# Monday, 20 August 2012

The Smile Gemach Summer Holidays–A Pictorial Review

This year, the Smile Gemach headed north of the border for our summer holidays. We went to a family camp, that was housed in an agricultural college in a village called Ecclesmachen (or Ekkershmacher if you ask Simcha), just to the west of Edinburgh. Amazingly enough, we had gloriously hot, sunny weather for pretty much the whole holiday, and came back tanned. Well, some came back tanned, some came back pink, and some came back plain mucky, but we all changed colour!

This is a quick summary of the holiday in pictures. Due to some very boring, and obscure technical reason, the pictures shown below are not actually in chronological order, and are largely just cropped, rather than being lovingly touched-up (who says the camera never lies!).

Aryeh Yehuda does his impersonation of Eric Morecambe, whilst demonstrating is balancing skills on a post. If you are more interested in seeing Aryeh Yehuda demonstrate his skills at falling off things, keep reading :)

A beautiful sunny day on Musselburgh beach, or rather just off Musselburgh beach for these four. And yes, they got very wet by the end of it!

Chana Liba getting wet, and enjoying every moment of it. She didn't enjoy sitting in a wet patch in the car on the way home though!

Chaya Devoira was in the middle of solving some very high-level mathematical problem, when she was distracted by what she found at the bottom of her bucket (no, I'm not going to tell you what it was!). Her favourite activity in school is the sand pit, and so going to the beach was pure Heaven for her. She couldn't decide where to dig first, and spent most of her time shovelling spades-ful of sand from one part of the beach to another.

In his usual style, Aryeh Yehuda spent a good part of his time on the beach carving elaborate structures out of the sand. This one is a particularly accurate model of our old house. By the time we left the beach, he had carved out the back garden as well, including the succoh and the back steps! I didn't get a good photo of the final product, but you get get a good idea from this one.

Shayna Brocho doing her impersonation of Eric Morecambe. As you may have guessed, this is a popular thing to do in our family!

As promised, a photo of Aryeh Yehuda falling off something. He was doing a very good job of balancing on the rope, and I just managed to catch him in the process of toppling over backwards. B"H he regained his balance, and landed on the ground vertically, and without injury.

Simcha on a bridge. Not the best photograph of her, but a good summary of how she spent most of her holiday (laughing that is, not standing on a bridge in a pink coat!)

Chaya Devoira finds a particularly funny piece of sand.

Eliyohu laughs at some obscure and long-forgotten joke.

Somewhere in Scotland, there is a forest that is partially devastated by two little girls, who decided to go picking flowers. As you can see, Chana Liba was fairly enthusiastic in her picking, especially with the lengthy frond in her right hand, of which you can see just over half!

The Boss watches Simcha being a little more modest in her flower picking activities (this time at least).

No, I have no idea what she was doing, but she was happy!

Simcha wonders if she has enough to keep her amused in the car. What you can't see are the two plastic carrier bags, stuffed with other things by her feet!

Reminiscent of Shayna Brocho at the same age, Gittel absolutely refused to set foot on the sand, and spent her time on the Boss's knee. Here, Chaya Devoira joined her, and they held hands, singing. They do this quite a lot actually, it's very sweet!

Gittel looking as cute and radiant as ever.

Simcha finds a nice place to rest. Unfortunately (for her at least), her comfy bed was part of an obstacle course, which caused some problems when Chana Liba wanted to get past!

Chaya Devoira takes delight in spinning Shayna Brocho on some Medieval instrument of torture in a play park. You can just see Shayna Brocho's hand sticking up, as she desperately tries to grab on to something solid. Actually, she loved every moment of it, but that's beside the point!

At the entrance to Linlithgow Palace (birthplace, and country residence of Mary Queen of Scots), there were (and probably still are) some holes in the walls, where the guards would look out and defend the palace against intruders. Eliyohu tries out one of these holes for size.

Predictably, Chana Liba finds a small space, and squeezes herself into it. I'm sure that girl was a sardine in a previous incarnation!

Chana Liba swings Shayna Brocho in another play park. What you can't really see from this picture is that Chana Liba's feet are about a foot off the ground! You can see the rather surprised expression on her face though!

Chana Liba and Simcha show off the very latest in ear fashion!

We still don't know how he did it, but somehow, Aryeh Yehuda managed to ease Gittel onto the sand without her realising. She grabbed a spade and did a little digging, which she enjoyed until she realised where she was and rapidly shot back off to the safety of Aryeh Yehuda's arms! You can also see the pre-pink state of Aryeh Yehuda's knees in this picture. They were a rather brighter shade by the end of the day!

I took this shot of the sun behind a solitary cloud in the middle of the day, when it was very bright and warm. Due to the angle of the shot, the camera did a short exposure, making the sky look dark. I rather liked this one, even though it doesn't look a great deal like the real thing! If you look to the right of the sun, you can see an aeroplane that had recently taken off from Edinburgh airport.

Aryeh Yehuda holding Gittel.

The Boss in a frivolous mood!

We came home last night, very tired, but very happy. Actually, the Boss and I came home exhausted, and in need of a good rest, but that's pretty normal for a family holiday!

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# Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chaya Devoira banging a milk bottle

One of the children's breakfast time games is taking an empty milk bottle, placing the lid on gently and banging the bottle to make the lid fly up in the air. They then blow into the bottle to re-inflate it before repeating.

In this fascinating documentary, we are taken behind the scenes at Smile Gemach World Headquarters, and see Chaya Devoira banging the breakfast milk bottle...

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# Monday, 25 June 2012

Gittel walking in her new shoes

Gittel shows her prowess at walking on Monday 25th June '12, about two weeks after she took her first steps. Towards the end of the video, we see her in her new shoes, bought later that same day.

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# Monday, 06 February 2012

Chaya Devoira and Gittel in a washing basket

Having a cuddle in a washing basket (two actually, but who’s counting?), Chaya Devoira smothered Gittel with kisses and hugged her as usual!

Chaya Devoira and Gittel in a washing basket

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# Thursday, 19 January 2012

Yoel And Nechoma Bryna's Vort

Following on from the l’chaim we made following Nechoma Bryna’s engagement to Yoel, we had the tenoim the other night. I have posted some photos and a video of this event for those with nothing better to do.

In order not to make the main blog page really long, I added a separate page for the photos. There is also a link to a video you can download if you want to see the tenoim and plate-smashing live, as well as a long, drawn-out and unclear explanation of what tenoim are!

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# Thursday, 12 January 2012

Mazel tov Nechoma Bryna and Yoel

We are delighted to announce that Nechoma Bryna became a kallo early yesterday evening. The chosson is a wonderful young man called Yoel Josephson from Stamford Hill, and is currently learning in Mir yeshiva. We made a l’chaim last night, and are IY”H making a vort on Tuesday evening.

Nechoma Bryna and Yoel

And just to prove that no Jewish simcha is complete without a bit of cake, here is a picture of some cake, with Nechoma Bryna and Yoel in the background!

Nechoma Bryna and Yoel with some cake

Mazel tov chosson and kallo!

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# Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Gittel in a ball pool

A while back, we bought some play balls to make a ball pool for Chaya Devoira. As real ball pools are quite expensive (or so we thought at the time), we bought a small inflatable paddling pool to use instead.

Sadly, the paddling pool wasn’t very good, and deflated itself fairly quickly, leaving us without a ball pool. Still, the balls came into good use as we used to throw them at each other! This was one of the younger girls’ favourite pre-breakfast games, which usually ended up in “Let’s all pelt Daddy with balls” until the Boss came in told us to tidy up as it was time to get dressed!

Anyway, we recently discovered that Argos had some modestly priced ball pools, and so bought one of these as a replacement for the now-forgotten inflatable pool. This was a great success, mainly with Gittel. However, our 200 balls only covered the bottom of the pool, and didn’t really give enough depth for some serious play. So, we decided to invest in some more.

We proudly took possession of 300 more colourful plastic balls today, which almost filled the ball pool to the top. I plonked Gittel down into it, where she sank to her shoulders. However, she enjoyed it tremendously, and even managed to grin for the camera, whilst wearing Chaya Devoira’s new hat, which the Boss had decided to try on her to see how it fitted.

Gittel in a ball pool, wearing Chaya Devoira's new hat

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# Thursday, 01 December 2011

Major developmental milestones reached

We are proud to announce that both Chaya Devoira and Gittel have reached major milestones in their development.

Chaya Devoira has learnt to blow raspberries, and Gittel has learnt to suck her thumb!

We are proud Smile

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# Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Free program to search Chumash

Following on from the enormous success of my free fancy word program Loquacious (OK, so my brother liked it!), I have decided to release my Chumash Search program on the unsuspecting world. I wrote this some time ago, but never did much with it. Having been asked about it by a few people, I decided to release it.

Chumash Search

Full details of how to download, install and use the program can be found on the Chumash Search page.

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# Wednesday, 09 November 2011

Gittel giggling

Whilst the Boss was taking Gittel and Chana Liba upstairs to bed last night, Chana Liba started jumping around (nothing new there), which set Gittel giggling (nothing new there either). For some reason, Gittel started giggling even more than usual at Chana Liba, so I grabbed my camera, resulting in the following short video…

She was giggling a lot more than this, but she had calmed down somewhat by the time I managed to get the camera. Still, very cute all the same

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