Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Busy Times

Someone asked me the other day if I still blog on IsraeliMom about the politics of the Middle East. Ha! Like I even have the time to watch the news (or read them online even). My contact with that aspect of life is limited to the occasional news bulletin on the radio when I'm in the car. I think there's a general strike going on today? lol, ok, I don't pay too much attention to the news ;)

I started working out properly again this week, after a six weeks long relapse due to a muscle injury. I'll try and blog about this in my weight loss blog which has been neglected as well, due to the same reason. Now, back to 2 hours a day, four times a week of working out, along with trying to spend time with the kids, and actually trying to work too, my days just seem to fly by.

We've been really busy lately with trying to find the right kindergarten arrangement for next year for the two munchkins here. We've checked every school and pre-school in the area, and registered at 4-5 of them so far. It's fairly complicated, really. Lots of options, very different from one another, and we can't be sure of being accepted anywhere at this stage, so we just keep trying for them all. Right now, the kids go to a Waldorf/Steiner kind of kindergarten. The staff is absolutely wonderful and overall it's a nice and peaceful place, perfect for small children. The problem is, that as the kids grow, we feel that the Waldorf approach does not allow them the kind of intellectual stimuli which they want and we feel they deserve. According to the Waldorf Guru, someone called Rudolph Steiner, kids shouldn't begin their intellectual development before the age of seven. I am probably oversimplifying what he said, but the bottom line is that when a kid asks science related questions, he doesn't get any answers and is redirected elsewhere. We feel this is no longer right for our eldest son, so we're looking for another system for now.

Actually, the leading candidate at this point is the Arab-Jewish school with their nice kindergarten. It's located in an Arab village, about 15 minutes away from here (driving). It has a good kindergarten, with a good ratio of staff to kids. Half of the staff (and half of the kids) are Arabs, and half are Jewish. Actually, the political setting makes little difference to us, we just liked the place, and it comes at a good price too. We feel it's as good as any private kindergarten we can find here, and it only costs around $100 a month per kid (as opposed to $400-$500 for a private kindergarten). The only snag is that they may not be able to take in both kids, and we are a bit reluctant about separating them at this point. We're waiting for their reply now, which should be in within the coming few weeks.

Then, there's work. Just lots and lots of work with new projects always zooming around in my head. My flagship site, is growing and requires regular maintenance. I am grateful for having such a wonderful and experienced team there that practically runs the place, but even so, it requires a lot of TLC and behind the scenes work, to keep everything running. I also have a slew of smaller sites, which I struggle to keep going, in terms of constant development and promotion. I tried something new today, actually, building a page in around one of my sites. We'll see how it goes. You can see it here: My Squidoo Blackberry Reviews Page and if you have a Squidoo account, please do give me some nice ratings ;)

That's it for today. Will try and check in back soon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Belated Purim Update

I can't even blame it on the time it takes to develop the Purim pictures... It's all digital these days, so we had them right away. Still, it's almost two weeks later, and here I am blogging about our Purim experiences. I did make a mid-year resolution to try and update this blog more often. We feel it's good for us to put a little record of our daily lives in writing. Sharing it is an added bonus, since it's nice to get those comments and responses from people all over the world. So, there, I intend on going for at least weekly posts from now on. Who knows, might get more often than that too ;)

This one is just a recap of Purim, really. We had two super-heros here at home, Mr Incredible (Dan) and Spiderman, no less. Our kids visit a Waldorf kindergarten (a-la Steiner), and we were asked to avoid "scary" costumes. They asked for flowers, fairies, animals and such, but this being Purim, they ended up having two spidermans, a cowboy and almost a Mr Incredible too. The almost Mr Incredible was our Dan, who was down with a fever just in time for Purim. He even got to the point of wearing his costume in the morning, we thought we'd take him to see the other kids in costumes then back home, but he felt so lousy, he actually asked to get out of the costume and stay at home... So, here are one Mr Increidble, just before he went back to bed, and a couple of Spidermen, the taller one is Ron -

That was on Friday. Sunday, Dan was feeling only a little bit better (he's perfectly ok now, btw, it was just one of those bugs, just a fever, essentially for 4-5 days, then some coughing and a runny nose), so we decided to join my mom and take a walk in Netanya. They have a nice shopping street there, with no cars and they were having a carnival of sorts held. Now, Netanya is famous for many things in Israel, among them as being a favorite destination for suicide bombers. Going there for a heavily crowded event is always a bit scary... but you go anyway, so we went anyway :p

They actually closed the area and had fairly tight security arrangements, allowing people in only through checkpoints. Here's the one we got in through -

It's not easy checking a huge crowd where all kids and quite a few adults come in dressed up. The place itself had lots of cops, paramedics and even people who were marked as "Security Observers", most likely volunteers, they looked about hi-school age, just standing there and keeping watch for anything or anyone suspicious. We sat down for some ice cream and I just had to take a picture of the nice gathering in front of us -

I have to say, I don't actually think there's anything uniquely Israeli about that. I am sure any European city with a similar gathering would have security forces all over the place. It was just something I noted as being different from when I was a kid. Back then security wasn't as tight, but then again, terrorists didn't use to blow themselves up in the middle of busy crowds back then.

Anyway, the whole thing was really nice. Lots and lots of kids in costumes, my own kids included, with everyone going ooooo and aaaaaah over other people's costumes lol. Here's a nice family we met on the way, where the adults and all of the kids all dressed up -

I'll finish with those. I'll probably post again rather sooner than later, with some fun pics from our recent amusement park adventure!