Sunday, April 25, 2010


There are a lot of things I should be doing right now.

I should be writing a speech. I should actually be writing about a dozen speeches, all at the same time.

I should be holding the baby and trying to get her to sleep. It's past 11 and she's still wide awake. Insomnia Girl rides again.

I should be cleaning up the kitchen.

I should be dealing with the backlog of laundry.

I should be going to sleep earlier.

I should be eating better.

I should be cleaning up back here--the office is wrecked again (wasn't it just clean on Tuesday?) and it's hard for me to work in a disaster zone.

I should clean out the storage space. I can't really start packing until it's emptied out.

I shouldn't be blogging.

Except I want to be blogging, because I know I'll want a record of this time later--the last few months before The Big Move.

I'll want to remember Barak and Iyyar's 6th and 4th birthdays, and that I made brownies, and we had blue doughnuts at Iyyar's school with blue sprinkles (Yom Ha'Atzmaut, which they don't even mention at either of their schools). I'll want to remember that Barak didn't want to have a party, and that instead he asked to stay up as late as he wanted playing Playmobil--and didn't crash, finally, until 1:30 AM, when Abba finally drew the line.

I'll want to remember that Marika just last week, without warning, figured out that fingers were good for more than sucking on, and overnight started being able to grab, move, and manipulate all the toys in her saucer. And that this morning I suddenly realized that I had to raise the height setting on it. By two notches.

I'll want to remember putting the new blue footlockers I got for the move in the kitchen, and handing the kids stickers and Sharpies and telling them to go ahead and decorate their own. Amazingly, none of the permanent marker ink went anywere it wasn't supposed to.

I'll want to remember, probably, all the middle-of-the-night phone calls to Israel trying to get the kids' schools worked out, and the emails to the Israeli family who is taking this place as I try to get their kids worked out in schools here.

I'll want to remember it all. But I probably won't.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

In my addled state

I forgot to gush about the food.

And mention that Shanna, with whom we stayed, is categorically the best cook, ever.

I'm not only saying this because I just got an indignant email.* It is actually true. Not only did she stock up with a 2L bottle of Diet Coke for every yom tov/Shabbos, she also made enough food to feed all of the fleeing Jews and probably most of Pharaoh's legions for good measure. And all of it was delicious. Especially the salad. Which was so good I ate it for dessert. With the pecans. That she caramelized herself. With balsamic vinegar and pixie dust. The brisket literally made Iyyar sing (well, okay, he sings over oatmeal too, but this made him sing more melodiously) and even Barak was happy because at every meal there was a huge plate of raw cucumbers/peppers/grape tomatoes, and when he emptied the grape tomatoes onto his own plate and polished them off, they were magically replenished. He was a pretty big fan of the brownies, too. As was Avtalyon. "Want it dis one! Want it TWO one! Want it gawquit!!!"

She made stuffing. She made quinoa salad with things like mangoes in there. She made chicken with some kind of melty onion sauce on top during CHOL HA'MOED. Not even for yom tov--during chol ha'moed, when the mere mortals among us are eating a lot of matzo and cheese and packaged spreads with cottonseed oil. She made stuffed cabbage AND apple kugel AND all kinds of sweet potato deliciousness and when Barak and Iyyar requested, and I quote, "Pesach chicken mishkababble" for lunch she MADE IT. She made pickled mushrooms and Moroccan carrot salad and... and... yeah. It was pretty impressive. Oh, and have I mentioned her three-year-old twins? Who helped? Because they are from another planet, populated entirely by spookily verbal tiny little people? Who are also very very good cooks?

Did I mention she served it all on actual linens, without plastic covers?

Me? I made latkes. Once. Which we ate with charoseth. Which I highly recommend. Even though your charoseth, like my charoseth, is not going to be as good as Shanna's charoseth. Nor will it be magic, like the lasagne she once made me (not for Pesach) which multiplied in my freezer such that every time I dug there was another aluminum loaf pan with another lasagne hiding back there.

Yes, it is true, I do write better speeches. But you can't eat those. Except, I guess, indirectly.

Now if I can only convince her to come here and be my personal chef.

*Actual email, cut and pasted here:

> That was unacceptable. You > didn't gush about the food. DON'T YOU > KNOW IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD?!?!?

Probably incoherent post-Pesach roundup

We got back last night. I am really really tired. Some randomness for you:

Pesach was B"H lovely; the trips in both direction were basically fine, more or less as good as you can realistically hope for with four five-and-under children. A word of warning to those flying with families: United no longer preboards families with small kids. Seriously. They board you AFTER everyone who has lots of points or is paying extra or whatever, so that when we were getting on the plane with four kids and three carseats we were doing so onto a half-full plane, and attempting to install carseats with a steady flow of people attempting to get past us. We nearly delayed the plane because no matter what you do, there is no getting past the fact that you cannot install a carseat while holding a baby and everyone else has to be standing or sitting somewhere while you do it. We only took two carseats on the way back, which made it easier, but still. I don't think this policy is to anyone's benefit.

We went to the city where we lived before we lived here, which was kind of a time warp; it all looked the same and even some of the people hadn't changed at all, but the kids were all, of course, six years older. It's a little bit of a shock to see a kid who you last saw at his bar mitzvah, now six feet tall and definitely an adult. They, of course, had the same thing; Barak is now in kindergarten and we have three other kids besides, and they knew us as a shana rishona couple with a newborn. Time flies, &c.

We stayed with one family, ate lunches by a second, and got to spend time with a few more--almost every day we saw someone we hadn't seen in years. It was also an awesome way to be hosted in that every day we were at a different house with new kids and toys and our kids all played really nicely together. Barak and Iyyar are now Playmobil addicts; they got their first piece courtesy of Jasmin when Marika was born and it is now the ne plus ultra of toys. Playmobil was requested for both afikoman presents and birthdays, upcoming next week; on chol hamoed we went to a fancy/educational/healthy toy store and let them pick out their own. They picked a bunch of Roman soldiers to go with the Roman fort an incredibly generous friend of mine sent them, also as a new-baby gift; I secretly went back and bought Pharaoh and his chariot and a bunch of extra people with which to reenact yetzias mitzrayim. I'm saving that for Israel though. I also, on the same secret trip, bought a bunch of little toys for the long long flight. It was a really really nice store and a good thing we don't have one here, because so much of what they had were things that not only my kids would love, but I would like them to play with--lots of building toys and really creative, interesting, fun things. I spent more than I should have but will probably be glad I did along about Hour 8 of the flight.

The sedarim were great (well, there was the Total Sleep Meltdown of the second night, but we won't mention that in too much detail) and our kids had a blast playing with all my friends' kids. I met 10 kids of really good friends who I hadn't seen in far too long--the last time I saw them all they were either not yet pregnant, pregnant, or with a baby less than a week old. And they all have at least 2 kids now. It's kind of a shock, seeing someone with a bunch of little kids who I've never really known as a mother. Last time I saw any of them it was all about pregnancy or getting pregnant; now, it's "Don't hit your sister." A new life stage to be sure.

They, of course, only knew my kids through emails and my blog; no clear consensus on whether the kids are recognizable as their blogged selves, although one friend called Barak, Barak (that is not really his name, if you didn't know that) and got a funny look.

Iyyar is not breathing well. He sounds all congested again and is even a little bit drooly, which he hasn't been since his got his tonsils out. I was warned that they could grow back with an intracapsular tonsillectomy but the risk was low and the recovery was easier--it seemed a good idea at the time. ENT appointment in two weeks. His behavior has also been, um, pretty atrocious on and off. Mostly when he is tired, and he's not sleeping well. A lot of the misbehavior has seemed to be coming from a place of insecurity/embarrassment/needing reassurance; rather than react to that, I've been trying really, really hard to pour on the positive reinforcement for the good behavior. Trying.

On Sunday (can't forget this one) Marika waved for the first time. I waved at her and she flapped her arms back. Then I waved again and she only flapped one arm. And grinned. And I grinned. Four months, and a wonderful huge toothless smile that just makes my heart explode with love. And that soft warm snuggly feeling of holding her. She's twelve and a half pounds and pretty much all cuddle right now. She's just beginning to grab things and put them in her mouth, and on the flight back she was interested in toys, which she wasn't on the way there. It's wild how fast they grow--Asnat really noticed the difference in just a week and a half. Must... take... more... pictures...

Isn't is weird how fast Pesach goes by? The first night it seems to stretch out forever and then next thing you know you are packing it all up and going out for ice cream. Every year. So strange.

Isn't it weird how fast they grow? The first night you think you'll never sleep again (well, that part is true) and then the next thing you know you're putting them on a schoolbus. And they are their own little people.

Barak's quote of the week: "Imma, right Imma, the world is so interesting?" Yes. Yes it is.