A River Runs Through It...

What a weekend! We're back from the wilderness and we all survived... though just barely for some of us. We're a little sleep deprived, a lot dirty, very smelly, and full of harrowing stories of adventure. It was fun... LONG.... but fun.

We spent the weekend at the Alexander Valley Campgrounds in Healdsburg, California, about an hour north of San Francisco. Twenty-six family members gathered for this used-to-be-annual canoe trip down the Russian River; though it was the first time for most in this group. My dad, (aka The Admiral), had been coordinating the trip for the past 4 months; making reservations, scouting camp sites, sending e-mails. Finally, the big weekend was upon us.

We all arrived in the late afternoon on Friday, and after setting up camp, we cooked dinner, made s'mores and sat around the camp fire until midnight. Unfortunately the camp site was mere meters away from a fairly busy highway, and when we went to bed the sounds of passing vehicles was almost deafening, and continued throughout the night. So much for communing with nature!

The next morning we ate breakfast, got organized, packed ourselves up, and marched down to the river around 11 am (slightly later than we had anticipated). After our 1-minute orientation and lesson, we strapped on our life vests, loaded up our 9 canoes, and pushed off on our 10 mile journey down the river. We all started out strong, laughing and giggling, and drinking a brewski or two... until ten-minutes into our trip when our first canoe tipped over. Whoosh... down go the oars, the shoes, the cooler, the camera, and the kids.

Now slightly delayed, we began paddling harder and faster so that we could make up for lost time. We were told there were markers at the 1/3 and the 2/3 points. It took so long to get to these course markers, we were sure they kept moving them. Oftentimes, it felt like we were rowing backwards... One mile of rowing seemed equivalent to 5 miles of walking ... and hot darn were we tired! The hours of monotony were broken up by minutes of excitement as we hit some fast moving water, which caused havoc upon the rowing novices as they capsized. Seven hours later, we arrived at the end of our journey, sunburned, wet, exhausted, yet satisfied of a job well done. All of us could have used a hot shower, and a good night sleep... neither of which we were going to get.

We returned to the campsite around 7 pm, got changed, and started dinner. It was another late night of eating, drinking, and smoking cigars, before putting our overly tired bodies to sleep. Strangely enough, the traffic noise didn't seem to bother anyone as much that night.

Sunday morning we sat around and had a leisurely breakfast before we broke down camp. We took tons of photos, cleaned up our areas, and said our good-byes before hitting the road. A straw poll was taken among the little ones on whether they would be up for another canoe trip... the answer was a unanimous, "NO". I think most of the parents agree. This certainly won't be an annual canoe trip. While we all had a fun time getting together and camping, 10 miles canoeing was a tad much.

Despite all the beefing, moaning, and complaining about the physical rigors of the trip, no doubt, a year from now, once the soreness has dissolved, and the sunburns heal, this will become a wonderful memory.

However, I still need another 11 months...

Make sure you turn up your speakers...

Many thanks to Uncle Scott for helping me with this slide show.

I couldn't have put it together with out him!


Gone Fishin'

Well ... camping actually. We're heading off to the Russian River in about 10 minutes to go on our used-to-be annual canoe trip... (the last time we went was in 1997).

Wish us luck... with 25 family members sequestered in the woods without electricity, cell phone coverage, and internet access for 3 days, there's bound to be some drama. I'll be sure to tell y'all about it next week.

Have a great weekend!


Let's All Go To The Fair!

We took the girls to the Alameda County Fair today. The last time we went with my parents was three years ago, right before we left for Israel. A very dear friend of mine, who I haven't seen since we backpacked through Israel together in 1991, brought her 3 children, and met up with us for the afternoon. It has been difficult to get together with anyone since we arrived due to our crazy shopping and doctor schedule, so it was nice that she schlepped down to see us!

We walked around the fair and checked out all the baby animals; including a baby calf and newborn piglets born today. We even watched the first horse race of the season (well actually it was a mule race, but shhhhhh, don't tell the girls... they couldn't tell the difference). And the girls played... oh boy did they play!

It took Riley about 15 minutes to warm up to her new friends, but once she did they were good to go. We spent almost $60 on tickets for the rides, and we let the girls decide what they wanted to do. They rode the ponies, the carousel, the big slide, and ran around through the mini obstacle course. We even watched a thirty minute show. The sweetest part of the whole afternoon was watching these little girls bond ... and hold hands everywhere they walked. I followed them around trying to snap a photo of their adorableness, and capture the innocence of the 5 year old mind.

I don't need to go back to this fair for another three years. I had more than enough of the smells, the filth, and crowds. Oh wait, this will be my daily life in India for the next three years... Sigh.

Sheridan, Katie, Riley, and Eily

Sheridan standing next to the lambs - Riley on the horse - Sheridan crashing out before lunch

Photo taken at the end of the day when Julie and I were hot, sweaty,
and in the pre-melt down stage... and so were the kids!


Miss June 2008

My mom and I took the girls to the $1 store after lunch today to look for some cheap play jewelry. We walked around the small store and came across and end display with all sorts of necklaces, earrings, hair bands, and the like, to which they were told they could each pick out one item. They ooohed and ahhhed over all the "pretty" things, and after a minute or two each picked out a necklace that they brought to the counter for my mom to purchase.

We didn't pay attention to what either girl had picked out until we got into the car and they both put on their necklaces. Sheridan picked out a frilly purple Dora necklace, while Riley picked out a shiny silver bunny on a thick silver chain.

It wasn't just any bunny mind you... it was a very distinctive bunny profile... wearing a bow tie. You know the one I'm talking about. Everybody does. But not Riley. She just saw a shiny toggle chain that looks like mommy's. And a bunny. What child doesn't like bunnies?

Matt didn't find it that amusing when he saw the necklace (that she refused to take off). This prompted him to explain to her what the symbol of the bunny actually meant. He matter of factly told her that the bunny was a symbol for a magazine called Playboy, that has pictures of naked ladies... all with bare tushies and boobies. She furrowed her brow and looked very taken aback. All she could muster was one word, "really?" She then asked him if the bunny was male or female. After giving her some lame answer about the bunny being androgynous, she shrugged her shoulders and told him that she didn't care... she still liked it.

Hopefully we won't be seeing this bunny again in another 13 years...


The Girls Go Rock Climbing...

Yesterday we took the girls to City Beach, a Rock Climbing Club near my parent's house. As they are usually such monkeys on the playground, we thought they may do the same on the climbing wall.

When Riley walked in and saw the wall, her eyes lit up. She couldn't wait to put on the harness and get climbing. My brother Randy showed her what to do, and with the help of Matt and my dad, immediately got her on her way. For the next hour and a half she put her heart and soul into climbing that wall. She tried and tried (and tried some more) to make it to the top to ring the bell, but she couldn't get past a certain point. I think she just got tired.

We promised her that we'd come back again this week... she had THAT much fun.

Her little sister... well... she didn't quite like the place. Sheridan loved the padded floor and the ability to run and jump around in this empty room. But she wanted NOTHING to do with putting on the harness, and even less with climbing the wall. She enjoyed watching her sister, and everyone else on the wall, but she did NOT want to climb it.

Being the pushy mom that I am, I strongly encouraged her (aka bribed her with every possible thing I could think of) to put on the harness and give climbing a try. Twenty minutes and a piece of mommy's minty gum later, we got it on her and quickly got her connected to the wall (I didn't want her to change her mind). Daddy stood by her the entire time, encouraging her to climb a little here and there.

At first she enjoyed it, smiling from ear to ear. But as soon as she got a little too high, she freaked out and began shrieking. We immediately took her down... after I snapped a few photos. Maybe we'll try this again next year.

Matt, my dad, and my brother also climbed the wall. Here are a few photos of them after their trips to the top.


Are We There Yet?

It took eight LONG hours, $80 of gas, and 182 "Are we there yets?" for us to make it to my parents safe, sound, and vomit free! We didn't even get to the freeway in Orange County before Riley asked if we were close to Bubbie and Zadie's. Not wanting to discourage her, Matt repeatedly told her, "yes, we're almost there"... every time she asked. Of course, "almost" just depended on your own interpretation.

The girls watched four movies on the drive; The Sound of Music, Annie (yes, I gave in...), Barbie Mariposa, and Peter Pan. While we had rigged up their own headsets to the DVD player so we didn't have to listen to their movies with them, we still heard them singing all the songs. Riley did a tremendous rendition of, "Doe a Dear" and Sheridan sang, "It's a Hard Knock Life" as only a 3 year old could.

We arrived just before 7 pm, hung out for an hour, fed the girls, and then put them to bed. They need a good night sleep as we have a busy day tomorrow... we're taking them rock climbing!


On another note, I am in a contest to win a brand new bounce house.... just like this! While I want to keep this all to myself... it wouldn't be fair of me not to let you register too. I'm nice that way.

To enroll in this contest, go here! And if you're a blogger and haven't yet signed up on this site, you're completely missing out. Head on over and tell them Jill sent you!

It's a Road Trip... Hope Nobody Vomits

Who the heck am I kidding... someone ALWAYS vomits on a Perlman Family road trip. In fact, I don't think we've ever had a vacation without the regurgitation of a breakfast, lunch, or a dinner.

Our next postings will be coming to you live from my parents home in Northern California, where we'll be spending the next 10 days with Bubbie and Zadie. We'll be packing up the family truckster (aka the tricked out Mercury Sable) later this morning and heading up north for the 7 hour drive.

During this trip I'm sure we'll hear the never ending phrase, "Stop it Sheridan...." followed up by, "Mom, Riley's annoying me"... and ending with my useless threat, "You girls better stop this bickering right now or I'm going to pull this car over and... " I never know how to finish this sentence as they're usually screaming so loudly at each other that they can't even hear me... or they're ignoring me and tuning me out. Either way they're not listening.

Matt already rigged up the DVD player, and the girls picked out their first movie for the ride. The Hills Are Alive... with The Sound Of Music. I just hope they want to change the DVD after every movie. Last time I drove with the girls to my folks house we watched Annie 5 times in a row. The sun will NOT be coming out tomorrow... if you get my drift.

Now if only our bags were packed... and the last load of laundry was washed and dried... and the snack bag was ready... and the house was cleaned up ... and well... hmmmm. Maybe we won't be leaving quite as early as I had planned. Don't worry mom, we'll be there for dinner... even if we do have to eat it at 9 pm...


I'm Back In The Saddle Again

After 2 days post-op, I'm finally back on my feet. Yippee. It sure does feel great to be out of bed and out of the house! Tuesday's 1 hour 15 minute procedure was deemed successful, and Matt got the full report from the surgeon as I was wheeled into the recovery room. However, I didn't stay there long for the surgery center was extremely efficient, and after gathering all of my paperwork and 4 pages of glossy photos of my insides, we were on our way home.

My in-laws kept the girls all Tuesday afternoon so that Matt could tend to my every need... or at least most of them ... which was very helpful as I felt much worse than I had anticipated.

On Wednesday, still feeling sluggish and in minor pain, I stayed in bed the entire day while Matt took the girls to lunch with his grandmother, their Great-Grandma Vera.

Today I woke up feeling much better, so Matt and I shipped the girls back off to my in-laws in order to finish up our consumables shopping. While the girls went to a children's science museum, we pushed and shoved our way through Costco, Target, Toys R Us, and Loehmann's, spending way too much money, and buying much more than we probably need to last us until next summer.

I sure do hope that 18 jars of peanut butter is enough for an entire year...

The Girls With Great-Grandma Vera


What Does $1281 from Costco and $1069 from Target Look Like?

This isn't even all of it... but we're beginning to make headway
with our consumable shipment to India.


When In Doubt, Bring Reading Material

When will I ever learn? No matter how many times I go to the doctor for any scheduled appointment, I always have to wait. Always. Usually I receive a phone call from the doctors office the day before the appointment to confirm AND to remind me to be on time. Which again, I am. Always.

Yesterday I went for my 9:15 am pre-op appointment which was only supposed to be 5 minutes. Why I needed to go back to the doctors office to hear about the procedure that he just detailed five days prior, to pick up a prescription that I didn't even need to begin taking until one day after the procedure, and to get directions to the surgery center from them (even though the hospital has called me no less than 4 times to go over everything) is BEYOND me. I just follow directions like a good little patient.

I arrived at my appointment at 9:12 am. Perfect. I'm there, I'm early, I should get in and out quickly. I found a magazine and parked my tush in an over sized chair, only to get through the first 30 pages of ads, before they called my name. I jumped up, obviously excited that I was moving behind the infamous iron door where they only want to see you when they're ready for you, and did the quick "do I bring the magazine?" routine in my head. I decided to put it down thinking nnaaaaahh... they're ready for me. Off we go.

The nurse brings me back to an examination room where she takes my blood pressure, points to the prescriptions I'll need to fill, tells me the doctor will be right in, and leaves the door open. Fantastic. Almost. Five minutes waiting turn into ten ... ten turn into twenty... and twenty turn into forty ... all with NOTHING to read. I - am - so - bored. I've gone cross-eyed staring at the two pieces of art on the walls, looked out the window as long as I could, and have resorted to rummaging through the drawers for latex gloves, tongue depressors, syringes, and KY Jelly.

At 9:55 am (40 minutes after my scheduled appointment) the doctor came in. He spent five minutes with me... okay, I'm exaggerating, it was four minutes. But he did have to draw me a picture of where I should park my car at the hospital, so that should count for something, right? He sent me off with a few prescriptions and reading material for the procedure... which would have served a better purpose if they left it in the room when they had me waiting forever and a day.

In the end, I learned a valuable lesson. I need to bring reading material with me next time. Or just schedule my appointment for earlier in the morning. I want first dibs on pilfering... all the good stuff was already taken out of the exam rooms.


Happy Father's Day!

What a weekend! Saturday we went to my uncles house for a barbecue in Beverly Hills (of course, in my haste to get ready I forgot to bring my camera...) It was a great time seeing family we haven't seen in well over six months to a year.

Matt's 6th Father's Day was spent having lunch at my in-laws in Newport Beach. The girls loved seeing the other side of the family, frolicking with their cousins on the beach, and eating their body weight in hot dogs, carrots, grapes, and popcorn. The girls even spent time (also known as kissing hello and goodbye) with two sets of great-grand parents!


It ALWAYS Happens In 3's...

Seriously? As if we needed another trip to the doctor this week. Thank goodness for insurance ~ Blue Cross Blue Shield is going to love us!

Matt's mom came by with Gracie (her 3 year old Labradoodle) to watch the girls late this afternoon so we could go shopping sans kids. While playing with the two dogs before walking out the door, Matt punctured his hand on one of Libby's canine teeth. The wound was clean, yet fairly deep. So instead of heading to the mall, we went straight to the walk-in clinic near the house. One hour and one tetanus shot, one wound irrigation, one antibiotic, one sterile stitch dressing, and one $15 co-pay later... we were done.

I'm going to wrap us all in bubble wrap for the next week. It's much safer.


The Stork Got Lost on Ben Yehuda Street...

It has never been a secret that we'd like to expand our family. We've talked openly about our desire to have one more child. We had grand ideas about when this would happen. We saved all of our baby stuff from the girls. We made a schedule. We had names! But even the best laid plans (and directions) don't always work out the way you'd like or hope them to.

We saw a fertility specialist yesterday.

I hadn't planned on sharing this personal part of my life with all of you. I got tired of hiding something that I'm not ashamed of, I'm not embarrassed to talk about, and is a big part of our life right now.

We saw a fertility specialist here in Newport Beach because we needed follow up from our fertility specialist back in Israel.

If you weren't aware of our issues, don't worry, not many people were. It wasn't something we were sharing... until now. If you're uncomfortable with this topic, you may want to stop reading right here as I'm going to go into some minor detail about our past few years. Just put your fingers in your ears while saying "la la la la la la la" and wait until tomorrow's posting. I promise it will be lighter, funnier, and with some self deprecating humor. Today is all about me.

We have been quote unquote trying for almost two years now. Of course, we had to work around Matt's crazy work schedule and the never ending visits from the Secretary of State, who I blamed for many a missed cycle. Immaculate conception only worked for one person that I know of... we clearly needed to be in the same place at the same time. So when we were, and nothing progressed, I made an appointment with a specialist. One appointment and several blood tests later we determined that I had hypothyroid disease. Well that was easy. Thyroxine Sodium here we come... and my first of many pregnancies too!

I'll leave out the specifics, but I will tell you that in the last year I have been pregnant several times, had a few D&Cs, more blood tests than I care to remember, several invasive tests, endless medications, and a lot of stress. I won't sugar coat it... it's been a rough year physically on me, on my body, and emotionally for both of us. After a few miscarriages you don't look at a positive pregnancy test the same way.

The specialist yesterday offered us answers and hope. We came well prepared, with 1/2 inch stack of records. After our one hour consultation, he performed an examination and ultrasound, and confirmed his findings.

These next few weeks will be busy. On top of all the shopping, visiting family and friends, the trip up to Northern California, and the relaxing that we're supposed to be doing, I'm having another surgery. A laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. I'm not looking forward to it.... I'll be out of commission for a few days, potentially missing some good sales at Nordstrom. But this doctor is working under our time constraints, switching his schedule to fit us in and "fix" us before we leave for India. I liked him. Matt got a good vibe from him. His practice is very chi chi, something I appreciate after Israel, and will be sad to leave when we go to India. For goodness sakes, he warmed up his KY jelly before his ultrasound! The devil really is in the details...

For the first time in a long time we both have hope. It's been a long, strange road to get here, and will get even windier before it straightens out. But we'll get there. Eventually. And when it finally does, you'll be the first to hear about it... after my parents and in-laws and siblings, and well, when I'm ready to share it. Because I don't share everything. Almost.


My Favorite Part About Grocery Shopping in Southern California ...

What a fantastic concept! I've never seen this before.

You can bet your bippy that I'll be back here for ALL of my shopping needs.
Unless I need to go to Trader Joe's. Or Costco. Or Target. Or Nordstrom. Or DSW.

Too bad we didn't have these in Israel....


No Dentures For Daddy

Matt had oral surgery again today. Micro gum grafting, also known as connective tissue grafting. It's where they take tissue from the palate and transfer it to the area where there was an inadequate amount of gum tissue. Sound like fun? Hell no!

Matt's gums had significant recession due a myriad of reasons... Prednisone used during childhood, a lifetime of teeth grinding, yelling at the kids while clenching his teeth. This was the second of such surgeries; the upper teeth were done a year ago when we were in the States for a month on vacation. As the recovery time is a few weeks, we weren't able to do the bottom teeth at the same time.

I dropped Matt off at 8 am this morning for the 3 hour surgery. He was given heavy dosages of Novocaine, and once numb, the periodontist extracted the skin from the roof of his mouth and transplanted it to 6 bottom teeth and 2 top teeth (that had to be re-done from the last surgery). He listened to the iPod all morning, counting the minutes until he was done. Around 11:15 am he called me, I picked him up, and took him home where he spent the day resting.

The best part about this surgery is that insurance doesn't cover it. Yup, that's right. However, Matt absolutely needed the surgery; a number of teeth had too much root exposure and overtime it would lead to premature tooth loss. I spoke ad nauseam with Blue Shield of California deciphering the what, wheres, and whys the surgery wasn't covered. What I ultimately discovered is that they won't pay for anything preventative ... though they WILL pay for the dentures when his teeth fall out. Isn't that special. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture? In the past year Matt's mouth has increased in value by over $8000. Wow...

If you're curious what his mouth looked like after surgery click here.


And All It Took Was A Few M&Ms...

They did it. The girlies actually did it AND they survived. Last Thursday after the oh-so-fun expensive and much needed girls haircut extravaganza, Riley and Sheridan got their ears pierced. Actually Riley got hers done... and Sheridan.... well, Sheridan was Sheridan and has to go back again today to finish the job.

We had been throwing the idea around of letting the girls get their ears pierced for quite sometime. Once we found out that we were going to India, where the girls go home from the hospital after birth with their ears pierced, I relinquished my stance of making them wait until they were in high school (or at least old enough to take care of their ears themselves) to get them pierced.

For the past 6 months we've been talking to Riley about getting her ears pierced. We worked it into endless conversations, we showed pictures, we talked about how it doesn't really hurt. Soon Riley became confident enough that she started the ear piercing conversations herself, and began to tell everyone that when she got back to the States, she would get them done. Score!

So last Thursday we went directly from the hair salon to the mall. At Claire's, the girls each picked out the earrings they wanted to wear for the next 8 weeks. Matt then took Sheridan out of the store, and my mother in law arrived to help encourage Riley. We marked her ears. Everything was ready. The very last step in this long-awaited moment was to actually pierce Riley's ears. But the anticipation was too great, for as soon as the piercing "gun" came out, Riley began to howl. Loudly. She freaked out. She suddenly started screaming that she didn't want to do it. She put her hands over her ears. She had trouble catching her breath. No amount of negotiation was going to persuade her to pierce those perfectly plump ears.

Ladies walking down the alleyways started coming in to Claire's to see what all the commotion was about. They saw that Riley was nervous and tried to help. One lady showed Riley her baby's newly pierced ears. Another mom in the store peeked around to see why we were torturing the little brunette. I calmly talked to Riley and told her that I knew she would be very upset if we just packed things up and walked out of the store. That she would regret her decision later in the day if she just didn't do it now. That she had been so excited to do it, and if she didn't do it right then and there, we weren't coming back later. It was now or never. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "I don't want to."

By this point I am beginning to feel defeated, and I'm sure my mother in law must think I'm a total nut. The lady in the store still has a smile plastered on her face (she's paid to keep it there) though even her patience is wearing thin. I took a deep breath and resorted to bribery. "Hey Riley, what if you eat M&M's while she pierces your ears?" I could see the wheels turning in her head... eyes rolling upwards as if she needed to contemplate this thought for a few minutes. And then I heard it, the softest, quietest, "O......K...."

Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I pulled her up on my lap, told the lady to DO IT NOW, and within 30 seconds, the first earring was in. No crying. No hysteria. Just a smile and a question, "Aren't you going to do my other ear?"

Sheridan came running in and was so excited that it was her turn, she jumped into the chair and started bee bopping around. She kept moving and we had to mark and re-marked her ears several times. She watched as the lady prepped her ear for the first piercing. Ready.... Set..... First Pierce.... SCREAM!!! Sheridan was not happy. She jumped out of the chair and refused to let the lady pierce the second ear. She held her shoulder against her ear. She put her hand up over her ear. She cried. Oh how she cried.

Not wanting to go through this again, or have her leave with just one earring, I bribed her with M&Ms too, sat her on daddy's lap, and told the lady to do the other one. Though it wasn't easy. In fact, Sheridan still put up such a fight that we had to hold her hands down and her head still so we could get the second one in. Bingo. Done. Wait... it's just a little too far back. But it's done...

The girls walked out of the store 6 inches taller. Their heads were held high. They were big girls for getting their ears pierced. They were floating on clouds. I, on the other hand, was bugged about Sheridan's ear from the second I walked out the store.

Without dragging this long story even longer... after 24 hours I couldn't take it anymore. The earring's placement bothered me so much that I took it out, let the hole close up, and am taking her back today to get it re-pierced. So much for just letting her leave with just one earring last week... which is exactly what she's done for the past few days, and what I had tried so hard to avoid.

Today while Matt is having his dreaded oral surgery, I'll be back at the mall. With Sheridan. Attempting to get her ear pierced again. This time I'm marking it at home. And I'm bringing M&Ms... because nothing says I'm a good mom like bribing my kid with chocolate at 10 am.


Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

Discretion is the better part of valor... or not, if you're in our household. The girlies have had an interesting time readjusting to life in the Unites States, and many things have completely astounded and amazed them. Here's what each of them have said in the past few days.

After getting our cell phones and walking out of T-Mobile, Riley very seriously asked me, "Mommy, why was everyone in there speaking English?"
As we're driving, Riley wanted to know why the traffic lights here don't turn yellow before they turn green... as they do in Israel.
We were at the mall today when Matt took Riley to look at the water fountains. Riley asked why there were so many Shekels (Israeli coins - the equivalent of a quarter) in the water. Matt told her that they weren't Shekels, they were pennies. She then asked what a penny was.

This morning we took the girls to breakfast at Coco's to celebrate my 35th birthday (a shameless plug for all of you who didn't remember...).

While waiting for our food, Sheridan loudly remarked, "Mommy, look at that lady's big tushie." I had to turn my head away so she didn't see me giggle, which left Matt (who was sufficiently mortified) to discipline her.

Sheridan cried for just a minute before she followed up her last remark with, "Hey mommy, look at all the old ladies at that table over there..."

While it's interesting to experience Riley and Sheridan's observations of American culture, it reinforces our understanding that these kids lack a sense of cultural identity.... especially when Sheridan points to the U.S. flag and calls it the Israeli flag...

We have a lot to discuss this summer. Until then, I wonder what they'll say next.


A Girls Day of Styling and Profiling

The girls and I got haircuts today. We all were looking a bit shaggy, and were in need of some serious pampering. Nothing too drastic. A little snip here, some texturizing and layering there. As this was Sheridan's first experience in a salon, I decided to forgo taking her to Supercuts, and splurge on a fun girls outing. Anyone read between the lines for the oxymoron here? Me + girls + European salon = mild chaos, AND as a bonus, mom is a moron for attempting this.

Sheridan didn't have as much fun at first as I had expected. She walked in to the salon like she owned the place, but when we took her back to wash her hair (hey for $40 I wasn't about to let them just wet it down with a little spray bottle), she absolutely freaked out. I tried to calm her down, but the more I talked, the more hysterical she became. The stylist assured me she could cut her hair dry... but I refused to let this one go. I wanted my money's worth, and Sheridan was going to get her hair washed. Period. Ten minutes later... and my sanity about shot, her hair was washed and we were on her way to getting a new 'do.

The cut was quick. Sheridan walked in with a mullet, and after a few snippety snips, it was gone. We didn't want to do anything drastic, so the stylist added a few layers so the baby fine hair would grow in thicker, and put a cute little clip in her hair. Does it look any different in the end? No, not really. Maybe a smidge shorter, but not really. She only wears it up in a high ponytail anyway (at her request), so we'll worry about a real 'do when she starts caring more about styling it. She's 3... I think we have time.

Riley's and my haircuts were completely uneventful. Riley had several cut inches off, and also got a graduated cut where it's shorter in the back and longer on the sides. It's so sweet and it frames her face quite nicely.

I had my hair reshaped, trimmed, and blown straight (something I rarely do myself because it takes forever to dry). While I was sitting there for over 30 minutes waiting for her to finish straightening my hair, all I could think about was, "My head is eye level to her boobs, and she isn't wearing a bra." Not a bad view if I was a guy, but I wish I had a magazine instead.

In the end, I got a nice haircut that was worth the wait. Will anyone notice that it was cut? Probably not, as I too wear my hair up and curly at all times. Maybe when I start caring more about styling, I'll get a new 'do too.


Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

I don't like goodbye's. I really despise goodbye's. I will even go as far as saying I hate goodbye's, as strong of a word as that is. If given the opportunity, I will always shy away from ever having to say goodbye; it's just easier that way. I am a bona-fide crier... I tear up and choke up at everything happy or sad. So making me say goodbye to the people with whom I've shared my life for the past 3 years, well you can only imagine....

We left Israel in the wee hours Tuesday morning. I'm still in a sleepy haze and haven't quite grasped the concept that we won't be returning. A 10 hour time change and only a few hours sleep can do that to a person. I have to remind myself that this isn't a vacation, and after our almost 8 weeks in the States, we won't be going back to our Embassy owned house in Herzliyya. I won't be patronizing the Online Cafe for my morning cappuccino. Sheridan won't be going into the Teddy Bear class next year. I won't see my girlfriends, my preschool friends, the teachers, my daughter's 1st ballet recital.

Monday was filled with a lot of organizing and packing, and even more tears. I was melancholy from the minute I woke up, knowing that throughout the day my heart would break every time I said goodbye. With every person I hugged I wanted to hold on just another second longer. With every kiss I gave, I needed to give two. I shed a tear with every friend I left, and behind the doors of 35 Shazar, I continued to cry, knowing that I was leaving my security blanket, my family, the place we called home.

We woke up at 1 am on Tuesday morning. We showered, got dressed, closed up our bags, and got the girls ready to go. Our drivers arrived at 2:15 am and helped us load everything in the car. While Matt was supervising them and dealing with the girls, I did a final walk throughout the house. Every closet was empty. Every bed stripped of the sheets. Every bathroom clean. Every wall bare. Not a hint that anyone lived there. The only things left were in the refrigerator; a lone coke I didn't finish drinking and 3 old sippy cups that leak and weren't going to make the trip. I took a deep breath, walked down the stairs into the garage, locked the final door behind me, and shut the garage. I couldn't look back for I knew that I was leaving a piece of me behind. When I got to the car, I needed Kleenex to wipe away the tears.

The entire trip to California was relatively uneventful, albeit very Perlman-esque. We had minor difficulties checking Libby at the gate... no record of her flight, no paperwork to check-in animals, no one to care. The flight to Frankfurt was delayed for almost 2 hours. The children's meals we ordered on both flights to Frankfurt and to Los Angeles were "lost", despite my calls to verify that they were indeed in the system. And what would a trip be without a little vomit? About 3 hours before we landed in California, Sheridan vomited in her sleep. I didn't think it was possible, but let me tell you that it is! She covered herself, her seat, and my shirt. Thank goodness for the extra clothes.

We arrived about 30 minutes early at Los Angeles International Airport. We quickly got through customs, got our bags, got the dog, and met my in-laws who were happily awaiting our arrival. They put all our bags and the dog in their van, and we took the car rental shuttle to Hertz. I had reserved a full-size car for our stay, but when I got to the counter, I asked if they still offered the $5 / day upgrade to a mini-van. The manager had absolutely no personality, and even less people skills. After offering just about anything to upgrade, including my second born, he emphatically told me, "NO"... though as a consolation, he'd give me a brand, spanking new car with only 5 miles on it. Two kids and a dog and a brand new car? They'll learn to regret that decision in 41 days. What kind of car is it you ask? A Mercury Sable - pimped out - with chrome wheels, faux ash wood grain dash board, white leather seats, and a sunroof. Yeah....right...

We're slowly settling in and trying to acclimate to the time change. The girls relatively slept through the night. I went to Starbucks today and got my favorite drink, a Caramel Machiatto. Tomorrow is the big haircut day; all three of us are getting new 'dos. Afterwards the girls are getting their ears pierced... I think.

Welcome to our vacation. Stay tuned... there's lots to come!

The End of a VERY Long Journey


Shalom, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good-Bye

What a long, strange trip it's been! It's hard to believe that our tour in Israel is coming to an end in less than 24 hours. We are frantically getting ready for our departure, tying up loose ends, re-packing our 8 bags, 4 carry-ons, 2 car seats, and stroller, and prepping the dog for the never-ending flight to California.

Today will be a whirlwind starting with saying our many goodbyes, organizing the house, closing the water and cable accounts, getting a final thyroid test, going to the salon, paying our maid, cleaning out the fridge, and I'm sure at least 10 other things that I can't bear to think about now.

Before we head out on our new journey to India, join us for a final recap as we take you through our 3 years here in Israel. Thanks for sharing in our memories...

P.S. Make sure you turn up your speakers!

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