Posts with category - Faith

A day in my life

My typical weekday (Sunday – Thursday*)** goes something like this…

05:30 ~ 06:30 – Aaron wakes up.

05:51 – My first alarm goes off.

06:00 – Paul’s alarm goes off (usually he has actually already gotten out of bed).

06:00 ~ 07:25 – Paul gets ready for the day, sorts out the kids with breakfast, kids get dressed and mess around.

This is from the beginning of the year. I cant get over how much they have both grown since then :)

This is from the beginning of the year. I cant get over how much they have both grown since then :)

06:01 – My snooze alarm goes off.

06:10 – I get out of bed.

06:10 ~ 06:30 – I get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, wake Faith up (she is totally my child, hates waking up), give copious hugs and kisses to family.

06:30 – Leave the house to walk to the bus stop (about half a km walk).

06:40 ~ 06:50 – Wait for my bus, obsessively check the app to make sure I haven’t missed it.

06:45 ~ 07:15 – Play games on my phone or catch a cat nap on the bus ride to work.

07:15 – Unlock office (I’m usually, but not always, the first one in) and turn on the coffee machine before booting up my computer and settling in.

07:30 ~ 08:00 – Paul drops the kids at their respective schools (both within a 200m walk from home) on his way to the train station. From September this will be a whole lot easier since Faith will be attending the same school as Aaron.

07:30 – 13:00 – Work, drink coffee, work, drink more coffee and occasionally a cup of 5 Roses tea. Sometime before 11:00 I order lunch (we are given a budget for the month and can order from a variety of places that will deliver to us).

13:00 ~ 13:30 – Join the rest of the office in the dining area and enjoy lunch.

Love the concentration tongue!

Love the concentration tongue!

13:30 ~ 16:10/17:30 – Work and drink more coffee. Depending on the day, I either leave the office at 16:10 to catch a bus back home in order to fetch the kids from after care by 16:45. On the days that our babysitter fetches the kids, I work later to make up some time and usually leave the office at around 17:30 to catch a bus home.

16:10/17:30 ~ 16:30/18:00 – Bus ride home.

16:30/18:00 ~ 19:00/19:30 – Fetch kids/get home, do a load of laundry (not every day), play with kids, wash dishes,  read my book, bath kids (Aaron has now discovered showering on his own, when the hell did he grow up?), start supper, set table, hang laundry if applicable, clean floors or vacuum if necessary, make a salad so we get some fresh veggies in our diet.

19:00/19:30 – Paul gets home and we eat supper.

20:00 – Kids brush teeth and get ready for bed, story is read, debate over which parent puts which child to sleep.

20:15 ~ 21:00 – Put kids to sleep. This takes so long because Aaron is a chatterbox and needs to get all the words out before he can sleep. Once a child is asleep, that adult then baths/showers, followed by the other adult when the 2nd child (Aaron) eventually falls asleep. Dishes from dinner are washed in between all of this by whoever is free.

21:00 ~ 22:00 – We usually watch at least one episode of a show we are watching, at the moment we are re-watching Firefly, Netflix is awesome!

22:00 ~ 22:30 – Wash up any leftover dishes from dinner and Paul usually sorts out the kids lunches/snacks for the next day.

22:30 – Get ready for bed.

22:45 – Collapse in a heap, possibly read a chapter or two of a book or play on Twitter/FB.

23:30 – Fall asleep, sometimes earlier, sometimes later but this is the average.

And that’s our normal weekday.

*Fridays are slightly different because neither Paul or I work on a Friday and the kids finish school at 12:30ish. So Paul and I clean the apartment or go do a big grocery shop while the kids are at school and then we fetch them and spend the afternoon playing and getting ready for Shabbat.

**Saturdays are spent at the park or watching movies (again, thanks Netflix), there is no public transport and most if not all stores are closed.



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Mom Camp – קיטנה אמה

I’ve lamented the fact that these summer holidays are too bloody long. And bloody expensive when it comes to summer camps. The kids went to camp for the first 4 weeks (July) which is standard in Israel. The camps were run at their schools and were coordinated by the local municipality. August is another story. The only camps available are private. Unfortunately we were not really prepared and we could only get the kids into a camp for the second week in August which meant that the kids and I had Mom Camp last week.

Morning Cat - by Paul

Morning Cat – by Paul

It also happened to be the hottest week in Israel, ever! So we pretty much stayed home in the air conditioning for 5 solid days.

The kids played on the computer, watched Netflix, played ‘Zombie Apocalypse’, had a friend over, Aaron was sick, I got sick, we went to Jerusalem with Roro on Tuesday, played with Lego but mostly we imitated sloths.


I think by the time Friday rolled around the kids were a little bored of being cooped up all day. We went to the large grocery store and did our monthly shop and then took the kids to the municipal pool in the afternoon. They love the pool and I have to admit its pretty awesome, spotlessly clean, plenty space, changing rooms, umbrellas, chairs and tables available, a kiosk with drinks and snacks and ice creams. Whats not to like?

Saturday we put the little buggers to work cleaning the apartment, or their rooms at least. And then we slothed some more in the afternoon.


This morning they went to their new camp. They were pretty excited to go since they are together for the week and its also an English speaking camp which they find very exciting. I think they were mostly excited just to leave the apartment!

I adore my kids, I really really do but I really really missed work and was super grateful to come back today.

*Photos by Paul


Half way there…

So the kids have been on holiday for a month (or close to it) and we are surviving.

They have each been at separate day camps and have been having a blast. Each camp was held in their schools so it was a familiar environment and the other kids were all friends of theirs.

That is until the middle of last week when Aaron’s camp was condensed into a camp located at another school down the road. Suddenly it was a new environment and none of his friends were going to that camp. And we landed up with a small anxiety issue.

I had forgotten how bad Aaron’s anxiety had been when we first arrived and he started school. He was overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds and the new people. For a good few weeks he complained about having a headache or a tummy ache or both. With a lot of patience from us and his teachers he overcame the anxiety and made new friends and settled in.

Last week he suddenly had a headache and tummy ache again. But we talked to him and discussed it and allowed him to phone us at work for a chat when it got too much. Today he went off to camp without a backwards look, he hasn’t called once and seems to have settled in nicely.

*Photo by Paul

*Photo by Paul

I keep saying it, but I really am so very very proud of this child. All the things he has overcome this year are enough to put an adult in a spin and yet he is a champ, he keeps on keeping on.

Next week the kids will be at home with me and the following week we found a private camp that will take both of them for the week and then Nana (my mom) comes for a two week visit. We are all so excited to see her. The kids cant stop talking about her visit. I’m doing a happy jig as I type!

I cant believe we are half way through the summer holidays and that there is only one month left to go.


Two months of hell, I mean, holidays…

It seems to be a northern hemisphere thing. Two months off school during the summer. Two months off school. Two months!

Luckily the aftercare facility we utilize for the kids during the school week will be running a ‘camp’ throughout the whole of July. 07:30 – 16:00. The aftercare/camp is run from the kids schools and a lot of the kids that attend aftercare will also be at the ‘camp’ so the kids will have the friends that they know with them. It will cost us about double what we usually pay for aftercare for the month but considering it will be double the time it all works out.


That being said, what happens in August? Most if not all of the camps only run for July. There are a few options during August but they are all private and expensive. They also do not cater for my kids ages. They are either for 5 and under or 6 and over so Aaron and Faith could not attend together (hopefully we would be able to convince them to let Faith go with Aaron if this was an option we chose).


A lot of people tend to go away in August so demand for camps is obviously lower than in July but come on, what about those of us who cant go away for whatever reason?

Now, my mom is coming for a visit (does happy dance and sings!) in the last two weeks of August and has graciously said she will help me with the kids on the days that I have to work. In fact she basically told me not to take any leave, I must work and she will spend time with the kids, which is great, except I want to take leave so I can spend time with her! I am, in fact, taking the 1st 5 days she is here as leave so we can spend all that week together.

I digress…

This leaves me with the first two weeks of August.

Our regular babysitter is away for those two weeks and both Paul and I have to work. Some of the families that we are friends with suggested we each take a day of the week and look after each others kids but it looks like that wont happen because there are not enough of us.

So, we may have to take the kids to work with us or work from home. Both options are not ideal.


So, my northern hemisphere friends… what do you do over the summer vacation?



2nd play date – Success

You may recall the somewhat awkward and heartbreaking 1st play date we had a week or so ago.

Well, Faith had another friend over today and it went so much better. I think I was more relaxed since I knew what to expect. Aaron also took on the roll of bossy mcboss mentor and got the girls playing with a ball and also teaching them some karate moves.

I even read them a story!  In Hebrew!

We have just bought a set of bookshelves from friends who are relocating to the States and I could finally unpack the last of our boxes. All the books! So while the kids were playing I was unpacking and I came across Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. Its a very simple story about using your imagination, and as I found out, quite easy to translate into Hebrew as I went. The kids loved it.

not a box

After the book, the kids took all the empty boxes and created a carnival game, Aaron wrote ‘points’ on each box and they placed them at different heights and then took turns throwing the ball into them to get the most points. Definitely not just a box.

I fed them supper before Faiths friend had to go home and both girls didn’t want the play date to end. I consider that a great success!



Our First* Play Date

*First play date at our house. The kids have been to many play dates at their friends but we didn’t have any furniture or any of their toys so we put off play dates at us until now.

So the day before yesterday each of the kids invited a friend over.

Neither of the friends speak English. And I barely speak Hebrew. But that’s OK. My kids speak both English and Hebrew. Yes, you read that correctly. My kids are bilingual! I have never been more proud of them. They were thrown in the deep end and they have swum!


Back to the play date. Aaron and his friend were fine. They played games, played hide and seek, ran around, ate ice lollies and generally looked after themselves. Faiths friend was also OK, they painted pictures and coloured in a Frozen colouring book and then they had a disagreement about playing something.Her friend started to cry and I could not console her. I just didn’t have the words in Hebrew and what words I did have went straight out my head. We landed up calling her mom to come fetch her and while we were waiting she cried herself to sleep on the couch.

My heart was breaking. I felt so helpless. Poor child was so upset and I could not comfort her.

This was a motivation for me to keep learning more Hebrew. Especially when it comes to kids. In fact I am more intimidated by the kids than the adults. At least with adults they understand that my Hebrew is minimal and they either speak English to me or help with the Hebrew I don’t know. Kids on the other hand cannot fathom that I don’t speak Hebrew and that I cannot understand them. They think its hysterical when I look at them blankly. My kids roll their eyes and translate for me. I am definitely learning on the fly with these kids.

Bottom line is that I need to learn more Hebrew and we will keep having play dates because that’s an awesome way for me to learn :)


Work and all that entails

I posted last week about about the fact that our container arrived.  It took us 48 hours and everything was unpacked.  All those boxes were emptied or stored in the downstairs storeroom.

I’m not going to post any pictures just yet because the house is still a bit of a mess while we try to find place for everything. I will do a proper post with pictures later on in the week.

In the meantime lets talk about work.

In Israel the week starts on a Sunday, so while all my South African friends are having a braai, chilling with mates, browsing flea-markets, drinking beer, running marathons and doing triathlons, I am at my desk, working.

Most places work a five day week although some work a five and a half day week (Fridays being the half day). Both Paul and I are lucky to work for companies that are closed on Fridays so we still get a ‘full’ weekend.  Also, the kids go to school from Sunday to Friday, so we get a child free morning on a Friday which is nice.

My day starts at 05:45 when my alarm goes off, by 06:00 when Paul’s alarm goes off I am out of bed (usually! I’m not a morning person so sometimes it takes me longer to get going).  Hopefully by 06:30 I am out the door and on the way to the central bus station, a 10 minute walk from my apartment.


If I leave the house by 06:30 I am able to catch the 06:45 bus.  If I leave later and I dont hustle I then catch the 07:05 bus.  My bus ride is usually about 20 minutes give or take. And its a short 5 minute walk from the stop to the office. So I get to work between 07:15 and 07:30 most days.

I work in a fantastic office with about 60 people. They are a mix of Anglos (English speaking people from USA, UK, Australia and South Africa) and native born Israelies. My team is all English speaking.  We work in an open plan office with 5 of us sharing the space.

My company looks after us really well and one of the benefits to working here is we get a meal card loaded with a balance for the month. We then log onto the website and we have a variety of places to order from. We have to place our orders before 11:00 in order for them to be delivered at lunch time and when I first started working here I was told that the golden rule is ‘First thing you do when you come into the office: have coffee and order lunch!’

On the off chance you do forget to order in time there is always something to eat in the fully stocked kitchen. Bread, cottage cheese, fruit and veggies and tons of snacks. Not to mention the coffee machine!


My work day is roughly a 9 hour day. Now the kids finish school at 13:00 for Aaron and 14:00 for Faith so they both attend after care at their respective schools.  2 or 3 days a week we have a babysitter who fetches them from school after aftercare and takes them home. She does homework and plays with them or takes them to the park across the road from our house.

If the babysitter is fetching the kids then I leave work between 16:30 and 17:30 and catch the 16:45 or 17:45 bus home, getting home between 17:15 and 18:15. I usually go past the store on the way from the bus station to pick up milk, bread or anything else we need and the babysitter leaves between 18:00 and 18:30 depending on the day. On the days when we don’t have a babysitter I leave work at 15:45 and am back in time to fetch the kids from aftercare at 16:30 for Aaron and 16:45 for Faith.

The kids love being at aftercare where they get to play with their friends, do homework (in Aaron’s case), are fed a yummy hot lunch and do activities like learning to play chess, learning to juggle and making artwork for our fridge.  They also love their babysitter who gives them her undivided attention and they love when I fetch them and we go to the park on the way home.

By 18:30 kids are usually in the bath while I get supper going and then they help with chores around the house, cleaning their rooms, sweeping and generally tidying up before dinner time.

And speaking of the kids, Paul helps them get ready in the mornings and makes sure they are dressed, fed and groomed and then he walks them to school on his way to catch his train to work. He is usually home between 19:00 and 19:30 each night which is when we have dinner and family time before the little ones go to bed.


Its a long day with a lot of travel.  Its certainly not what I’m used to and its taken a while to get used to the hours and the commute but its working for us.

**Photos by Paul!

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Your favourite things – Faith

TV programme: You watch a variety of things on YouTube, most notably Frozen videos.
iPhone App: You like playing Two Dots on my phone.
Meal: Schnitzel. Corn or chicken, you dont care as long as its schnitzel.
Fruit: Bananas and apples and grapes. Oh my!
Vegetable: Sweetcorn, carrots and cucumbers.
Breakfast: As long as it has chocolate in it you love it.
Drink: ‘Red’ juice, just like Aaron.
Toy: You have a little Lego genie figurine and a Boba Fett figurine, they go everywhere with you.
You love: The park, especially the swings.


Something that happened yesterday: The day before yesterday you went to play at a friend without me going with you. Granted, Aaron was with you and the friend is the neighbour across the hall and you were running between the two apartments so I was close, but you went there on your own and that is huge!

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{Purim} is the day we celebrate the Jewish people overcoming a plot by the Persian Empire to wipe us out.

You may have heard the expression ‘The whole Megillah’? Meaning the whole long story. That comes from the reading of the Megillah or the Book of Esther on Purim.  Its the story of {Haman} (boo hiss) and {Mordecai} (yay) and of course the phenomenal {Queen Esther} (woohooo!!!).

We also give food parcels to friends and the needy. These {gift baskets} should contain at least two different foods/drinks so that two separate brochas (prayers) can be said over them.

A large part of Purim is that it is a celebration.  As such we have celebratory meals and parties.  Everyone gets dressed up, including the adults, and fairs/carnivals and parades with much singing and dancing take place.

This was our first Purim in Israel and it was quite the eye opener.

The children started by having special dress up days at school throughout the two weeks leading up to Purim.  They had Hat/Hair do Day, Country Day, Celebrity Day, Pajama Day to name a few.  They had face painting and hat making days.  They made gift baskets to exchange with each other and to bring home.

The Friday before last was the annual Modi’in Purim parade.  There were floats and jugglers and stilt walkers.  There were ice cream vendors and candy floss and popcorn.  There were balloons and bubble guns.  There were entertainers and actors and singer and dancers.  There was lots of fun!

On the Monday evening we went to the annual Absorption Centre Purim party.  This is a party for Olim (new immigrants) and was great fun. Lots of kids, music, games, popcorn, candy floss and a show.

Then both Paul and I had work Purim parties.  My theme was Supermarket and I went as Fairy Dish-washing Liquid.  Paul didn’t have a theme so he went back to his roots and went as Clark Kent/Superman.




The kids were off school on Thursday and Friday so Paul and I took off Thursday (we get Friday off every week) and we dressed up and missioned around town doing our thing.  We went to an anglo Shul to hear the Megillah and landed up getting there late and only hearing the last 5 minutes.  I wasn’t feeling well so Paul took the kids to the {Se’udah} (meal) that we had been invited to.  They had lots of fun eating and drinking and playing with all the kids there.

On Friday we were supposed to go to the Purim fair but by that stage I think we were a bit Purim’d out so we went to the park and just relaxed.

Needless to say, Purim in Israel is insane. Fun but insane.

Here are some pictures that Paul took over the Purim weekend.










And that’s enough of that :)



Here’s that post I promised about school in Israel

Since everyone is posting back to school photos and posts I thought it was time to tell you a bit about school in Israel.

*Please note that I may get some facts wrong.  I will try to make sure that everything posted here is as correct as possible.  Also note that a lot of what I am going to write is my own experience and that everyone will experience the school system differently.

The majority of schools in Israel are State Schools.  This means they are funded by the Department of Education and are therefore free.

For Aaron, who is in Kita Aleph/1st Grade, we still have to pay for his books and stationary.  We probably have to pay for a PTA type levy or a class fund but no one has asked us for anything like that yet, maybe because we started school in the middle of the year.

Faiths Gan (Pre-Kindergarten) also happens to be free (at least I hope so as they have only asked us for the PTA levy/class fund money and not anything else).

Children in Modi’in are assigned to schools according to their residential address, Aaron’s school is two blocks up the road from us. Faith’s is the same block as us, just on the road behind us (we can see the playground out our bedroom windows) and there is a nifty little path next to our apartment that cuts to the road behind us.

We drop the kids at school anytime between 7:30 and 8:00 and Aaron’s school day ends at 12:45 while Faith’s school day ends at 13:45.

Since we are working we have enrolled both children at aftercare.  This is a paid service and you have to register through the Education Department.  You can fetch the children no later than 16:45.  It is quite expensive but the children are given a hot lunch (yesterday they had chicken soup, hamburgers and salad), the older kids get homework supervision and they also have some kind of entertainment, either art class or drama or something sporty.

In Gan there is no uniform at all, kids wear what is comfortable for them.  In grade school the children wear a modified uniform.  They can wear any pants/skirts and shoes that they like.  T-shirts and sweaters/hoodies have to be plain (though can be any colour) and need to have the schools logo/badge printed on them.  The stores that sell the shirts also iron on the badges.

That’s the basics.


Faith is loving Gan.  She is making friends and learning Hebrew.  She adores her teachers.

Aaron’s school is fantastic.  They are arranging for him to have additional Hebrew lessons so his vocab will increase and they also help him along during the day too.  He has made friends and is generally a very happy boy.

So far we are really really happy.

**It looks like a did get a fact or two wrong. Here is a comment that Dan left on Facebook for me:

You’ll have to pay for books every year. The school can charge an additional 1 time amount – depending on grade but with a cap set by the MoE – for extra activities (i.e. the annual trip.) The parent’s association may or may not ask for money at the start of the year but may ask for specific things – depends on the parents. The after-school is run by the municipality with no oversight from the MoE whatsoever. Education is from 3 and up in municipal schools although there are some schools in the city that are subsidized by the MoE and charge an extra fee and those any resident of the city can sign up for.

Go follow <Dan> on Twitter, he is funny and a font of information on Modi’in and living in Israel.  He also likes Star Wars so he gets extra points!