Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kids and Clothes

Today, after doing the enormous Pesach grocery shopping with Josh, Matan and Yehuda, and dropping them all off at Josh's work, I stopped to browse at a great clothing store. Now, this is a store that I've only been to three times. They have absolutely fabulous clothes, and the other times that I've been there I've been with Azriel. On the other occasions, which were spaced apart by at least a month or more each, the young women working in the store played with Azriel. They adored playing with him, making him laugh, taking him out of his stroller, and carrying him around while I tried things on!

So, today, I ran into the store alone just to see what new spring clothes they have. As I was browsing through the racks, one of the women came up to me and said, "Where's Azriel?" I looked at her in disbelief and laughed. "What?" I said. "You remember my son's name?" She replied, "No one could forget a baby like him!"

Only in Israel. What service!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our Sixth Kid

So, we now have six boys. Didn't know I was pregnant again, huh? Well, this time it was actually much easier. We have a sixth boy because we've become adoptive temporary parents of sorts for a chayal boded. A chayal boded translates as a "lonely soldier" and there are many of them in Israel. These are kids who have done an amazing thing. They've made aliyah by themselves at an age when they are required to serve in the army. The thing is, that they have nowhere to be when they aren't serving. There's no mom to do their laundry quickly when they come back on Friday afternoon, there's no one to cook them a hot meal for Shabbat, and there's no one watching out for them who is close by. So, we are serving as a surrogate family for our newest addition - Jeff.

Jeff officially moved in last week and the kids are very excited about their newest brother. He's from Cleveland and he turns 20 next week. He just got accepted to a very elite unit and he became a paratrooper on Thursday. On Thursday morning when he went in for the first time, I felt like his mom must feel. I had butterflies in my stomach all day and I was hoping that things would go smoothly. He came "home" Friday and it was so cute to see him beaming in his crisp, new uniform. He explained to us proudly what each piece of the uniform meant, and how we'd easily be able to identify him as a part of the paratrooper's unit (if we had any idea of anything!). We will be learning a lot about the military here from Jeff, so hopefully we'll have some idea of the system by the time Matan goes in!

I've got to hand it to this kid. When he left us Wednesday night to go get ready to join his unit, he looked at me and said, somewhat jokingly, "What have I done?" I was thinking the same thing at the time. I was thinking that he must be so scared - but at the same time so proud of himself. While moving to Israel at the age of 33, married with two and a half kids, wasn't the easiest thing in the world, neither is coming as a young kid. Sure, he didn't leave a house, jobs and a settled life. Rather, he left the chance to be a carefree teenager, to think the most important thing in the world is his Comm 101 test, and to think about this weekend's party.

What have you done, Jeff? You've given yourself over to the Israeli army - something that our great grandparents would not have dreamed would actually be possible; you've committing yourself to the Jewish people and to the Jewish nation in the most powerful way possible - with your body.

What have you done Jeff? Something breathtaking and truly amazing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dentists and Donkeys

Sometimes, I just have to laugh about where we live. We feel understandably modernized in our life here in the Middle East. We have computers, cell phones, cars and all of the amenities that we lived with in the States. But then, we get reminded of what a strange thing it is to live here, juxtaposed with cultures that are so different from our own.

I went to the dentist today in Efrat. On my way back, I was driving the five minute drive to get home, and I passed an Arab worker casually sauntering on the side of the major road with his donkey. His donkey? Yep. That's right. I was headed back to my computer job doing SEO writing for a large collection of e-commerce sites, and he was walking down the street with his donkey.

It made me laugh as I passed him, thinking about my life back in the States and my friends and family there. I bet none of them pass by a donkey on the way back from the dentist! What a life!

Hashem's Tooshie

On Friday night, most of the kids were at services with Josh. Amichai, Azriel and I were home reading, relaxing and hanging out. Here is the conversation that we had. Kids are something else.

Amichai: Mommy, does Hashem have a tooshie?
Mommy: Well, um, hmmmm, I don't think so honey.

Silence, as I KNOW that he's gearing up for the next, predictable question.

A: Mommy, if Hashem doesn't have a tooshie, then how does he poop?
M: Oh dear Amichai. Well, that's a darn good question. He doesn't really poop.
A: He doesn't poop!!?? Well, what happens to all of his poopie?
M: (Getting nervous and having no earthly idea how to explain this) Well, Amichai, we've talked about this before. Hashem isn't really a person like you think. He's sort of, well, out there and he doesn't really have a shape.
A: What? But how does he poop?
M: (Thinking for a minute) How about some marshmallows?
A: Marshmallows? Ok....

And we were off the subject for another day! Deep sigh of relief from mommy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Raining Ice Cream!

Today, we went on a great family trip for the day. Josh and I were off today because it's Shushan Purim. Yesterday was Purim for us, and today was Purim in Jerusalem proper because it is a walled city. So, that gave us a two day holiday for Purim. We took off early in the morning, went to the Promenade in Tel Aviv where the boys played and roller bladed, then went to Yaffo and had a great time walking around there and eating a yummy lunch. We met up with our friend, Itay Ziman, and our friend visiting from the States, Seth Coplin (and his son Benjamin,) and went to two more interesting areas of Tel Aviv.

While we were all eating ice cream in the evening, the funniest thing happened. Amichai, who is four, suddenly said to me, "Mommy! It's raining ice cream!" I turned around to find him standing there, completely shocked and excited. Yes, it was indeed raining strawberry ice cream - from his hat! He had managed, somehow, to get enough ice cream on his hat that it was "raining" right onto his face. Even after I explained it to him, he continued looking bewildered and reported a few more times that it was so neat that it was raining ice cream.

Oh - to be a kid again : )

And here's a cute one of the baby from today:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Purim is Almost Here...Really!

Amichai came running out of school today with his face painted as a clown. Purim is still 5 days away, and this is at least the 5th or 6th day that they've done something for Purim! Nothing like three weeks of celebrations for a one day holiday! Chag Sameach - almost -to everyone!

Teeth, That's Right...Teeth

I've been thinking about teeth a lot this week. Yep, the good ol' fashioned teeth we all have in our mouths. This has been a busy teeth week in my house and I've been thinking about my children and their teeth a lot.

I took Matan and Yehuda to the dentist last week and it cost a pretty penny. Yehuda had to have a big cavity filled and Matan has a problem with one tooth we'll have to get fixed.

While all of this has been happening, Yehuda lost one of his front teeth this week. He looks adorable with one big tooth missing, the other loose, and the adult tooth descending already on top of the loose tooth. It's a very busy mouth he's got there.

And then there is Azriel. Oh - not to worry...no cavities there. The kid doesn't have any teeth yet and I've been cracking up all week at his gums. I never knew that gums could be so funny. I play a game with him that my dad always played with us as kids and that he plays with the grandkids. It's called "Hello and Goodbye." Very complicated game. You sit the child on your lap facing you, take their hands in yours and then push then backwards so that they look backwards towards the floor. That's the goodbye. Then, you flip them back onto your lap for the hello. Azriel loves the game - and I love playing it with him because I get to look at his adorable little gums when he flips back and laughs.

Who would think that gums could be so cute? I look at his empty little mouth and I see so much potential. Those gums are going to take him through his whole life, sprouting teeth, loosing teeth, getting new teeth. He's got a whole life ahead of him and so much growing to do. And for now, he's just full of all of this potential and these adorable, empty little gums.

Let's hear it for teeth coming in, teeth going out, and healthy gums for all.