Air Tripping with the Trips

In a few short weeks are going to Israel for the first time as a family. We have a number of simchas to attend and it will be the first time that we will see UM &AM's house since they made Aliyah. We are all very excited, probably with the exception of Trouble, who has noticed the suitcases and realizes she's not coming.

The idea of an 11 hour flight with 4 year old Trips is daunting. I am trying to plan various ways to entertain and amuse them so they don't make the entire airplane crazy. (Although knowing my kids, they will likely be amusing and entertaining the entire plane!)

So here is what I have gathered in my amusement efforts:

1. Music: SanDisk Sansa Shaker for each of them filled with all their favorites like Uncle Moishe, Sandra Boyton, YBC, Sesame Street, Laurie Berkner, Ralph's World (like B could live without The Mighty Worm), and Yisroel "Wiggiler."

2. Toys: I went to a local closeout store and got a Matchbox Car Wash Playset for C, and little Barbie Elephant Playset for the girls. I am happy to report that I paid
waaay less than Amazon's prices for either of those.

3. Games: I could give my kids each a deck of cards (no need to be a complete deck or even match!) and they could play "Coconut" for hours. Don't ask what it is, or how to play, it is one of those games only the Trips get. The idea of picking up a million cards from the floor of the plane, or worse, trying to get the kids to do it, is terrifying. So I ordered a Melissa & Doug Travel Memory Game and Magnetic Travel Tangoes.

4. Crafts: For the Trips last birthday, someone gave them these really cool 8 In 1 Crayon that seem perfect for a plane ride as crawling after rolling crayons is a worse prospect than cards! Luckily, I had some sort of prophetic moment and put them away, and now they are available and intact for us to take on the plane. I bought cheap coloring books and small sketch pads for each of them.

In case they tire of that stuff, I also have Crayola Color Wonder Glitter Coloring Kits and Magnetic Sketch Board for each of them.

5. "Friends" - A will likely bring her Abby Cadabby, B her Wormy, C his Bear.

So that should keep them entertained for about an hour. With the in-flight movies, maybe we are up to three.


Rain, Rain (Don't) Go Away

I was on the phone with UM this morning. (Funny how we speak more when Savta and Saba are by him then when they are home.) He was observing on G-d's greatness; I believe his exact words were: Ain Od Milvado. He was specifically referring to the amount of rain Eretz Yisrael has received within days of Tefilat Geshem. Apparently, the Kinneret, which was at severe levels, is replenishing pretty quickly.

Of course, UM being UM, he saw a direct correlation between this and the fact that Obama is going to lose the election. The typical UM logic goes like this: G-d loves us and is giving us rain, so therefore there is no way he going to put us in the danger we would be in if there is a President Obama.

On this side of the world it is also raining.
All this rain on the week of Parshat Noach.

Hmm...I wonder.


B tripped up the stairs this morning.

It was hard not to laugh.

I need a wife!

One of the biggest areas of tension between me and H is the management and pay of our domestic help.

We do agree that we need help, certainly to watch the kids from the time they get home until one of us gets home and to clean the bathrooms (which neither of us will do).

I need a (part-time) wife, domestic manager, homemaker, whatever you want to call her. I need someone who is going to help keep my house clean, do my laundry, keep a current shopping list (I will shop), load/run/empty my dishwashers, keep the scary things from growing in my fridge (I will cook.)

This seems reasonable to me. I work 32 hours out of the home (not including my commute!) and I am "on call" constantly. My blackberry is next to me all day Friday and Sunday (when I am not on site) and trust me, no one hesitates to call me with the most mundane, ridiculous of requests. When I get home, I want to have quality time with my kids and go to sleep. Honestly, there is not much time for much else.

Most important is that whomever we hire be exceptional with the Trips. Listen, I know how hard it is to deal with them. When people ask me "How do you do it?" I answer "I go to work." From the first time I gave three baths in a row, I knew that in order to be the best mother I could be, I was not going to be able to stay home with them full-time. Not to mention the fact that we could never afford that.

So right now we have exceptional childcare. AND she is a great cleaner as well. I think we could have a treasure on our hands. I know she needs more hours to be my "domestic assistant" and keep the house, laundry, and kids in check. She knows she needs more hours. Even H knows she needs more hours. The problem? We don't have the money to pay her for those extra hours! So H and I fight about it. I think we have to stretch to get those extra hours in so we don't live in a pigsty, or (as my girls say "Chas Ve'Shalom!") lose her. H says..."we don't have it."

I know he's right. The three yeshiva tuitions are wiping us out.

But must we be doomed to live in squalor?


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