Jul 27, 2008

The Flight Home

I was ready to come home. Our trip was fabulous and we had a ton of fun, but it’s very different traveling with a toddler than it is as adults. We didn’t anticipate certain things and we over thought other things. It’s not really a vacation that we had; more like an adventure in living in a foreign country with a toddler and no set structure to our days.

Flights out of Israel leave in the middle of the night. You are traveling backwards across time zones, depending on where you are going, so it makes some sense. Our flight left at 12:40 AM and arrived at 6 AM in JFK. We choose to fly internationally from JFK and do a domestic flight within the states. This meant going through customs and immigration in New York and then basically starting over with our domestic flight.

Four years ago when we traveled, El Al, changed the time of our out going flight and we missed our domestic flight home from JFK. This time we decided with a toddler to giver her the ability to run around, get food, and nap would be a better choice than rushing to get on another flight home in the AM and risk missing that flight. We also thought a direct flight would be better so we didn’t have to schlep off and on a plane again.

We were through customs and had checked our bags in at customs by 8 AM or earlier. The problem we encountered was that you cannot get to anything in a terminal at Delta in JFK without a boarding pass. Of which w we could not check into our flight until 10:10:45 AM. That gave us almost 3 hours to sit in the reservations area! My cranky husband was having none of this. I had to ask him to let me handle it so that we could possible get through with some help instead of waiting three hours.

I explained the issue we had with a agent and she took our passports and gave us special security only clearance to get through. Secrurity ended up being a hassle and my hungry sleep deprived husband almost got us in trouble. He kept beeping the making and he said he’d taken of everything and he was pissed. I had the baby, tons of carry-on, and they wanted to figure out why he was still beeping. Well, it turned out that he had forgotten to take out the cell phone battery and that was causing the beep!!

Our daughter is born to travel and is a fantastic traveler. She fell asleep in the car to the airport in Israel at 8:30 and slept pretty much through until just before take-off. We had a fabulous experience in the airport. Sailed through security and checking in our luggage. When we got to the gate, Yiftach asked the agent about checking in our stroller at the gate, since we had a sleeping child. It turns out that we’ve learned on international flights, you are not allowed to take any water on even if it’s been purchased in the airport. I had mine dumped on the way out. Well, it seems that on international flights they no longer do gate check for strollers on either end. Getting out in Israel H had to walk all the way to baggage… on the way back they take the stroller at the boarding pass gate.

This agent escorted us, in zone 1, all the way to the gate, waited and helped while we transferred H to my arms, and then he hand carried the stroller bag back to the front to check it in for us. We were amazed! We were also given bulkhead seats which were amazing. Not only could we actually see the screen, but H had a place to stand, play, and sleep! She wanted to go nigh –nigh and she she actually lay down on t a blanket, with a pillow and we covered her and she slept for 6 hours!! It was great for us too.

Then in NY she ran and played and we found some other kids to ;ay with and that was a bll! She fell asleep on Israel time at 1 PM in NY and will not wake up until we get home at 8 PM CA time. This is her nighttime!! We ended up with a seat in between us and she slept for most of the sgliht home. It’s our first night home that we are going to be in trouble because she is going to want to stay up all night because she’ll think it’s day and we are going to want to sleep.

Nachalot Benyamin and the Shuk

In the heat of Tel Aviv and the swarms of people, we tackled Nachalot Benyamin, a great artists street fair that is available twice a week for shopping. Unfortunately, we were not as successful at finding any gifts there this year. Probably because we didn’t really need anything, band partly because it was sooo hot and sticky. We had lunch at a great restaurant with Ruth, Noam, and Tamar and Zohar. I had a fabulous salad with lots of veggies, I think one of only a few salads I had the whole trip like that!We then ventured to the shuk on a Friday afternoon. CRAZY!!!

We wanted flowers and nuts and other things. We bought he best pastries ever and brought them on the plane with us for a snack. The shuk is crazy anyway and on a Friday with a stroller is even more crazy. It was fun, but hard with a sweaty toddler who didn’t want to shop so much. She was overdue for a nap and just never got around to it. She ended up blowing off steam in the park before Shabbat dinner.

Although it was a long day and Shabbat dinner, while super delicious at Doda Nomi and Dod Gil's, it was quick and off to the airport we had to go. It was great to be with family and have a lovely meal together. But there is always the nerves of needing to get to the airport and how long things will take. It was a nice way to end our vacation and trip.

Jul 18, 2008

Shabbat in Jerusalem

While my memory tries hard to remind me that Shabbat in Jerusalem (as I remember from being here many years ago) meant the entire city shuts down, it is not totally so in 2008. There were several cars driving around, which means you can't completely walk through the streets without being sensitive to a car possibly coming around the corner.

Regardless... Shabbat started in the usual hectic rush way that makes taking 25 hours a lovely thing. With only 1 bathroom and 7 people to bathe, children to feed, people not feeling up to par 100%, and then needing to get out the door for services certainly makes the 5-5:45 time slot RUSHED!

Somehow we managed and the 3 of us left to walk to services at Kol Nishama, a "reform" congregation where men and women sit together. It was really nice even though we got there 10 minutes late. Hadarya revels in services and danced her way through Kabbalat Shabbat after she got comfortable. We were sitting near the front in the top of a U shape. She loved walking away from us and sitting on the step that led to the bimah. She sat there and smiled at us. She sat there and stared at the Rabbi. She sat there and read a prayer book. She sat there and looked cute as only she can do and everyone smiled at her. She danced at the right places, clapped for the songs, and said amen at the end of prayers. The melodies were uplifting and a packed room made all the voices blend together in such a lovely way that I wish we had more of that in our synagogues in the states.

Savta Ruthie met us at services and walked home with us for dinner. The rest of the house was already asleep as everyone was feeling tired and exhausted. We had a lovely dinner that Scott had made before he went to bed. It was a lovely evening and we took Hadarya out for her nightly ritual of strolling to sleep.

We woke up Shabbat morning sort of late and immediately got on Skype with Grandma and Grandpa. Boy did that wake up Hadarya! She jumped over Aba to get to the computer and smiled, giggled, and laughed with them. It was a great beginning to the Shabbat morning. We ended up all going to services at Shira Chadasha and making it there a little earlier than last week. It's a modern orthodox with a michitza but women are called to the torah, lead services, and read from the torah. It's a lovely combination that I truly enjoy. I like being able to daven with myself in a community and not worry about the people around me.

We came home to a delicious shabbat lunch in which Scott's cousin, Reuven and Yiftach's friend, Einat, joined us. We ate over a a couple of hours, the kids played, the young ones napped for a bit, and we just schmoozed and hung out. We left for a trip to the park and picnic dinner around 5 PM and returned by 7 PM for bathtime and bedtime. Our baby girl does well with a bath now and loves getting in , especially if Maital joins her. We let her watch Elmo, skyped with Auntie Kimber, which Hadarya now says very clearly, and then took a stroll for her to go to bed. In between those two, we did Havdallah and Hadarya enjoyed smelling the spices.

A really super Shabbat experience in Jerusalem.

Biblical Zoo - mini Tiyul within Jerusalem

Erev Shabbat morning was spent at the beautiful Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. We traveled just past the mall we’ve become fond of (indoor air conditioning!) and ended up at this amazing zoo. It’s long and skinny versus the San Diego Zoo that is more round and expanded. There is a lot of water built into this zoo that it makes it look so refreshing for the animals.
The first stop was across a wooden bridge over the water where Hadarya could see “duckies,” which were really big birds that dove under the water for food. She thought that was so funny! We actually did see pink beaked ducks too. At the same time the screaming monkeys were making their presence known from the top of their house in the middle of the water on an island.

We then took the rakevet (train) to the top of the hill by the bears. What fun the bears were! There were 4 bears swimming, playing, jumping in the water, and walking around. We stayed for quite a while as they were so active. It was almost lunch time for them so they were pacing around trying to to be patient and wait. One of the bears actually dove off the rock in the middle of the water into the larger pool area. It was so funny to see him jump in! The other larger bear just eased his way into the water.

We then walked our way to Noah's Ark, which is the end of the zoo and the train pick up towards the front. It was very hot but the misters were very nice! We saw elephants and more monkeys. Then we got to the walkway that goes through the biblical animals. Hadarya had a blast running up the wooden walkway towards the lookout points. We were amazed that there were zebras, rhinos, and giraffes all together! They hung out, walked around past each other, moved in separate areas but everything was all connected. It was really cool.

By the time we got the Noah's ark information center we were hot and tired and it was time to leave. We got Hadarya her first popsicle while we waited for the train. It took her awhile to get the hang of it and it was sooo cold on her tongue! It was a really fun outing and a great way to get ready for Shabbat.

The grounds were filled with people sitting on blankets in the shade when we left and it was clear that this was a favorite place people liked to go to.

Everyday Living plus a Carnival

Part of the idea of renting an apartment was to be able to "live" in Jerusalem and experience everyday things. Today, Thursday, was kind of an every day thing. Scott had a tiyul that left at 7 AM and Jennifer asked us if we'd be awake to watch Nadiv and Maital so that she didn't have to drag them to walk Shayna to camp and then back to their daycare program. We offered to walk them to their program and then she wouldn't have to go out of her way. It was a good way to get us up and out of the house early and it was a really nice walk and it made us really feel like we were just ordinary people living here!

From the Hartman institute we got directions to a park with more "modern" equipment and spongy asphalt. Although it was hot, Hadarya had a lot of fun on the see-saw. She really wanted to swing but the wooden swings were too hot. We stayed for about an hour and she had a lot of fun running around. We met a woman on our way out and she asked how long we were staying. She is from Canada and has been here for 10 years. She came after law school, single, and stayed. She had a son who was about 6 years old. We took a long walk around by the History Museum and then back to the apartment.

We ended up going to the mall to cool off and get lunch and hang out and our little Miss took her nap while we shopped around. We had really yummy chinese food, just because we could eat at the mall in a restaurant like that.

The highlight of the day was going to a Carnival at 4:30 PM with everyone. It was not your typical carnival like we think of in the states. It started at 4 but they were still setting up when we got there! There were arts and crafts and tons of bouncy houses. We started out making necklaces out of bisseli (Israeli chips) and pretzels. Hadarya wasn't so interested. But we made one for her anyway. She really loved the bouncy houses and could not get enough of them. She also like the bouncy slide, which had a rope ladder to get up. Try carrying a toddler who weighs 28 pounds up a swinging rope ladder to get to the top and bounce down the slide.

There were big lovely mats (machselet) in many different places around the park area and different things on each one. One had lovely cushy bean bags type of mooshy chairs with books spread around so you could hang out and read to your children. Another one had someone there doing things like balloon animals, bubbles, and other fun interactive stuff. Then there was a huge fairy that was standing on something tall with air blowing her huge skirt around and the kids were shaking it and playing with it like parachutes. Hadarya totally knew what to do and shook with all her might and laughed a lot. The last place we stopped was an arts and crafts station set up with little tables and chairs. The big kids were tracing pictures and then coloring them in, but our little ones had more fun coloring their own pictures which Savta Ruthie wanted to keep for her fridge.

We ate dinner at a fabulous burger place that made my burger with eggplant and grilled onions and lettuce and tomatoes. It was quite delicious and we walked it off coming home. For as much as we've eaten, we've walked enough to not add the calories to our bodies! It was a delightful day doing what everyone who lives here does.

Jul 15, 2008

Tiyul #4 - The North Part 2

Sunday Night - Hadarya pulled an all-nighter, sleeping that is, after going to bed late around 10 PM. She woke at 5:15 for milk and fell back to sleep until 9:00 or so. Maybe later! We had a lovely breakfast on the balcony with a gorgeous sight to see. Then hustled into the car with all the gear and kids, up 100 steps in the hot hot hot heat, to go to the Tel Dan and Safed.

I LOVED the Tel Dan when we were here 4 years ago, so we wanted to go and explore this natural reserve some more. The trees, the pathways, and the water were enticing. We drove over an hour to get there, with two napping girls, only to find out it was CLOSED, due to a fire two days ago. What a bummer! BUT we were lucky to be with experienced travelers, especially in the North, and Noam found us a delicious spot all our own. The girls played naked in the water laughing, giggling, and splashing. We put on suits and joined them, had lunch, and watched the kayakers. Over 2 hours of relief from the heat in an area we’d never have found ourselves.

Then we ventured on to Safed, a place I’d never been and wanted to go. I was slightly disappointed as it wasn’t what I really expected. There were tons of tall and large apartment building on the sides of the hills as we entered. This was the new part, but seemed so out of place for a religious artist’s colony! I am going to have to do some research on the area and learn more for sure. We walked through the main street and down to the artists colony, which is really a long strip of shops. We saw some beautiful things, but not completely unusual and unique. Nothing I felt I really had to have. We did venture to the very end and go to the Safed Candle Factory, which are handmade candles of all kinds. It was amazing. A full size chess set mad out of candles. Shabbat and havdalah candles, as well as speciality items. We had fun here and bought some lovely things to bring home.

We then stopped for delicious ice cream and pizza for Hadarya (who ate almost the whole piece, minus what her cousin ate!) before heading back to our cabin. We ended the night with a campfire. Again, nothing we would have done on our own, but with Tamar and Noam… beyond perfect. They made salad, roasted potatoes and tons of meat, and Arab baklava for dessert. We ate over a couple of hours while we played with the girls and then they fell asleep. It was Hadarya’s first campfire and she was captivated by the fire. She went to sleep and slept on the blanket with blankets over her cozy by the fire. It was so beautiful to see. Now… at 11:45 PM, we are heading to bed too.

We had another great sleeping night although Hadarya woke from the crib we put her in . This is just a trip that she needs to sleep in our bed with us and be with us. Cribs are not working here for her at all. She drank some milk and went to bed with us. We woke late again, packed up, and then ate a long lovely breakfast on the balcony again. Eggs and fresh bread and salad. It was superb!

We then journeyed back to Ra'Naana via Nehariya for ice cream. Tamar and Zohar go to a mommy and me music class at 5:15 in the evening and we made it back in time for them to go. We were invited to join them and Hadarya had a blast! She LOVES music and it made no difference to her that it was in Hebrew. It was just so fun.

We then caught a late bus and headed back to Jerusalem. It was good to be back in our spot with our stuff and we are looking forward to some time in Jerusalem!

Tiyul #4 - Ra'Naana/North part 1

Noam (Yiftach’s cousin’s husband) who so amazingly picked us up at the airport and took us to Jerusalem, offered to come pick us up again in Jerusalem (1 hour each way) and bring us to Ra’naana before we left for a few days together. It was wonderful and saved us the journey on the busses.

We left Saturday night around 5:30 PM and went to Kfar Saba to his cousin’s birthday party! Hadarya didn’t do so well as she slept the whole way to in the car and then was surrounded by so many people she didn’t know. She kept fussing and crying and it was getting late, so we left and Tamar (his cousin) took us to her parents house (Dod Gil and Doda Nomi) to spend the night. Savta Ruth had just arrived a few days before.

Hadarya walked into their house as if she’d been there a million times and had a ball! She took to Nomi and Gil as if she’d spent days and days with them. She played with the toys they had for Zohar (Hadarya’s cousin who is 5 weeks younger) and laughed and giggled and enjoyed their company for over an hour. Then we changed her into her pajamas and she watched Elmo laying down in our bed for the night. Yiftach then took her out for a nightly stroll to put her to bed. Going to bed has been an issue as she will only go down in the stroller. He was incredibly successful and was able to transfer her into our bed.

We were blessed with an entire night’s sleep until 8:30 AM!!! She woke up 3 times and asked for milk and told us to STOP when we tried to pat her on the back. She drank and went right back to sleep. It was great. We hope tonight in the North will be a repeat. : )

Ra’Naana – Sunday Day

We spent a wonderful morning walking around the main street of Ra’Naana. Yifach found a pair of sandals that he loved and we hung out on the street with Sunny and her boys. Sunny and her boys live in San Diego and are visiting her mother who lives in Ra’naana. It was so much fun to see them! Lunch at the best falafel in Israel was a must and Ruth had joined us by this time. It was sooo delicious! My favorite part is actually the fresh lemonade with fresh mint. Refreshing. We then went back to his aunt and uncles and played with Zohar for a couple of hours before heading out of town. We were waiting for the car to get fixed. The girls laughed and played and had a blast together. We even took them to the park. I didn’t think it through that sand will stick to sweaty bodies very easily and within a short time they were covered. We carried them home and did a quick bath before getting in the car for a 3-hour drive.

The girls were great on the drive, especially for leaving around 5 PM, and sitting in the car for so long. They slept for quite a bit and had a blast running around the supermarket when we stopped for supplies. They each had a chocolate milk and just couldn’t get enough of running around after each other. We arrived in the middle of the mountains near the border of Lebanon to the most exquisite cabins.

Sunday Night - Hadarya pulled an all-nighter, sleeping that is, after going to bed late around 10 PM. She woke at 5:15 for milk and fell back to sleep until 9:00 or so. Maybe later! We had a lovely breakfast on the balcony with gorgeous sight to see.

Jul 11, 2008

Tiyul #3 - Machane Yehuda

Getting ready for Shabbat is always a wonderful experience in Israel. Especially in Jerusalem where you need to plan ahead because shops close and things go quiet for over 24 hours. Despite the lack of sleep, we ventured to Machane Yehuda, the outdoor Shuk (marketplace) with all the kids to get fresh things for dinner.

Machane Yehuda is a myriad of stalls that sell fresh meat, bakery items, candy, a few knick knacks, and fresh fruit and veggies. It’s a haven for feeling like you are farm picking your items and getting them from the supplier instead of the grocery store.

How can you beat fresh chocolate rugalach oozing with warm filling? Hot in the bag made them stick together but did not ruin the taste. Fresh tapuzim (juice) is the most amazing thing there. While we can make it at home, we so never do and there is nothing like watching the oranges get squeezed and drinking it down.

It is here that we began this conversation about the differences in our cultures diet and health factors. It’s so easy to be already prepared foods and run out for a bite to eat, but we really don’t realize what we are missing in terms of taste and what we are doing to our bodies. Here we go to the market every few days in order to keep up with the milk, water, and other small items. We buy just what we need in terms of fresh fruit and veggies and we go back for more when we need it. We walk everywhere and that alone helps our bodies.

We have also found that we eat lots of different salads and pita bread but we are eating way less in terms of starches. No rice. Few potatoes (except for the chips with falafel!) and hardly any meat, since the double whopper at Burger King does not happen every day. It’s a diet rich in fruits and veggies and definitely healthier than what we do at home!

Hadarya spent most of our time in the market asleep, as become her nap time from 11 – 1 and so we enjoyed the hubbub without her! We then walked to Ben Yehuda street for lunch at Burger King where she woke up and laughed and played. She loved the soldiers on the street singing songs and she loved running around. We walked to the Kipppah Man and bought new Kippot for Yiftach and then to the bookstore to collect some book in Hebrew.

We’re getting out slowly…for short time spans and hoping that the sleeping increases at night.

Tiyul #2 - Tel Aviv

We decided that despite our lack of sleep, we'd venture out and do something since we do not want to waste our time that we are here sleeping all day! There is a great "outlet" for Naot sandals in Yaffo (right by Tel Aviv) that we visited 4 years ago by accident and I got two pairs of sandals for slightly more than 1 pair in the regular store.

We were slow (as usual) in getting up but managed to get to a monit (cab) by 10:30 AM and to the central bus station by 11. Unfortunately, we had a sleeping child on our hands when we arrived and there is unorganized chaos going through security. The end result was I was not careful and we lost the treasured green motzetz (pacifier). We are actually running out and this will be the test of what happens if we lose them all!

The 45 minute bus ride was easy and quick. We ended up hanging out at the Mall where it was air conditioned and we could get a good burger! Yiftach's dear friend Einate happened to be at the same place getting her haircut so we met her and hung out with her for a bit. We then moved on to the sandals. We were quite disappointed as the prices were the same as the regular store and there was only 1 pair in my size. We decided to keep looking!

Our next plan was to have dinner with Yiftach's Dod and Doda and cousins, but Hadarya had enough of waiting (after 40 minutes) for a bus that wasn't coming and would take another hour to get to them. We decided to err on the side of the child and we went back to the central bus station and headed back to Jerusalem.

We are planning another trip to Tel Aviv to visit the shuk, the beach, and nachalot benyamin.

Tiyul #1 - The Kotel

Wednesday afternoon we had to get out of the house after sleeping late and trying to figure out this time zone thing with our daughter. We'd actually managed to get up around 10:30/11 but Yiftach woke with a huge headache and was feeling terrible. Unbelievably I had no tylenol with me so we headed to the pharmacy. In Israel, there are no medicines sold in the supermarket. There are two distinct stores. So off we went and home again to get it working. By 2:30 we needed out.

So we decided to visit the Kotel (the Wall) and deliver our messages. Hadarya fell asleep as soon as we got in the cab and she slept through the transfer to the stroller through the shuk and to the kotel. It was incredibly hot there and she was not a happy camper on the kids side. We did not think it through completely and taking Hadarya and the stroller and the diaper bag and the camera to the women's side was not smart. Hadarya thought it was hot and whined a bit but she touched it and that is all that mattered to me.

We then went up to the shady area up at the top of the open courtyard to wait for Aba. We had snacks, drinks, and then Hadarya toddled off with her Aba to see the Kotel from his side. He had so much fun with him and he loved the experience of being there with him.

We grabbed a lemonade (Hadarya LOVES it so much!) and then a cab back to the house. We took few pictures but have the memories in our foggy brains that still need some sleep. For dinner we carried in kosher chinese food after the kids went to bed. Our kid went to bed, which was more of a nap, and then woke up for her usual 10:30 - 2:30 AM play time. Ah, the life with a toddler.

Jul 9, 2008

Jet lag with a Toddler

Fly 10 1/2 hours. Add 7 time zones. Mix in a 3 hour car ride from the airport. Toss in heat, humidity, and no nap. No surprise that your 21 month old wants to play at 11:30 PM after being asleep for only 3 hours. She had a nap and didn't get the memo on her parents desperately needing their sleep. She stayed up until 2:30 AM. (DAY 1 - Monday) Watched 2 or 3 waves of ELMO on dvd and then asked for her stroller. So we strolled the neighborhood for 30 minutes while she fell asleep and then we all crashed in the bed until about 8:30 AM.

(DAY 2 - Tuesday) She fell asleep at 10:45 AM and we joined her around 11:30 or so for a delicious nap until 2 PM.
Hadarya had a blast playing the Meltzer kids all afternoon, watching a new movie, and running wild. She ate some dinner at dinner time, took a bath, and went to bed at 7:30 PM very quickly. She slept for 3 hours (great nap!), woke up at 10:30 as we went to bed, played in our bed half sleeping until 11:30 and then stayed up until 2:30 AM. 1 long walk around the neighborhood until 12:30 AM. 2 ELMO DVD watchings, and 1 bump by Aba and she was ready for bed. We strolled again at 2:30 AM and were done by 2:50. She crashed. We decided to sleep as late as possible and that meant 11:00 AM!!

DAY 3- Wednesday. After a slow start, major headache for Yiftach and hanging around the house until 2:30. We decided to go to the Kotel and walk around the Old City. It was great. We did not spend enough time in the shuk and will need to go back and do some shopping, but the kotel was hot and the image I have of my daughter walking hand and hand with her Aba to touch the wall is pierced in my brain. Just delicious! Hadarya stayed up until 9:20 PM and is now fast asleep. We are heading that way too and hoping for a full nights sleep. That will set us off to Tel Aviv tomorrow and a day of fun!

Flying With A Toddler

3 flights and 10 time zones in 3 1/2 days and we marvel at our daughter’s ability to adapt and go with the flow. Hadarya did great on the way to Salt Lake City; playing nicely with the 2 other kids, sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle, and sharing all her new toys. We were pretty proud of her. She perked up in Salt Lake City and ran and ran and laughed and played…even took to standing in the stroller where Yiftach caught her just before she pitched over backwards; all within my view! My heart stopped beating for 30 seconds as I watched in slow motion. We quickly remembered that the stroller we bought had a flip handle so you could view your child while strolling instead of not seeing them until it’s too late. 4 laps around the quiet end of the terminal put our baby girl to sleep before our 12:01 flight to JFK. She slept through the beginning of the flight but woke up after the announcements crying in her sleep trying to get comfortable. She asked for “nigh-night” several times and pointed out of the plane. Try explaining that to a less than 2 year old!

Our longest flight was the one to Tel Aviv which was 10 hours, 20 minutes flying time. We were the last passengers to board the plane, not realizing that 1. they close the doors 30 minutes before take-off for security reasons and 2. we had to go through another security checkpoint before getting on the plane. That included dumping out all the water I had just filled in my container and Hadarya's too! We were very lucky that we had 3 seats with no one in the middle and Hadarya got her own seat. She slept for almost 1/2 the flight and then awoke ready to play. Her favorite toy by far was the seat belt! She did really well with all the new toys we gave her, eating snacks, and being entertained, despite the fact that we did not have our Elmo DVD on hand. She ended up a happy kid with 2 tired parents but we made it to Israel in one piece.

The hardest part was the passport control. We had no stroller as they decided our gate checked stroller was really luggage and it got checked through. Our superb daughter handled it better than her aba and had a ball running through the terminals to get to baggage claim...a lot of them mind you! Then we got to the passport control: long lines, sweating, with people cutting, holding a toddler who is over tired with a diaper bag on my back for about 45 minutes. Yiftach goes through on his Israeli passport and has a fast pass that put him through in 20 seconds. He was beginning to get nervous as we took so long. What a relief when we finally got through! I totally wanted to cry from the sheer emotional toll of being overtired and having to wait sooo long. BUT again we made it through and that feeling as we came through customs with throngs of people waiting and staring at those who come through the doors was overwhelming. WE WERE IN ISRAEL!

Then Noam, our cousin, was at our side and his amazing graciousness of picking us up and taking us to Jerusalem began.

Jul 5, 2008

New York Weekend

Off we flew at 6:40 PM to Salt Lake City en route to JFK on July 3rd for a long weekend before we leave for Israel. We arrived in New York at 6:01 AM on July 4th after a relatively easy red-eye with a tired toddler. She actually fell asleep in Utah and then we carried her onto the plane asleep. We were lucky enough to have an empty seat between us for her to sleep in! Which she did while we sat on the ground and through take-off. THEN she got miserable. She cried and fell asleep, asked for "nigh-nigh" and pointed out of the plane for her crib, then fell asleep. It was a cyclical thing for about 1 1/2 hours and then OUT for the last 2 hours to NY. She actually slept through getting off the plane, getting our bags, getting onto a shuttle and then all the way into the city until the shuttle stopped at the first drop off!

Our first stop was at Cate and Ivan's. They live on E43rd between 10th and 11th and are letting us stay in their apartment for the weekend while they are in North Hamptons at their house. It was so awesome of them to let us stay here and has made the difference for a stay in the city with a toddler. She napped on NY time and went to bed a little late on NY time. We all got a delicious 2 hour nap in during the middle of the day and slept until 9:30 AM on Saturday!

We spent the afternoon with Cousins Art and Sheila from Albany and Allison from Mobile, Alabama. It was terrific to see them! Art asked Hadarya if she wanted to go outside and she said yes, took his hand and off they went! It was sooo adorable. They walked quite a ways down the street and then we found the most delicious pie place! They made mini pies served warm a la mode. MMMMMM..

July 4th evening we spent having dinner at a kosher deli (Ben's) with our conductor friend Jeff. It turns out we are staying a block away from him! Quite fun actually. Hadarya slept through the whole dinner for second nap, so we got her pasta and meatballs to go. She woke up in the cab ride to B'nai Jeshurun for services. Yiftach had been before and it was supposed to be the happening place. It was nice...combined young hip services with the regular service for the summer. They are very strict on things like no strollers and being on time so everyone has a seat. Tons of people, lots of singing, ruach, and dancing. Short and to the point sermons from the Rabbi and the Cantor. We ended up back at the apartment instead of on the roof top for fireworks because it was raining and Hadarya was ready for bed. It was a great evening and we all slept sooo well!

Shabbat morning July 5th, we had bagels from H & H by the water and enjoyed Jeff's company again. We left as it began to rain and then a complete downpour occurred for the next several hours, drenching us, making us laugh, and Hadarya figured out how to hold a garbage over her legs and the "shade" covering her to stay out of the rain! We were quite a sight to see walking the streets with the others in the rain. After two blocks, we were lucky enough to get a cab so we didn't have to deal with the subway to the Children's Museum 45 blocks away.

The Children's Museum of Manhattan was magnet for visitors today and those looking to get out of the rain. We were amongst the many many many people exploring the four floors of the museum. She loved the stuffed animals and especially the monkey we wrapped around her body. She left that exhibit with the monkey and took it on a tour of other places in the museum! She especially loved the science areas of the building blocks, screws, and air pressure. The sandbox was also a huge hit! We left the museum for a food break and ended up eating at Cafe Lalo's --- the You've Got Mail place! It was great food and a good chance to rest. Hadarya wanted to go back for more and we played for another hour +. When we left she was fast asleep before her head hit the end of the stroller!

We ventured on the subway, in which Hadarya missed her first subway ride by sleeping through 4 passing trains and the entire ride down. Times Square was a hustle and bustle and we decided to go to the Toys R Us to see what it was like... A MADHOUSE I tell you. Oh my gosh. I'd been to FAO Schwartz the last time I was in New York but this tops it all. There is a line to get in and pushing and shoving too. You walk in the door and there are people there to take your picture... in a toy store people. Like at Disneyland and the Zoo. But it's a TOY STORE. We walked in about 20 feet (we did not get our photo taken) and stopped at the railing to get a better view. It took a few minutes but there in front of us, was a regular size ferris wheel in the middle of the toy store...filled with people and a line a mile long! That was the attraction to have swarms of people coming into a toy store. A unique ride. We did not walk around . We did not see the life size Barbie doll house that Jeff told us they have. We turned and practically ran our thank goodness sleeping child out the door before we gave in to the consumerism! But we can say we've been there and done that. The end.

Our last day in New York was spent with Aran and Dalia. Yiftach’s cousin from Israel and his fiancĂ© who took a 4 hour bus ride from Boston to see us, meet me and Hadarya, and just spend time together. We had a blast doing a whole lot of everything and nothing! We walked around 1 teeny tiny slice of Central Park…so I could say I’d been there, done that too and took Hadarya on the carousel ride. She hated it! She loves it at home, but something about the enclosed area, the tiredness of her body, or whatnot, she did not like it so much! She fell sound asleep within minutes of the ride and we walked by the ball fields, the playgrounds, and tons of greenery within the city. We ate a scrumptious lunch at a kosher deli and then took the subway back to pack our bags and get ourselves on a plane to Israel. We can’t wait to see them again and spend more time together.

PHOTOS will be coming soon!

Jul 2, 2008


Bubbles are a huge hit in this family. We sit in the driveway and do bubbles. We blow them in the bathtub. We create them with soap to get H in the tub. She makes bubbles with her wash to get her body clean. Bubbles are big.

They were especially big when Auntie Kimber and Grandpa got in on the act. Auntie Kimber had unsupervised playtime on our neighbors walkway with a brand new bottle of bubbles. Fun ensued for our little miss as she dumped the bottle out and splashed in the puddle and made different kinds of bubbles. Soapy bubbles up her arms, in her hair, on her face. The last picture shows her at the end of the bubble fun!

Jul 1, 2008

Fun with Cousins

Cassidy and Callie spent all of last week visiting us from Chico, CA. Hadarya is in love with Callie. She spent hours following her around. Calling her name... Cah-yee, Cah-yee. She played and shared her toys beyond anything one would expect of a 20-month old and never did they have issues over sharing. Callie is 4. She was amazing!! She understood if Hadarya grabbed something or wanted something she had. She was so beyond her years of maturity in sharing her brand new stuffed polar bear and being patient while Hadarya played with the doll at Grandma's. In turn, Hadarya didn't seem to mind that Callie sat in her special rocker chair, played with her piggy bank, or used the baby stroller.

The first day we went to the YMCA pool/water play area. It was a blast! Hadarya then went back to her regular routine of daycare until the weekend (so she could nap and Ima could enjoy the cousins!) and then we ventured to the Children's Museum. FUN FUN FUN was had by all on their last day in town. It was a super week and the photos speak volumes.