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[personal profile] bearshorty
It has been 24 years today since we immigrated to the US from Belarus. We traveled in just one day - a very, very long day with the time change and getting up at 2am - but still it was better that 6 months some people had to do just a few years before. My parents, three of my grandparents and I took a four hour plane to Shannon, Ireland (my first plane ride ever), then spent four hours at the airport and then took a 6 hour plane to New York, where after going through an interview by immigration officials we got to meet my uncle at the gate who drove us to our new apartment in Brooklyn. Two of my grandparents (his parents) were in a different apartment. In honor of the day, my Dad and I would always get a little cake or something to celebrate, so today my parents, who came over so Bear and my Dad could drive to pick up our new air conditioner, got a cake too and some other tasty treats.

It is so nice outside - not super warm but getting warmer with clear light blue skies. I spent the morning at the playground with Tanya, first my myself and then Bear came and then my parents too. Just a nice relaxing day before I get the last batch of papers tomorrow and get ready to finish teaching.

I want to catch up a little bit on the last few weeks so I though I'll write about our holidays first. We celebrate both Passover and Easter so we had a full schedule last weekend.

Since first night of Passover and the Seder fell on a Monday night this year, I knew I couldn't exactly cook with going to work that day. So the day before I made a giant pot of mazza ball chicken soup and boiled some eggs to get some things prepared and did the very basic things on Monday night like opening a can of gifelte fish, doing a salad, making quick harroset and microwaving some potatoes. Our big Passover feast was on following Saturday anyway so I didn't feel that bad. I have my Passover Haggadah book which is very interactive for kids, so Tanya got to pull some tags to make birdheads make mazza and part the red sea, so mostly she just wanted to eat the boiled egg she saw on the table. I did put together a passover plate and mazza and did a short version of the toddler before she got too hungry. But we ate the soup, which came out yummy, had lots of food otherwise.

Our big celebration has been the friend one that I've been organizing for at least the last twelve years on the Saturday of the Passover week. This year it was just Marianna and her family and us and we went to Queens to Marianna's place since she has a big table and we usually gather there. It was Janna's birthday so she had plans and Yeva didn't really want to come since she didn't want to cook or hang out with so many kids (Galya is 5, Tanya and Ida are 2.5 and Mozen is 6 months). So I just split the shopping list between us and Bear got pretty much everything the night before.

My Dad was supposed to get kosher for Passover desert at Costco that week (I don't eat anything with flour or rice or oatmeal or corn on Passover) but it was all cleared out already, so I asked Bear to get me bittersweet chocolate chips and on Saturday morning I made flourless chocolate cake. I had some Dutch cocoa powder from Aruba from which I usually make hot chocolate, so I used that, and it gave it a good flavor. It was my first time making it but it came out alright and everything seemed to like it at the party. All the kids, except the baby, had some and liked it so that's a good sign. (I've been watching "The Great British Bake Off on Netflix lately, so baking feels a bit strange, if that is the right word.)

On Saturday, I had to go to the doctor's appointment at 11:30. My parents were supposed to come over to watch Tanya while Bear and I went, but my Mom couldn't, only my Dad drove over to take me which Bear fed Tanya and got her ready. Everything went well, I got a cute sonogram photos to show everyone, came home, ate lunch, got everyone packed (we were going straight to Bear's parents after so I needed to pack overnight stuff) and off we went.

We took a different route and it actually only took up 40 minutes to drive to Queens but Tanya fell asleep in the car to my surprise. I was expecting her to skip her nap so we were very happy she got to sleep a bit. We find parking pretty fast (parking in that area is not easy) and just sat in the car for maybe 30 minutes with windows cracked while she finished napping. Bear napped a bit too. And I got to relax a bit which was needed since with a lot of logistics over the weekend and grading I still had to do, I was getting stressed out. That little breather was actually perfect.

Once we got to Marianna's, Marianna and I got to cooking, while the boys took all three girls outside after their snack, giving us nice and quiet time (Mozen is a very happy quiet baby) to cook and chat and just hang out and it was very very lovely. We made another big pot of chicken mazza ball soup, with slightly more veggies, oven baked chicken pieces and oven roasted zucchini, big bowl of fresh salad with grape tomatoes, boiled potatoes with onion and mushrooms, harroset, boiled eggs and I did a Passover plate and later Adama made plantains too to go with fruit and cake. I was very stuffed. We did the Seder again and Galya was riveted by the story of Moses. It was lots of fun and just generally great. Tanya had a great time playing with Galya and Ida and it was fun to see the girls sitting at the big table, drinking juice and eating eggs and food. Although, as usual Tanya didn't want to try the mazza ball and had to be bribed with cartoons to eat some chicken. She's not a big eater unlike Ida who just munched on everything. (They are the same exact age, born two days apart). We left after 8pm to drive about an hour to Long Island to Bear's parents.

And on Sunday we did Easter at Bear's parents. It was low key, just family. I made Tanya some soup and got to grade some papers, but I did do the Easter basket hunt with Tanya and opened some little presents. But she mostly wanted to play with Aunt Carrie, Bear's sister. In the afternoon, while she napped, Bear and his Dad put together the backyard swing set they got, which includes two swings and a bar. It took them maybe three hours to put together but Tanya was very delighted to go swinging there. During the summers we figure Bear can take her to visit some weekends for a day, just the two of them, and that way we can play in the backyard with the swings and the sandbox they set up last year.

We had a big Easter dinner too with pot roast and mashed potatoes and veggies (Bear's Mom makes sure the food is Passover friendly for me). And there was flourless chocolate cake and flourless cheesecake as well with fruit, so lots and lots of food. I was really, really stuffed last weekend. So another good day. We left by 8:30 but got stuck in giant traffic and it took us almost two hours to get back. We even avoided some traffic with the help of Waze so it wasn't as frustrating as it could be but still very annoying. Tanya fell asleep in the car by 10pm, woke up briefly as Bear carried her up to the apartment and I just put her to bed quickly. Wonderful holidays this year and it was nice to see people after so long without really socializing on my part.

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August 2017

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