Believe it, or not, I had my kids pack for both our Eilat trip and our Pesach vacation several days BEFORE our Eilat trip! I had the kids pack:
1. a bag for Eilat
2. a bag for the first and last days of Pesach
3. a bag for camping/the juggling convention
I also had them pull out all our camping and juggling equipment, including what we borrowed from friends.
I wanted to make sure we left on time and had everything we needed. And that preparation for our vacations created as little stress as possible.
This might be the first (and only) time I have ever been so put-together!
We came home for Shabbat HaGadol, so that we would have time to rest and recover from Eilat, before heading out for Pesach. We also needed to do a bit of laundry so that we all would have what we needed for both trips.
Several weeks in advance, I arranged to spend Shabbat HaGadol lunch at our friends, R&AD. The day before we left, a good friend, CV, offered to cook us chicken soup, with chicken, for Friday night dinner. So, in besides making rice and defrosting a few additional leftovers, I had plenty of time to rested on Friday. Even so, I slept most of Shabbat!
On Sunday, I finished up the laundry and all our packing. Sunday night we did a very focused "bedikat hametz." Monday morning, we let the kids "sleep in."
My one oversight was that I forgot that we would need kosher l'Pesach (yes, the proper pronunciation is kosher l'Fesach) food for the kids on Monday. When we realized the kids had nothing to eat, we sent them out to buy some basics. Unfortunately, by that time, the mini-markets were all closed. The kids managed to purchase some potato chips at a nearby kiosk and we opened a jar of gefilte fish. It was not great, but it was enough.
After they ate, we all showered. Then we packed the trunk with the bags we would not need until Chol HaMoed, and piled the rest of our bags in the back seat, over and under our kids. I also squeezed several items under my legs and held several bags on my lap. Somehow we managed. The kids were AMAZINGLY cooperative, especially considering how we packed them in like sardines!
We arrived at my Rav's home, over an hour before hadlakat neirot (candle lighting) -- that is unheard of, for us! I even had a chance to nap before Seder!! (I really needed it!!)
The plan was to head up north right after Yom Tov, but Moshe forgot an essential item at home. so, we had to go back. It turns out that the kids and I had also left behind several non-essential items that we were very happy to pick up. So, it was a gam zu l'tovah ("all for the best") situation.
Nevertheless, it did mean that, once again, we left an hour later than we had planned.
Luckily, the ride to Sde Eliyahu only took an hour and a half to two hours.
It was a fun ride. We talked and laughed and listened to music. Everyone was in a good mood after Chag.
We arrived at Sde Eliyahu around midnight. Within minutes, we were all in PJs, and in bed!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,