But before we get to that, let's recap the last few days.
1. Seder with the Balsams was fabulous, as usual. Yaakov, who refused to nap Monday afternoon (this from the boy who routinely falls asleep on the couch every Friday afternoon, usually during my shower, prompting me to run around the apartment, half-dressed, flapping my arms and screeching, "Yaakov fell asleep! Quick! Somebody! Wake him up NOW!") naturally was unable to stay awake and fell asleep right after Mah Nishtanah. I asked him if he wanted to stay up and sing Avadim Hayinu, his favorite Pesach song. He looked at me. "Mommy, I have sanged that a lot of times awready!" Ariella stayed up until the very end (after 1:00), though she was nearly comatose during Chad Gadyah.
At the end of chag, Tuesday night, Lisa and I could barely keep our eyes opened and the kids were in varying states of craziness. We whispered the prayer said by thousands of olim, every year: Thank God we don't have to that again.
2. Wednesday was a big Leibtag-fest. We drove out to Gush, to visit with our cousins Menachem and Thea, who live there and other cousins who came for the wedding of Rivki "I, Too, Can Now Eat Kitniot on Pesach" L., and then stayed for the chag. We hung out for a while, schmoozing, gobbling up whatever food Thea had in the house, including the decorative metal nuts on the dining room table, until we decided it was time to go out and Do Something. We stole Eliana, a cousin who is the same age as Ariella, and convinced her parents, siblings, grandfather, and uncle to join us in Herodian. Big success - Herodian had everything we like in a tiyul: a hike, a tunnel, and artikim.
Following Herodian, Donny decided we should Do Something Else. We had seen signs for a dairy farm and thought it would be fun to go do us some milkin'. Since we still had Eliana, her intrepid parents and assorted family members were more or less forced to go with us. We found the dairy farm. The gate at the entrance was locked and unmanned. Note: This should have been a clue. But we were on a Mission to Have Fun. So we continued driving down the road until we found another gate, this one with a person behind it. We asked where the dairy farm was. He replied it was back where we had first stopped, and when we explained that the gate was locked, he kindly (?) offered to unlock it remotely. "I wonder how we would get out, then," wondered Donny. Note: Clue #2. But we blithely ignored it and gamely drove off in search of Fun and Dairy. Sure enough, when we returned to the dairy farm, the gate magically slid open. Finally! We had arrived! Only to find out, that despite their advertisements of being, like, "opened," they were, in fact, more like "closed!" Oh no!
We hopped back into the car, attempted to drive out, but. But. As you may have guessed from the title of this blog post, we were not only unsuccessful in "milking goats," but we failed at "leaving" as well. The gate was definitely locked, and the booth remained unmanned. Donny tried pressing the buttons on the side in varying combinations. Everyone's TVs suddenly switched to Portuguese, but the gate remained locked. So much for that. There was a person-sized gate which opened, so Donny went out and tried calling all of the cell phone numbers listed on the sign attached to the gate. Nothin'. Meanwhile, the goats and cows were peeking out of their hiding places, and then collapsing in fits of uncontrollable laughter. Finally, Edwin (better known as Eliana's Abba) and a real, everyday hero, did the only thing we could think of: Walk to the other gate and try to convince our remote-control-enabled friend to reopen our gate. About ten minutes later, the gate once again magically slid opened. We burned some serious rubber getting out of there. The goats and cows were saddened to see us go. It may be a while until they get that kind of entertainment again.
Meanwhile, we started making a beeline for Yerushalayim, the next stop on our tour. About halfway there, we suddenly realized, "Edwin!" We turned back and found him happily employed as a gate keeper at the Sde Bar Dairy Farm. Ok, that last part didn't actually happen. For those family members who are reading this, we did pick Edwin up right away, then headed to Jerusalem.
Unfortunately, the traffic was so horrendous that we aborted our mission to go to Mailla Mall, surrendered Eliana to her parents in the middle of the city and decided to just call it a day and head home. Kids had matzah pizza for dinner, got bathed, and eventually went to sleep.
So all in all, despite the marked lack of cheese and milk, it was a great kickoff to our Chol HaMoed Adventures.