I've been avoiding my blog. Not intentionally mind you, but it seems that every time I get a minute to sit down, too much has happened to report, and it's overwhelming.
So, just a quick catch up: Chanuka was beautiful! With different sets of family here back to back we were busy, busy, busy! Chanuka parties, W "shabbaton" (we counted 238 lit menorahs between our house and the Ws!), pool rental for all the cousins, Ammunition Hill on the first day of vacation! We love that place, we've been going there since before we even had kids. It's the mixture of the history and the pride in living in Israel, and the humility one feels when you can actually see how much others have sacrificed so we can live where we do today.
I'm sure most of you are well aware by now of the Carmel fire that spread through parts of Israel during the holiday, but I wanted to make mention of it here, for posterity. BH the fires have been put out, but they are now saying that this may have been the worse natural disaster Israel has ever faced.
Z arrived in the middle of Chanuka, and it was a great visit. It never gets boring to show "new" visitors all the sights and sounds of Israel. We did the Shuk, Old City, Kotel, and Malcha (KFC, baby!) all in one day. Traveling without a car is hard. We take buses, trains, taxis and mostly do lots and lots of walking. I came home that night and tracked our trek through town that day, and it was close to 3-4 miles. After dinner, we took the train home. By the end of a day like that, we were beat!
But up and out early again the next day with Z: showing him around the merkaz, and then some of the bigger kids took him on one of their favorite hikes, to Mearat HaTeumim, which we affectionately call The Bat Cave. The hike ends in a cave full of bats, which unfortunately was closed for the winter :(. Not to worry, BAW made Chinese for dinner; he made some and ordered some from the restaurant that opened ON OUR BLOCK!
The next day we headed with the Ws and Z to the Biblical Zoo in J-lem. Again, getting there was a pain (I drove BAW and 3 boys to train, then came back and picked up Z and 2 more kids, and 1 kid went with Saba)! But well worth the trip in the end. We came back and had pizza. I am confident that Z now thinks that we ONLY eat out. Z and D then headed out to J-lem to see the sights, while we called it a day and put everyone to bed.
Friday was more low-key as the kids were back in school, and I had lots of cooking to do. Shabbos was a bit of a let-down because we had grand plans to take Z out and show him around the neighborhood, but a very sudden, very weird sandstorm hit. Around lunch time (ok, that's 10am here, but who's counting) the sky suddenly got very orange and you couldn't see anything. The wind was blowing like crazy, and there was sand everywhere! Even inside R needed his inhaler and everyone else was complaining about sand in their throats and crunching between their teeth.
Sunday we headed out to take S back to school in Be'er Sheva. and the sandstorm just got worse and worse. There was very poor visibility on the highways, and at one point we went for Shwarma and couldn't eat normally because there was sand in everything. Well, that and because I put this ridiculously spicy thing on my shwarma, with no idea as to a)what it was, b)what it tasted like c)if it was poisonous, toxic or otherwise life-threatening.
S's school was surprisingly nice. Clean, nice campus, nice teachers, Rabbis, etc.
Sunday night the storm finally broke and we woke up to freezing, pouring rain! BH!! We've been waiting, fasting, praying! It has stopped now, and we still need tefillos, but BH there was some. We'll take whatever we can get.
Z left last night. I spent most of the morning cleaning and getting to things I've been neglecting for a couple of weeks. Today is Tuesday, our short day at school, so by the time I get everything clean, the Gremlins will be back to wreak havoc.
And that's about it.