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Archive for November, 2007

We’re getting ready to leave for our 4 weeks long visit to Israel. And although it was entirely my idea to go, I can’t help but get stressed out about the whole affair. Especially the flights. Six hours to Toronto, then just twelve more to Tel-Aviv, two adults, a two year old, a three year old, and one plane. I’m sure you can do the math yourself, and it ain’t pretty. But a month full of grandparents’ unconditional love to the boys AND a much needed rest for mom, plus some quality time with friends – hopefully it’s even worth the obligatory one week jet-legged boys.

With this in mind it’s not surprising I couldn’t sit myself down to make something. Some monthly-occurring hormonal-based bad mood (enough said) is making things even harder. In the last days I’ve been pretty unbearable, with patience being a distant memory, and peace of mind is nowhere to be seen.

I have made one positive observation, though. I found that reading a favorite book with the boys will still make everyone, including me, quite happy. So I think this might be a good opportunity to show a couple of our favorite children’s books right now. When we arrived in Canada 3 years ago, I was overwhelmed by the large libraries, and the wealth of children’s books I knew absolutely nothing about. As I grew up in Israel, I could not rely on my own childhood memories to pick books for my kids. It’s why I still enjoy looking at other people’s lists, and its why I’m making mine.

Mog Time: 6 stories about Mog, by Judith Kerr. There aren’t that many books that both of the boys can enjoy these days. Little D’s attention span is far too short for most of his brother’s books, and he’ll either walk away or will constantly interrupt. But Kerr’s style seems to hit a chord with all of us. Both the simple stories and the not-too-busy illustrations are perfect for our younger audience. Beside the Mog books, we also loved The Tiger Who Came To Tea. The only book I had a problem with was Good Bye Mog, and that had been entirely my fault. We took this book from the library without looking at it first, which resulted in an unplanned-for introduction to the subject of death (“…Mog thought, `I want to sleep for ever.’ And so she did”). But if you happen to be looking for books about losing a beloved pet, I do warmly recommend it.

Tyrannosaurus Drip, by Julia Donaldson. We first saw this book at the bookstore on our Halloween adventure, and we were very pleased to find it in the library’s new book section a few days later. I love the rhythmical rhyming in her books, and although I personally prefer other books by her (Room on a Broom, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s child), R’s new interest in dinosaurs made this one a big success. He also liked Sharing a Shell (which I didn’t). In fact he liked it so much, it was the first book he was intentionally trying to learn by heart, and it was nice watching him sitting alone with the book, turning the pages, and telling the story…

I think I’d better quit now, still a lot of packing to do tomorrow, wish us luck – and see you around mid-December!

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Halloween was great, actually.

We managed to isolate what we don’t like – namely trick-or-treating and avoid it by having our own late-evening adventure.  We had lots of fun.   Appropriately enough it was a train theme again: first we headed to a bookstore that featured a Thomas train table, and had a good time playing with the trains and flipping through some newish books.  Ron found a Thomas math book, and we sat on the bookstore’s floor, learning how to count, add and subtract.

A quick dinner and off we went to the main attraction of the evening – a Halloween themed ride on the miniature train.  By the time we got there there was quite a line up, but we were able to watch some fireworks while we waited, so it was fine.  My kids usually get scared by the silliest things, so I don’t know how they managed to stay calm during the ride, but they did, and it was great.  It was an old fashioned spooky kind of ride: witches in costume running on the hills, doors slamming in the dark, and some live “BOO!”-ing at the end of a very dark tunnel. Oh and the crank-operated ghosts chasing the train – my favorite.  It was chilly outside, and it even rained a little, so the cookies and hot chocolate served in the decorated indoor area were just what we needed.   I think this might be the beginning of a family tradition…

And now that we have experienced our first good Halloween, I promise to get the boys in costumes next year.

No photos  – our hands were full, so these are our neighbor’s pumpkins from last year:

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