13 life lessons my kids taught me in 2013

Though I’m not really one for the Gregorian calendar’s drunken marking of a new set of 365 days, I am one for lists.

(They are a relatively inexpensive way to help keep me sane.)

As far as this list goes: Whether they mean to or not, my kids have plenty of life lessons to offer me. If you’re out there listening, children, know that either of you can easily fall back on ‘teacher’ if the astronaut/fireman/princess/brown soldier thing doesn’t work out.

13 life lessons my kids taught me in 2013

  1. I may not actually finish this list. And it’ll be ok if I don’t.
  2. You can’t possibly tell someone too often that you love them.
  3. Ask more questions. Keep on asking questions. Relentlessly. (Why?)
  4. Sometimes a fake laugh is worth it… sometimes it leads to real laughter.
  5. Give more compliments.
  6. The right kind of soft touch at the right moment can change everything.
  7. Cuddle in the morning. Make it the first thing you do.
  8. Eye contact is important (or, in other words, put the phone down).
  9. Trust your gut to know when it’s truly ok to say no.
  10. It really is sometimes all about having a good cry.
  11. I wield some pretty heavy power. Must use it responsibly.
  12. Just do it – just chase your creativity. Stop overthinking.
  13. Every breath is a gift, even while I’m staring at you creepily while you sleep.

As always, I’m looking forward to every single day to come. Especially the ones when I can ‘why?’ right back atchya.

Comic relief.

This guy.Close to losing my freakin’ mind yesterday, holding on tight in order not to lose my shit, keeping my voice level, trying to make up for a whole day of work after having a sick Bebe at home. The full-time primary caretaker and full-time worker double gig takes its toll some days. Things have been especially busy lately between doctors appointments, overflowing workload, visiting family.

We’re sitting in the messy kitchen – the kids and I. They are surrounding me, Bebe hanging on to my left, Koala perched on the table to my right, while I type furiously on the laptop. Koala is shooting questions at me which I’m answering on autopilot.

Standard fare, like “Why do rockets have fire?” “Why do you need to work?” “Why do we need tables?”

Then I get this:

“Why we don’t eat snakes?”
“Some people do.”
“Why don’t *we*?”
“Because we don’t eat things that crawl.”
“Like babies?”

I turn to face him, throw my head back, and laugh and laugh and laugh. Until the tears of frustration convert themselves, fill up in my eyes. My children are staring.

Sometimes a kid just knows what to say.

Fifty-Two Frames: Themeless (and anonymous)

Another year, another 52 frames captured on a themed basis week to week!

I closed the year with a deeper thought. I love this quote; for over a decade I, too, mistakenly attributed it to Nelson Mandela; turns out he was quoting it from an author in one of his speeches.

Here’s to another 52 weeks of viewing the world through 52 different lenses.

Week 52: Themeless (and anonymous)

“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

Small town feeding a small army, or: calling all Israeli mothers of Tzur Hadassah

Welcome to some good ole fashion small town love.

Tzur Hadassah’s natural surroundings are a bit of a training ground for Tzahal ground troops. Every so often we’ll spot them midnight marching down our dead end street through the nature preserve, on their way to spend the night doing – whatever it is; the end of my block is as far as I see.

After this past weekend, we residents got a cry for help in the form of ‘Jewish mothers, our beit ha’am is housing 80+ hungry and tired soldiers from the Rimon Givati brigade for two nights, please do your thing!’

And so far it seems we have.

Yesterday, the kids drew pics after gan, and I made a pasta with homemade sauce.

After 9pm, when they started rolling in, I brought it over. I knocked on the door, behind which a group of exhausted 18-20 year olds were looking up at me. I saw the word ‘food’ (…or ‘confort’ …or ‘townie’) register on their faces.

“Thank you! Wow! Thank you so much!” They were so happy… I remembered hearing from my brother how little things like homemade food or someone sharing something with you can just make your whole army day.

It can also make a small town feel really good. This was a win/win.

A few things amazed me:

  1. How young they are.
  2. How old I am.
  3. How grateful they were!
  4. OMG am I like a ma’am now?!
  5. How much of a freakin country hick I am.

Since it all went down really late, I brought the kids over today, day 2, to see some evidence. Unfortunately, and expectedly, no soldiers were around. 

It’s wonderful to make a difference in someone’s daily life once in a while. It’s even lovelier to do it on a whole town-level.

On a random day.

During peacetime.

10 Ways Living in Israel is Not What You Think: vote for my Expats Awards entry!

blog-award-2013-entry-150There are a million ways living in Israel is just not what you may have thought… I chose 10 of those and made them my entry for the Expat Blog Awards!

10 Ways Living in Israel is Not What You Think

I’m the only entry from Israel, so LET’S GET LOUD!

Like? Vote! Leave a comment at the bottom of the entry. Comments must be authentic, which means 10+ words. Also, use the share buttons above the comment section to spread the word – those also count. We’ve got till Friday, Dec 20.

And if you have even more ways, feel free to leave those here or there!

P.S. Here are some photo hints as to what my top 10 are…


Ready? Get over there and comment! 

Snow in Tzur Hadassah: Who said this isn’t Switzerland? [PHOTOS]

There’s this inside joke here… sometime a couple years ago they started hanging hopeful signs around garbage points in Tzur Hadassah: If no one made it dirty, this could be like Switzerland. 

After four days of heavy snow, warm clothes, sledding, and beautiful views… Well, I’d have to say we came pretty freakin close for the Middle East.

[More photos from day 1-3 here]

The view from my ‘front yard’ – only last week it was cleared of the forest to make way for new construction (sigh). So it allowed a whole new snow-filled view:

Soon I found the Yetti…

A long long time ago… in another life… I got a free giant boogie board at a tech conference (?!). Never touched it… until now.

The whole view… The hills are Gush Etzion, facing Neve Daniel area. The buildings are Beitar Illit. The snow is ours. (Click to enlarge)

The supermarket was rightfully bare this morning. And then the Tnuva truck pulled up. Never was so excited to see a Tnuva truck…

Later we went out and surveyed some local damage – seems every other tree took a toll. Our garbage collection area collapsed. And… so did our building, actually.

Another new view… sun setting and moon rising over the outlook towards Beitar Illit. (Click to enlarge)

Climbed up the nature walk to check out, in Koala’s words, the ‘sun rainbow.’

 Hang in there, Tzur Hadassah, European snow resort town. (Click to enlarge)


Day 5, morning: Nope, it’s not all a dream.


Wishing the snowman farewell…

More photos!