Hey, guess what? This blog post is going to be entirely 100% positive and optimistic! (she says, determinedly).
I feel it's time.
1. School starts again tomorrow! Yay! Everyone is ready. Avtalyon and Iyyar have been asking when they are going back to gan. Every morning for at least the last week, Avtalyon has gotten up in the morning and immediately asked me, "Right we don't have gan today?" in a manner of resignation. Iyyar out-and-out said he wanted to go back to gan. And Marika, for the last few days, has been pulling her backpack off its hook, bringing it to me to put on her shoulders, and banging on the door yelling, "Dowdide! Dowdide!"
She's subtle, that one.
2. The kids are being really sweet lately. Not much fighting at all over break, and a lot of really nice helpful behavior. A couple of times I got them involved in all-family laundryfests; I sat on the couch folding and directing and it all got put away faster than it would have done if I'd done it myself. Friday everyone helped clean up for Shabbos (except for Marika, whose contribution was not getting in the way too terribly much). Barak is now old enough to be seriously helpful. He knows where things go, he knows (more or less) how to fold things, he enjoys helping.
3. My sister-in-law had a baby girl! She is gorgeous and perfect and so sweet. And she was born in the hospital that is walking distance to us (if you're feeling energetic--I admit I took the bus). I went out and visited her a couple of times and then went over to help her get home, so she wouldn't have to shlep her stuff downstairs/put in a carseat by herself. It was really nice to be able to do this, and even though she got discharged later than planned on an erev chag, it all worked out. I took her home by cab, went to the store with her daughter to get diapers (she got sent home with 4), and then hopped into the bus that was right there to go to the shuk. It was the fastest through trip imaginable: I hadn't had time to do much cooking so I just blew through there buying fruit, salad fixings, yerushalmi kugel (yum!), olives and so on. On the way out the exit was crowded so I turned right to go out through the open part of the shuk, passing, on the way, one of the candy stalls, where I saw--are you sitting down--Cadbury Dairy Milk with Caramel.
I only bought one, which was good because it disappeared pretty quickly. I did have help. But not too much. :)
4. One of the really nice things about living here is how much freedom I can give the kids to do things on their own. Within the campus for all three boys, and even outside it, to a certain degree, for Barak. On Wednesday morning as I was heading out to the hospital, my husband mentioned that he didn't have any drinks. He really likes those kind of gross (to me) Spring/Prigat drinks, the kind that are 5% juice and 95% sugar water with coloring. I can't stand them and won't go near them, but for him it's just not Shabbos/yom tov without a liter and a half of colored sugar water. The timing was going to be awkward: I was heading out at quarter to eleven, I'd spent the morning at home with the kids frantically cooking, and I was going to get home late. Mr. Bigfoot wasn't into the idea of taking all four of them to the store (understandable).
But! We had a helper! I got Barak to grab an empty backpack and we went down to the makolet (minimarket), which is right across from the bus stop, together; we got Abba his drink and we got challah for the chag and I got Twizzlers for the kids, because I'd promised them candy for the holiday (I NEVER buy candy ordinarily, with the occasional exception of chocolate, so this was a Big Deal). I put it in Barak's bag, saw him safely across the street, and waved goodbye; he walked home by himself. Because here, he CAN.
5. Avtalyon is being insanely cute lately. The facial expressions alone crack me up. Mr. Bigfoot took all the kids up to shul for the Simchat Torah festivities. Forty minutes later, Avtalyon was deposited home by Barak. "Avtalyon, why did you come back?"
With much regretful facial squinching, "I hadda come home. It was too much running around."
"Was everyone running around?"
Shrug shrug shrug. "The girls were not running around. They were just sitting in some chairs."
I guess you hadda be there. Trust me. It was very cute. He is also completely into Batman these days. Grandma E. sent three pieces of Batman fabric, conveniently cut and serged into cape size. Avtalyon has appropriated all three: one as bottom sheet, one as top sheet, one as pillow cover. He is especially pleased with the arrangement when he can get into bed in a Batman shirt and Batman underwear. "I gotta FREE Batmans!" Captain America and Iron Man are also big these days. If you ask him, he will tell you that they are friends.
6. The office is currently not a trashed wreck. I have been really vigilant about making the kids clean it up. Also, at Rosh Hashana they got back all the Playmobil/Lego that got "tooken away" over the course of the year when it was left out on the floor overnight. I impressed on them that next Rosh Hashana is a VERY LONG WAY AWAY and how sad would it be to lose your Clone Troopers or whatever they are for FIFTY-TWO WEEKS? Very sad, they agreed. I see no Lego at all on the floor right now.
7. The lice were gross but seem to have been dealt with. Also, perk of lice: ordinarily one does not do laundry during the intermediate days of Succot. However, due to lice we got a pass on this one, and merrily washed everything in the house on hot multiple times. Result: no mountain of laundry to deal with post-chag. As Avtalyon would say: yay.
8. Marika is as always immensely entertaining. She's also getting way more articulate. "Thank you," which until yesterday was "Di di Imma!" is suddenly, "Tityou Imma!" Or "Tityou Barak!" or "Tityou Abba!" as appropriate. The other day she said thank you to Mr. Bigfoot and said "Tityou Imma!" by mistake. Then she corrected herself. :)
9. Mr. Bigfoot is working now. He gives one shiur at a local yeshiva high school with an Anglo program; he is also doing a significant amount of tutoring and is up to about 9 hours a week. He's also been hired to do some art work, which is a nice change. It's not a lot of money, but hopefully it will all lead to something more; in the meantime, he's enjoying it and it's something.
10. We bought a couch cover from a departing family last spring, along with an old armchair and a cover for it. This has made the living room much more cozy. There is enough room for everyone to sit, if squishily; the couch is a lot more comfortable now than it was. It's surprisingly nice for napping purposes. :)
11. And! Last but certainly not least: Deb is coming and she is BRINGING MY WHEEL! It was mailed by the person I bought it from on Friday and should be there by next Thursday. Deb will be here the Thursday after that, so if all goes well, in less than two short weeks I will again have a spinning wheel in residence. And that, of course, will fix everything.