Friday, October 30, 2009

Happiness is...

... a six year who FINALLY got to wear her long-sleeved school shirts. (Yes, folks, choref has officially arrived, judging by the number of Israelis in puffy winter coats and sweaters. I did not check the weather on Thursday and sent Yaakov to gan in shorts and a t-shirt, on what turned out to be a chilly, rainy day. Of course, by the afternoon, the sun was out and it was warm again, but still, I felt like a bad mother. So today, pants and long-sleeved shirts. Ariella was so excited last night she had trouble falling asleep.)

... cold and rainy and windy weather. Seriously. I was sooooo tired of hot and sweaty.

... a three year old who has his very own bendable Buzz and Woody dolls. (I've been trying to sneak up on them in an attempt to catch them talking and walking around and stuff, but damn, those toys are GOOD. They're always right where I left them. One day, one day.) Also, I sometimes slip up and call them Wuzz and Boody or Wooz and Buddy.

... Take Out Thursday (for the grown-ups; usually falafel or shwarma, last night we went for Chinese.)

... the Stand On Mommy Then Jump Onto the Couch Game. In case you need more specific directions: Mommy lies on the couch, Yaakov stands on Mommy, spreads his arms, counts to ten, then jumps off onto the couch. Ariella convulses with laughter, and despite the pain and bruising, Mommy laughs also. He is pretty cute.

... popcorn. I just really like popcorn.

... the way the house looks right before Shabbos starts.

... Ariella's face when she received a sticker for good davening.

... Yaakov when he realized it was Chocolate Sandwich Friday.

(We will not go into "unhappiness is... ," such as the way the house looks by the time Shabbos ends, or trying to retrieve bank statements from your bank's website and accidentally spending twenty shekel on a report you didn't want that has information you don't need and when you call the bank in an attempt to cancel the transaction the local branch tells you to call the main number and the main office, of course, tells you you need to speak to the local branch. Bye, bye, twenty shekel. But like I said, we are being happy and positive today.)

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hail the Conquering Hero

Well, only a few days left to vote in our latest poll, and so far - sorry, Momz and Baila - Chutes & Ladders is winning as Worst Children's Game Ever. If you haven't cast YOUR vote yet, it's not too late!

In aliyahbyaccident mazel tov news, a huge DOUBLE mazel tov goes out to Loyal Reader Shoshana, (Motto: "3 Under 3!") (Little boys, that is.) Well, Shoshana, as you know, I am somewhat of an expert on twin boys, having twin nephews myself, and I can tell you, that by the time they get to 25, it gets much easier. B'hatzlachah!

So our Intrepid Traveler has returned. Donny left Seattle early Sunday morning, and a mere 30 hours later, landed in Tel Aviv. Sans luggage, however. They do claim they know where his luggage is, and have promised to deliver it this morning. The sooner the better, because in addition to Donny having no pants left, (he looked quite fetching in my denim skirt this morning) the luggage is carrying some precious cargo: Woody, Buzz, and a Dora Leapster game. For the airline's sake, they better deliver quickly.

In children news, Ariella has started to do her own ponytail. At first I tried to convince her otherwise, but she was just so darn determined to do it that I let the independence win out. At first I thought it looked like her hair got caught in a KitchenAid; now I think it's more like she did her pony and then carefully applied an immersion blender. It's controlled chaos. Anyway, she is quite proud of herself, and the truth is, now that she does her own hair, she is nearly Mommy-free in the mornings. Which frees me up to chase Yaakov around the apartment while wielding a bowl of cereal and a pair of shorts, hoping each ends up in the right place.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Poll

I have deputized myself as the new Mistress of Polls. Following the comments for "Game Time," I have put up a new poll to decide once and for all which is truly the absolute worst children's game of all time. To add your voice to the conversation, click on the comments section below.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Game Time

Full Disclosure: I don't know how to play chess. I'm not even sure which pieces are which. I think the little tiny guys are pawns and the horse is a knight, but after that, it's all bishops to me. I have tried to learn - Donny tried to teach me, I took a workshop once at SAR, but all for naught. Give me Checkers any day - much simpler, you jump in one direction, you get to the other end, you win. Or even better, one of my all-time favorites, Taboo or Scattergories.

Donny has had more luck in teaching Ariella how to play and she occasionally asks me to play with her, at which point I hit upon the fantastic idea of coloring together! Yaakov has witnessed the chess playing, and today he decided to play with me.

Y: I want to be the blacks, Mommy. I do not love the whites.

M: Okay Yaakov.

[Yaakov lines up his pieces, and corrects my formation. I actually think he may have been right. We proceed to play. I move my piece randomly.]

Y: No, Mommy it goes here, and then I take your piece.

[The game continues like this for a while. Every time it's his turn, I seem to lose another one of my pieces. For revenge, I take a few of his. But his strategy is better and he's winning.]

Y: [holding his king, or maybe it's his queen. Which one has the cross on top?] R-O-A-R!!!!! See, I am scaring your pieces. [The rest of my pieces fearfully scamper off the board onto Yaakov's side.]

Y: [Looking askance at my white pieces, which are now in his possession, and at most of his black pieces, which I have.] But Mommy I don't love the whites!

M: But you won, Yaakov!

Y: Yeah, I won!

We follow up the game with a victory lap of Torat Hashem Temima. A rolled up bathroom rug substitutes for a Torah.

Later in the evening, Ariella, who is taking a games chug at school, decides we should play Mancala. We tie one, I win two. Then I try explaining Taboo, and finally we pull out Scrabble. Not the Junior version, the real live thing.
Ariella won.

Well, she had a little help. She was able to do her first turn all on her own, using the "d" from my "find" and writing "red." After that, though, it was pretty much, "Mommy, can you help me use my 'k'?" and "Mommy, I want to get one of the red blocks." So, good Mommy that I am, I helped her score some pretty awesome words, some of which she didn't even know the meaning of. Some of which may not even have been words at all. (Does "gack" count?) I finally called it quits, surrendering and Ariella won, 100-something to 100-something less. win, Mommy loses....what a familiar theme.....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Princesses Galore

I would like to take this special opportunity to wish a HUGE, ALL-CAPS MAZEL TOV (YOU LIKE THAT, DADZ?) to Risa "Commentor Extraordinaire" Levi (and her hubby and son) on the birth of a brand new bouncing baby boy! (Actually, make sure NOT to bounce him. They'll probably have you watch a video about that before you leave the hospital.) The entire staff of aliyahbyaccident and all your fellow Loyal Readers wish you lots of blove (that's blog love) and hope that you will raise him to Torah, chuppah, ma'asim tovim, and Loyal Readership.


It seems the results of our informal poll - include a last-minute mail in vote - were unanimous. Eat the pits, people. And, in good news, the heat wave is supposed to break tomorrow! Ya-hooo!

Tonight, Ariella is at a birthday party. I got a phone call from a friend's mom, making sure Ariella was going because her daughter was nervous about the party. These friends are olim chadashim - even chadasher than we are, as they moved this summer - and her daughter is, obviously, not so comfortable with the Hebrew yet. The mom said, "I think I may go and stay with her, because she's really shy and apprehensive about it." I responded, "Do what you must, but be forewarned: Israeli birthday parties are like shwarma. Accept that it's good and don't ask what went into it."

And so I give you: Things I've learned from a year's worth of birthday parties:

1. Israeli moms are part of a secret conspiracy to turn little Israeli girls into a formidable Princess Army. At each party, Ariella creates another piece of princess paraphanalia. A sash at one, a tiara at another, a sceptor at a third. (She's not home yet, but I can only assume that she'll be bringing a life-size throne. Or a prince.) Watch out, world. The Princesses are COMING! And they will show NO MERCY!

2. When I drop Ariella off at the inevitable small Israeli apartment that will soon host at least 20 of the girl's classmates, friends, siblings, cousins, and neighbors, the birthday girl is decked out in a beautiful dress, with various hoojies decorating her hair. The girls are giggling with each other. The room is decorated in lots of pink. Pristine art supplies line the table. Tonight, there was even a professional princess-for-hire at the party!

3. When I pick Ariella up, there is glitter glue smeared on the walls. Glitter crunches underfoot as you walk in. Glitter pieces are stuck in the girls' hair, and the girls are either running around in sugar-induced euphoria, or sitting down and staring at the floor in a sugar-withdrawal stupor. Empty pizza boxes litter the floor. The birthday girl's little sister is in tears, and the birthday girl herself is nowhere to be found.

4. Ariella proudly shows me the newest addition to her princess collection, and the glittery makeup adorning her face. "Isn't it pretty, Mommy?"

5. We are handed a piece of cake with gooey frosting to take home. Usually, Yaakov scores a piece as well. This way, they are both covered with pink ooze and chocolate crumbs upon our arrival at the homestead.

Tonight, our intrepid mom actually texted me from the party and said, "Um, I think this bowl of high-fructose corn syrup IS our children's dinner." And then later: "There was a lot of princessy stuff going on. My daughter didn't want her face covered in makeup!"

Sigh. I did try to warn her. Hopefully next time she will be able to send her daughter off to the great princess-y beyond, pick her up two hours later, and remain blissfully unaware of what transpired in between. What happens at princess parties, stays at princess parties.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm Moving

That's it. I've had it. I could put up with the intense heat in the summer, because, as Morah T will tell you, "It's Israel. It's the summer. Get used to it." (Although she would probably tell you in a nicer way.) But this heat wave in October has finished me. We're not talking about your Indian summer, where it reaches a pleasant 70s or even low 80s during the fall. Oh no. This is all-out, knock-down, drag-out, heat war. There are many words for "heat wave" in Hebrew - it's sort of like our Eskimo "snow" - and I'm not even sure what the difference is between a chamsin and a sharav and plain old heat wave. But it is undeniably, and unbearably, HOT!!!!!

On Shabbat, the kids and I walked to a different shul for a friend's baby naming. (Donny had to layn at our regular shul.) Even though the shul is about two blocks away, we were red-faced and sweating by the time we got there. And there was no air outside. None. It was like walking through a warm bath, but not in a pleasant, isn't-this-relaxing sort of way. In a I'm-drenched-and-I-can't-breathe sort of way. Today, there is a sort of breeze, but it doesn't help much. It just feels like 100 strangers breathing heavily into your face. Ewwww. I hear it's a balmy 45 degrees in Baltimore. And rainy. Sounds good right about now. Can you send some over here? First, as we all know, the Kinneret needs water because Yaakov keeps brushing his teeth. (Although his plan of filling up his washing cup with water and dumping it into the Kinneret is not without merit.) But also, we need winter! Enough of this already! There are important things to consider, such as Ariella's deep desire to wear her long-sleeve school shirts!

Okay, fine, maybe my solution is a bit drastic. Also, I'm afraid the five dozen shoko b'sakits I would have to pack with me to tide me over during my exile would burst during the trip and make my suitcase smell bad. So I'll just stay inside. In a t-shirt. With the a/c on full blast. Leaving only to make mad dashes to pick up the children, and then run back inside. If you see me on the street and I don't say hi, it's not personal - it's because it's too hot to pick up my arm or move my mouth.

Speaking of things we love about Israel, everyone's got their own thing which makes them feel warm and fuzzy about our homeland. For some, it's seeing the myriad sukkot all over the country. For others, it's the ability to find a minyan in every building and form of public transportation. Still others enjoy the "chag sameach" on the soda bottles. For me, though, what makes me warm and fuzzy inside is the ability to buy undies in Supersol. Not sure why, and the truth is, I haven't actually done it yet. But I love going shopping knowing that if need be, I can head over to aisle six and outfit my kids for the entire season. [Contented sigh.]

Speaking of shopping, I had an excellent Random Bag at Supersol today: dryer sheets, garlic, cottage cheese, and toothpaste.

Speaking of speaking of things we're speaking of, Donny has left us this week to return to the Land of the Free and the Home of Target. He left Saturday night and is returning next Monday. Ariella was very saddened by his departure and as a result, I have been conned into doing all sorts of fun and expensive things this week. BUt yuo should also now that my blogging mihgt have a a few errors. YOu see, I usaully read it over to donny befroe I post, and then catch all the misspellings adn grammatical erros. But he not hree to lstien to me read. So if hrete ar mroe misstakes tha ussual, plesae udnersantd. (Ohmigod did anyone else just get a flashback to "Flowers for Algernon?" Or was it just me?)

Also, though our Minister of Polls has been decidedly absent these past few months - apparently he's been "working" so he can "make money" so we can "afford to live." Whatever - I have a question that's been on my mind: Pomegranate seeds. Eat 'em or spit 'em? Leave your answer below.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Flu Fighters

Today, the children and I went to get vaccinated. It is still frighteningly hot outside - if you take your frozen chicken soup on a walk around the block, it'll be boiling by the time you get back. Grab a spoon and dig in! - they do warn us that winter is just around the corner, and with winter, comes the flu. Now, I am a big believer of medicine in all shapes and forms - shots, prescription painkillers, over-the-counter meds, cough syrups, antihistamines. You name it, it resides in our medicine drawer. Most problems, I have found, can be solved with a good dose of Children's Advil, may its name be blessed forever and ever. So I have always taken my kids to get flu shots. You don't even need an appointment here - just show up with that ubiquitous pinkas chisunim (vaccination booklets), take a number from one of those bakery-style number giver-outers, wait for your turn, and whamo, you're vaccinated. Last year I learned the trick of showing up a few minutes before 4:00 PM, when the vaccination doors open for their afternoon hours. We got there at 3:55 and there was only one person ahead of us. Whamo!

I had warned Ariella only a few minutes before that we were going, and Yaakov found out as we were waiting our turn. Neither of them was particularly thrilled. Ariella was angry (perhaps rightfully so), because I had told her that from now on, all her shots are given in school. I never qualified that statement with, "except for your flu shot." Bad Mommy.

We enter the room, and I volunteer to go first, to show the kids how it's done. I was very brave - no screaming or crying or kicking the nice nurse. Ariella decided she would go second.
"I am going to teach Yaakov how to be brave," she said confidently.
The nurse came near with a friendly smile.
"AHHHHHHHH! No no nononononononono!" she shrieked, jumping up and down, crossing her legs so he couldn't get to the shot spot, and generally performing a top-notch freak out performance.
"AHHHHHHHHHH!" shrieked Yaakov in response. (A good student, he learned well.)
"Yes, thanks for that, Ariella. It was a real help."

Needless (or needles?) to say, the children did both receive their vaccinations. Some of you, particularly me, will recall that last year, Donny came down with the flu. (It's in the archives somewhere, if you care to relive the experience; I, for one, do not.) It was a rough week, and Yaakov was sick then also. We suspect Yaakov also had a mild case of the flu, except because he had been vaccinated, he got away with a low fever for a few days, some lovely "nazelet" and coughing, and then it was done. No moaning on the couch, puking, or intense misery, like some others experienced. So in my opinion, the flu shot is well worth it. Hopefully Donny will get one as well, and the poor couch will be patient-free all winter. Amen. Yehi Ratzon.

And for those of you who are familiar with my parenting practices, you may have already guessed that this harrowing experience ended in a trip to the ice cream store. (The new one in Marlaz Center, for those of you Modi'inites. Well worth it, though they don't have a kiddie size scoop. No matter, my children polished off their cones in a matter of minutes, though a good third of Yaakov's chocolate was draped over his chin, shirt, and arm.)

(Speaking of the word "relive," - which we did before, keep up - here is a random thought: I was checking my email, and one of the lovely pieces of spam I receive is from Parents Magazine. The title of this email was, "Relive Your Baby's Diaper Rash!" I was so confused. Was it so great the first time? The redness, the crying, the all-around discomfort and ickiness? "Wow, honey, remember Josh's diaper rash? Wasn't that amazing? I just wish we could do it again! Let's not change his diaper for three days!" Then I realized it said, "relieve" not "relive." I either have to practice my English or get more sleep.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Which title?

First of all, I'd like to thank Momz for her guest post, and thanks to everyone who commented - she really feels the love.

So many titles for this post, I just couldn't decide. Should it be: "Lost in Dimri: Or, How Dadz Walked Into the Wrong Building, Climbed to the Wrong Fifth Floor, and Knocked on the Door of a Peevish Israeli?" (No one likes being woken up from their afternoon nap, especially by a wayward American.)

Or, "There Goes My Croc! But It's Okay Because Mommy Fished It Out of the Water," by Yaakov?

Or perhaps, "Torat Hashem Temima: Sing It Again, Ami." (Yaakov, though at first flummoxed that everyone at shul seemed to know his special song, was prepared the next time and sang along with gusto.)

Then there's always my socio-political treatise entitled, "Simchat Torah in Shimshoni: Who Forgot to Order the Kit-Kats?" (I was disappointed by the lack of candy on ST night - I mean, dancing in a circle can only motivate kids through like 4-5 hakafot, then they need candy - but I was suitably impressed by the daytime "sakiot" of treats, which my children determinedly and doggedly ate through in about 5.2 minutes.)

And then there's today, the "half day" of chag that my parents are keeping, which means no "second day minyan," but a very dark walk down the stairs for Dadz who had to get to shul this morning. (Actually, we made a Shabbat elevator for him by pressing all the necessary buttons. He did, however, walk to and from shul all by himself. Donny drove alongside him slowly with cups of Gatorade and towels.) So while Dadz couldn't go on the computer at all, there was nothing stopping him from reading over my shoulder as I perused the NYTimes headlines. Hence, the title of today's post could be: "You've Never Read the Times Like This Before: Don't Scroll Too Fast! Go Back Up! Now Back to the Front Page and Find the Book Review!"

So, you see, so many titles, so little time.

Overall, our ST was very nice; Donny's shoulders are sore, which means a good time was had by the kiddies, and Momz volunteered to entertain them Shabbat afternoon, so I got an actual nap in a bed. It was awesome. She even prevented two dangerous Yaakov naps; luckily, Ariella knows the trick to snap him out of it - sour sticks.

Today we took the kids to a little park - Ein Chemed - to air them out a bit. After many intense games of hide-and-seek in an old Crusader farmhouse, and the aforementioned Croc fiasco, we headed home to watch "Mary Poppins" yet again. (A present from M&D - the kiddies have watched it at least a dozen times since Wednesday. Momz and I are slowly going insane from humming "Step In time" over and over and over and over. And over. Never need a reason! Never need a rhyme! Shut off the movie! Step in time!)

Tonight the adults go out for one last shebang in Jerusalem; tomorrow, Choref Zman begins. Bye-bye Chofesh, see ya Pesach time. (In Modi'in, we'll be celebrating Choref Zman by reaching a staggering 35 degrees this week. For you farenheiters, that means VERY VERY HOT.) And tomorrow, of course, we bade farewell to Momz and Dadz. The Kleins and Roses, as well as the entire rugelach industry, is certainly sad to see them go.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Momz Gets to Write a Guest Blog

Well, folks, the 'rents are here for a week - and you know what that means. Hogging my computer. And you know what that means - no time to write blogs. My favorite line tonight was when Momz - who was sitting at my computer, which had only been recently vacated by Dadz, who had been sitting at my computer for quite some time, squinting at the screen and wondering where his "Favorites" went - said to me, "So, Gils, did you blog tonight?" Hello???? When? Did I slip in, like the wind, invisible, between the time that Dadz got up and Momz sat down, quickly churn out a witty, amusing blog, then slip away again, unnoticed? The truth is, I could, in theory, have blogged using my new cool IPOD! (thanks Momz and Dadz! Just tell Donny it's a "Micropod!"), but I'm not so good with the typing yet so it. would. have. taken. a. very. long. time. to. type. it.

Anyway, Momz saved the blogging day by offering to write a guest post. Without further ado, I give you,

And now a guest blog from Momz, who is visiting Israel with the famous Dadz for a Week of Fun.

So this is a great country, but for some reason it is very HOT. I don't want to hear about longitudes and latitudes and equators and such. I just want it to stop being so freakin HOT. You see, since it is HOT I prefer to sit at the various parks we've visited while others romp and hike and play frisbee. It's Sukkos for goodness' sake, and in Baltimore it's in the 70s, while in Chicago, home of Rabbi Aaron Leibtag and his Leibtagim, it's been in the 50s all week.

And then, it gets to be like, say, 82 here instead of 150 and people are [get ready] wearing SWEATERS! I am not kidding, and I'm sorry but at the zoo i wnated to go up to the chasidim and ask them to please take off the satin coats not because I necessarily care about their sweat, but they were making me ill to look at them.

I am told that once it reaches "after the chagim" which is a life and mind altering event that occurs on Sunday, the sweaters, tights, and scarves appear and no matter what temperature it is, you gotta dress warm. Lord help me, it is not mormal. Or no one here is a middle aged woman. either way, it's nuts.

OK, I have kvetched enough about how HOT it is. Now on to other things.

So for the first part of chag (whoa, am I Israeli or what, I didn't even say YUNTIF, I think I'm going to get kicked out of Park Heights forever), we stayed at the home of Leezy and Elie Klein of Beit Shemesh, who live in God's neighborhood. Well, it is called Gad, but God is funnier. It was truly lovely, we got to spend time with our "outlaws" (no really, we call each other that very fondly) the elder (but not that old or rickety, for sure) Kleins, the wonderful Eisens (5 men, 1 woman, much laughing), and of course our wonderful Leezy, Elie, and their kiddies Netanel and Amichai.

So the bottom line is that Netanel is totally brilliant and adorable and hysterical and a real tantrum-ish two year old and Amichai is completely edible and looks like Elie and like a meerkat. Not that Elie looks like a meerkat, but well when we went to the Zoo even Elie, father of Amichai, pointed out that there is a freakish resemblance. There was much singing of "adon olam" by Tani, much giggling and cooing, as well as droooling and puking, by Amichai, and giggling by me and Leezy, which is one of the things we do best. Also they have a TV! and CABLE! we watched reruns of "Ellen"!

On Wednesday we mosied over to Modiin to visit with the Roses. Yaakov and Ariella greeted us with hugs and then continued their fight over who breathes better, or who has nicer shoes, or who touched whose daled amos, or something. Ah, yes the memories of my children doing the same thing, with every conversation ending in some reference to a body part or bodily function.

Since Gila and Donny do not have a sukkah (Israelis, please emphasize syllable number 2, Park Heights'ers please emphasize syllable number 1) we HAD to eat out a lot. Look, you do what you have to. On Wednesday we went to a cool park which had the requisite shade, place to sit, and breeze - I guess everyone else did something for 2 hours, I have no idea.

Today we went out to breakfast and then to another cool park. during all of this time my grandchildren were intermittently chasing each other, giggling, and calling each other names and accusing each other of basically causing World World III by touching or looking at each other. The UN has agreed to intervene - someone is gonna get sanctioned. hoo boy.

[serious section, get ready] I must compliment my children on being wonderful hosts and taking good care of us - and putting up with the constant demand for rugelach, croissants, seltzer, ice, naps, shade (cause it's HOT here) and places to sit. I am very proud of how they have acclimated to life here, and how much they enjoy being Israeli. Listening to my grandchildren speaking perfect Hebrew with Israeli raishes is beyond wonderful and brings tremendous nachas (somehow the Park Heights version of that word sounds much more sincere, sorry israelis).

So now we get ready to return to Park Heights, to work, etc. Dadz and I will board the plane on Monday night for that 11.5 hour squeezed into tiny seats watching old movies eating cruddy food trying to sleep but not succeeding going crazy not looking at my watch going crazy going crazy going crazy what do you mean we still have 3 hours to go....

thanks Gils for allowing me to write this is such a huge honor!

love to all of the royal leaders! loyal readers! whatever!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Zoo!

Monday was Zoo Day. We got there before the rest of the family, so after feeding Yaakov "Again I'm Hungry" Rose, we started searching for animals. I hadn't been to the Biblical Zoo since my time in Michlalah lo these many moons ago. It was a very enjoyable experience. There was lots of shade and a nice breeze, and now that I'm Israeli, I thought the weather was quite pleasant (only high eighties! Practically chilly!)

The kids had a good time at the children's zoo, which Donny tried to convince them was a zoo where they display children:

("The Yaakovius Fuzzacious is a rare species; only one of its kind is known to exist. Indigenous to North America, it is now found primarily in Israel, munching on something, it doesn't really matter what. Its defining characteristic is its short, fuzzy hair, and soft blue blanket, which is integral to the Yaakovius' sleeping habits. The Yaakovius has often been observed sucking furiously on its thumb.
Habitat: Sandboxes, jungle gyms, on the couch watching "Cars." Loves to travel on trains and airplanes.
Diet: Fruit, chocolate sandwiches, cereal, lollipops
Weight: Currently about 16 kilo and 101 cm; expected to grow even taller than Mommy, one day."

"The Ariellus Shmickelonius is a rare, beautiful creature with very long legs and two missing teeth (expected to grow in soon). The Ariellus is often found in the company of one Bunny, with whom it has formed a special attachment nearly since birth. Scientists have observed this unique Ariellus-Bunny phenomenon and pondered what will happen to the Ariellus when Bunny finally disinegrates.
Habitat: Happiest in school, doing work. Also known to watch videos on the couch, with Bunny, sucking its thumb. Known for creating exceptional works of art.
Diet: Fruit, cereal, noodles, candy of all shapes and sizes.
Weight: 19 kilo without kitah aleph tik, approximately 500 kilo with it on.")

So the zoo was fun - animals, a playground, and artiks. What could be bad?

We got home and everyone collapsed for a while. For dinner since we have no sukkah - poor us - we were forced go to out to eat. [Sigh.] No, no, save your sympathy - we managed to survive. We went to the new Angelo's at Heichal HaTarbut and everyone got their favorites - the kids ate toasted cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk, Donny and I split a pasta and the halomi salad, Donny got wine and I got a strawberry-banana fruit shake. Yum! I am very proud that we have taught our kids two important life skills - hiking and restaurants.

Then the kids ran around outside the restaurant for a while (there's a big open space with lots of good hide-and-seek spots.) The highlight was when Donny and I were hiding and the kids were counting, and some Concerned Lady asked Ariella where her parents were! She explained to Concerned Lady that we were all playing "machboim," and luckily, we were not hauled off to Bad Mommy and Daddy Jail. (I've spent many a night there. Cold noodles and endless "Yuval" reruns. [Shudder.])

Today, we're having a lazy morning. I made the kids sandwiches for brunch, and Yaakov took his to the picnic table, where, completely on his own, he made a beautiful "layshayv babayit." We seriously need a sukkah next year.

Tune in tomorrow for the continuing adventures of the Roses Do Chol HaMoed....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Holiday of Huts and Happiness

Wow. I know it's been a long time, but we've been quite busy, surprisingly so, considering we're not even building our own sukkah (due to that pesky covered mirpeset and unwillingness to schlep down five flights of stairs to the courtyard while holding hot chicken soup).

So we foisted ourselves off on Robbie and Jenny "Real Israelis" Sassoons for Shabbat/Chag. An excellent time was had by all at the Sassoons' home in Ma'ale Adumim. We even contributed s'chach and decorations to the construction of the sukkah. The highlight of our stay, at least for Donny (well, besides for drinking wine with Robbie in the sukkah), was the TWO sukkot the Sassoons built. One for eating, one for sleeping. Donny had two restful nights in the Sukkah, conveniently absent from various child-related crises going on in the rest of the house. After Shabbat, the children had movie night in the Sukkah, then went to sleep and the adults ate Jenny's Magical Lasagna and shmoozed. On Sunday, the fun continued in the Central Park of Ma'aleh Adumim when Donny and Robbie played an intense game of baseball/soccer with the kids (it was really a baseball game, but Yaakov kept running in and out of the game with his soccer ball, happily oblivious to anything else). We really appreciated Robbie and Jenny accepting our invitation to their house.

Speaking of Jenny, I would like to point out Jenny's blog which I added to my blogroll. If you recall, Jenny is one of those special people that uses her blog to actually make a difference in the world and help people, instead of making fun of and offending them, like some other blogs which shall remain nameless. So hop on over to Jenny's blog, and make sure to leave a comment!

Anyway, after we bade farewell to the Sassoons, we headed to Kiryat Moshe for a BBQ with the Samson family. On the menu was a side of a cow, grilled. Yum! We ate a hearty lunch and enjoyed seeing all the assorted family members. Then we went to visit Great-Zaidy and after that, we drove back to our sukkah-less home in Modi'in. (Ariella, Yaakov and I will be using our "Women and Children Get Out of Eating In the Sukkah Free" card many times this week; I envision a lot of cornflakes for Donny.)

In other news, the 'rents have arrived for a week of grandkids and rugelach. Ariella is super excited to show Bubby and Zaidy her TWO missing teeth, especially the little grownup teeth starting to poke through. Yaakov is just super excited, because he's Yaakov.

Speaking of Yaakov: Yaakov asked for tzedakah last week. I obliged and gave him some agurot. After gan, I asked him, "Did you put the money in a kupat tzedakah?"
"Nope!" he replied blissfully.
"Um, where IS the money, Yaakov?"
"Up!" he says helpfully.
"Up, where?"
The next day, Wednesday, I give him a baggie with tzedakah. Though he prefers putting his money in the pocket of his shirt, we had no clean pocket shirts left. I told him to put the baggie in the drawer in gan with his kippah and tzitzit, and when he goes to get them for tefilah, he can get the bag of money as well. I thought this was a logical plan. Come Wednesday afternoon - the baggie, with the money, is still there. However, Thursday it was gone, and Yaakov informed me that the money did in fact make it into the kupat tzedakah. Not sure whether to believe him or not.
So I'm not quite sure what is going on in Yaakovland ("Where Kids Can Fly And It's Always Breakfast Time!"). As long as he's not using the money to buy counterfeit Yuval videos, I guess it's okay.

And speaking of his kippah and tzitzit, gan has become Yaakov's personal Chabad-on-the-street-corner. He refuses to wear his K&T, but his morahs have convinced him to put them on for tefillah. So now I can rest assured that he puts on his kippah and tzitzit at least once a day. If I can't convince him to wear them, at least someone can.

Today we head out to the Biblical Zoo with the Kleins and Bubby and Zaidy. Party on!