Well, vacation has come to an end. Sunday was Donny's last day off. I found an end-of-August kaytanah that had two last-minute openings, so we shoved the kids in there as quickly as we could. Originally, I thought I would just have them start on Monday, since Donny was off Sunday for one last DOF (day of fun.) However, during one of the more vehement name-calling sessions (Ariella and Yaakov's, not mine and Donny's), Donny and I had a sudden realization: We could send them off to kaytanah on Sunday, and have our own DOF!! It was a good move. They had a fabulous time at camp, and Yaakov didn't even cry, because he had his protector with him - the indefatigable LaLa.
Donny and I headed out to Jerusalem to buy ourselves a challah board. When we got married, lo these many moons ago, we received very little in the way of Judaica. Our current challah board was handed off to us by Elie and Leezy, who received so many when they got married that there were rejects for the poor sister and brother-in-law. However, lovely as it is, it's one of those HEAVY stone contraptions and has very nearly broken many a toe. So we decided that after nine years of marriage, it was time to invest in a new challah board. Also, Momz and Dadz offered to pay for it as an anniversary present! Yay! Let's buy three! And a new TV! And a house! We found a very beautiful challah board. But of course, in the Jewish version of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," once we had a challah board, we absolutely needed the matching knife. And since we had such a beautiful board and knife, how could we resist a new challah cover? And once we're already getting a challah cover, we should really buy ourselves.... a decent menorah. Because we finally threw out our greasy, cheap-o menorahs after last Chanukah.
Don't worry, the shekel stops there. We returned home, packages in hand, picked up the kids at 1:00 from kaytanah, and headed out to the Rock Park. First, we picked figs and ate them. Great fun! Then, Ariella announced it was time for another hike. The children found stalks of long grass, which they declared must be wheat, and spent the next hour inventing games with their "wheat." They wanted to harvest a lot so they could sell it to Shufersal. After they tired of poking each other with the wheat, we went to Mega, where we bought food for dinner - steak and homemade french fries, courtesy of Donny - and Ariella LOST HER FIRST TOOTH!!!! Last night, the Tooth Fairy left a shekel under her pillow. Luckily, she showed the Tooth Fairy exactly where her tooth would be resting, so he could know the precise spot on which to place the prize.
Today, everyone was back to a routine. Yay, another routine! The beginning of nearly every week this summer has been the beginning of a new routine for us. First kaytanah, second kaytanah, home with Mommy, vacation, third kaytanah. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of September 1st. When REAL routine begins (at least until the chagim arrive, about a week later). Actually, I am eagerly awaiting September 6. This is because Yaakov has gan for about 5 minutes during that first week of school. You know, so he can get "used to it." This is a child that has been in school full time since he was 4 months old when we plopped him in daycare from 8:00 - 4:00. The child that last year, about 30 seconds after disembarking from the airplane, found himself in a full day of gan, at which he knew nobody and did not speak the language. But you're right. He needs to ease himself into the school year. Otherwise, heaven knows what might happen!
But we have nearly survived our First Israeli Summer. Despite the heat, the lack of summer programs which extend beyond three weeks, and the heat, we made it to the end of August. And we had some excellent fun along the way, mostly involving VACATION with plenty of ARTIKS.
Now, we are flattered by Arica's designation of us as "Real Israelis" because we slept in a tzimmer. But, I fear, we fall short of that standard. For one, we did not stay in a tzimmer with six of our best friends. And second, we did not stay in a bed and breakfast tzimmer. The true Israeli tzimmer experience includes unlimited maadans, an omelet, and lots of olives for breakfast. So let us all say together, "Next year, in a bed and breakfast!" Amen.