A Gut Moed! Remembering Our Year

KIMG1113I hope that everyone has had wonderful Yomim Tovim so far. We are getting near the end and I don’t want to think about that for I will miss all the ruchnius feelings. I hope to gather as much as I can to tie me over until the spring, which this year, is including a leap year so that means an extra month’s wait until the next Yom Tov. We do have a few little peaks in the dark with Chanukah and Purim, which is a good thing for it would be hard otherwise.

It has been a long time since I have written up something. I thought about it before Rosh Hashanah, before Yom Kippur, and yes, before Sukkos, but, alas, it never happened. But now I have a bit of a reprieve and I can sit down while the boys are busy and not getting into too much trouble. 😉 Over the weeks I have had many things that I could write down, if I had the time, but alas, they were not meant to be written down for I can’t remember most of them.

The one thing that I do remember thinking about is our last Shabbos we spent beforeIMG_20141006_083458 starting on our journey to the new chapter of our lives. It was a bitter sweet Shabbos Yom Kippur. Motzei Yom Kippur was the Hebrew birthday of Beautiful Boy #3 and after loading our Beverly Hillbillies van all the way to the hilt (minus the rocking chair – that got thrown out in the trash – and Granny – no chair so we couldn’t take her 😉  ), we had a wonderful Good Bye lunch at the delicious Sabra’s Grill with our wonderful friends and then off we went down the road. Down, down, down south. Across the country we went, seeing the sights as we passed, watching the scenery slowly change, seeing new vegetation and observing various cultures. Three wonderful days later, I will still remember that Hashem blessed us and we got within 500 feet of our hotel before running out of gas. It was Erev Sukkos, and the English birthday of our Beautiful Boy #3.

Last year we did not have a sukkah. Last Sukkos we were in a temporary home (a hotel) – just like a sukkah. It was a very strange feeling. My Sukkos had so much more meaning to me. It has been quite a year with several temporary homes and lots of other changes, but Baruch Hashem, we finally found our home and this year we have a wonderful Sukkah. We were treated to a nice surprise when several Boy Scouts from our Troop came on Erev Yom Kippur and even though it was hot and the day before a fast, they put up our new sukkah. (Having both the Scout Master and the SPL live here helps!) So this year, we have a wonderful home with a wonderful large sukkah and as I type, we are hosting the Troop at our home and in our sukkah until tomorrow morning. This means I don’t have to make meals for 24 hours (2 breakfasts, a lunch and a supper, along with a party) and I was just handed a bowl of macaroni and cheese with a glass of cream soda.

It has been a trying year for us, but I think it was good. I am hoping for a more productive learning year for us. School schedules need to be adjusted, as they always do once I complete a week or so of learning at the beginning of the school year. In the meantime, I am trying to soak up as much as I can from this time of the year before all the Yomim Tovim are behind us and we will start up again then.

We did have a wonderful chemistry experiment that we managed to do last night. We experimented with how various ingredients work (and tasted) in chocolate chip cookies!KIMG1105 White flour vs whole wheat, butter vs oil, white sugar vs brown sugar, baking soda vs no baking soda, and even caramelized vs non (cookies were baked over 356 degrees F). Eating cookies in the sukkah and Skyping with Saba while he was at his sukkah party made for a nice evening.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Moed and hope you can soak up all the wonderful energy from the remaining days!

<3

Good Morning, Gut Moed

IMG_20141006_083458Well, it’s the last day of Sukkos, and it sure has been quite an adventure the last couple of weeks (well, the last several weeks really,) for we have moved. Not just any move, but all the way to sunny Dallas, TX. And we didn’t just move here, we DROVE here, across the continent, all the way from just a few miles south of the Canadian border, down, down, down, southwards, just about reaching the Gulf Coast. What an adventure, what a drive! A cross country drive with the boys was something we have wanted to do for a long time, and in case I did not feel it before, I sure felt like a homeschool family on the trip. 😀 Needless to say, most boys have not done official school work in several weeks – of of the many bonuses of homeschooling. Mr. Big Boy #1 has been working on his college classes – they keep going no matter what else is going on in your life.

On Rosh Hashanah, things were feeling pretty normal except for the fact that the 20141001_200938house was upside down as we were getting ready to move (I had been trying to thin things down in the house, rooms were moved around to paint, etc. so no, it was not “normal” but as long as I was out of the house I felt things were still pretty normal. The kiddush that Shabbos was sponsored by some most wonderful friends in our honor – all whom we are missing. Then, as everyone was preparing themselves during the Aseres Yemai Teshuva (the 10 days of Repentence – the days in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), I felt like I was Pesach cleaning  (oops, sorry for mentioning *the* word now,) both physically and spiritually. The movers came, packed, and then loaded (almost) all our precious (and not so precious) belongings onto a truck and drove off. They were a crew! At least they did not pack a pail of dirty diapers like the previous movers did (after I told them not to!) but they almost took our bikes that were chained up way 20141006_150809in the backyard that were chained up to make sure they did not take them. By Yom Kippur, our house went from being turned upside down, to a House of Maze, to just plain empty. It is amazing how quickly other people can pack your things for they are not emotionally attached to them in any way.

Motzei Yom Kippur the boys were helping us out until 1 am or later (oops, did not realize what time it was and we really did need all their help,) and the Mom and Dad finally went to bed at 5:30 in the morning. The alarm was set for 7:30 am. Funny enough, we woke up before the alarm. Between packing what we needed for the next several months (or at least the minimal amount of things needed,) and finishing getting the house ready for us to 20141006_153549leave, and all boys going to shul, we finally made it out at about 5:30 pm. Happy Birthday 11th YY! Baruch Hashem for a place to eat out, bought lunch and supper and a little dessert for the birthday boy and we were off! Van packed to the hilt, 4 bikes on the back of the van, one INSIDE (1 had to be taken by the movers for there was just no room,) car top carrier filled, and so were laps, and we were off! We were missing one thing – our rocking chair on top with Granny. 😉

We left 5 hours later than we hoped to have left, but it was doable since we were driving. It was a long day. We finally made it to our destination in Columbus Ohio at about 1 am. We all crawled into bed. 6 am came too fast. Monday was our long day. Google maps said it was supposed to take 10 hours. It took 14 – and we only had one 20141006_152629big stop (1.5 hours worth)! We have spent our days looking out the windows, coloring, reading, listening to Lipa (and others) and of course listening to shiurim. Technology can be really amazing. Just 10 years ago, DH complained that he could not listen to shiurim in the car for the quality was just not good. Now, we can listen to recordings from the 1970’s for the technology has come a very long way.

Tuesday was the day we were excited about. We surprised the boys by making our Monday stop in Branson, MO. Branson has been a big tourist attraction spot for many, many years. Grandpa takes one boy each year there to have fun. When they 20141007_103503realized that is where we were going to stay, they just couldn’t stay in their seats as they pointed out the hotels they had stayed in and the other attractions they had been to. (One boy even recognized the driver of the Duck , an amphibious vehicle, as we passed by it – as well as making all the duck noises.) We decided to go see one attraction and we settled upon the Titanic. Afterall, we ARE a homeschooling family and we should make everything educational. 😉 The tickets were extremely reasonable in price and the museum was amazing! They had a lot of artifacts out for show, even some things for hands on experience (a glacier simulation, ship “deck” pieces at various angles to walk up to see what it was like as the ship was sinking, etc.) Each guest was handed a ticket with a name of a passenger and you could look at the list at the end of the museum to 20141007_175638see if you survived… or not… And yes, I was conscious when I walked into the money trap and purchased the photo of our family that was taken, as well as when I purchased other souvenirs . I figured I could spend a little bit of money – afterall, this was an amazing journey and we were all having fun! I did purchase a wonderful book of facts recommended by a worker. Apparently all new employees are given that book to learn the initial facts.

Tuesday night we arrived at our new home – the Homewood Suites Hotel. For the first 5 days the 6 of us spent the time in a 1 bedroom suite before moving in the luxurious 2 bedroom suite with 2 ensuites (yeah!) Sukkos started Wednesday night. We have made this our home and even have our little “bookshelf” all set up! (Yes, a homeschool family!) 20141013_140929Wednesday was spent trying to find our way around town and getting Texas inspection for the car, tags and the toll tag, and a PO Box,  as well as going to the store to get a ready made meal for the one meal we had to make for ourselves over Yom Tov. Baruch Hashem, the community is very nice and by the time we arrived in town, we had 5 meals set up for the Yom Tov/Shabbos! The past few days have been busy as well, though we were able to get out and take a nice walk/hike at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve. The weather is wonderful. It was a bit warm the first days with 95+ degree weather and we made the downpour on Friday night, but it is supposed to be about 80 through Shabbos.

20141014_133730 (1)This Sukkos does feel a bit strange for we do not have our own Sukkah, and being in a hotel, we usually opt to make food that does not need to be eaten in the Sukkah.  What is special about a sukkah? It is considered an “easy” mitzvah to do for it is a “living” mitzvah – if you want to eat, eat in the sukkah, if you want to make a phone call, make it in the sukkah, etc, easy! We make the sukkah our home. Something we need anyways, just for 7 days a year we make our home in the sukkah. But what is it about the home? The home is the security of man. Even when we are out of the house, working, travelling, etc. when we have a home, we are secure. This really hit home this year and I can really relate. God willing, next year we will be in our own home and once again will have a Sukkah.

We are meeting a lot of new people, and visiting various shuls. And, I would say, the most important thing is that we met several other religious homeschooling families! My two oldest boys are the oldest, and we are the veteran homeschoolers, but it is so nice to have a nice group to20141014_115629 (1) do things with. Now, it’s erev Yom Tov again, and this time, we are making most of our own meals (with a stove top but without an oven!) and we are going for a walk before having to make one washing load and trying to figure out what we are going to eat for the next few days.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Yom Tov!