Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Pictures! This time from the Carmel Mt. and Golan Heights

These pictures aren't fresh out of the oven, but I thought they were still worth sharing. The first set is of pictures taken last week, during a rainy day we had here. We traveled with our guest, Doris, to shop for souvenirs in the Druze village on the Carmel Mountain, Dalyat El Carmel. We also went up to the Carmelite Monastery there, where we encountered a magnificent full rainbow all over the valley!

Not easy to take good pictures of a rainbow! Trust me, it was very impressive.

We were standing on the roof of the Monastery, which is a great observation point, from which you can see all the way to Nazareth, Haifa and more, if the visibility is good. It was a rainy day though, but as you can see, Dan was making the most of it!

I thought this stature of Elijah the prophet looked quite impressive standing motionless in the wind -

A few days later, the weather cleared and we headed north on a sunny Saturday morning to visit the family (IsraeliDad's brother and his family) in the Golan Heights. For some reason, non-Israelis seem to have this image of the Golan Heights as a war zone. While it most certainly was a war zone in the past (well, during the wars, basically), it's actually probably one of the safest areas to tour in Israel. I couldn't resist taking a snapshot of the "Beware of the Mines" sign though :) Nothing to worry about, they're well fenced and aren't all over the place.

This is what the houses in the Kibbutz where our family lives look like. Charming and very peaceful -

A kibbutz is always a great place for kids to hang around. While we were having lunch at the communal dining room, Ron and Dan were just having fun checking the local insects or something.

The good thing about these trips this time of the year as that as soon as we hit the road going back home, the two rascals fall asleep in the car:

And before we part... a major event here this week - Ron lost his firth baby tooth! Congratulations, Sweetie, you're growing up!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Visit to Jerusalem - The Movie

I said I'd post the movie clips I took when visiting Jerusalem last week, so here goes. This is just a quick edit job I did, nothing fancy. Comments are welcome, good or bad, I'm curious to see what people think of this format.

The "movie" depicts parts of our visit to Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where according to tradition, Jesus Christ was laid to rest and was buried.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pictures from Jerusalem

Finally downloaded the pictures from our visit to Jerusalem on Sunday, with Budd and Doris. Some nice pictures, I think, so sharing them here today. Be warned - picture heavy post today. My apologies to those on dial-up!

We started our tour with a panoramic view over the Old City from the observation point at "Armon Ha'Natziv". Check out the golden mosque in the middle - that's the Dome of the Rock.

Another part of Jerusalem from the same place:

IsraeliDad and myself posing ;)

The view from another place, where you can see the desert of Judea (the Dead Sea is in that direction as well)

We visited the Wailing Wall, and this is what it looks like from the women's side (women and men are separated when approaching the Wall.

Inside the Old city, walking in the alleys of the bazaar:

We walked to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where according to tradition, Jesus was laid to rest and buried. This is us talking at the entrance of the Church. Being a Sunday, the place was full of people, especially pilgrims.

We joined a line of pilgrims inside to see the Tomb of Christ. We had to stand in the line for almost an hour, and eventually Doris and myself entered and were lead by one of the priest into this tiny room. This is what the entrance to the room looks like -

You have to really mind your head as you have to bend over to get inside. Once inside, most people get down to their knees anyway (although I had no problem standing up inside and I'm 5'11''). Inside you have a small space, which you share with 4-5 other people who were let inside on the same round. There's a marble plate, with some candles and dozens of incense lamps hanging from above. Naturally, the people entering are extremely moved. Watching these pilgrims lay their hands on the Tomb of Jesus was quite a sight. Here's a picture of the tomb itself:

I really loved the atmosphere of the church. Something very authentic and medieval about the place. Lots of incense and chanting all the time (it being Sunday afternoon, there were services performed by various Churches, one after the other). Here are a couple of pictures from the Church, where you can hopefully get a sense of the dark medieval feeling -

If you look closely, the monks there are actually carrying light bulbs... so much for medieval authenticity ;)

Outside the church, we strolled through the market some more. It was so colorful and the visuals so enticing, I can't help but share a few pics here:

By the time we walked out of the Old City it was getting dark. I managed to take this pretty picture of the Walls of the City and the Tower of David -

We ended up walking through this lovely arcade, filled with very modern shop, back to the car and back home:

Whew, lots of pictures! If you made it so far, wait for the next post where I plan on sharing a clip or two from our day in Jerusalem. I took some nice movies, inside the church too, where you can hear the chanting and get some more visuals.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Dan!

Our Dan turned 4 and we threw him a little family party here on Saturday. Finally downloaded the pics, and thought I'd share them here. We had brunch on the patio, with about 20 family members and close friends, including two guests from the US, the lovely Budd and Doris.

Some of the guests out in the patio. Note the glorious weather we had (unlike the rain today). That's my mom giving my younger brother a back rub there.

Dan, the birthday boy, checking out the gifts. He got tons of very cool stuff, covering every super hero out there including Sonic the Hedgehog (a favorite of his).

My mom made him a collection of toy cars and dinosaurs, all in a large box with a hole cut into it. He had to keep reaching with his hand inside and took out more and more toys. Both boys loved it, as you can see ;)

As per the birthday boy's request, IsraeliDad made him a cake with Tails on it (Tails is another character from his favorite tv show - Sonic the Hedgehog...):

The small buffet, which included my famous spinach and broccoli quiche, potato salad, artichoke salad, local pastries called bourekas (filled with potato mash), cheeses and specialty breads, vine leaves filled with rice, a big green salad and a plate of vegetable sticks... Later on, another huge salad and a pot of stew were added as well. Yup... way too much food!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our New Lawn

We've put in a new lawn a few weeks ago, and finally we're allowed to actually step on it! Thought I'd share a few pictures here :)

Doesn't look like a very large lawn there, I know lol. It really isn't a big lawn, but it is a bit larger than that patch on the other sides ;) I just really liked the pics because the kids were so excited about mowing the grass. So, here's a better view of the house and lawn -

I think the green really adds. Makes the house look very "suburban" to me, if that makes sense. Not a bad thing either... Feeling quite suburban this week anyway, lots of work, taking care of the kids, nothing very exciting happening...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Out with the Kids

Not a long post today, just sharing a couple of videos from our digital camera. Out on the town with the kids.

First one was taken on Thursday. We went to Netanya, where my mom lives, to watch the fireworks. The fireworks show was this publicity stunt pulled by a major cell phone company in Israel in honor of their 3 millionth customer. They said they would "light up" the sky all over Israel, in cities and towns across the country at exactly the same time. Our kids absolutely love fireworks, so we decided to go. Just before the fireworks began, we strolled in the park and watched some roller skaters.

The second video is mostly for Hebrew speakers. It's about a minute long interview with Ron and Dan, over a kiddie airplane at the mall. Dan there is explaining how they're flying to Africa to save the eskimoes (yes, he means the Inuits, still using the non-PC terms here...). Ron is talking about the problem with fuel and they both end up parachuting out of the plane.