Here we are about to set out on our first trip with everyone in our family in over three years – leaving for Beersheva in southern Israel. It was so nice to be in a van with all of us at one time! The only other time we all traveled together since being in Israel was coming home from the airport when we moved here, and then we were in two different vans.
It wasn’t long after setting out that we made the first bathroom stop at a gas station. Ds8 below happy to run back to the van and continue on our way.
Unloading our luggage when we got to the hotel.
We were lucky to get a room on the first floor, which was actually the third floor of the hotel since the lobby and dining room are the first two floors. This was important for us since we didn’t use the Shabbos elevator – the older couple who checked in before us also didn’t use the Shabbos elevator, and it took a while until they had their rooms on the 12th floor switched to something lower.
The hotel we stayed at – isn’t the sky in Israel incredibly beautiful?
When we got there, our rooms weren’t ready. It took over an hour and a half until we got the keys, but fortunately in the courtyard of the lobby there were two of these jumpy things. Since it was the heat of the day, no one else was there and our family enjoyed horsing around together for a bit before coming inside to cool off.
We finally went upstairs and everyone enjoyed checking out our rooms. While the younger boys were in the middle of getting dressed for the Pesach seder, dd19 introduced a gift she brought them from the US – a Pesach themed punching bag featuring Pharoah.
The night after the first day of Pesach, there was a magic show that fascinated us all. At the end ds6 enjoyed seeing the disappearing doves up close and personal.
A few hours after we arrrived at the hotel, there was a knock at the door. When dh opened it, he was surprised to be greeted with a pile of wrapped presents! The friend who had organized us going to the hotel had called the organizer of the Pesach group and asked her to select some Pesach gifts for our kids. When I woke up from my nap and dh told me about this, I had such an incredible feeling of being loved and nurtured in every aspect of this trip.
I didn’t give them to the kids or even mention them until a couple of days later – I wanted them to have a chance to fully appreciate the hotel experience which was in and of itself a huge gift, before being given anything else. Two days later was a nice time to bring them out – they were all well chosen and got lots of use during our stay.
Ds4 opening La Cucaracha board game with ds15 and ds20 looking on. I have a serious aversion to the word ‘cockroach’ and planned to exchange this just because of that but one child didn’t realize it and took off the shrink wrap. It turned out to be a great game and I’ve mostly gotten used to hearing that word without grimacing.
(Ds4 is constantly misplacing his yarmulka. When he lost the two we brought for him, we got a white satin one with the hotel logo on it.)
Ds6 opening another game with ds4, ds11 and ds20 watching.
Older brothers getting in on the fun, too!
Playing a board game together in the lobby – ds15, ds11, dd17, dd13.
In the courtyard of the hotel there was a ping pong table in addition to the jumping things above. (By the way, these jumpy things were a source of lots of late night fun for the older kids, when no one else was there and they had some serious races up, down, around…) Some of my kids got drastically better at ping pong during our stay! Family ping pong below with dh, ds20, ds11, ds15 and dd17.
One day dh took the kids to a park in walking distance from the hotel. All the kids together in the picture below.
Yirmiyahu, 22 months.
Ds15 and ds6 enjoying a brotherly moment.
We had one trip during Pesach – we went to Beer Avraham, Abraham’s Well. This was a great outing that all of us enjoyed, from the youngest to the oldest. It was historical and interesting and fun. This is something I love about Israel, that there is so much biblical history and you can go to an exhibit organized and run by outwardly secular Jews, and they’re quoting the Tanach/Bible.
Below, dh with ds11, dd13, ds8, dd17 below the large wall of Biblical quotes about Avraham and the well he dug in Beersheva.
We watched a very well-done film about Avraham and the well in biblical times and then went outside to see the well. Below, ds8 waiting for film to start and dh with Yirmi outside listening to guide explain history of Avraham’s well.
Outside of the building is a huge and very old tree that was left in place since it’s similar in concept to the eshel tree Avraham had outside his tent. We had a picnic sitting on the steps near it. Below, me with all of the kids even though you can’t see the faces of three of them.
Since I need to stay out of the sun, I went back to the hotel with Yirmi, ds4, ds6 and ds11 who were tired, and dh headed with the other kids to walk through the Old City of Beersheva.
I had intially thought that the kids would swim twice a day and during our week at the hotel the younger ones would have a chance to learn to swim but that wasn’t possible. But they had a great time both times that they went to the pool! Below, ds8, ds4 and ds22 months.
Family photo from Pesach 2014! I just showed this to dd13 and she said – in all seriousness – “It doesn’t look like so many people, it’s kind of wimpy!” Hmm, not so sure that’s what most people would be saying when they look at it.
We had a wonderful time and are so, so grateful that we had the opportunity to go away! It was very special.