September 30, 2004

Brooke's Birthday and the Beach

Brooke is growing up very fast. She took her first steps a few days before her birthday. She is also outgrowing her car seat. Now we just have to figure out how to fit her new car seat into the car.

On the 28th, Brooke turned one year old! She really enjoyed her birthday. We piled her presents on the couch and she promptly climbed up onto the couch to get them. You can see her waving her birthday cards in the picture below.

I like presents

We were worried about Brooke climbing around on the couch, because she has no fear of falling, so we moved the presents to the floor. Brooke was then able to open her birthday presents with a little help from Tiffany and Tyler.

Unwrapping presents

Brooke got two sets of Peek-a-blocks. They are clear blocks with moving pieces inside. She loves shaking them and knocking down towers that Scott builds out of them.

Brooke's Birthday Blocks

Another favorite toy she got for her birthday is a set of plastic fruit and vegetables. Each piece of food has a couple parts which can be velcroed together. You can then "cut" the food apart. Tyler loves cutting the food apart and Brooke loves putting the food in her mouth.

Yummy plastic food

Of course Brooke also got clothes, a book and a wooden puzzle for her birthday.

Her birthday would have been incomplete withoug a chocolate cupcake. This was Brooke's first substantial taste of chocolate.

Happy 1st Birthday, Brooke!

Brooke didn't want to try the cupcake at first. We managed to get a piece in her mouth. After that, she decided that she liked it and kept eating it.

Brooke's first chocolate cupcake

We have had several holidays in the past month. Yom Kippur fell on a Sabbath, so we didn't go to church because the entire country shut down. There were no vehicles on the roads except emergency vehicles, and children played on the streets. Bicycling on the highways is a popular pastime on Yom Kippur. We had a short spiritual message adjusted to Tyler's attention span and had a relaxing Sabbath.

The next weekend was the start of Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles). People build little huts called Sukka and they eat their meals in them. You have to be able to see the stars through the roof, so they are covered with branches and leaves. It is to remind people of the children of Israel wandering in the desert. Tyler and his pre-school class built a Sukka and ate snacks in it. Our apartment building had two of them, but we didn't eat any meals in them.

Our English-speaking Israeli friends in our apartment building invited us to go to the beach with them one evening of the Sukkot holiday weekend. Brooke loved crawling on the sand. She barely ate any!

Brooke on the sand, not on the blanket!

Tyler loved playing in the sand. He played in the sand until it was too dark to see. However, he refused to go anywhere near the water. We then walked along the boardwalk with our friends and chased Tyler and his friend Amit.

Sand is fun

Tyler seems to be left out of most of this update, so we thought we would talk about how he is doing at pre-school. He loves pre-school now. At the beginning of the new school year, he would refuse to go and burst into tears. He always had fun once he was there; his teachers would tell us that he stopped crying the instant we walked out the door. Now, he runs inside without saying goodbye.

Tyler's teachers now talk to him only in Hebrew. They tell us that he understands everything they say. However, he responds to them in English. We have noticed though, that more and more Hebrew words are slipping into his vocabulary. Our least favorite word sounds like "die" and it means "stop, that's enough." You can imagine what it sounds like when he is yelling at Brooke to leave his toys alone.

Tyler is a little confused as to why he goes to school. He mixed up our explanation of why Scott goes to work with our encouragement for him to have fun at school. He told Scott one day that he goes to school so that we can keep our car and home.


"I like the chocolate squares." - The box of breakfast cereal had a picture of a chocolate bar on it. Tyler was very disappointed that squares of chocolate did not pour out of the cereal box.
"constructions" - assembly instructions
"stick lights" - street lamps
"You don't spill on your nose?" - After discussing why Scott and Tiffany don't use sippy cups.
"She can't talk yet, Daddy." - Confused why Scott was asking Brooke questions.
"We have to wait 'til the whole flamly's here." - When Tiffany sang "Happy Birthday" to Brooke before Scott got home from work.

Posted by sjbowden at 9:57 PM

September 26, 2004

Goodbye Summer

We are running behind on our updates. We thought that with all of our holidays we could catch up, but we played instead. Here is our wrap-up of the end of the summer.

We had a wonderful branch picnic. We went to a forest in the mountains (OK, hills) that had real pine trees. It was even a cool evening, so it felt a little like Oregon.

Here are Eliana, Sis. Powell, Tyler and Tiffany. Tyler had fun sitting next to Sis. Powell in a big chair and imitating her.

Branch picnic

We were sad that our friends, the Nielsens, returned to Portland. It was fun to have them in Haifa for the summer. Tiffany, Tyler and Brooke loved the company during the day while Scott was at work. Scott enjoyed having someone to carpool with. Tyler keeps asking if Sarah and Arwen are coming over to play. He is happy that he will be able to visit Arwen's house in Portland next year. Tyler was also thrilled that they gave him the toys they didn't want to take home.

Tyler and Arwen on the stairs

On the Nielsen's last night in Haifa, we all went out to dinner. We ate at an Argentine steak restaurant. The adults outnumbered the children, 4 to 3, so we did pretty well.

Goodbye Nielsens

Our little girl is growing up. She really enjoys playing with Tyler's toys. Right now they are pretty good about playing with the same toys, but we don't think it will last very long. Brooke loves the Little Tykes push car. It is cute to watch her climb onto it. Tyler likes to push her around, but he goes a little too fast.

Driving fun

Brooke has claimed the little folding chair as her own. She loves to sit in it and will spend lots of time climbing in and out of it. It won't be long before she is walking.

Sitting in my chair (video)

We love our view. There is always something fun to see out our big windows.

Moon over Haifa

Scott had a short week at work. He had one and a half days off of work for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Scott also got to eat apples dipped in honey, the traditional treat to welcome a sweet new year. Tyler had a party at preschool, learned some traditional songs, made art projects and came home with chocolate.


"We are both in tummies and diapers." - Brooke and Tyler, before getting dressed for the day.
"I'm getting really big to hold Brookie on my big shoulders when I have big shoulders." - He wants to be a big boy.
"I'm getting bigger so I can cross the street by myself." - He really wants to be a big boy.
"I want me to grow up to be a Grandpa, we already have a daddy." - After Tiffany explained that little boys grow up to be daddies, not mommies.
"You'll get that mess all dirty." - That's why Daddy was trying to clean up the mess.
"Granona" - Granola
"I want to listen to a song I remember." - Requesting Primary songs instead of the radio.
"This is the song we sing at school." - Tyler recognized a Rosh Hashanah song playing in a store at the mall.

Posted by sjbowden at 8:19 PM

September 17, 2004

From the Jordan River to Jerusalem

The weekend after getting back from Switzerland, we went to church near the Sea of Galilee as usual. However, our friends the Alsops, Van Ormans and the Spottens all came to church with us. That made about fifty of us, double our normal attendance. They came for the Alsop's son's baptism in the Jordan River after church. It was a beautiful setting, but of course, Tyler was most interested in feeding the fish.

Tyler and Skyler feeding the fish at the Jordan river

Travis Johnson, one of our friends from Hillsboro, came to Israel on a business trip for Intel. On Tuesday, we went out to dinner with him. We went to Isabella's, our favorite Italian restaurant. It was lots of fun to catch up on what our friends are up to back in Hillsboro. Tyler insisted that Travis sit between him and Brooke in the back seat of the car. Fortunately, Travis didn't mind at all and became Tyler's new best friend.

Visit from Travis Johnson

Our friends the Nielsens were about to return to Oregon and they wanted to see Jerusalem before they left, so we tagged along on Friday. We only got lost once on the way there and we only thought we had entered the West Bank. Regardless, we made it to the old city of Jerusalem safely. We even tried to park within the walls, but we weren't able to, so we parked near the Western wall and walked in from there. By the way, it is called the Western wall and not the Wailing wall. It is actually an insult to call it the Wailing wall, because that implies that the people there are wailing and not praying.

Up close at the Western wall

We wandered throughout the old city. For the most part it was fun and interesting, but remember we were pushing stollers and trying to keep tabs on small children. This was especially difficult among the narrow streets of the Arab market and on the stairs in the old city.

Walls of the old city of Jerusalem

We saw a few of the city gates, visited each of the different quarters of Jerusalem (Muslim, Christian, Armenian, Jewish) and bought souvenirs. In the Christian Quarter we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where a Greek Orthodox priest let Brooke pull on his beard. He loved it and showered her with kisses. Brooke loved the attention, but it was a bit much for Tiffany. We bought Tyler a little olive wood camel which he held for the rest of the day.

In the Jewish Quarter, we ate pizza and bought a shofar, a horn that is blown on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year which is celebrated about the middle of September.

Tiffany and Brooke in front of the Western wall of the Temple mount.

We wanted to visit the Dome of the Rock, but we weren't allowed to because it was Friday, the Muslim holy day. We left Jerusalem mid-afternoon because we were all tired. We plan to go back again to see some of the many things we missed.

More old city Jerusalem walls


"Are we sad we put Travis away?" - Tyler didn't like having to say goodbye to Travis.
"I can't have knives." - As he handed his knife to the waitress.
"Not the left" - After Tiffany thanked him for choosing the right.
"Now the car is going though security." - Role playing with his cars after we got home from the airport.
"These sure are nice shorts" - We would call them pants.
"Happy Meal" - This what he calls the toy; he could care less about the food.
"Let the Primary sing." - Tiffany was singing along to the Primary CD in the car and he wanted her to stop.
"Mommy, I'm talking to Tyler by myself." - Tiffany and Scott were talking to each other and Tyler wanted to talk too.

Posted by sjbowden at 5:35 PM

September 13, 2004

Switzerland, Part III (Interlaken and Jungfraujoch)

The next stop on our Switzerland adventure was Interlaken. Interlaken is a beautiful town in-between two lakes (Inter - laken, get it?) and two mountains. We met up with Rob, Linda, their family and Tiffany's parents; all of whom had arrived by train from Basel. We spent the rest of day exploring Interlaken and buying souvenirs.

Lots of girls and one boy

The next morning we boarded the first of three trains to take us to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. The first train was a normal train, but the next two were cog trains. Tyler loved it of course. The trip took about two and a half hours. Tiffany's parents only came up part of the way due to the high altitude and instead spent the time sightseeing and relaxing.

Serious readers

The third train took us through a tunnel inside the mountain range to the train station at the top of Jungfraujoch. It stopped a couple of times inside the mountain so we could look out windows that had been built into the side of the mountain. The windows are also convenient for mountain climbers who get stuck on the mountain!

Aviann and Brooke at Jungfraujoch

At the top of Jungfraujoch is a glacier. We walked through tunnels in the glacier and admired ice sculptures that have been carved inside.

Inside the glacier at Jungfraujoch

We rode an elevator from the train station complex to a lookout. We couldn't see much because of the clouds and snow. It was also very cold (or at least it seemed cold because we are used to a very warm climate)!

At the top of Jungfraujoch

Here is a view of the Eiger and Monch peaks from Keine Scheidegg, one of the train stations where we changed trains on our way back down the mountain.

Kleine Scheidegg

This is how you picture Switzerland: mountains, little villages and lots of greenery.

Just like we imagined Switzerland would be

Swiss cows really do have cowbells. We could even hear them from the train.

Switzerland by train (video). Listen for the cowbells!

As we walked from the Interlaken train station back to our hotel, we passed a kindertrain. Each child had received a free pass to ride it on the way to Jungfraujoch. Tyler couldn't decide whether he wanted to ride it or not, but he finally succumbed to peer pressure from his cousins. The kindertrain took us around the central Interlaken park.

Holly, Tyler and Cassidy riding the kindertrain in Interlaken

Tiffany and Brooke in Interlaken

On Sunday morning we went to church in Interlaken. The meetings were in German, so Tiffany got the most out of it.

At church in Interlaken

Here we are in front of our hotel in Interlaken. It was a nice bed and breakfast with beautiful views of the mountains.

The whole group in Interlaken in front of our hotel.

After we checked out of our hotel, we all went to a Swiss living history museum. There were lots of hands on activities and architectural examples from each region of Switzerland.

Men at work

We then drove to Zurich. We took the scenic route out of Interlaken towards Zurich. Did we mention that we loved our car? It was a brand new Opel Vectra. It sure was nice to drive in a nice car past beautiful scenery while listening to our new French music CDs. In total, we drove 1069 kilometers. Once in Zurich we checked into our hotel, returned the rental car and repacked our suitcases.

The next morning we flew home to hot and humid Haifa. It was a bit of an adjustment from the cool Swiss weather. We loved our vacation and want to go back to visit again. It was especially wonderful to be with family and friends.

Pushing Brooke


"Grandma asked me to take a bath twice, but I was afraid she would wash my hair." - He really, really does not like his hair washed.
"We are climbing up so high. We need to get on a plane to go up in the sky." - Tyler was impressed by how high the train was climbing.
"I am reading my mazgeen about my favorite train." - Reading the train timetable.
"I don't want to go home. I want to go to a city." - Tyler didn't want our vacation to end.
"I'm pushing Brooke because you don't have enough hands." - Our hands were full of baggage, so Tyler pushed Brooke in the stroller.
"I am walking because you have too many stuff." - Our hands were still full of baggage.
"I'm turning my head so my crumbs don't get in your hair." - Eating a lollipop while riding on Scott's shoulders.
"The dog is telling me something ... " - When we asked Tyler what the dog said, he panted like the dog.
"Don't look at my ice cream." - I guess we should get our own.
"Don't hug hands." - For some reason, Tyler objected to his parents holding hands.
"I'm my daddy's special boy." - After Uncle Rob asked if Tyler would be his special boy.
"Those are someone else's cousins." - Commenting on the other children on the McDonald's playplace slide.

Posted by sjbowden at 10:58 PM