First of all, I would like to wish a huge mazel tov to Arica "Factor" Salzman, a loyal reader and fellow aliyah blogger, on the birth of her son!
So now the real work begins. You can feel it in the air here - choref zman. No more chagim, and none of those "Veteran's Day" or "Columbus Day" or "Thanksgiving" holidays that we have in America to break up that long stretch. Just work, school, Shabbat, work, school, Shabbat. We said goodbye to Donny until Pesach, which is the next time we'll spend any actual time with him. The kids see him for a few minutes in the morning, and Yaakov sees him at night during his (Yaakov's) nighttime wanderings. (Digression: Yaakov is in a bed; hence the wanderings. For some reason he needs very little sleep to function/wreak havoc in the world, so he stays up till all hours of the night and then is up bright and early the next day. For example, as I am typing this, during my half hour of solutitude between 6:00 and 6:30 AM, Yaakov has graciously decided to keep me company. I should really thank him. Anyway, at night, he slips out of bed, and creeps over to whichever area of the apartment I am not in. Why, you ask? To wreak havoc, of course, haven't you been paying attention? Two nights ago, I was in my room, exercising (I know, crazy thought - who knew that eating bread and rugelach 3 meals a day for a month was NOT a great diet tip?) Anyway, when I finished, I found him quietly playing in the back corner of the living room. Last night, when I was in kitchen - which doubles as our dining room, very efficient - I went into my room after a while to find him playing in my makeup bag, with a phone charger draped around his neck. At that point, Donny was home, and he (Donny) decided enough is enough, so into the crib he (Yaakov) went. However, he still caught me getting up this morning and decided to cry until I picked him up, lest he miss some morning excitement. End of digression.)
So on Wednesday, Yaakov and Daddy were off, and Ariella and I were home for the day together. We went shopping, did some baking in preparation for our Shabbos guests (Savta and The Elusive Jonathan), went to sign Ariella up for an Ivrit chug and then blessedly did not have to pick up Yaakov until four. This left us just enough time to play Zingo, CandyLand, and Chutes and Ladders (that cursed game.) On Thursday, everyone was off - gan, work, ulpan. The morahs had to pry my crying children off me, but they were successful. I had bribed Ariella with ice cream, so when I picked her up, we went over to a really awesome ice cream place (thanks, Lisa!) and got two bullets in a goblet. It was quite delicious and we decided it was worth going to school to get this ice cream.
Israelis sometimes have no perception of how we view them. I base this sweeping generalization on a single conversation I had with Donny's cousin over Shabbat. However, I enjoy making sweeping generalizations, especially if they are LONG and RAMBLING. So Donny's cousin remarked how the kids were adjusting to the Israeli food, because Ariella put a heaping spoonful of chummus on her plate. I said, "Yeah, she loves chummus and Yaakov loves chocolate spread." The cousin was astounded that chocolate spread was considered an "Israeli" food. "You mean you don't have that in America?!!!" No, I said, melting chocolate, putting it on pita, and calling that "breakfast" is strictly an Israeli contrivance. (Not to say we don't have our own junk food masquerading as breakfast in America... which is "healthy" because it has "fruit.")