Monday, October 21, 2019

Israel Anniversary Trip 2019!! - Jaffa the Pre-Show

(This is mainly for me to remember our trip, so just ignore useless details.)
May 3rd 
We flew to Heathrow, Britain! I had Italian sausage on the plane for dinner and for breakfast had yogurt and a breakfast bar. Everyone else took drugs and slept great. I watched lots of movies and did not.  
May 4th
When we landed we found a bus bound for Oxford. The Durrs stayed in London to visit friends. We walked to St. Mary's Cathedral and had egg souffle, a blueberry roll and I shared a pot of tea with Niki. We strolled around the town and visited the botanical gardens and saw beautiful stick sculptures and huge greenhouses. We found The Eagle and Child, Tolkein and CS Lewis's Inklings hang out pub, and crammed our luggage into a tiny room with the six of us and had drinks. The boys had lots. I think Erik had about 7 ciders. After walking around a bit more, we went to a restaurant and I had sausage and mashed potatoes. While we took a bus back to the airport, Peter rode with a Turkish coffee in his hand and fell asleep. When we arrived at the airport the coffee grounds were all over his pants and the seat looked like he had a major accident! We couldn't stop laughing! We were interviewed at the Israeli airline terminal and questioned heavily about our intentions, but we finally got onto the plane and flew into Tel Aviv.

May 5th 
Upon landing, Jer and Peter rented two cars and without wasting any time, we made plans to drive the four-hour trek south all the way to the Red Sea! We stopped along the way a couple of times, for breakfast at a gas station - which was actually good! I had a tuna omelet. Weird, but good. We got pictures of an amazing view of the Negev desert before we drove down into it. We stopped at an interesting spice route/how to live in the desert/nice bathrooms museum and watched an informative short film. We saw free-range camels. 
My favorite stop was a life-sized recreation of the Tabernacle. Our guide was super young, but we were very impressed with his knowledge! Everything was perfectly to scale.
In the same huge park as the Tabernacle, we braved the heat and climbed around Solomon's Pillars and some other impressive rock formations that served as a temple of old gods. Then continued our now longer journey south. We finally came to the Red Sea! We found a restaurant right on the water and had lunch. The boys rented us some snorkel gear and we snorkeled in the Red Sea! The water was cold, but Jer, who also doesn't like water did it, so I decided I'd try. I freaked out and couldn't breathe properly the first time, but I tried again when Cara changed her mind and went in and I actually saw lots of fish and an octopus! On the way back Cara and I slept as Peter and Erik drove the 4 hours back. He actually saw Gaza's rockets that they launched into Israel that night! We found our surprisingly spacious condo in Jaffa, took a shower then the girls went to bed while the boys all found a hooka bar.
May 6th
We didn't wake up until 1pm! Finally, we got out the door and walked all around Jaffa. We got a fruit smoothie (you get to pick all the fruit you want and they blend it up), baklava, samples of other sweet treats (except no one would give Jodi any samples!) and walked around flea markets. Peter bought me a colorful quilty skirt that I tried to heckle down from 100 shekels, but Peter in the middle of my heckling just gave him 75. We strolled along the beach promenade and up through the white stone pathways and found ourselves at Simon the Tanner's house! Then we wandered through gardens, had a small dinner at a Greek restaurant with an amazing Mediterranian view. We had bread, eggplant, and octopus so delicious it made Peter dance! We walked back to get some sesame, fudge-like candy called halvah and then wove our way through the town back to our condo. 
Everyone napped while Niki and I played banana grams. We left the condo again with a different feel in the air and soon realized after hearing much singing and chanting that it was the first day of Ramadan. Nighttime brought much celebrating among the Muslim men. We could see women and children peeking out from their mosque doors to watch while we walked to the Georgian restaurant next door. The food was different but yummy. We tried bread with egg and cheese and Peter danced with the waiter, but tragically ended up reinjuring his knee! I got some gelato from my smoothie stand, we watched the sunset and then headed to bed.
May 7th
Dr. Shakshuka's restaurant was only two blocks from our condo so we feasted on a large breakfast of salad, bread, the famous shakshuka dish with eggs, cake, lemonade, hummus, and tea. We walked to get my morning smoothie and then Peter rented the two of us electric scooters. This was one of the best things we did! We rode up the beach then back down to the Carmel St. market and meet up with the Wells, Ourys, and Durrs somehow. Between Jodi, Peter, and Cara I'm sure we tried all the fun foods, like dates, croissants, lobster tail, and Beduouine bread and of course samples. 
We witnessed the meat alley with it's amazing hanging cow tongues and a wagon full of raw chicken with birds on top. Still sellable? Colorful tables and tents full of fruit, candy or spices were so fun to look at. We rode back to the beach and had sodas in the sand and walked along the beach. We scootered to Rothschild street, the rich part of town, with a clever wide trail down the middle of the street filled with playgrounds, grassy areas and even coffee shops. We stopped for coffee and chai and then rode all the way back down the Mediterranean promenade and to the condo to play banana grams and wizard.

As we headed out to dinner, we realized that everything was very quiet. We found out that it was Israel's Day of Remembrance, Yom Hazikam, and everything closed at 7:00pm. So we found a place that had wraps and another that sold us naan type bread, but they wouldn't let us eat there so we brought it back to our condo and ate on the patio. At 8:00pm the air siren sounded and everyone, even the cars stopped and people got out and stood still for one whole minute. The TV showed pictures of Israeli soldiers who lost their lives. We played wizard and then went to bed. 
May 8th
Our last day in Jaffa. We woke up at 7:30am. I got dressed, had chai, did devotions on the swing on the back patio (This condo had patios on both sides, pretty nice.) then packed. We all went to breakfast and had fried eggs and toppings and sweet tea. Except for Jodi, who had gotten a pastry at a different place and they wouldn't let her in! I got my fruit smoothie from my new friends Salami and Akmed. We put our stuff in the car after an argument resolving session in our room and as we started driving the air siren went off again. This time we had to get out of the car and stand still. We drove to the Seasons hotel in Natanya. Jer and Peter took the rental cars back and caught a ride back to the hotel with the tour bus and our very sleepy church friends. While they were gone the rest of us ate at a restaurant across the street. I had a not good panini. Then we strolled along the beach and through a men's only area for traditional Jewish men and accidentally saw a naked man! We found a fun playground and animal statues to pose with. 
We welcomed Peter and Jeremiah and the rest of the tour bus when they arrived and then we headed to the beach after buying some snacks. Everyone except Jer and I, who both despise cold water, went swimming in the Mediterranean. We ate Phish food ice cream instead. Then they were all told to get out because of riptides. So it was a very quick swim. Cara found some unique fruit on the beach that we tried and it was good, but no one could tell us what it was. We went back to the hotel to nap and shower. Sitting by the window with an ocean view, we ate dinner at the hotel amongst a plethora of tour groups. Israel was celebrating it's Independence Day, Yom Haatzmaut with a giant street celebration in Natanya so we joined the party. Two different stages were set two blocks from our hotel. There was lots of dancing, singing, families, flags, light up toys. I got foam sprayed by a girl and then my eyes stung so bad I couldn't see anything walking back to the hotel. I washed them off and then we watched the fireworks from the Durrs hotel room.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

April 2019!

April 1 - Our time in Bend, OR.  (Kivi went on a different family's vacation.) Dada went skiing at Bachelor with Eben and Jasper and Mama did lots of little kids games, snacks, kid shows, baths and naps at the house and we went out for ice cream. A unique thing about this vacation is that Mama had all of the kids pack their clothes and ski clothes and then she forgot to put them in the van. So they only had the clothes that they wore on the drive. We tried to buy them some warm clothes at Walmart and Goodwill, but they only had summer clothes! We did find a ski suit for Berg/Opal and Jasper.
April 2 On our way home from Bend we got ourselves a membership to the High Desert Museum. It's cheaper for a family of our size to buy a membership anywhere than to just pay for a one day ticket for everyone!
April 3 - Jasper builds a floating hallway fort.
April 5 - Sand time for babies and resurrection roll making.
April 6 Passover at the Strongs. Jeremy led us in a real Seder! We've just done them ourselves before, not always correctly, but now we know, from our real Jewish friend how to pronounce things and how to actually do them. We also learned some fun, new Hebrew songs that the kids get to act out. Jasper found the Afikomen!
April 7 - Opal makes giant meringues. 
April 10 - Pella gets another verse pin in Awana for saying a huge chunk of scripture without any mistakes.
April 12 - At Co-op we learn about Uganda from the Ayer family.
April 14  - The first day of Holy Week! Nonnie and Poppie take the boys to the zoo.
April 15 - The big kids get to have a mock trial at the capitol building, while I took the littles and the Ayers to the children's museum. Sadly, Coal fell and got a gash in his head before we even went inside, but he was a trooper and played happily. Later that day our friend helped blast the rocks out of his head with syringes and glued it back together. Coal kept saying in his sweet voice, "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness." Then we opened our pre-Easter presents/outfits.
April 17 - Chuck E Cheese's is a great place to go on a Wednesday morning when everyone else is in school! We have the place to ourselves. That night was Giant Cookie night at Awana.
April 20 - Opal, Pella, Tuff and Swiggy go to a local church's egg hunt and get tons of candy.
April 21 - Ressurection Sunday!! We get dressed up, go to church, have our pictures taken, then play games, find our Easter baskets and many other presents, like new mattresses for some, and have a yummy linner while holding all the new babies!  He is Risen!

April 22 - Baby Hazel, our grand niece, is born! We get to see her in the hospital.
April 26 - Co-op at the Colombian Restaurant. We learn how to make empanadas and all about the country from the Bullocks. That evening we celebrate Berg's 9th birthday with a Mario Party theme. Because of course, he wanted to play video games the whole time. They did stop to eat some corndogs and fries and have ice cream sundaes. But mainly it was video games. Ah, boy heaven.
Berg, you sweet, sweet man! You are so responsible, loving, caring and gentle. You love your Swiggy immensely and the rest of your siblings, too. You love to play games, both video and board and you usually win. (We don't know how because you give everyone whatever they ask for! I think it's God's blessing on you for being so generous.) You share with everyone. You even give toys away. You are fine with being last and rarely do we ever hear you complain. You love to get your work done quickly, so you can move on to free time. You are very brilliant. We love you, Bergie and we love to see how you love others. You are an amazing witness for Jesus! Happy 9th Birthday!

April 28 - The cousins meet baby Hazel!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

March 2019!

March 1 Baby Brons' is born!
March 3 Eben and Kivi's fist murder mystery
March 5 picnic lunch
March 6 Tuff and Coal give Mama a tour of their forts and explain nature
Crazy Hair Night at Awana
March 9 Coal's Third Birthday! He wanted a volcano party and that's what we did! Mama made a volcano cake complete with dry ice lava, which he loved! We had his favorite, quesadillas for dinner. The kids all got into teams and constructed volcanos with recycled materials around a soda bottle and then we dropped mentos into them to see which volcano would explode the highest, however, Mama bought the wrong kind of soda. Cheap grape and orange don't make great volcanoes. Now we know. Then we all formed our own mini volcanoes out of brownies and put lava frosting on top for dessert.
Coaly, we love you so much! You are such a joy! You love your siblings and follow Tuff everywhere and try to do what he does, which is going to get you into trouble at some point we're sure. But you do understand right from wrong and have a good sense of when you need to say sorry and what the right thing to do is. You share well and love to play with your brothers during basement time. You love stories and building and Wednesdays with Nonnie, opocuses, volcanoes and all toys. You love to hide things under your pillow and have a growing collection of toys in your bed. You sleep on the bottom bunk opposite of Tuff. Your smile is infectious! We pray you will use it to win others to Christ and spread His joy to the world! Happy 3rd Birthday, Coal!

March 10 Eating the big volcano cake
March 13 Homeschool set up, boys play, Kivi track meet
March 16 Fondue and The Atlantis Escape Room for Niki's birthday
March 18 Skiing with Poppie and Nonnie and making room for Mama's new greenhouse!
March 20 Nonnie brought shaving cream!

March 21 Dada on bike patrol
March 22 Homeschool Co-op Gardening day. We transplanted seedlings, demolished the porch and cleared the big rocks and Mama and Dada put together the greenhouse that evening!
March 23 Homeschool Tea Time
March 24 Solid Rock Cafe musical at LC3 that Mama directed, Berg, Pella and Opal acted and sang in, and Kivi and Jasper helped do choreography and sets. Then we went to the Spaghetti Factory afterward.
March 26 Eben and Karl finish their rainbow Ripstik project
March 28-April 2nd Bend, OR
March 29 Skiing with the Jasper, Opal and Pella. Dada tried to ski with Coal, but he wanted nothing to do with it. Eben and Berg stayed with the Tuff and Flint. (Kivi went on a different vacation with the Schocks.)
March 30 Walk around Bend, play at the pirate playground, eat at the food trucks.
March 31 Berg, Pella, Eben, Jasper, Dada and B-Dog do more skiing. That night Mama took Opal, Berg and Pella to see Dumbo.