Our fun began on Sunday morning. We had grand plans which involved trains and big parks and meeting Donny and more trains. We ended up with a plan that involved no trains but was still a lot of fun.
Leezy, Deputy Minister (Mistress?) of Fun, decided we should go with all the kids to Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv. Upon further investigation, we found that this park was on the train line. This had many many advantages, not the least being it would allow Dadz to BUY things, namely train tickets. It also meant that Ariella could realize her lifelong dream of "Traveling On A Train." It ALSO mean that if we went in the afternoon hours, Donny would leave work early, meet us there, and then go back with us. It was a well-thought out plan that we intended to execute with precision and efficiency. So I sent the kids to gan in the morning, since we didn't plan on leaving until 12:30. This turned out to be a good thing, seeing as the 'rents slept in till 10:30 - I would have otherwise had a pleasant morning of Ariella asking me every five minutes: "NOW can I go wake up Bubby? NOW? How about NOW?" While they slept, Leezy and the Tansters came over and we all hung out. Eventually, the parents woke up, Dadz and I went to the mall to buy "treats" from one of the cafes (now you see where I got the "treat" gene from), because, in Dadz' own words, "You can get cereal in America." I then ran to pick up the kids, noting that it was already going to be tight to catch our train, especially with all the gear we needed - strollers, snacks, diapers bags, snacks, drinks, snacks, and many jackets for Dadz lest he get chilly. When I walked in to pick up Yaakov, however, I saw his eye was red and watery. Basically, you never want to see anything on your child's body either "red" or "watery" and certainly not both. The ganenet was of course concerned this was something contagious and suggested we go to the doctor. Duh. It's only my second favorite activity (right after "being charged fees by the bank" but before "giving directions to Israelis in Hebrew"). Anyway, by the time I came home, the various assembled parties investigated Yaakov's eye, and I made an appointment (for 7:00 at night), we had already missed the train. However, about half an hour later, Yaakov's eye had basically cleared up and we realized it was most likely the result of a gan scuffle, probably over the last meatball.
So we decided to head out to everyone's favorite park - The Rock Park from Sukkot! I remembered more or less how to get to the park, but not how to find the exact location we parked at previously. Luckily, I had my expert navat in the car - Ariella. "Mommy, turn down here - this looks familiar. No, not there! Over here!" And she was correct - she identified the precise location we parked last time. She definitely gets her sense of direction from her father and Uncle Aaron, and NOT from me. ("Um, you're in the lobby now? Ok, take the elevator....up, I'm pretty sure....and then it's a left? No, no, definitely a right when you come out....") So we got out and enjoyed the beautiful December weather in Modi'in - a balmy high 70s. Yaakov and Zaidy immediately trekked up the mountain, and Netanel amused himself by running up and down the hill and eating rocks. Ariella and I went scouting, and we found the Path of Rocks which enamored my children so the last time we were here! After returning from their strenuous hike, Zaidy and Yaakov joined us at the rocks. This time, they entertained themselves (and here I include Zaidy in "they") by seeing if they could throw their rocks into the grate which covered some sort of well. Zaidy missed most of his, but he was careful not to hit the children. Then, Yaakov discovered the Greatest Game Ever - find rocks and put them in Zaidy's shirt pocket! Whoo-hooo! Fun for the whole family, especially Zaidy! We eventually returned to Netanel, Bubby, and Aunt Leezy, and then proceeded home. ("No, Mommy turn here.")
Donny took an early train home, and then all eight of us (count if you don't believe me) went out for dinner at the restaurant we took the kids to on Sukkot, because we promised Ariella we'd go back when Bubby and Zaidy came and darned if she wasn't going to hold us to that! We had an excellent dinner and then everyone went to their respective sleeping places.
Monday, the fun continued. The kids went to gan and Momz, Dadz, Donny and I went up to Zichron Yaakov. We wanted to show the 'rents what it was like, as a possible community to move to. After looking around, we decided it was time for food and found a nice cafe to (which was good because Dadz was very distressed that his sleeping in on Sunday morning caused him to miss an opportunity to eat out.) After breakfast, Donny caught the bus to work and the three of us drove back. Hehe. This is where the fun starts. To make a long story short, I was the navat, so you can tell how bad this situation was. We needed to get back by 1:30 to pick up Ariella, and we left with a half hour cushion of time. We took not one but two wrong turns, thereby eating up our cushion. We did eventually make it back to Modi'in, but we were late picking Ariella up from gan, and I tried to leave a message with Aiden's parents to please pick her up but their phone connection was bad so they didn't really understand and Ariella was traumatized that I didn't come but don't worry, she forgot about it quickly because there was important work to be done on her new puzzle. Her new 200 piece puzzle, which she is doing entirely on her own, I might add.
Later, a very important aliyah milestone occurred. After returning from getting Yaakov from gan, I got a phone call from a mom in Ariella's gan. No, Ariella did not hit, bite, kick or otherwise main this little girl. She was being invited over for a playdate! I asked the mom when she would like to schedule this. Next week? Next month? "4:30" she replied. (It was currently 4:15.) Nothing like that Israeli sense of spontenaity! So we headed out. The girl, Shirat, had two other girls from gan over. All of them were Hebrew-speaking, but despite this Ariella made herself at home and kicked me out after ten minutes. I asked the mom when I should return. "7:00," she said with a smile. Alright! I'm loving these Israeli playdates! So Yaakov and I came home so he could scarf down some noodles and destroy Ariella's toys, both of which he did with relish. We returned to pick up Ariella, who was happily munching on French toast and cucumbers, and looked very annoyed that I had the nerve to come and pick her up. So this was very exciting - both that she got invited out and that she had a great time. She's already planning who she's going to invite for the next playdate.
Stay tuned for the Continuting Adventures of Bubby "I Heart Driving in Israel" and Zaidy "Is There a Way to Buy Things, Eat Rugelach, and Nap at the SAME TIME?" Leibtag!