Saturday, August 28, 2010

Now Presenting....

The Vacation Awards!

Best First-Time Swimmer Award: Nadav!
At the pool in Ashdod.

Best Future Archaeologists: Ariella and Yaakov!
Here they are, in Jerusalem, sitting on an ancient toilet with Daddy.

Weirdest Caption:
Here they are, in Jerusalem, sitting on an ancient toilet with Daddy.

Best Complaint from a Child: Ariella!
"Yaakov, stop rubbing me with your nectarine!"

Best Free Swimming in the Kinneret: Capernaum!
Only "real" Israelis knew how to find this place. Consider us real.

Best Family Picture with the Camera's Timer
At Nahal Amud, after a very hot hike.

Worst Picture with the Camera's Self-TimerAt Mag'arsa water hike. (We are not actually blurry in real life.)

Best Random Let's-Pull-Off-Here-And-Hike-Around-Hike: Mivtzar Nimrod! (Nimrod's Fortress, in the Golan Heights; the northernmost national park in Israel.)
Donny and Ariella, when we made it to "the highest"

Best Capturing Nadav's Smile: Donny, Gila, Ariella!
(Ariella entertained, Donny held, I snapped)

And that's it folks. We hope you enjoyed this evening's presentation of the Vacation Awards. Join us next August for the Vacation Awards 2011!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nadav's Turn

So life was pretty good at first. You know, once I got over the trauma of being born. And the constant bilirubin tests. And the bris. But you know, after that, things were good. Mom and I just kind of hung out at home. I ate when I wanted, slept when I wanted, looked at my mobile, Mom rocked me when I got cranky. And then we would go out and pick up the kids together - the Girl and the Other Boy. We played, I hung out on my Gymini, ate some more. Daddy would come home and play with me. (I got to stay up later than the other kids, of course.) It was a good life.

Then, I hear talk of "going on vacation." Well, I figured, my life was pretty much a vacation already. How could things get even better? Maybe they were going to buy the Deluxe Mobile and we'd all look at it together!

Boy, was I wrong. "Vacation" started last week. And pretty much since it started, I have been hot, sweaty, and stuffed into something. Sweating in the carseat, sweating in the stroller, sweating in the Baby Bjorn. Everytime I think we're finally going to go someplace where we can all just lay on our backs and kick our feet - nope, stuffed into something else and left to sweat. Now, I did very much enjoy the pool in Ashdod. That was tons of fun. But other than that...well, let's just say I'm starting to fear my body is going to be permanently molded into "carseat position."

And no one understands, either. Today, after a very intense, hot, and did I mention, sweaty, hike, the Big People treated themselves to artikim. They even said, "Artikim for whoever was such a good hiker!" And then, "That's why Nadav can't have, because he didn't hike." And they all laughed! Excuse me, did they think it was easy being strapped to Mom's sweaty chest, spitting up all over her shirt, and being bounced around for hours? (Ed. note: This was not fun for Mom either.) It was not! And they kind of ignore me (although this also happens when we're not on vacation.) Every once in a while someone smiles at me and throws me a scrap of attention. Luckily, I can go for a long time on just scraps. And I always smile back, so they'll be sure to do it again.

Well, that's all for now. I gotta get some sleep so I can wake up Mom in a few hours. I'm praying that tomorrow is filled with Gyminis and air-conditioning. But I'm not hopeful.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On vacation. Need a nap.

Phew. What a week. At this very moment, no one is asking "What are we DOING today, Mommy?" so I can update you on what we HAVE done so far.

Our Vacation Thus Far

On Sunday we headed to Ashdod (yes, we know it's not usually synonomous with "vacation" but it can be when you rent a house with a pool.) For Yaakov, a close second to the pool was that the house came with stairs and a water cooler. Things sorely lacking in our day-to-day lives. He spent much of our two days there trekking up and down the stairs and getting himself drinks.

We gained some insights into our children. For example, Yaakov will watch anything that is on TV. Anything. National Geographic (my personal favorite; the kids were very excited to watch a show about hyenas, lions, and monkeys. Lion King come to life.), cooking shows, fashion shows, cartoons, shoot 'em up movies, music videos...if it's on, he's glued.

We also learned that if someone can (nearly) buy treif food in Israel, it's the Roses. We did a mini-food shopping on Sunday to get cereal, milk, fruit, ice cream, and granola bars. We walked into a supermarket. It had a vague, Trader Joe-y like feel. Very upscale and healthy. The thing that tipped us off that this may not be a kosher supermarket were the cucumbers. Each cucumber was laid out perfectly, in neat little rows and not one cucumber was out of place. Supersol this was not. Then we noticed the signs were all in Hebrew and Russian. Then we noticed that we didn't notice any teudot. Then Donny said, "You know, I think I remember someone telling me that this supermarket chain is where Israelis can buy pork." So off we went, in search of teudot and Fruity Pebbles. Both of which we found about a block away.

On Tuesday, waterlogged as we were, we set off back home, stopping in Maaleh Adumim to visit our Real Israeli friends of ours, the Sassoons. On Wednesday, we had a Hot Jerusalem Day. Kotel, Old City, Davidson Center (the Southern Wall excavations.) The kids walked through an ancient palace, up the ancient stairs to where the Temple used to be, into an ancient mikvah, and even sat on ancient toilets. The highlight, for sure. Another thing I learned? The movie, located in the air-conditioned building, is a great place to nurse a sweaty, hot baby. So the kids trooped around with Donny, while Nadav and I hung out at the movies and in the Umayyad Palace. (No Umayyads were present, far as I could tell.) Then we stopped at the shuk, went out for dinner, and came home. Upon arriving home, we sat on the couch because we lacked energy to move.

Thursday was the day the kids have been looking forward to for a year. Last August, I took them to see Up in the movie theater. We saw a preview for Toy Story 3, and I promised them we would take them to see it when it came out. Yaakov's been asking every day this summer when we could finally go and see it. Well, the day had finally arrived. We drove to the Ayalon Mall in Tel Aviv, one of the few theaters with an earlyish (5:15) showing of the movie in English. We figured we would get dinner a the mall first. We checked out the food court. KFC - not kosher. McDonald's - not kosher. Chinese place - not kosher. Cafe Cafe - not kosher. We were starting to panic. Tel Aviv shares some of America's less than stellar characteristics, in that it lacks an abundance of kosher food. Would we be forced to eat chips for dinner? (Not the worst dinner, but still.) Luckily, the Aroma Cafe had a teudah, so we ate dinner and headed upstairs for the movie.

Nadav behaved admirably. Nursed and fell asleep. The kid likes movies, what can I say? Ariella and Yaakov, however, were traumatized. The movie was kinda scary - interrogation chairs (albeit made out of Lego), mean toys, and an incinerator, to name a few dicey moments. We spent the entire car ride home discussing the intricacies of the movie with Ariella. Yaakov, Mr. Buzz Lightyear himself, kept wailing, "I TOLD you we shouldn't go see Toy Story 3!"

I tried explaining to them that if they watch it again, it won't be as scary because they'll know how it ends and that everyone is okay. (I mean, they watch the first Toy Story without a problem, and let me tell you, that Sid is one sadistic SOB.) They remained skeptical. So I guess we need to add to the price of the movie for a family of 5 (yes, we needed to buy a ticket for Nadav) the added cost of Toy Story-induced therapy for two children. Oh well. Donny and I enjoyed the movie, at least.

And let me say, Nadav is one lucky baby. It took Ariella 6 years to see her first movie in a theater. Nadav? 3 months. The kid's been swimming, to the beach, museum, Kotel, Cutie (jumping around place for kids), out to eat in numreous restaurants, grape-stomping, parks....too bad he'd rather just stay at home and look at his mobile.

Next week the adventure continues up north. Of course, we still have to find "something to do today, Mommy!"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thoughts (i.e. Too Lazy To Write a Coherent Blog Post)

Thoughts at the beginning of the week....

....the children can figure out how to turn on my iPod and get to a game, but haven't yet mastered flushing the toilet. boy PLUS one girl PLUS Blue Blanket DIVIDED by Mommy's bed EQUALS Mommy on the couch.

...if it is eerily quiet on Shabbos afternoon when you are trying to sleep, it is because either
a) the children have left the apartment and are running amok through the streets of Modiin; or, worse...
b) they are taking illegal Shabbos naps and will be up until waaaay too late, trotting in and out of their beds complaining they can't sleep
(PS Despite the late bedtime, this did not prevent Thought #2 from occurring)

....I firmly believe in don't-talk-about-how-well-the-baby-has-been-sleeping-karma. Firmly.

....Ariella is a total geek, and I mean that in the best, most loving way possible. Highlight of her week? When the book store called to say her books for second grade had arrived. Perused each and every one carefully the minute we got home.

....Yaakov has definitely inherited my special movie-memorizing talent. I hope it will prove more useful for him than it has for me. So far, no jobs seeking "Hard worker who is punctual and knows all the lines to The Princess Bride. Lines to Blues Brothers preferred but not mandatory."

....There has been a Thought that I keep meaning to add to the blog, but every time I'm in front of the computer I forget what it was. I need easier access to computers. Thinking of installing one on the couch and one in the shower.

We are off to Ashdod this morning for Part I of our vacation. Will keep you all posted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sticky Baby And Other Tales

Just Call Him Elmer

On Thursday, I picked Yaakov up from his kaytanah and he had made a beautiful centerpiece for Shabbat. It was a plastic parfait cup, filled with different colored sand, topped with glue (about half a bottle; this will become important later) and finished off with tissue-paper flowers. I put the cup in the cupholder of the Snap 'n Go (this, too, will become important later.) As I maneuvered the stroller out of the tiny elevator, it bumped. And the very top-heavy parfait cup tipped over. And fell. Into the carseat. In which Nadav was peacefully resting. I looked down, and about half a bottle of glue (see, I told you it would be important) was wending its way under Nadav's legs. I quickly grabbed some burp cloths and wedged them between Nadav and the carseat so he would not become glued to the seat on the ride home. (Glued to the burp cloths was at least a consequence I could live with.) Luckily, for him burp cloths are one of the 3 most common items found in our house at all times. The other two are liquor and pacifiers; more on that later.

After we returned home, the glue washed off pretty easily. And I now have another chapter in my book "Congratulations! You're a Little Brother!" about the hazards of Shabbat centerpieces and the dire importance of never using SuperGlue.

Liquor and Pacifiers
Look at that, it's later!

Nadav got up in the middle of the night, as babies are wont to do (even if we don't want them to, haha!) As I stumbled toward his room, I decided I should be equipped with a pacifier should the need arise. I fumbled around the changing table but couldn't find any. (There were approximately 3 hijillion, but they can be deceptively tricky to find when you're tired and you're aimlessly slapping your hand around, hoping one will jump up and nestle itself into your palm.) Then I remembered that I had put at least three on the "Candlestick Table" (so called because it is a table) when I was cleaning up.

I continued lurching forward - in addition to being tired, not wearing glasses or contacts makes the lurching more profound - till I reached the table. I thrust my hand forward, grabbed the pacifier, right where I knew it would be, and as I pulled my hand back, I heard a terrible crash. I turned on a light. An almost-new bottle of whiskey lay shattered on the floor. Glass and booze were everywhere; had my pajamas consisted of something more alluring than a ratty, spit-up stained t-shirt and pink plaid (spit-up stained) pants, one might have mistaken our apartment for a den of iniquity. Nadav had stopped crying for a few minutes, so I had time to gather the larger pieces of glass and throw them out.

Of course, since not wearing glasses also causes you to become temporarily stupid, I didn't consider putting on some shoes, until I noticed my feet were covered in tiny little glass shards. At this point, Nadav was really and truly up, so I went in to feed him, and then, instead of crawling back into bed, returned to the scene of the crime. This time equipped with glasses and shoes. Much less painful. I finished cleaning up and then went back to bed for the remaining few seconds until I had to get up again. When Donny awoke, he found me leaning over him. "Donny," I whispered, "do you love me?" He mumbled something, which I understood to be "yes." I persevered. "Do you love me more than three-quarters of a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label." [Fraction of a pause.] "Yes," came the answer. Phew! I'm safe! (Good thing it wasn't Gold Label.)

Schools Supplies - Big Yawn

Ariella and I completed our school supply shopping. And folks, I'm happy to report that I am an expert in school supplies now. Nyloniot? No problem! Corrugated plastic tik? Already have from last year, my friends. Pencils of a varied and specific nature - purchased! So I think we have really reached a milestone when I say that school supply shopping this year was totally not blog-worthy. Kappayim to us!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nocturnal Visitors

Do you have a need in the middle of the night? Any need at all? Do you need to go to the bathroom? Did you bypass the bathroom entirely and need a new change of pajamas and sheets? Are you thirsty? Sick? Bad dream? Well, look no further than.....Mommy! She is there to solve ALL of your middle-of-the-night dilemmas.

Apparently, I must have sent out this advertisement without realizing it. Because I am the go-to gal for mid-night crises. It doesn't matter that my bed is actually further from the door than Donny's. He might as well be wearing his Invisibility Cloak, because the children make a beeline for my bed. Just this week, we had two - no, three - cases of baddreammustsleepwithmommyitis, plus the usual peeing needs.

One night, Ariella was in my bed. Bad dream, of course. (She worries that Pharaoh is out to get her. Some kids shouldn't watch scary movies; Ariella shouldn't read the Bible.) So there we are, happily sleeping. Well, Ariella is happily sleeping, slapping me in the face with her arms every time she turns over. I am waking up every few minutes to push her to her side of the bed.

Then, suddenly, Yaakov appears by my bedside. I turn over to find him, inches from my face, staring at me. It's his MO. I take him to the bathroom, he mumbles something about wanting to sleep in my bed. I consider this for about a half second. "Sorry, you had your turn this week to sleep in Mommy's bed. Back to your room you go!" Luckily, this logic worked and he stayed in his bed the rest of the night.

I asked the kiddies once, "Why do you guys always wake me up? I mean, Daddy is there also, you could, in theory, go to him."

Ariella had a very sound explanation: "It's because Daddy snores. One time I tried to wake him up but he didn't even hear me." [Note to self: Take up snoring.]

But Yaakov, with an unbeatable combination of big blue eyes and complete sincerity, delivered the final blow: "It's because I love you so much, Mommy!"

Well, you can't argue with love. Sleeping alone is overrated anyway. Just ask my kids.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Guest Blog

There have been a few complaints that I have not posted frequently enough. This is partly because I have a new baby. Because of the new baby, I stay home much more. Because I am home, I am not out in the world, embarrassing myself and thereby providing good blog fodder. So I apologize.

I didn't want to go blog-less (like Annie says, "You're never fully dressed without a blog!"), but I haven't had time to fill you in on my exciting days, filled with: Run around driving everyone to kaytanah! Come home and have deep, meaningful conversations with Nadav! "Ahhh?" "Haaaa?" "Ehhhh?" Run around bringing everyone back from kaytanah! Watch a movie! ("Why does Scar want to kill Simba?" "Awiella, I can't hear the movie all because of YOU!") Eat dinner! Bedtime!

What to do? No blog to write, but don't want to disappoint my Loyal Readers. I hit upon the idea of a guest blog. And who better to fill this post (haha) than the King of the Lions, the King of the Jungle (who only only only wears tachtonim), the Boy Who Flies - Yaakov!

So, without further ado, I turn you over to Yaakov. A man of many words. ROAR!


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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dear God: Where's my Bunny?

Scene: Kids are watching Lion King, for the umpteenth time.

[Digression: I hope Ariella's future dates don't ever take her to the movies. The poor guy will probably run out of the theater, holding his head and stumbling home, swearing off movies and girls entirely. She likes to talk. Asking questions, contributing a running commentary. Non-stop. On Friday we all watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs together. Half the time we couldn't answer her questions because she was talking during the answer. Or, she comes up with her own take on the movie and regales us with her exposition. Yaakov, on the other hand, is an intense movie watcher. Focused, quiet, he doesn't let anything distract him from his task. As you can imagine, he gets quite annoyed at the verbose older sister.]

Back to our story:

Ariella: You know, Yaakov, Hashem can do anything. In a minute, He can make a real bunny if you want. [Note: God is Ariella's personal magician.] Before you can even say "Mmm."

Yaakov (tearing himself away from the movie for a moment): "Mmmm." So where's the bunny? [Said with a 'tude.] So what is Hashem?

Ariella: We don't know what Hashem is. He is very holy. Only Moshe saw him.

Yaakov (back to watching the movie): Mumble, mumble, mumble, Zazu.

Ariella (clearly not paying attention but eager to continue her drasha): Yes, because Moshe is very holy and special but he could only see Hashem's back. No one saw His face.

The conversation ends here. Yaakov is clearly not interested in continuing because:

A. The bunny didn't appear, so what's the point?
B. There is a movie to watch, people! Focus!

Ariella, too, has lost interest in the God discussion because there are much more pressing issues to contend with, such as why was Scar king and why did Simba want to be king and why did Scar want to kill Simba and Simba's dad and why did Simba fight Scar and why was Scar king....