9. After dragging Shulamis to way too many grocery stores (Sarah Rochel got to go to a few fewer, especially after one trip to Target where my mother used The Voice. SURELY you all had a parent with The Voice, the one you KNOW not to go anywhere near, the one that means you Do, and you Do It Now, because otherwise lightning will strike you down, even in the aisles of Target. Well, now Sarah Rochel knows The Voice of Bubbie. When she hears my Voice she laughs. This is a work in progress, but I digress...), it was time for my mother and I to start cooking (not too much, B"H, because my mother had made so much in advance, many blessings on her head) and time for the guys to do, da da da, bedikas chametz!
10. That was a really long sentence.
11. Oh, right, bedikas chametz. As you all saw on the slideshow (cause like duh, you peeked!), the three men donned their various headlamp LED devices and went through the house. We stashed a bag of Cheerios for Srochel to 'find', which she did, and all was completed in due time.
And I just modified that Wiki article on bedikas chametz. How cool is THAT? I should really upload the picture of the guys too.
12. The next day was Birkas Hachama! Way cool! I do wish we had been in Israel, though, to have made the blessing with throngs upon throngs of other Jews. But instead, Yoav (who made the bracha at shul) took me out to my parents' front yard and said amen to my bracha. And we got pictures, as you all know.
13. PESACH! The first seder was a wild crazy fun time with blue shower curtains and plastic fish draped (so we could walk through the Yam Suf), palm trees on the walls (the desert), flying ping-pong balls (the plague of hail), toy frogs and bugs and wild animals being tossed about (more plagues), mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice... oh, wait, sorry. But it WAS a total party. My only regret is that I didn't pelt my brother harder when I threw the hail from the balcony (no, in some ways you never do grow up) and that I didn't use strawberry jello to do something with the blood plague. Hmm, maybe next year.
Sarah Rochel was way too wired to say her Mah Nishtana nicely, but she did know it and she mumbled it sufficiently to get candy. That was actually the theme of our seder: candy. Candy and bugs. Candy and bugs and frogs and a fanatical devotion to Hashem. I come in again.
(Sorry, the blogger will try to compose herself.)
Anyway, candy. ESPECIALLY whenever any child asked "why you do that?", BOOM, instant candy! Because as we all know, the whole point of the entire Pesach seder is so the children will ask. Even if what they're asking is, "when do we eat?"
Sarah Rochel made it through the whole thing beautifully, and didn't even have a breakdown at the end, yay!
And Shulamis was at about 10 minutes of the seder, yet made me miss a lot more of it. Hmmm... She was good, just hungry. :)
14. The rest of the yuntiv / shabbos days of Pesach kinda all blend together, filled with lots of food and play dates and kugel and naps and more naps and not enough naps and so on. It was all really, really nice.
15. Chol hamoed trips: Yoav and my dad went flying, and the rest of us went to a small private airport to watch them land and have a picnic featuring, you guessed it, matza! It was a lot of fun, and we all got to see the tin can, I mean, airplane my dad borrows to go flying in. Retro interior notwithstanding, it was really cool. I also never woulda believed that thing could fly if I didn't see it myself!
Saba and Savta had pictures made with the girls, and we also got more of the two of them alone done too - those are the ones I posted before. That was Easter Sunday, where not much is open besides Wal-Mart, where we did them. Wal-Mart is a fascinating place to people-watch, by the way, especially when you live in a very different culture, especially when it comes to child discipline. Very, very interesting stuff.
We went to Washington-on-the-Brazos one day, which was really gorgeous especially as it was still bluebonnet season. I totally adore bluebonnets, and the fact that Sarah Rochel's eyes are the exact color of them... well, it's special to me, you know? (And yes, Llama's eyes are blue too, not the same as Sroch's - but then, there are many colors of blue in bluebonnets too). I also was addicted to the book "The Legend of the Bluebonnet" as a child, so is it any wonder?
(aside - I am now traumatized that my entire life I was wrong, and it's not actually illegal to pick bluebonnets after all. I may have to fly back right now and get an armful, except they're out of season now.)
Enough about weeds. Moving on.
Oh, we also hit a big old outlet mall that day. We actually flew to America to help the economy there. The government shoulda sponsored our tickets, darn it.
Gosh, what else did we do? Wal-Mart, Target, Dress Barn (aside: 'Dress Barn' always makes me think women who shop there feel like cows. Moo, right?), Marshall's.. and inevitably, I just wanted to buy stuff for my kids. I didn't buy a single book for myself in America - crazy, right? I did of course read the free copy I got of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and it was most, most splendid. But this tendency to buy stuff for my kids and not me really took me aback, as it were. I'll be a real mommy any day now!
15. We got to hang out with my grandparents (the girls' greatgrands) both before and after Pesach, which was really nice. We saw their cute new little independent seniors development house thing, which makes me quite ready to be over 55, thank you.
16. The flights home.... oh, how I hesitate to mention them. I will be brief - here's the procedure:
a) load borrowed minivan with incredible amounts of luggage later than you wanted to leave
b) encounter traffic. Houston traffic. Bad.
c) commence partial panic-attack that you're going to miss your flight
d) listen to father calling associates trying to make alternate flight arrangements because it's a sure thing you're going to miss your flight
e) continue breathing and murmuring to self that God is taking care of you
f) arrive at airport, offload luggage and, fortunately, children, tip Magic Curbside Man who says you will make your flight (phew)
g) run to gate, despite spending 20 minutes going through security (we have to take Sarah Rochel's shoes off too! And disassemble the stroller and put it on the belt! Come ON!)
h) be the last to board the plane
i) argue (politely) with flight attendants that you KNOW they want to check all of our carry-on luggage, but we NEED it and it WILL fit, you'll see
j) flight attendants say give us the Pullman or get off the plane. Ouch. Yoav grabs his tfillin out, gives it to them.
k) take off, all squished in together, which was late due to weather in NY leading to us taxiing in Houston for an hour before takeoff. Feed Sarah Rochel junk food. Repeat.
l) Yoav keeps saying he's so sure they're going to lose the Pullman bag, which oh by the way has his computer, our Israeli passports, all our flight information, etc. Wife reassures, for sure not, who ever heard of a gate checked bag getting lost?
m) arrive NY LGA.
n) they lost the Pullman. Commence (internal) screaming.
o) Saba and Uncle Boaz greet us (thank you God for settling my inlaws in the greater NY area, amen). After much discussion with airline (who don't even see the bag in their computer), Yoav opts to wait for the next flight coming in from Houston hoping it will be there, while Saba drives me and the girls to Queens to buy lunch and then to JFK airport.
p) Blueberry cheese knish. Mmmmmm.
q) Shulamis has had QUITE enough of sitting in her car seat, thank you. Sigh.
r) (shoot, I'm going to run out of letters!) arrive NY JFK. Wait in car while Yoav waits for the next next next flight from Houston to come in, cause it hasn't shown up yet.
s) go into airport, ask El Al how much time we have for Yoav to get here, and can I start checking in without him? Not a lot of time, and nope. Sigh.
t) Savta shows up, takes Sarah Rochel for a walk. Llama is chilling. Mommy is not.
u) Yoav calls. The bag showed up. (So did a piece of regular luggage that also took that long, but it was the carry-on we were nuts about.)
v) Yoav and Uncle Boaz make mad dash to JFK.
w) listen to El Al agent who is neither American nor Israel tell me "I don't think you gonna make this flight!"
x) Yoav arrives, and El Al security allows us to check in, the last ones for the flight. Huff, huff, huff.
y) mad dash through security, takes 20 minutes here just like in Houston, except it's NY, so the germs from people's socks are meaner.
z) be the first to board the plane.
Gosh, I'm stressed out just WRITING all that. And I didn't even mention the flight itself, Sarah Rochel tossing in her sleep in her car seat that she was "not comfy!" and eventually sleeping for like an hour standing up with her head on Abba's seat. And so on. Don't get me started on mealtime neither.
And then there was jet lag. But THAT is for another post.