Wow. It's been a busy week. Every night I think I'll have time to blog, but we have been super busy. In the words of one of the gedolim of our generation, these are really "Eight Crazy Nights." Some recent Chanukah highLIGHTs:
Sunday: Kids home! We sleep late!
The kids are in their respective tzaharon/kaytanah programs for this week (thank the good Lord), but on Sunday, everyone was off. 'Cept Donny, of course. So we had a lazy day. Well, lazy in that we went for H1N1 shots (1st of 2 - oh goody!) food shopping, toy buying (combo Chanukah + I-didn't-kick-the-nurse-during-my-shot present. Ariella was actually amazing - she didn't cry at all! And Yaakov was proud of himself too, because, though he kicked and screamed, he told me, "Mommy, I didn't run away from the doctor!"), then new-present-playing, followed by hanging out at the park for two hours. That kind of lazy.
Monday: Ariella the Geek!
And I mean this in the best way possible. She is soooo studious. They got packets of homework - some mandatory, some extra credit, and she insisted on doing every single sheet. She even read half of one of the stories, in Hebrew, of course. And did all the writing herself. Also, as part of their mesibah when they finished all of the letters, each child wrote a story. Since they had only learned 3 of the "sounds," the story was limited to words with a "kamatz" "patach" (and I can never, ever remember which one is which), and "shva." They received a booklet of the stories before vacation. And Ariella read them all to me. Every one. Did I mention there are 31 kids in the class? And due to the limitations of words, there LOTS of stories about "sabbah" "yaldah" and "matanah."
Tuesday: We Make Hockey Pucks!
Every year, the Leibtag sibs do a Chanukah party. However, now two of the sibs live in Israel, and one lives very very far away, in Chicago. So our Sibs Party was one Sib short. Which makes us sad. Every year, the highlight of the party is when Donny and Elie (my brother-in-law) make doughnuts. Donny does the dough and the frying; Elie fills them. This year, however, Donny didn't have time to make the dough, so Leezy and I attempted it ourselves. Well. In the end, we had fried hockey pucks. Which unfortunately, were better than the dried-out sufganiot I purchased as back-up. The worst part is that Elie, who is attempting to reach 100 doughnuts by the end of the chag (some Jews like to say 100 brachot every day; it's a similar kind of endeavor), was only able to down 1 or 2 of the delicacies. However, it did allow us to make very many jokes using the word "puck" which I will not repeat here because this is a family-friendy-ish blog.
Wednesday: The TRAIN!
The day Yaakov lives for above all other days in the year: TRAIN to Haifa day! Yesterday was the annual Microsoft Chanukah bash, for which we get to travel all the way to Haifa, on the TRAIN. I kept the kids home, because Donny was taking the car and driving to work, and we had a very relaxing, lazy morning. Even more relaxing and lazy than Sunday, if you can imagine. All day, Yaakov was asking if it was time to go yet. (He actually started asking Tuesday night.) Oy. When it was finally time to leave for the TRAIN station, you could actually see little excitement sparks in the air. We purchased our tickets and luckily, it was one of the new trains. We found the car with the bathroom and parked ourselves down. What followed was an enjoyable hour and a twenty-five minutes of chowing down on Chanukah treats, coloring, and watching other trains zoom by the opposite direction (Yaakov's favorite part). Then, the kiddies spent the final 15 minutes going nuts, jumping up and down, and dancing in the aisles.
The second highlight of the night was coloring on Daddy's whiteboard and running willy-nilly up and down the halls. We did go the actual party and do fun stuff, but really, what can compare to TRAIN, whiteboard, and willy-nilly? (Yaakov was disappointed we were driving back. "How about," he asked hopefully, "Daddy can drive back in the car and we can take the train back!") Sigh. Must wait a whole year until the next TRAIN day. Maybe Microsoft can sponsor an Asara B'Tevet bash?
Well, there are still 2 nights left, believe it or not. We will continue to light, dance, sing, and eat. And if you see Elie, throw him a donut or two. He needs all the help he can get.