Monday, July 29, 2013

More sleeping pictures

Why I took this picture of Sroch: Note she had a 'sleepover' of her friends' American Girl dolls. (The tiny one in there is the only one we own.) Sroch knows she has a doll of her own waiting for her as soon as she learns to read well enough to read the books.

I am astonished at the amount of doll-play that she and her friends (7, 8, 9 year olds, even 10 year olds) still participate in. The dolls are not overpoweringly real like they are to very young children, but the overruling cry of "it's so cute!" (or it's so chamudi!) has a great deal of power, and in this instance, they all got covered lovingly and kissed goodnight.

I don't love the amount of brand attention the AG dolls are getting here... but 
a) so, SO harmless compared to Disney Princesses or Barbie, to say nothing of the newer uchhy stuff I've never heard of but is probably like "First Grader Zombies!" or something.
b) children need be 'into' something. Into dolls? Fine with me kid. Fine with me. 
c) Sroch and her friends are so utterly generous about sharing the dolls that I am charmed into complete permissiveness. And that's why I will let Sroch have my old Kirstin doll in a year or so, and why Llama will undoubtedly get her own in the fullness of time.

Ahem. Grandmothers.

Speaking of Llama!

Why I took this picture of Llama: Do you see how my children insist on wearing their fleecy pajamas and sleeping with winter blankets here, in the desert summer?!

But I took this picture because... Llama's big. Real big. Besides the fact that she and her sister share clothes and shoes (!), we're close enough to her birthday that we're already saying "you're almost five, you're big enough to do XYZ..." And she is. 

So I took a picture of her sleeping (after adjusting her nightgown a little) because... at some point... I will have to stop taking pictures of them sleeping*. And that squeezes my heart.

*For example, breaking into their house and trying not to wake up their husbands to take the pictures could be hard on my arthritis. 

Llama the Mommy, with baby Srochel

Mommy Day at camp!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Holy kinderlach

Yoav took the girls with him on erev Tisha B'av to Kever Rochel and Maaras Hamachpela.
(Thanks to the camp FB page for some of the pictures. An awesome camera makes for awesome shots!! One day...)

I love this picture because it makes my children look like they are the background characters in a photograph illustrating a news article about Jews living in Israel. And yes, yes they are. Love that.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The fainting water torture of exile

Tisha b'Av... again. I'm 35 years old. That's a lot of days of mourning, and it's a drop in the bucket compared to Jewish history.

Drops... I've been thinking about water.

We know there is nothing new under the sun, that Hashem created everything and man 'invents' nothing at all. Water torture (also called waterboarding) involves the torturers causing the subject to feel such a mimic of drowning that they feel tremendous distress and possibly even die. And yet - they were not drowning, usually, and a breath stood between that dying feeling and life.

(And yes, Jews were subjected to this historically, by the Inquisition amongst others.)

Did you ever faint? I did, most notably when I was pregnant with Sroch but a few other times as well. In the faint itself there is an incredible rushing feeling like you are falling into your own mind. The idea of seeing your life flash before your eyes comes from this, I think, since you see a thousand images whoosh through your vision as your brain kinda says - nope, sorry, I don't have enough air, gotta go - and you 'drown' in yourself, and faint.

I imagine that the actual exile of the Jews from Israel during the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash had something of that otherworldliness of fainting, that incredible rushing and inevitability and something of the panic of drowning and not being able to hold on.

I imagine that the tests every Jew faces when they are forced to choose between serving God and the alternative are like a spiritual torture, a fainting of our souls. And when they don't have enough air, don't have enough spiritual fodder - our souls faint away, and we are able to sin, CV"S.

The state of the Jewish people now is a physical malady. Our souls are all being tortured by a lack of air, and we're drowning, we're drowning. We may be drowning in bacon and shrimp, or we may be drowning in misguided attempts to 'fix' what is wrong with other Jews... but we're drowning. And yet... the air is just a breath away.

That's what I'm mourning now. Jews, by nature, want to make the world better. We want to love, not to hate - it's who we are programmed to be. And we have the manual! We KNOW the right way to do it. But we try to find other ways, or we let the water cover our faces and we forget what our natures told us.

But the air is so close.

Hashem, please remove the veil and send oxygen to your drowning people. And please protect my children.

(Previous years' posts: 2006: here, 2009: here, 2010: here, 2011: here and 2012: here)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Why do we care?

Based on Rav Aryeh Nevin's message about Tisha B'av (emphasises and several words are my changes).

Anytime you touch an element of perfection, a deep, spiritual miracle, such as childbirth, or the perfect sunset, you are actually touching a branch of G-d. 

A spiritual experience actually removes you from a lower-dimension reality and brings you up into a higher-dimension reality. 

If you ask someone to identify what they touch during those moments, they will say things like: beauty, perfection, harmony, unity, purity, innocence, sweetness, timelessness. These are all higher-dimensional words—out of this world words. This is because at the moment we experience these types of situations, we are touching an element of G-d, actually connecting to the Shechinah; you are touching the profoundness of G-d Himself. This is the pleasure of spirituality.

These moments of near-perfection are the closest we get in the world now to what life was like with the Beis Hamikdash.

When the Beis Hamikdash existed, these feelings and experiences were common, because they were all available through that place, that connection to G-d.

The answer, then, to “Who cares? What does an ancient building have to do with me and my life?” is simple. Connecting to the Shechinah and having G-d’s presence amongst us is one of the most profound, meaningful, wonderful things that a human being can ever experience. And that is why we want the Beis Hamikdash amongst us, so that we can connect to the single most meaningful pleasure ever to be found.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

School supplies

We spent about 350 NIS today buying Sroch her stuff for second grade.

(aside: when did THAT happen!?)

Her first chumash. :)
4 math workbooks (they'll be learning division shortly - didn't I not do that till like 4th grade?)
Geometry book and contruction sets
Reading and spelling and vocabulary
Some sort of 'about my home' Israel book which seems to combine geography and a tiny bit of history and social sciences
Various Hello Kitty and Hi Beary notebook covers and stickers and such - all essential, of course
Many book covering supplies

And then because Llama was SUCH a star in the store (which was pretty insane - a big sale ends tomorrow), we got her a new wheely (!) little girl bag, even though her Land's End backpack was still in perfectly good shape... but sometimes you have to splurge. Also, it's hard to be Llama - she gets used LOTS of things (clothes, school bags, etc) and it's nice for her to get something new. Also, it was only 49 NIS, which after Sroch's tab was no big whoop. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

There's no magic.

I'm in the middle of a dream about an ice cream store heist and counterfeit ten shekel pieces when I am shaken awake by my eldest daughter:

"Mommy, can I cut my pillow?"

"Huh????" was my erudite reply.

"Can I cut my pillow?"

"With scissors?! No you cannot cut your pillow!"

"But MOMMY, a feather came out of it! And the feather is so soft and perfect!"

"Srochel, the pillow is a feather pillow. That's the way it's made. It's full of feathers."

"Oh," she says, in a very disappointed way.

She leaves my room and I hear her return to her sleepover guest and tell her:

 "There's no magic. My mother says it's just the way it's made."

And some part of me now wishes I had let her cut it open, and never told her some pillows are 'just made' out of feathers.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

curse of the creative mind

You know when it's 1:30 AM and you're about to crawl into bed, but you get this brilliant idea for a book / song / site / article / essay / fashion design / greeting card and you just open the lid of your computer for FIVE MINUTES to make sure you get it down and don't lose a thing, and then maybe you browse for more ideas about tweeking or marketing or harmonizing your idea....???

And then it's 3:22 AM.

Aw... booger.