Step By Step We Will Get There

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Our new couch

Shavua Tov! It’s Sunday morning. I have 5 at shul for davening and learning and one little one still in bed sleeping. I wonder how long he will be able to sleep.¬†7 weeks ago today we started on our journey. Wow, it is still hard to believe it’s been that long already. We are still not quite on a real schedule. I did not plan on it taking this long to get back into things.

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His box bed.

Spending 4 weeks in a hotel did not help too much. I am so grateful for being able to be there, don’t get me wrong, but it was not the most conducive place to teach 4 boys. We did have a basketball court outside, and an outside pool that they did utilize many days, but the big issue was that there was a TV in each room, a TV in the living room, and if I tried sending them out to stretch their legs, often times they would get magnetically pulled into the hotel lobby…where there was a nice huge flat screen TV that was always on, even in the middle of the night. We could not really have a nice Shabbos meal in the hotel room for the table only had 2 chairs, so we usually ended up in the lobby’s breakfast area with the tables, with half of us facing the TV and the other half with their backs turned to watch. It sucked all of us in. The first Shabbos we were in the apartment, I went around the table and asked everyone what they were thankful for. The surprise answer I got was from the boy who was the worst at being glued to the TV answered, “I’m thankful that there is no TV.”

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Making the new bed

All of us are finally on a bed. For the first week one boy had an air mattress while the little one insisted he wanted the boxes that held the covers to our incoming Lovesac sactionals (think of Lego couches – you have two pieces – sides and bases – and you clip them together any way you want to make a couch, loveseat, chair, bed, use a single base as ottoman, etc. and you can change the layout any time you want.) The nice thing is that you order whatever coverings you want. We got the coverings delivered about a week before the actual pieces came, leaving a 5 year old with a “bed.” Not sure how he was able to sleep on it for that long, I did suggest him sleep with a brother in the mean time, but he refused and insisted! He moved all the boxes himself and made his own bed all by himself.

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New bed

This move has definitely been the hardest move our family has made. You would think that since we had movers come and pack the entire house and load and move it all, our stress would be limited! However, I think the reason it is the hardest move yet is because we are left with an unknown. We are not able to access any of the stuff that was on the moving truck for it is in storage in Alabama. We are in Texas. And, we are not able to have it delivered unless we want all of it delivered, and it won’t all fit in the apartment. So, we were stuck with taking what would fit in our van (including all of us!) and the few boxes that we shipped to the hotel. For a few weeks, or even a month, that would not be too bad, however, we are unsure how long it will be before we find a house. a month from now, 2, 5, a year? People offered to lend us items but I do not want to borrow for an indefinite length of time. S0, we find ourselves buying things that we need, even though we already own the items (folding chairs, tables, dishes, cups, some clothing, beds, blankets, havdallah candle, sefarim, etc.)

However, I think we are about there. I have tried to have some learning for the boys over the last 5 weeks, and the last two weeks have come close to what we need to be doing. It just takes time, and that is something that I cannot rush and for the first time in 2 months our home smelled like Shabbos. ūüôā

Tea Time!
Tea Time!

I have not created a schedule yet, I have just mentally tallied what items needed to get done each day and tried to fit them in the best way I could. For the most part we got things done. ¬†We are all still trying to adjust. One boy is having problems sleeping and one day he refused to get up. Instead of getting mad and threatening to put ice on his back (which I have threatened to do, but not actually done,) I let him sleep. It definitely was not worth the hardship of having him up and acting up because he was exhausted. 1:30 he finally woke up – but his attitude was very acceptable. The little one has not gotten enough sleep as well. He has a hard time going to bed when his brothers are up. I don’t blame him – I wouldn’t want to miss anything either! I laid down with him on Shabbos so he would have a nap. 3 hours later he woke up. He was up for 1.5 hours and then very surprisingly went to sleep again. It’s after 9am and he is still sleeping. I think he was tired. I am hoping that this will help his behaviour as well now. I think he is also a little bored for all he can find to do is play with Legos and make paper airplanes. (My other suggestions are not liked very much….)

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Airplanes – big and small

My conclusion: Moving is hard! Even when things are done for you, the bottom line is that it is still hard and no one can tell you otherwise. The good news is that like everything else, there is something you can rely upon to keep you going. Time. Time helps everything. 7 weeks later and I think we are almost there (until we find a house of our own! But I do not think things are going to take this long to settle down afterwards.) G-d willing, I will be able to make a schedule to try out this week. I have one more thing to add to it than what we have been doing. I had a pretty “lazy” week this past week and now I am ready to get rolling into something better, however, being it is Thanksgiving this week, I am not sure how much of a schedule we will be able to do ūüėČ But that too is part of the schedule, we go visit family each Thanksgiving, so this is a good thing.

I see movement from under the blanket so it is now time to get going and hug up a cuddly boy. Wishing everyone a wonderful week and for those who celebrate, a good Thanksgiving!

Every Picture Tells a Story – Book Review!

20141119_083508We reviewed¬†the book, “Every Picture Tells a Story,” Volume 1, Bereishis, by Chaim Natan Firszt, along with the corresponding coloring book. Here is my review.

The book is an illustrated, hard cover book on the weekly parsha with Torah verses and commentaries geared for every age. There are beautiful, hand drawn, full colored pictures on the left side of the page while the right side has a20141119_083527 verse/verses from the Torah as well as a short commentary below it, both in Hebrew and then in English.  The pictures and texts go in order of the weekly parshiyos and include the source of the verses. Above the picture is the name of the parsha as well as a short phrase describing the picture, again both in Hebrew and English. The corresponding coloring book is the outline of the pictures found in the main book.

When I opened it up, I found it to be a very simple and clean layout. It is a very nice book to look at (and I would like to say that the text had almost a majestic feel,) and was very easy to read. The author took a few select main points from each parsha to highlight. I liked the fact that there was one idea per page with the selected verse(s) containing one thought, a commentary underneath to go with it and a nice color picture for 20141119_083546 (1)reinforcement. The only thing that I found a little annoying, was the fact that the Hebrew verses had nekudos (vowels,) but the commentary underneath did not. The English translation was very nice. One nice thing about it is that for words that are commonly used by their Hebrew name in English (i.e. the names of people), the first occurrence of the word includes the English word in brackets. For the rest of the of the time, just the Hebrew is used. However, all Hebrew words are found in the glossary at the back of the book.

The book can be enjoyed by everyone (I enjoyed reading it,) for the language was not watered down and the text is short enough to keep the attention of the younger children. I have been reading it to my 5 year old son, going over the weekly parsha several times a week, and he enjoys looking at the pictures, even after I read the selected pages for the parsha. My 11 and 12 year old also looked at it and20141119_083538 enjoyed it but found it was good as a once or twice reading book only. What I really enjoyed, and it will be something that we all will be using often, are the pages at the end of the book. There are various wonderful family trees with the Hebrew dates, as well as a beautiful chart about the Shevatim (the 12 tribes) and their zodiac places.

20141119_083615I think that younger children will benefit the most from the book for it takes just a few¬†main ideas from¬†the parsha using short passages and commentaries, however the charts at the back are wonderful and extremely useful for all of us. When I am¬†learning parsha with my 5 year old son, I do¬†not use this as his only source of learning because it it limiting as a summary of the 20141119_083711parsha but we read from “Every Picture Tells a Story” afterwards because¬†it focuses on a few main points and then goes into some detail and explanations so he learns a little bit more but is not overwhelmed. All in all, I really like the book and do recommend it.