August 22, 2012

Monday Madness

So you know how sometimes you have a regular day and then something extraordinary happens? This was our Monday. 
It started out like every other Monday, we stayed at home lazying around because that's what we do on Mondays. Around 11 in the morning, while Ron and I were very busy playing Mario Kart (Ron kicks my ass every time...) when suddenly my phone rings and Hidai's first words are -Stop everything you are doing... Ron is going to the match today.
The match on Monday was the Arsenal Under 21's first match of the season and one of the only 2 matches they have in the Emirates Stadium this year. A couple of weeks ago the Junior Gunners opened a ruffle to win a chance to escort the players to the pitch and naturally I entered Ron's name, but when we didn't hear anything I assumed we lost (as usual). Which we did.
But someone cancelled at the last moment, and they called Hidai to see if we can make it on such a short notice.
What do you think he said?
The match was due to start at 7, and we were supposed to get to the security entrance at 6, so of course we ended up running all the way to the stadium and were the last to get there... 
After Ron went inside (without us, and worried because they said bring your bag with you, but he did not have a bag), we went to the regular entrance. Hidai got his ticket for free, with Ron, but Yon and I had to buy ours (4 pounds for mine and 2 for Yons). It was Yon and mine first time inside the stadium so it took us a little while to get used to it... Unlike a usual match, there weren't assigned seats so we chose the fourth row in the middle, and waited for Ron...
Apparently the idea was for 12 kids to stand at the entrance to the players tunnel with flags and be a Guard of Honour for the players when they come out of the tunnel, so it was really hard to see him and take photos of him...
After the match started Hidai went to bring Ron back to watch the match with us, and so we watched the match from really up close, hoped to catch a stray ball (none flew our way), ate Pringles and enjoyed watching the team win 3:1.
Even Yon behaved most of the time :)
And to conclude this enormous experience for Ron 2 more things happened - he got to meet Arsène Wenger while waiting to go out to the pitch (a dream comes true for him),
and today we found out that there was a photographer there and Ron got 3 professional photos taken of him, and they are on the Arsenal website! 
Here is a link to the Junior Gunner site - (Ron is in photos 1-3).
From the JG site

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August 21, 2012

Weekend in the Sun

I've been sitting here awhile now trying to figure out how to start this post. I was supposed to take the kids out for some errands and their beloved Starbucks chocolate muffin this morning, but they informed me they prefer to stay at home and play "Buffaloes and Rhinos"  and have now apparently closed the door to their room...
As it turned out I don't complain nearly enough in this Blog (feedback from the last post) so I am going to do nothing but complain from now on, so that everyone will know how hard it is to be me...
Okay, so not really, life really isn't that bad and after I will finish writing about the last few days you won't believe me anyway, so let me just say this - I have both my kids at home, with me, all the time, for every activity, and every hour of every day, for the last 2 months and I have 2 more weeks to go. Oh, and they are judgemental. And opinionated. I don't know where they get that from, but they keep telling me what to do. It's like having 2 little bosses that follow you to the bathroom and keeps telling you what you are doing wrong...
The good thing about this I think is that when the time comes to start school in a whole new place with new people, new rules and new expectations of them, they will be so happy to get rid of me that they won't care about any of the scary stuff. I, on the other hand, will get to go have my hair cut for the first time in...
One of our main problems with going out with the kids is the fact that there are 2 of them. They are different in age and taste, while Ron wants football related things but is willing to tolerate other places of interest, Yon is still young and is not used to London life and the whole stay close to me, sit quietly on the bus, you can't run here thing. Life in Gibraltar were a lot easier in that regard... He is such a nature loving child, all he wants is to run around, play in the grass and feed his imaginary animals. So it is very hard to find places both of them will enjoy...
On Friday the sun was shining and I was trying to mark the beginning of the weekend in a fun outing, so we tried the Tower Bridge Exhibition tour because a) it's cool, b) it's a closed environment so that Yon can run around relatively free, c) Ron thought it was a great place to visit. We picked up Hidai at work and took a taxi to the bridge since it's quite inconvenient to get there with public transport and also because they close at 6:00 p.m. and the last entrance is at 5:30. You get to walk around inside the bridge, which is really cool and to see lots of pictures of famous bridges and Olympic cities (and connect them to famous football players from the same cities). You can also see a great view of the city, but unfortunately the windows were too high for Yon, who did have fun running around and also they are very good with kids there, the people working there were all so nice and helpful with the kids, they have pages with stickers, questions, throwing hoops, answering questions, and medals (they were out of gold medals, so they gave the kids the silver and the bronzed ones). The last part was the engine room with the big steam engine and the gift shop with all the really cool things we did not buy (okay I did get Ron some pencils with the tube map on them, but they are mostly for me as he already forgot about them). That's were the evening got a bit muddy, we were hungry and thirsty and a bit lost and tired so it took us awhile to find our way back from the fiasco part of the outing, to Pizza Express where the menu was nowhere close to the one in Gib, and we ate half of what we ordered (as usual) and took a taxi home watching all the young professionals enjoy their Friday evening out.
Saturday was the first match of the season for Arsenal, and Hidai & Ron had tickets (of course), so the plan was that Hidai will take the kids to the park in the morning while I stay at home (alone!) resting my knee and after that we will eat lunch (traditional for Saturday - fries and sausages) and all go together to see the ambiance before the match, leave Hidai & Ron at the stadium and go home with Yon. It all went really well actually (surprisingly even), and it's a gorgeous thing to see, the streets of Highbury turns red and white, everyone has on their shirts (there were no van Persie or Song ones), there are lots of food and memorabilia vendors, everyone was so excited and happy, and Yon got plenty of pats on the head because he looked super cute in Ron's old Arsenal shirt (a huge thank you to Uri for buying us one every year since Ron was 3). Ron and Hidai had a great time at the match (well except for the fact that we didn't actually win the match), and Yon and I got to see a policeman on a horse and hear all the noise from the stadium. It is crazy, because the windows were open we could hear the music, the announcements and of course every time the crowd did a collective "AHHHHHHHHHH". I know it should annoy me, but it really didn't. I found it so.... Fun I guess. And I'm sure with the windows closed you hear a lot less. But seeing as to how we are living in the old stadium, I think it's only fitting that we get to hear them play :).
On Sunday, which was very sunny indeed, I reached the sad conclusion that I finished all my unwatched TV from the last couple of months, and that if I will stay in bed for one more day I will become a grumpy troll, so we decided on a change in strategy - just walk the streets of London instead of organized activities we went for organized stops -  Starbucks and Mcdonald's (or Pret because Yon likes their sandwiches) and everything else is left unstructured. So we started in Covent Garden Market and of course discovered that there is also a Food Network Cooking show there, We stopped at some stores and introduced Yon to the "see more stuff" concept in which he gets to touch almost anything in the store and we get to not buy it for him :), then bought a cooking apron for me, since Hidai is fed up with me ruining all my clothes when I bake and also, the aprons were really cool, the salesman was really nice to Yon who insisted on reorganizing his chairs all the time, and Ron saw one that said something about forget the cooking lets go straight for the sex (not a direct quote) so naturally he asked me what sex means. Avery good question. Go ask your dad... He did and got an answer that did not include the make babies part... So from there we went straight to Starbucks and drank the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappucino. Drink it. Seriously.
After we recirculated enough from the impromptu sex ed. lesson we continued through the market which is one of the only things that both kids loves. Markets. They are definitely NOT related to me.   From there we made our way slowly to Leicester Square and stopped for some imaginary animals time at the garden, until it started raining, so naturally we ran to the M&M shop, another of Yon's favourites, and decided to pop into the Rainforest Cafe instead of McDonald's. The store itself is so lovely! Yon thought he died and gone to heaven, he got so excited he didn't know where to look first, what to do, where to go... So we went downstairs to the restaurant itself, but it was a disaster... First of all the noise level in that place is out of this world, second of all the people dressed as animals scared Yon, and third, the menu is disastrous. I don't understand why everything has to have a weird name, and weirder ingredients...  It's food for kids for god sake. Now I know mine are particular about their food, but still, why is there no simple pizza, or pasta, or nuggets and chips... So eventually we left, crosed the road and... Ate at McDonald's :).
Yon did not forgive us for taking him outside and is still asking for "more stuff" :)
Just to finish our weekend and this post - you know how I love my Domino's Pizza right? So on Sunday evening my knee was killing me, I was feeling blue and also we really wanted to, so we decided on pizza. But we were very adventurous and tried Papa John's. What can I say? The site is terrible, we got the confirmation mail after we finished eating the pizza. But the pizza? OMG Ron even said - better then Domino's... And that is not something to be taken lightly in our house :)

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August 16, 2012

Stay at home and hide under the covers... Or not

Well, I am slipping again aren't I? It's only the beginning and already it's 2 weeks without posts... Sorry everyone, but I've been unable to write (physically) and the time did not wait for me to feel better :).
I am better now (hopefully) and my hand is back to normal (damn joints) and writing is once again possible!
The last 2 weeks saw the end of our unpacking period and the beginning of the settling down period. It's like the middle part of the beginning, and for me it's the hardest part. It's the part in which the "life and death" feeling that surround you at the very beginning vanished, leaving you with the "what the hell am I doing here?!" feeling... It's the part where everyone wants to know how are you enjoying life, especially in London, and you just don't. Not really. It's the part in which not knowing fills the biggest segments of your day - not knowing where to go, what to do, what to buy, what to do with the kids, with your time, etc.
And mainly it's the time in which you have to take action. And I don't like taking actions. I have reservations. And fears. And abnormalities. I hate meeting new people, I am not good in groups, I do not like going to places I don't know, I hate overcrowded places. I don't especially like tourists. Or buses. Or the Tube.
But this is where I am now. In the city of overcrowded touristy places where every time I go somewhere one of the people working there asks me if everything is ok.
No it is not, thanks for asking.
So of course the right thing was to stay at home, close the blinds and drink some hot coco (what IS going on with this poor excuse for a summer anyway?).
Almost what we did. Not quite but almost (ok, not even close):
1. Met Ev's aunty Jo, her husband Adrian, and their 2 boys that are in somewhat similar ages to Ron and Yon. Ok, so you know those abnormalities? We (I not we) have to give people nicknames (it's a disease according to Hidai, not an abnormality), so around here they are collectively known as Aunty Jo. It took me a few days to make sure Ron won't call her aunty by mistake, only Jo. He didn't call her anything in the end as he was too busy playing :). They invited us for dinner (is it called tea here? I thought I heard someone say that), a very important event since apart from Uri & Ev they are our closest family here, and they also live 2 streets from us... And a very stressful one as Uri (are you reading this Uri?) was under the impression that we will embarrass him. US? really? We did try our best to behave as the most uncivilized Israelis as we could, but they liked us anyway :) and I know that for a fact because not only did we exchange phones and mails (ok, obviously only Hidai did that. Really, how long do you know me for?), but they invited us for a play date that same Sunday, that went beautifully and closed with a shared pizza for dinner in the pizzeria next to our homes (in which they paid for us because I only took 10 pounds when I left the house for coffee and cakes at the park...)...
2. Went to the Gym. To do group Pilates. 4 times. Each time it's a different instructor and a different group. It's been great until I broke, and now I have to take some time off of all exercise until I am whole again. The problem is that it is not a real Pilates studio so the instructors are not real Pilates teachers but people that come from many different disciplines like Yoga or dance, so they put less of an emphasis on fixing problems and correct breathing (the fundamentals of Pilates) and more emphasis on exercise) so when your joints, back and knees are not ideal (like me) you have to be very careful in what and how you do. But they are really nice, and the gym is better than I thought (again with the reservations. Don't like gyms), so I will go back when I feel better (hopefully next week).
anyway, if you care, this is our gym -
3. Went to an Arsenal Stadium Tour. Seriously, it was magnificent, and if you're in London, that is definitely something you don't want to miss (especially since if you are in London you are probably visiting me and it's a 10 minutes walk :) ).  This is the link to the tour -
We didn't do the big fancy "legend tour" first of all because it was book solid until September, and second because we don't know anyone of them. The regular tour includes a recording that explains everything and also some video clips so it was great for us, except for Yon who misbehaved through the whole day and even broke his headphones :(. Nevertheless we tried to not let one Yon ruin everyone else's fun and we got to see all the places you will never get to see unless Ron actually goes to play for them when he grows up - the manager's chair, the players benches and dressing room, the director's box, the press room etc. It was really great, Ron (and Hidai) enjoyed themselves very very much, we took plenty of photos and finished in a pouring rain with a very delicious and nutritious meal of Tesco sandwiches (actually, because Yon was behaving badly, he wanted everything I was eating and not his food, so we got him to eat an egg sandwich, a real success as usually he's all "I don't like eggs / vegetables/ fruits, etc.").
You can see some of the photos on Facebook (trust me, it's definitely some and not all).
4. Gave Yon a haircut. It's a form of torture and punishment both to him and for us. Always a delight Yon. I really don't know how he came to be known as The Monster.
5. Found a GP (a doctor). We waited because I thought we needed the social insurance numbers, but it turned out we don't. We did need the council tax bill though, so after we got everything we went to the NHS website and permanently today you can actually read and write ratings of your GP.
We have 2 clinics in Highbury, and we chose The Miller Practice (, which was the one Jo recommended and got the best ratings. They were very helpful and after we finished filling the 10,000 forms needed (I especially liked the one asking how much Ron has to drink everyday), we booked an appointment because we need to get Yon back into regular eye checks and to do that we have to go through the GP (on a side note, I was very surprised that there are no paediatricians in the UK but kids go to the same GP as adults.), the doctor we saw on Monday was so very young and had just joined the practice herself, but she did say she will refer us and we should get a letter with an appointment from the eye hospital in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully she is right because we really need to change Yon's glasses as they are 1 year old and are too small for him,, but we can't do it without a prescription from a London doctor, and our GP can't give us one...
6. Found a cleaning lady. It is a very important thing, a cleaning lady. Especially now, with the kids at home, Hidai working long(er) hours and me being broken, the house looked... Well, let's stay with bad. So we turned to our go-to guy Julio, who is actually a part of the complex's cleaning crew and the guy we gave all the things that we didn't need here to, and asked him if he knows someone, and so we got Gloria, who speak almost only Spanish. Seriously. But she cleans soooo well, and now we set a time and day for a weekly clean (hopefully next week she will not be an hour late though), and I have a clean house. 2 problems with this house - it has a wall of windows, and I am very sensitive to my windows, and it accumulates dust like you wouldn't believe, and Hidai is sensitive to dust. So big problems. But now we have Gloria, and I can try and remember my Spanish lessons, few as they were...
7. Went to London Eye. On Friday I had so much guilt over the fact that I am neglecting my kids that even the fact that Jewish people thrive on guilt couldn't counter it, and I decided to "kidnap" Hidai from work, and take him and the kids to the London Eye. I cleared it with Hidai first (very spontaneous of me) and ordered tickets in advance, including paying a bit more for the fast track, and off we went. It is still crazy for me that you take the bus and after a few minutes you are in London. Tourist London, where you can get Starbucks, and see the palace, and shop... Actual London... It was a VERY wise decision to book the fast track tickets as there were so many people there! and the fast track lets you skip the whole queue and go straight inside. Well worth the extra money, especially we don't like to wait (another one of those charming oddities. Yes I decided abnormalities doesn't have the same ring to them as oddities), if you've never been to the London Eye, then go it's really cool. The only thing is - look at the map they give you. Otherwise you. like us. will probably only recognise the Big Ben :). And second, you get on and off the bubble (is that the correct term? I am not sure) while it's still moving, because it never stops... It doesn't move quickly at all, just good to be prepared to things like that... The ride itself is really nice, you almost don't feel like you're moving at all so it's not scary being so high, and when you go make sure you have clear skies.  Anyway this is their website -
After that we went on a stroll toward Waterloo Station on the south bank, and we ate at Giraffe restaurant, which is known for being family and kids friendly, but the truth was they weren't and the food was too much - too spicy, too greasy, too un-kid friendly. The desert was good though :).
8. Went to the Olympics. Well, actually, we wanted to see the Queen's horses, but when we went out of the Tube on Green Park, we literally fell on the 5,000 run-walk (or something like that) at the Mall, so we stayed :). I think we are the only people that got to the Olympics by mistake, but I have to admit in the end it was so much fun, and we got to see the contestants really up close (we are Israelis after all, and if we're there...) and Yon got to enjoy himself at Green Park (he is such a nature loving child, I don't know where he got it from. Seriously I don't). After that we strolled along Piccadilly toward the square, passing some really nice buildings, mascots, museum, church fair (we did go inside, they had a fountain) and the Fortnum & Masons store (we did NOT go in), stopping at Starbucks (mandatory when you are out in London, and also if you register with them, they let you pay using your mobile!)  and of course finishing at McDonald's (again - mandatory).
9. Went to a tour of Buckingham Palace. It was gorgeous! Very recommended and also you get a return visit within a year of going for free. Yon of course was on his best behaviour mode (NOT) which meant he knocked down the rope, thank god not on the statue it stood in front of, and whined the whole way through. But if you go without a Yon, it is lovely and not very long, you get to see all the formal rooms, see a collection of the royal diamonds, try and snick-pick the queen (didn't see her), eat some very pricey but delicious royal cakes, buy way way overpriced royal merchandise (we bought royal chocolate naturally, to eat with the closing ceremony. It was heavenly) and take a tour through the gardens. Ron, I, and Hidai enjoyed it very much. It takes around 3 hours all together, and you can't take any photos and they actually make you shut the phone, so no pictures of the inside I'm afraid, but I will try and upload the Royal Weekend photos to Facebook today.
Anyway, this is the site, and of course - book in advance!
10. Went to M&M World store on Leicester Square. I took the kids there alone (damn guilt) and although it was nice, it wasn't as nice as I thought it would be, and we were only there for an hour or so, in which Yon disappeared twice so maybe that contribute to my not having so much fun... But even if you are going without a Yon, it is still a very large store that has 4 stories filled mostly with the same things, so the variety isn't that good. Ron bought an M&M football, and Yon a blue M&M soft toy, and of course we bought some M&Ms but keep in mind it's very overpriced... From there we went to Piccadilly through Trocadero Centre (lots of Japanese manga & anime stores, very good to the Super Mario lovers) and ate... At McDonald's :). The kids said they had fun.

So like I said at the start, stay at home and do nothing. That was the strategy. We have until the 5th of September before Ron starts school, and we got a letter saying Yon's house visit will be on the 7th and then we'll know his starting date, so it's still almost a month of kids at home... I like to finish on a positive note, so let's all pretend I just did.

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