the monitor right now because i turned it around after other kids started looking at it.ill tell you everytything that happens when i gtey homme becauis vamp 9s amlosyt over . bye.”

Okay got it. Quesadillas and brownies. And his typing by feel is improving!┬áThe food items will be waiting. Along with the nail polish remover Dori requested that I send to camp, but I’m not doing that because she’ll get to use it all of two days by the time it arrives.

More soon – we got a long, event-filled letter from Dori yesterday.

Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 12, 2015

Letters from Dori – the first letter

As I mentioned, I’m going out of order on the kids’ letters from camp. Here are highlights from Dori’s first letter:

“Dear dad, mom, and mom’s army of loyal blog readers:”

“The bus ride was pretty good except someone threw up! They were like “someone has to throw up. Get them a bag.” So after 30 people went “I have a bag but…(insert reason why they can’t give it)” they found a bag. I don’t know why people do that. If they need something and you have it but can’t give it to them – then just keep your mouth shut! You’re not a hero by being like ‘I have a plastic bag but she can’t barf into it because my sandwitch is in there.” Anyway, so they got a bag and then they realized there was a hole in it. So they found about 5 other hole-y bags and just put them together for the girl to barf in. I was imagining the poor girl getting off the bus holding a bag of her own puke and a counselor saying “welcome to camp! Let me carry that bag for you!” Read More…

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