Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Four days and counting...

Wow. This is hard. 

I have been trying to stay positive over the past couple of weeks, but exhaustion/emotion is getting the better of me. The day that our lift left we just laid low and tried to tie up some loose ends. No matter how much we clean out of the house, there seems to be more and more stuff to get rid of. I find myself unable to spend more than an hour at a time there, or else I have a meltdown. TPH has been a real trouper about being stuck with the clean up and clearing out. At this point we're hiring a crew to clean and finish up.

He spent most of the day over there while I took some kids for shoes, repacked 16 pieces of luggage and chased my little terrorist around with much help from Uncle S. Toilet Turnout for today: 2 pancakes (repeatedly dipped and licked), a lone baby carrot, and a few balls. Oh, and don't forget the screw that holds the screen door closed. Sounds crazy, but it sure beats yesterday's Nintendo DS and Bubby's cordless phone.

We also turned over the car to it's new owner today, as well as said goodbye to our two dogs. Only someone who has had a dog can really understand just how hard that can be. BAW wants to guest post about that, and I'm too emotional, so we'll let him. It was a hard day.  

The kids seem ok. A little out of sorts, but ok. We are heading off to my sister and brother-in-law in SI tomorrow. We are renting 2 SUVs and both driving down, and hoping that cuts it with all our luggage. It'll be a good send-off, we'll get to have a nice restful shabbos before we head off for our much dreaded anticipated flight. 

Tonight too was hard saying goodbye to all my chaburah friends. They gave me a beautiful card that made me cry as well as a gift certificate to a restaurant in RBS. Can't wait to use it and think of everyone. Just wish I could Skype and be at the chaburah every week. 

Wish us luck, my guess is that this is going to get harder before it gets easier.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away...

The lift has sailed! Well, it has definitely driven away, I would guess it hasn't quite set sail yet...

It was a thoroughly exhausting day, and we are barely awake. It started last night when, after just falling asleep after 2am, Demon Child Little Red decided to wake up screaming in our room, and didn't fall asleep until after 4am. We were all up for The Big Day at 6am. It was not, I repeat, NOT a good night.

Woke up feeling nauseous and yucky, only to jump out of bed, wake up A to dump Little with her, and hop off to "the house". We figured that by getting there at 7:30am we'd have a couple hours to finish packing and wrapping before the scheduled 9am arrival of the truck. Imagine our excitement when we pulled onto the street, and there it was, in all of it's 40 ft. glory, looming in front of our house! Panic was more like it.

The truth was that it did go smoothly. It was intense, but the movers were actually fantastic; professional, nice, courteous and hard working. We have SO MUCH stuff that wrapping it took quite some time. Imagine wrapping everything you own in Saran Wrap. No, not some special moving type of saran wrap, but actual saran wrap. It's weird, and awkward.

But it's DONE!! There is a calm that has suddenly descended. It may just be a comatose state that we are in due to no sleep in the past week, but I am going to be generous and call it a calm. We are relaxed at Bubby's, with food, and comfy beds, life is good!

Adios Stuff, do us a favor and drop to the deep abyss of the ocean so we don't have to look at you even one more time. Enough is enough already.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Well, here we are "Erev Lift".

Honestly, I don't know how it snuck up us so fast, but we're here. Thee day was very calm, surprisingly. Little kids were at Bubby's most of the day, and me and BAW were at the house all day with A and A, who were great helpers. 

The whole day has been tinged with something. A good friend in town who is also moving tomorrow had a terrible tragedy in her family; her mother in law passed away today, and the levaya (funeral) is tomorrow, on her moving day. All day I have been thinking of her and her husband. The are a wonderful couple, and we shared our going away party with them, as well as many great times over the past few years. We have been "moving buddies", telling each other about our impending moves before we told anyone else, comparing notes on everything from the chaos of packing to silly details. Thinking of them and what they are going through has really put things into perspective for me. I can't complain anymore about this move. It's coming, we are ready, and that's it. 

May Hashem comfort them and help them through this difficult time. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

3 days till lift off..

I'm a little bit at a standstill. Literally. As in, my feet are no longer working.

Today has been the hardest day so far. It's the Friday before the Monday arrival of our container, and we are all reaching every limit we have: physical limits, emotional limits, limited numbers of suitcases, limited food, limited patience. We are at the end.

Last night we spent the very last night in our house, and I'll miss my bed :(. It'll be close to 2 months before I sleep in it again. This is the tough part, when we are literally homeless. Thank G-d for parents and grandparents who will take the very best care of us during the limbo stage, but it is still going to be hard living out of suitcases no matter where we are.

Speaking of suitcases, we are allowed 24 pieces when we travel. Can you imagine??? My goal is not more than 12 or 15, but even that is CRAZY. There is no room to put anything; there are suitcases everywhere!!!!!

Not much else to report. Peace out. Shabbat Shalom. Hey.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thank Yous and Goodbyes

I am terrible with goodbyes. If it were up to me, I would just leave under the cover of night so as not to have to deal with the emotions that come with saying goodbye.

During the last couple of moves, the hardest for me has always been the goodbyes to the caretakers (babysitters, gananot, teachers) of my kids. How can you adequately thank someone who has loved your child as her own? Who has taken your place for the better part of each day in teaching, caring, nurturing, and loving your child? What words or gifts can possibly express the gratitude that we have for these people in our lives?

The truth is that there are none. No words, no gifts, nothing comes close.

This time, I am in a special quandary. This time, some of my closet friends are also our babysitters and teachers. This time, I can technically "kill two birds with one stone" when I say goodbye, but am not sure how to even approach these goodbyes. We leave R and with R we'll leave a little piece of ourselves and our children with these wonderful people. 

Thank you all so much for everything you've done for us and our kids.

What Matters

4 days until we pack the lift. 

You would imagine the scenario to be kids hanging from the non-existent chandeliers, dogs barking and running through the house and babies crying. 

In truth, it's surprisingly quiet this am. I was up at 7am even though I didn't fall asleep until after 2am, and by 7:45 was on the scale with my suitcases, weighing away....Big kids got up and out with BAW to Yeshiva. Little Red is in for the only calm 2 hours of the day his nap, and #4 and #5 are at school/camp respectively. 

Packed the last kitchen box today, and we are officially in "camping mode". Paper and plastic only (all crunchy granola/save the earth people try moving trans-atlantic with 6 kids, and THEN judge me). It's incredibly empty and potentially depressing. But that just hasn't hit me yet. I think I'm just so excited/anxious/can't wait to get there, that I am not hitting the depressed stage. The kids are over the moon at moving in with Bubby and Zaidy for the last few days, and it will be the perfect send-off for all of us!

Some guy just stopped by and saw my baby carrier/carseat  in the garage, and without a thought, Eli gave it to him. I wish I could be more like that. For me, everything is an emotional decision ("But I wanted that baby carrier! It was B's! And S's! And N's!"). For him it's a no-brainer ("It's old.") Men just think more clearly. 

The guy who stopped by is an older Israeli guy who has been living here for some time now. He took Eli through the garage and pointed to things and said, "See this? And this? This is garbage. This is c**p! These things don't matter. You don't need these things! What matters? Take your wife and kids, kiss them, talk to them. These things matter!"


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I just packed box 121. 

These next few posts will not be witty, they will not be entertaining. We will be lucky if they will

The only way to describe what's going on over here is sheer chaos.  The kids are bored, but being good sports. The Wii is still up and the weather is beautiful, so they alternate between playing on the Wii or computer and playing outside. Little Red has been better with sibs home to occupy him, and willing aunts and uncles to watch him in the afternoon, BH.

We are tired, but in good spirits. I played hooky from my Teacher Work Day, but really had finished everything up yesterday, so I'm not feeling too guilty. There are last minute catastrophes to deal with, but we're taking them all in stride: a lift date that was almost moved up, a lift date without a crew, etc... but we've worked hard today to get in all the paperwork and to find a local crew. The pieces are coming together, although the complete puzzle still has some major holes :/ 

The amount of physical, emotional energy that goes into something like this is really quite astounding. My sister in law (who is also making aliyah this summer) called me and said she almost called her doctor to do some tests because she is always tired. I am the same way. It's all around exhausting. I'll finish one room and there will be 10 rooms left...but enough kvetching. I hate blogs with too much kvetching. After a good quiet cry into some clean laundry in the laundry room, I went out to get some Iced Coffee and am feeling re-energized. 

We'll get there, we always do :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Well, since you asked...

Have I absolutely no "boosha"? 

Last post created a scenario that reminds me of how much I love small towns, and this one in particular. After a good friend read it, she called to ask if she can put together meals for us for this week. Most people would've bashfully said, "Nah, we'll be ok, don't worry! Don't put anyone out, we'll be fine." What do I say? Well, I considered those responses, (oh, yes I did! :P) but then A's big puppy dog eyes started swimming before me and I realized that it's not just me. I can be a martyr for myself, but can't really expect my kids to keep suffering. So I said, "Sure! Hey! That'd be great!"  Nope, no boosha. 

We are stressed, we are falling apart, we totally forgot our anniversary (today), but at least we are not hungry! It is amazing how much better one feels on a full stomach after a wonderful meal. Thank you, CR!!

Well, the countdown is at 6, and you will be hearing from me less this week, no doubt. Things are moving fast around here, appliances going out the door, both cars sold, (BH!), boxes reaching an alarming height in the garage. But, it's SIX to the lift and less than two weeks until we are on the plane, IY"H!! I think it made it all worth it when J, my 10 year old daughter said to me today, "Imma, that's it! I've finally realized that I am SO  HAPPY to be going to E"Y!!" 

Me too, J, me too!! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

So Throw Away Your Tape Gun...

Today it's all about food.

Last night, my oldest, 11 yr. old A, came to talk to me. Now, those of you who have 11 year old boys know that this in and of itself is something to stop and take note of. He looked resigned. You could tell he had decided not to yell or scream or even kvetch. This was a boy on a mission. He looked me right in the eye, and calmly, quietly said, "Imma, there is just no food in this house."

Something about the way he said it (the absolute resolve to rectify the situation?) has been on my conscience all day. So, after school this am, I ran to Weggie's to stock up. You can imagine that with almost a week to the lift, there really is no food. Unless of course, you can come up with something FAB from craisins, italian dressing and lots of mustard. Think Erev Pesach, but there is no matzah, no big sueda on the way :(

So, off I went for my "last" (yes, another one of those) big shopping before we leave. No, it was not emotional, just a bunch of people pushing and shoving each other at East Ave. during lunch break. While I was there, TPH texted me, "I am so hungry, my hands are shaking."

It's a little bit of a wake up call. I think it's a friendly reminder that we are moving, yes, but it cannot become who we are. It cannot consume us from morning until night. There still have to be meals on the table, there still has to be HW done, and lunches made. I've been getting lost amongst the madness. This epiphany could not come at a more perfect time: Erev Shabbos. The truth is that the Shabbosos since we've been mostly packed have been the best day of the week! We have time to sit and play games, tell stories, be parents.

So, as we head into our 3rd to last shabbos in the USA and only our 2nd to last in R, I plan to make it count. Not by heading out to shul or shiurim that I could really use at this point, but by being home, and being present. Putting some cut up fruit on the table, actually making a shabbos party.

It's time to say Good Shabbos...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

11 days to lift (off), 17 days to lift off...

Not really much to write about today, how much exciting news can there actually be less than 2 weeks to lift off? 

Went to a beautiful wedding last night in Monsey, drove in and out on the same day, and got back at 5:30am. Besides the speeding ticket :/, it was an awesome trip. TPH stayed home with kids, and if that weren't enough, he subbed for me yesterday and today. Took a long nap today and then did some more packing, which seems like it may just never end. My biggest concern now is how to actually get the stuff into our new apartment. I tried to really minimize our things, but I don't know...

Also, there is no storage space in this apartment at all. I keep posting on the online forum for RBS looking for an extra "machsan" to rent, but they must be in high demand. Eh, what's the big deal? So the pesach boxes will be in the kids' rooms, next to the garden hoe and the bikes and helmets. 

Today made a lot of phone calls about terminating: cell phones, home phone, internet, etc. And I have come to the realization that no matter what, the companies are ripping you off, MAJORLY. I have been with Frontier for phone and internet for FIVE years, and they are still threatening to charge me $200 termination fee. And our good friends at Verizon are saying there will be a $310 charge to terminate our phones, even though we have fulfilled our 2 year plans (TWICE)! Gotta love the good ole US of A.

Not much to report on Little Red, I think I've figured out that after a year and a half of babysitting, love and nurturing at Tanta R, he is bored, bored, bored being home. Today and yesterday he was back there, and is much calmer once he gets home. Thank G-d. Maybe she'll keep him until July 4th. Maybe he can just move in for a few more days. I'll pick him up before we take off, I promise. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Day in the Life

I have kids. I have a lot of kids. I am a teacher. I am the oldest of ten. I was the counselor, head counselor, all around kid person. It has not prepared me for life with N at 15 months old. Until recently he'd been by the saintly babysitter/second mother of his, but now he's home and havoc 'awreaking...

Here is a list of a typical day in the life of N:

Dumps ajax into toilet. Sloshes around ajax with toilet brush regardless of what "else" might be in toilet. Dumps bleach encrusted toilet brush on floor with LOTS of water and "else". Slips on wet floor and bumps head. Cries Loudly.

Finds ridiculously dangerous stick. Makes light saber noises and wields. Pokes self in eye. Cries Loudly. Gets put in high chair so parental units can have a break. Throws all food on floor, yells, screams, cries loudly, "OUT!".

Gets put in bed for another atempt at a nap. Bangs around, kisses each bar on crib. Yells, eventually Cries Loudly. Suckers Parents take out of crib.

Bottle of milk for exactly 3 minutes of respite for parents. Sits on couch with guilty mother and makes animal noises from book. Gets mad, hits mother, cries loudly. Mother cries quietly.

While mother is crying, goes into laundry room and dumps all of dog food into dog water bowl. Eats undetermined amount of this mixture. Slips and falls on wet floor. Cries Loudly.

While mother is cleaning up dog food mess, goes into pantry and dumps out 3 lb box of elbow noodles. There are a lot of elbows in 3 lbs.

Gets thrown in car by father to get out of house for shopping trip to WalMart. Yells most of the time for things he cannot have. At checkout pushes buttons on Credit Card swiper and father pushes him out of arms reach. Gets mad, no, furious, hits scared cashier.

At home exhausted parents unload car. Once inside, he is no where to be found. Eventually there are noises heard coming from basement. Gleeful and excited for the first time all day, at having done something "fun". When parents again not looking, climbs upstairs. Is found several minutes later in TOP bunk. Yelling happily.

Just another typical day in the life...and y'all wonder why we do bedtime at 6pm??

Monday, June 14, 2010

21, or is it?


We are exactly three weeks away from our lift date and the pressure is on. We spent the better part of yesterday sorting through an obscene amount of playmobil, legos, blocks, k'nex, and bakugan. It was a day of "

The above is the draft of a post I started yesterday, and for some reason I can't possibly imagine, had to abandon it before it had even really begun... :0

When I came back to finish it today, something odd about this hit me, and I couldn't figure out what it was. Until, it REALLY hit me. I've been counting wrong! Chalk it up to packing/moving brain or whatever, but I've been thinking I have three weeks until the lift!

Actually we are LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY!! How this happened, I have no idea. But it happened, and it continues to happen, and fast.

What's started to hit us now are the "lasts". Sunday was our last family birthday party with Bubby & Zaidy and Great Gma & Gpa. I was so physically spent from hours of packing that I couldn't even enjoy it.

Today was our last well check at the family doctor. I almost cried when I thanked the doctor for taking care of the kids for the past five years, and for changing some of my older kids' lives by prescribing medications I never would've gone for without his gentle nudging.

We are also on the last week of school, and I have no idea how I am still working and keeping it all together. Well, maybe not exactly "keeping it together", because several teachers approached me about how certain kids of mine have become uncooperative, not finishing work, acting out, etc. I guess it's to be expected with what's going on at home, but that realization doesn't make it any easier.

But, enough complaining, because there really is no TIME for complaining.

After all, it's 13.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wii Have a Problem

As the toys are disappearing, the books are hard to come by, and most outdoor toys have been sold or packed up, there isn't much to do around here for 6 lively kids. Our Wii is still connected, and probably will be one of the last things to be packed because G-d forbid, we wouldn't want to be without it any more time than we actually have to.

Now believe me, as a teacher I see first hand how detrimental video games can be to kids. I pride myself on our "No Screens on Weekdays" rule, but I have recently become lax with this, as the homework is dwindling, the days are longer, and the kids are generally bored with no parents on scene, just two maniacal packers who live with them and occasionally throw them some food.

It was only over shabbos that I noticed that we have a real problem. One very proud little boy came over to show me something he had built from these new kind of
Trio Blocks. It was a little wizard very obviously riding on a well designed dragon, something he had spent a good amount of time on. But there was a big block carefully, deliberately attached, obstructing the wizard's view.

Me: "Wow! Very cool! But what's this big block doing here? How can he see where he's going?"

Him: "It's his Wii, so he can play while he's riding."

Um, yeah. We are a little obsessed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On TPH's "Why We Go"

So, there you have it.

I could not have said it better myself. His words are beautiful, and the only thing better is the sentiment that every word is true to the core. Now you know why through all my kvetching I still forge ahead. Now you know why I am willing to uproot our kids, leave my family and start all over AGAIN. Now you know why I have followed him through move after move. Packing, unpacking, packing, unpacking. You can't argue with words and sentiments like that.

It's simply, Why We Go.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why We Go

Guest Post by: "Big Abba W" or "The Perfect Husband"

Ever since we started telling people of our plans to move back to EY, I invariably am met with one of 3 types of replies.

The first is a happy wistfulness "Wow, that's so great!", "Good for you, I wish I was going too." "Amazing, I would totally make aliyah if it were not for X" (let X =spouse/job/chinuch/family/security etc.)

The second type of reply is a sort of polite acknowledgment combined with genuine puzzlement: "Moving to Israel? Um, that's good", "Oh really? Why?"

The third type, (which thankfully was limited to only a few people) is negative bordering on downright confrontational: "Why would you want to move there?" "Do you want your kids to get screwed up?", "Don't you know that the government hates frum Jews?" and (horror of horrors) "Do you want your children to grow up to be Israelis?"

Most of the time when confronted with the latter two types of responses, I just shrug it off and change the topic. The person either does not understand, or has their mind made up, so nothing I say will really make any difference. This post though, is my way of exploring exactly why we are going.

Why are we willing to uproot ourselves from a warm loving (if somewhat dysfunctional) community? Why am I going to subject my children to the trauma and culture shock of moving to a different country? Why are we willing to subject ourselves to the huge financial emotional, and psychological burden of packing up and moving 8 people overseas?

This post is not about arguing emuna, religion or theology. There are many great sfarim on the topic, and I'm sure there are hundreds of shiurim as well, but that's not what I want to discuss.

For me, it goes much deeper.

EY is the only place where you can truly feel that you are part of a greater whole- Am Yisrael. A place where, regardless of religious affiliation, cashiers, clerks, and bus drivers will wish you "Shana Tova" before Rosh Hashana and "Shabat Shalom" on Friday. A place where Chanukah and Purim are celebrated on a national scale by chilonim in the Shenkin and by Chasidim in Meah Shearim. Going to the Kotel for mass Birkat Cohanim on Pesach and Sukkot, or walking with the crowds to the Kotel before dawn on Shavuot night. You cant help it, anywhere you go, (for better or worse) you are reminded that you are part of something, something much bigger than sum of its parts.

EY is a place where every inch is steeped in history, our history. It gives you a sense of context, an understanding of where we came from, and where we are going. Just in the 5 mile radius of our new home we have the valley of Eilah, where David slew Goliath. The Caves of Luzit and Beit Guvrin- where Jewish rebels and zealots hid and waged guerrilla war against their Roman oppressors. Netiv Halamed Heh, the rocky mountain trail where 35 young men, soldiers in the fledgling IDF, were killed because they showed kindness to an old Arab shepard. Each place has a story,a depth that is revealed, not by studying a textbook, but by walking the land, feeling the rocks and earth, living the history.To explore these places with my children, to tell them the stories, to give them a sense of perspective, is priceless.

The unique combination of the spiritual and material, the land and the people, the memories and the future, they all combine to something that is truly great, a massive endeavor, and we can take an active role in it.

This is what I want for my family, no more, no less.

True, these are lofty sentiments, and I probably wont experience or think about them daily, on my way to the makolet, on the bus riding to work, or waiting on line at the Bituach Leumi, but they are there nonetheless.

At every major decision in life, we are always plagued by a little voice in the back of our heads, "is this truly the right choice?", but here, I do not doubt, I know that this is going to be a good thing for me and my family. True, my kids will probably grow up eating Bamba and drinking Petel, perhaps they will loose their English, they will have to make hard religious/cultural choices in life, they will have to sacrifice the best years of their lives for their country, they will be Israelis!

They will be Bnei Eretz Yisrael, and that's all I can ask for.

Let the Countdown Begin!

I am kind of wondering what my real personality is. It's been forgotten or perhaps chucked into the "give away" bag. I don't remember who I am, or what I am supposed to be doing unless it is related to a move. Just sayin'...

SO....lots of people have been asking me when our flight is. For some reason I have been sketchy about the date, purposely leaving out details. "Soon!", or "It feels like we'll never be done in time!" or "Right around the corner!" are always my cheery, yet decidedly vague answers. I'm not sure why, but I have a hard time saying it out loud.

So, I figured to put it out here in the blogosphere and then that will be it...there is no turning back.

25 days

It's crazy, really. 3 weeks. We are flying out on July 4th. Way to declare our independence from the good 'ole US of A, right?

The packing is coming along. The schools have sent us official acceptance letters. The apartment has been anxiously awaiting us since June 1. The tickets have been paid for. The lift is in the works.

I remember this stage from the last time we did this. Around now is when we start to come out of our stupor and realize that the lift/flight is not the END, but rather a beginning. I'm sure the psyche does it this way, because this realization any earlier in the game would've sent me muttering incoherently into the nearest psych ward.

Thoughts now start to turn to:

"Well, nice that we are getting there at 7am, but how are we getting 9 (exhausted) people and 16 pieces of luggage to RBS?"

"Wait, we have no fridge/stove/beds once we get there...?"

"We could really crash by my in-laws, but who would do that to anyone when there will be 9 people bouncing off the walls at 3am?"

"Better bring Immodium for the first bout of "shilshul" from the initial reaction to the water."

But these thoughts I like. These thoughts have behind them the panoramic view from my new apartment of Harei Yehuda. These thoughts are bright and sunny with clear blue skies.

These thoughts mean I am already home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Goodbye Jimmy-Green

Our first big sell came through today. Not our house, sorry :(

BAW, AKA: The Perfect Husband, has sold his car! It was a nice little 10 month stint with it, and B"H someone approached US and offered to buy it. Hashem could not have made this one any easier! "Jimmy-Green" is going to good hands.

I guess this marks the beginning of the "Getting Rid of Things We Really Still Kind of Need" stage. It's a little emotional, but not as bad as I'd thought. At least it's not one of the pets. That is a totally different story that we are procrastinating on terribly. I keep thinking that someone will suddenly pop up and say, "Hey! We'll take your dog! Dogs! Ferret! Guinea pig! Last Remaining Hermit Crab!" But, alas, I am not holding my breath.

TPH is wandering around with a goofy smile plastered on his face. For someone who just lost their own wheels, this is odd. So I ask gently, "Are you ok? Are you upset?" And TPH replies,
"It's just another step closer."

Amen to that.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Less really IS More

I am an expert on packing.

Those of you who know me have heard this before. We'll be married 12 years this month and I am at it again. Deep into my second month of packing hard for a family of 8.

This will be our ... hmmm, let's count.

1. moved to Israel after we got married
2. moved within Israel
2. moved back to R
3. moved to Passiac
4. moved within Passaic
5. made Aliyah
6. moved within Israel
7. made Yeridah
8. Chazara

ok, officially our EIGHTH move in 12 years. Yes, I am an expert, but it is not something I am proud of. I blame all of this on Big Abba W, who has gypsy blood thicker than molasses. He gets restless, and the move is on...

I can't blame this one on him though. Or the last one, actually. We both really, really wanted to move back to R, but even then, said it was just a temporary move to get us back to E"Y. Of all the qualities I love in BAW, I think that his "leebee ba'mizrach" is one that I love and respect most of all.

So, here we are on #8, knowing it won't be our last, as we are moving into a rental...

There is the throw away pile, the give away pile, the lift pile, and the luggage pile. Maybe "pile" doesn't give you a good visual. Mound? Mass? Mountain? You get the picture...

The only wisdom I have gained from this is experience is as follows: LESS IS MORE.

Bottom line. NO questions asked.

I remember moving into this house (coming from a small Israeli apartment) thinking that this is the biggest, best house in the world, and BOY could we fill this bad boy up with LOTS more kids! My opinion has never changed...I LOVE THIS HOUSE, and I will miss it terribly. We will take with us beautiful memories of our times here in our R home.

In my big beautiful best house ever, we have managed to appropriate an obscene amount of stuff. Garage sales are my weakness, and our house abounds (abounded) with toys and games and books galore. Once again, we are downsizing significantly in order to fit ourselves and our stuff into our new place in RBS. I go through closets and I give away/throw away like there is no tomorrow, and yet, it seems as if I have made no dent! I pack ginormous "give away" garbage bags with reckless abandon. And still, the stuff looms. We've packed 68 boxes to date, and guess what? We are still living JUST fine! The kids have actually been playing better with less toys! Don't ask me, it makes no sense.

I don't even KNOW/CARE what's in those boxes anymore, and if most of them weren't full of sefarim, I would seriously consider putting them by the curb. What nice garbage that would make. Piles of packed boxes.

So, while I ramble, there really is no point to this post. I guess Hashem really wants me to see that we are all still "wandering Jews", although some of us maybe more than others :) and that all of these things are really just...things. Nice to have, but really don't make anyone happier or more fulfilled.

The more I get rid of, the less I have to worry about, and the more I can count on things that REALLY matter. And that's really what it's all about, isn't it?

Saturday, June 5, 2010


We have tickets!!!! (BARUCH HASHEM!!!)

Lots to be exact....we take up Row 29: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. And I have given you fair warning, NOT to take our flight if you plan on traveling to the Holy Land, any time soon.

Now, just a few more small things on the "To Do" list...

1. sell house
2. pack
3. load and send lift
4. get down to airport (6 hours away)

Easy, I honestly don't see what the big deal is...

More good news! My little(est) brother is going to join us for 3 weeks this summer, and he'll be flying there with us. Have to admit that BAW and I are very much excited for another pair of (almost) adult hands. There is about a 3 month range that toddlers fall into that is absolutely, the WORST time ever to fly with them. Little Red falls right into that age range...coupled with that and his already red temperament, this could be dangerous. Terrorists? Ha! Our flight will be the safest one ever; anyone seeing us board this flight will RUN the other way.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Washington Post article worth sharing

I've promised myself not to let this blog take a political turn; I'll leave the politics to the experts like Jameel and stick with the fluffy stuff. But in light of the flotilla scandal, I would be remiss if I did not post some of my favorite pieces that have surfaced.

This, for one, is an EXCELLENT article from the Washington Post by Charles Krauthammer. (Thanks to EEC)

We'll let that one sit with you for a bit, while I finish getting ready for shabbos. Awesome, no?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shir La'ma'alot - Yosef Karduner (Tehilim 121)

This is what it's all about. Whenever I hear this, I am totally ready. My bags are packed, and I am already home......

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Uh Oh, Here it Comes...

Recently, a very unwelcome stranger has been rearing his ugly and uninvited head, and his name is Insomnia.

As a child, I never wanted to go to sleep for fear I'd miss something exciting or fun. I was convinced that as soon as it was "lights out" my parents (and consequent younger brothers and sisters) would close my bedroom door, lower the disco ball and "get the party started!!!" I have yet to receive verification, but I am still pretty sure this happened every night once I was far, far away in la-la land.

As a teenager, I didn't get much sleep, and was usually up until after 2pm; living it up in my boarding house, playing out the nocturnal party life I had imagined I had missed as a kid. My boarding sister(s) were always willing to provide some of the best late night entertainment EVER, and I still smile when I think of some of the stupidest, funniest things we did in the wee hours in that basement sorority house. But when my head hit that pillow there was nada until the mad dash for the bus in the morning.

Early adulthood meant finding the love of my life who was an early to bed, late to rise kind of guy, and between the two of us, our parents worried sending us off to Israel to start our wedded bliss, as they were unsure that either of us would be wakened by missiles or the like. Soon after, kids followed, and if you've got 'em, I don't have to tell you that Insomnia is NOT something you suffer from. The daily grind, plus nighttime feedings, coupled with sick babies, nightmares, accidents, you name it: you don't sleep much, but again, when you sleep, YOU SLEEP.

Enter my 30s. Take a night like tonight: In bed by 11pm, asleep shortly afterward. By 2:30am I start awake, sweaty and anxious. Well, let's take the "sweaty" part out of this drama. This is not because I am so anxious that I am sweaty. Let's be fair. I wake up sweaty because Big Abba W thinks that by lowering (raising? I never understood this part) the A/C to 72 degrees at night, and saving roughly $3.17 a month on our electricity bill, all will be right and good in the world. So, around 9pm each night, the dance begins. He breezes by the thermostat and raises it to 72. I wander by and "happen to notice" it's been put up and lower it to 68. He waits until I go out and it goes back up to 72. You get the point, and I digress...

So, I start awake with nagging, random thoughts. Some ridiculous: Why didn't I just make lunches tonight? Yes, "flotilla" does sound like a floating tortilla dish. Why does my 10 year old daughter like to wear mis-matched knee socks? How come the soccer ball I just bought at Target is deflated after only 2 days? Why do the Israeli washing machines need to heat the water before they wash the clothes? These bed sheets are MUCH less comfortable than the 300 count ones I used to have...

Then, the thoughts take a more serious turn: Who will I give all of my animals to when we leave? Will it traumatize the kids? How am I going to sell this house? Will it traumatize the kids? Where am I going to get all the extra $$ I need to start over in a new, much more expensive country? Will it traumatize the kids? Is this flotilla event leading us down the road to a War? Will it traumatize the kids?

And then, the real panic and paranoia sets in: Why didn't I call my mother today? I am leaving her! We'll never be ready in time when that lift shows up! How am I going to fly overseas with SIX kids on a TEN hour flight? What will we do there without a car?? How will I live so far away from my family!?!? How will I send FIVE sons into the army?

At this point, so close to the edge, there are two things that help me. No, not a glass of warm milk like your grandmother used to suggest. HELLO??? Grandma?? Warm milk is just about as disgusting as warm tuna fish. Or warm ice cream. Thanks, though.

Thing #1 surprisingly for me has always been putting it down in words. I have 15 journals that I kept as a kid, writing in them almost daily through some very tough times. It kept me grounded and focused. Granted, they have since been ransacked and read cover to cover through by SIX very obnoxious brothers (go ahead, ask them-they'll GLADLY tell you about every aspect of my life up until age 16), but at the time writing helped me tremendously. I guess that's why I opened my laptop tonight and wrote this post.

Thing #2 really is the kicker and goes back to my previous post "A W life lesson learned". It's all "b'yedai Shamayim", in G-d's hands. I am choosing the path and hoping/praying that it's the right one. More than that, I remind myself that everything comes from Him and that it's good.

It's all good.

And just like that, it's like I've taken the world's strongest sleeping pill. Yes, the worries are still there, but they are dulled, and lulling me back to that place in La-la land that's waiting for me.

Let's just hope the kids aren't waiting to put the disco ball back on downstairs.


OK!! Wait a minute!!

Can everything just please slow down for one second???


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A W life lesson learned

Dear Ak, Ay, Bz, Ys, Rn, and Nm,

What most people don't know is how "by the seat of your pants" we Ws really are. As a pre-W I was a note taker, a list writer. I was calculated, organized, and it was simply divine. Enter Big Abba W, and my life changed drastically. Suddenly everything was "WHOOO HOOOO!!!" Life was one big wild RED blur. We went to Israel with 2 days notice. Planned our wedding the week before. Had two kids within the first two years. Bought our first mini-van sight unseen. Nothing was planned! Organized! What type if life was this???? I wondered. Nothing made sense! Where were my lists? My careful calculations were henceforth chucked out the window before even being calculated!

Now I roll with the punches with the best of them. I don't always wash the dishes in the kitchen sink before I go to bed, I often leave the house without making the beds! But hey, this is life in the fast lane, right? But in all seriousness, I learned one very important life lesson from this W lifestyle. And that is: Ein Od Milvado. There is no one but HIM. He runs the world. Not me, not Big Abba W. All the lists, notes and careful planning do not put us in charge.

Kids, nisim happen every single day. We just have to 1) look for them 2) find them. Nope, these are not the same. Here's what I mean: To look for them means to be actively searching. Most people skip this step, but it's crucial. To find them, means to recognize those things that may seem like everyday occurances or happenstance as Yad Hashem. He's out there, and He wants to help us. We just have to let Him in :)