Had a nice end-of-Chanukah, with a trip to Jerusalem with Yochi, Hagai and margalit. We went to the Kotel with my niece, who is studying in Jerusalem for the year, and then had dinner with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew. Margalit was in heaven....a little 1-year-old to "babysit" for, all her own!
Friday morning we hit the mall, and Yochi bought a nice sweater with her Chanukah money, Hagai got a computer game (which we subsequently discovered that we couldn't use on our computer because we don't have a CD/DVD driver or some such device -- but he said that he can ask his friend to burn the game on a disc...whatever). Margalit got a little bit of a bunch of things. Letting margalit loose with a significant amount of money is a disaster-in-waiting. She has no sense of proportion, and just wants to buy the first thing that she sees, without knowing if it fits, is appropriate for her, etc. I always have to prepare myself in advance to simply follow her around the mall, let her do whatever she wants (if it's HER money, which it was) and keep the tension level to a minimum.
Afterwards, we went out to Bat Ayin, and had Shabbat with friends, the Kahans, who have kids the same ages and sexes as Yochi, Hagai and Margalit. (Avishai too, but Avishai and his friend Elisha are both in the army, and couldn't get out this week.)
Sunday, we headed into Jerusalem, and I managed to not get lost too many times. It always takes a trip to Jerusalem to reinforce my lack of sense-of-direction -- I have NO sense of where I am, or how to get from one side of the city to the other, and no matter how many times I'm in the same area, I never remember. So I just drive into the city and rely on the signs and the patience of cab drivers who always roll down their windows at red lights and keep me going in the right direction. Somehow, I always get to where I need to go, so I guess, whatever works, works.
We went to the Science Museum, which was probably a waste of 110 shekels, but again, it was Chanukah gelt, so who cares, right? Hagai has a head for sciences, and would have probably gotten a lot out of the visit, except that he was walking around the museum with Yochi, who was in an "I'm a teenager, this is boring" mode, so it cut down on Hagai's experience. And Margalit, true to form, was just rushing here and there, trying out everything without trying to figure out what she was seeing or what the experience was there to teach her, and I, again, could only follow after her, trying to keep her from getting lost. Oh well, live and learn.
All in all, a LOT of work -- if it were up to me, a perfect vacation would have been to stay home with a good book. But in the same way as I remember my travels in my youth, I feel obligated to make sure that the kids have some kind of vacations and travel experiences. Avishai and Ariella didn't have much, but I'll do what I can for the younger kids.
The trip cost me 600 shekels (not including the kids' spending money, which was sent to them by grandparents/aunts/uncles), which is exactly what I earned by renting out our rental room for 2 nights last night. A blessing, because I had planned this trip several weeks ago without knowing how I was going to pay for it. Coincidence?