Category Archives family

Planning a Bar Mitzvah

From the moment my oldest son was born, there were milestones that we had to think about. First was his bris when he was ten days old. Since we knew we were having a boy, we were able to plan a bit ahead of time for that.

Next up, was getting NHL ready for school. PreK and kindergarten came quickly and required school adjustments along the way. Of course, he also started going to Hebrew School.

Then, as we eased into elementary school the focus shifted toward getting ready for middle school. While that was a major priority in my mind, there was always something else making my thoughts race at times.

Bar Mitzvah Time Traditions

Middle school means getting close to the teen years. This is a huge milestone in the Jewish religion. Boys start to focus on their Bar Mitzvah preparations at about the same time. Hebrew school is not enough and shortly individual lessons with members of the clergy will begin.

As NHL turned eleven this summer, I knew the two year count down was on. Of course, with my internal count down and major denial shaking it off, I had to embrace the reality check. His birthday seemed to signal questions from some family and friends. They wanted to know if we had a date, time, location, and other details to share.

No, we were hyper focused on getting the kiddo adjusted to middle school. The here and now trumped something two years in the future. In passing, I spoke with the rabbi about it and he told me to get in touch after the high holidays.

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the rest of the autumn holidays came and went. Denial was strong.

We have talked to NHL about his Bar Mitzvah. He has preferences and has made it clear that he does not want certain things to happen. He has also made a specific request.

A reality check happened shortly before Thanksgiving.

I saw the phone number of our synagogue pop up on my phone. What I was not expecting was our cantor to be on the line. *GULP* It was time to talk about his Hebrew Birthday. That is the magical date that is the first day we could even consider having his Bar Mitzvah.

My brain was racing and TechyDad was still at work. I was not expecting the call, so it caught me off guard a bit. In the end, we found out the first day in 2016 that is acceptable for us to consider. We also know a day that someone else has selected that is out. What I never thought about was the likelihood of needing this big day to be right at the start of the school year. It now appears that we will have to think about juggling a Bar Mitzvah with the start of 8th grade.

While I am sure NHL will be ready for this big day (whenever it is), I am not sure that I am ready for the planning, saving, and chaos that go together.

If you have planned a big event for your child, like a Bar Mitzvah, how did you tackle it? One thing we have decided is to keep a lot of details quiet for as long as possible. We do not want disagreements to pop up like they did with our wedding

It's Me

FYI, if you were curious about the picture above, that’s a photo of my father when he had his Bar Mitzvah.

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Goodbye Hoffman’s Playland

Hoffman’s Playland in Latham, NY is officially no more. For 62 years, the Capital District favorite has been a treasure for families to go to. Many children rode on their first amusement park ride while at Hoffman’s.

Hoffman's Playland 2014

I remember going to Hoffman’s as a child with my parents and extended family. We rode on our favorite carousel horses, celebrated being tall enough for the bumper cars, and loved getting dizzy as a family on the Tilt O’ Whirl.

It was only natural that when NHL was born eleven years ago that we would want to take him to Hoffman’s with Nana and Papa. His first visit was in the summer of 2004. He was just shy of one and still unable to walk. Still, he loved riding on the Merry Go Round and other rides. We actually started a tradition that year where Papa would take NHL onto the horses for their annual photo together.

Hoffman's Playland 2004

Hoffman’s was a place where we could all be a kid at heart and let our hair down. We could scream at the top of the roller coaster hill, or watch the beautiful scenery while taking the classic train around the park.

Hoffman's Playland 2007

When JSL was born, we took both of the boys to Hoffman’s and continued the tradition. Of course, big brother loved showing JSL all of his favorite rides.

Hoffman's Playland 2008

A few weeks ago, NHL decided that he wanted to go to Hoffman’s on his birthday. We knew it would likely be our last adventure to the park several generations of our family have grown up with. It was bittersweet walking around and thinking of this piece of local history gone.

While we will miss Hoffman’s, I am thankful for all of the memories. We still do not know if the rides may be in another location next year, I know that the boys and I will always have the magical moments from years gone by.

If you have ever been to Hoffman’s Playland and have memories to share, I would love to hear them in the comments below.

It's Me

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Sharing Our Trampoline Park Adventure

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

Several months ago, we heard that the Capital District would be getting a new family friendly destination. Yes, Flight Trampoline Park would be opening up a location in Albany and we were excited. There are very few local indoor play areas for the entire family. We had heard great things from family and friends who have a Flight Trampoline Park near them. When it recently opened, we were looking for a time to head over and check things out.

On Sunday, we went to Albany Flight Trampoline Park for the first time. When I asked TechyDad if we should take his SLR camera, he told me not to bother. Why? Well, he knew that with my Samsung Galaxy S5 in hand I would be able to take picture and videos to capture our memories. This is huge because TechyDad almost always brings his camera with us. In addition to this, I would be able to check in and share photos/videos if I had time while we were there. The check in was key in being able to finally meet someone in person too, thank you social media!

Albany Flight Trampoline Park

Since we were unsure of the crowds, we did not purchase our tickets online before heading to the park. Once inside the building, we went over to the computers to sign waivers and then went to pay for our visit. FYI – even those who are not planning on using the trampolines must do this. The three boys were going to bounce, jump, and fly through the air. My plan was to watch everyone and take photos. In addition to this, I had to be ready in case my one son went into sensory overload. As the parent of a child with autism, I never know exactly how first treks to a new location will go.

We had about 15 minutes to look around before our designated time would begin. The kids saw the area for little ones, noted where the basketball hoop was, and watched other people fly through the air. Of course, I noticed the rules posted all over the space and took a photo.

Flight Trampoline Park Rules

What really impressed me, there were staff members all over the trampoline area. They answered questions, talked to people, and watched to make sure that everyone was safe while exploring and exercising. Albany Flight Trampoline Park

I also made a quick Instagram video to share what the atmosphere was like while we were there. It was much less crowded at this point and a lot more people showed up half way through the hour.

Just before the boys went off to jump and play, I asked them to take a quick photo. I knew that catching them in action would be difficult to do, especially while they went off in different directions. The other photos show the boys while they were jumping, hopping, and flying around.

Jumping at the Albany Flight Trampoline Park

For the first half hour or so, the boys had a great time. Then the area got a little more hectic with additional people coming in at 2:30. After about 15 minutes, NHL had seen his limit. He had a great time playing with other kids at the basketball area and even tried dodge ball. His foot was bothering him from being barefoot, so I walked over to a side area for him to decompress. JSL and TechyDad continued to bounce during this time. I was even able to get a video of the kid at heart having some fun.

My suggestion to parents of children with special needs, you know your child. Perhaps try 30 minutes your first time and go from there. Next visit, we plan to head back on the Special Needs Night that they have on the first and third Tuesday each month. I think the pace may be better for NHL. In addition to this, JSL may feel less like he will be run over by so many big kids and adults moving so fast. We have heard from other families that went last week that it was a fantastic experience. Many reported that everyone at the park were accommodating and kind, which we also saw during our visit.

What place have you gone to for the first time recently where you opted not to bring your camera and just use your smartphone? I know I felt so free with just my phone and still being able to capture these special moments.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Disney Dad Time

Walt Disney World is a special place where I have magical milestones with my father. The legendary Figment bribe on Space Mountain happened there when I was really young. We spent many vacations traveling to Orlando making memories. TechyDad and I took the boys on their first magical adventure and Papa (plus Nana) were there with us. TechyDad now has special moments riding his first loop coaster with our oldest son and more. It truly is a place that is special for the two wonderful Dads in my life. Happy Father’s Day in advance to TechyDad and my father.

Disney Dad Time

Focused on the Magic

Be sure to stop by Focused on the Magic by clicking on the button above to join in the Disney magic this week.

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Views from Passover 2014

Both of the Passover Seders are now over, so it’s time to share a few photos from the large family event at Aunt S and Uncle M’s house. It was gorgeous and the kids loved singing the Four Questions in Hebrew for everyone.

Passover 2014

Passover 2014 snow

More Passover memories to share at another time. Now I am off to spend Spring break with the boys while getting ready for JSL’s surgery in a few days.

It's Me

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