September 28, 2005

Brooke Turns Two

We continued our birthday tradition by decorating Brooke's door while she was asleep. She was excited to see the balloons when she woke up, but we don't think she knew what was going on.

Brooke's Birthday

Before Scott left for work, we let her open one present.

First Present

When Tiffany sweeps the apartment, Brooke begs to use the broom. So we got her a toy broom and dustpan set. She immediately started using them.

Hard at work

Brooke just nibbled at her cupcake. She did say "two" and held up two fingers.

I'm two

As usual, Brooke was spoiled and got way too many presents.

Lots of Presents

Brooke did a great job at opening her presents. If you listen carefully to the video below you can hear her say, "sticker," as she peels off the sticker tag from the present.

Unwrapping presents (video)

One of the highlights of Brooke's day was getting a new purse.

New Purse

The other highlight of Brooke's day was getting a new "baby."

Feeding the new baby


"I love toys, Daddy loves books and Mommy loves clothes." - Does he know our family or what?


"Ba-Pa" - backpack
"Birday" - birthday

Posted by sjbowden at 10:35 PM

September 24, 2005

Mini Israel and another hospital trip

Our senior missionary couple, the Powells, serving in our church branch are going home soon, so we invited them over for dinner.

Visit of the Powells

On Friday we went to Mini Israel with our friends Rivi and Efrat. There were umbrellas to shade us from the sun and Brooke insisted on carrying one. It was about as big as she is and too heavy for her to carry (although she insisted on trying), so we were happy to get this cute picture of her holding it up.

Walk on a sunny day

Mini Israel has all the major landmarks in Israel in miniature. We thought it was fun to see Haifa port, a view we see everyday out our windows.

Tyler visits mini Haifa port

Brooke was a little hesitant about walking on the glass over this Israeli town. At first, she either walked on the supports or held someone's hand. She got a little braver watching Tyler run around all over it.

On top of the world

Tyler loved the airport. Many of the vehicles in Mini Israel move, so we had to drag Tyler from place to place, otherwise he would have stayed and watched the boats, cars, trains, cable cars, planes, etc. all day.

Tyler at the mini airport

At the mini airport, we were very surprised to see a 747 painted like a Southwest Airlines plane. First, they don't fly to Israel and second, they don't fly 747s!

Mini Israel in Action (video)

Here we have a rare picture of Scott and Tiffany together. It was nice that Rivi and Efrat could take pictures of us.

Mini Dome of the Rock

We really enjoyed Mini Israel, especially Tyler. It was the perfect place for him. It was fun to see all the sights of Israel in miniature. We saw a lot of places we have visited and realized there are still so many things we want to see before we leave. We also enjoyed spending the day with our friends, the newlyweds.

With Efrat and Rivi

After visiting Mini Israel we went to an Italian restaurant near Tel Aviv. It was actually located in a technology park right next to the Intel Tel Aviv site. The setting was very nice and the food was delicious, especially the desserts.

Bowdens at Alfredo

Serious Tyler

On Saturday after church, we had a potluck. We also had many visitors so it was very busy. Tyler had finished eating and was running around with the other kids. All of a sudden Tyler was lying on the steps from the hallway to the eating area and screaming. Someone picked him up and brought him to Scott. Then Tiffany took him from Scott. It was then that we noticed that there was blood everywhere. Tyler had cut himself above his eyebrow on the granite step. Anatoly Sitonin said he would drive us to the hospital, so we left Brooke with the Hansens and rode in the back of Anatoly's car. Anatoly's wife, Irena, and one of the young women, Eliana came along too. Irena works at the hospital so she was able to get us directly to the emergency room doors. Eliana came along to translate and help. She volunteers as an ambulance assistant twice a month.

At the hospital we had to go through the usual rigamarole of filling out paperwork. After just a few minutes a triage nurse came in and checked his pulse and blood pressure. Tyler started screaming that he didn't want to be poked with anything. He really didn't like it when the blood pressure cuff tightened around his arm. We calmed him down and then the doctor came. He took one look at it and said he needed stitches. We then had to move to another room and Tyler started screaming again. He was mad because he liked the butterflies on the ceiling of the first room (the pediatric ER). The nurse helped Scott wrap Tyler in a sheet so that he couldn't move. Anatoly and Scott held him and the nurse kicked everyone else out. It was better for Tiffany to be on the other side of the curtain since she was starting to feel a little faint and emotionally drained. We were glad to have friends there to help.

The nurse tried to calm Tyler down by asking him questions, but it wasn't working very well because she didn't speak much English. Scott told Tyler to talk to the nurse in Hebrew and then the nurse gave Scott a hard time for not telling her sooner that Tyler speaks Hebrew. The nurse then managed to keep Tyler distracted with questions about his favorite color, the name of his preschool teachers and friends, etc. She asked if he had ever been to the Kinneret and Tyler said no, until Scott explained that it is the Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee.

The doctor only gave Tyler three stitches, but they were big stitches. We had hoped that the doctor would be able to use glue, but the cut was pretty deep. We paid the bill at the hospital (807 shekels, about 50 shekels more than for Tyler's chin incident). The Sitonin's drove us back to church and we took a few pictures with our helpers and the Sitonin's car, which Tyler called his ambulance.

Tyler, the ambulance and crew

On the way home we got pulled over by the police for a routine traffic stop. They checked Scott's passport and driver's license and let us go. We were relieved that they didn't say anything about Scott and Tiffany's blood stained shirts.

On Sunday, Tyler's pre-school teacher said, "We let you have him for the weekend and this is what happens?!"


"I love you, but I don't love your feet" - Lying on the couch next to Tiffany's feet.


"broke" - When something doesn't work.
"hot dog" - a favorite food.

Posted by sjbowden at 9:53 PM

September 22, 2005

Ramparts Walk and Tower of David Museum

After a restful night in the Notre Dame Guest House (Did we mention that we had a suite and so Brooke and Tyler had their own bedroom?), we had a wonderful breakfast. It was different from our normal Israeli hotel breakfasts because this one was not kosher.

After breakfast we walked to Jaffa gate and climbed up onto Jerusalem's walls. The route is called the ramparts walk. Here is a view from the top of the wall looking towards modern Jerusalem.

Modern Jerusalem

The ramparts walk was really neat. We didn't run into anyone else on the walk and we got to see Jerusalem from a whole other perspective.

Ramparts walk

The ramparts walk ended at the Dung gate which is near the Western Wall. We were tired from the walk and wanted to get back to Jaffa gate (an uphill walk) so we decided to take a taxi. It only cost us 25 shekels (about $5.50) and it was worth every penny. We got to Jaffa gate in 5 minutes instead of a 30 minute walk. Of course Tyler was thrilled to ride in a taxi. We did have to convince the taxi driver that we only wanted to go to the Jaffa gate and that we did not want a tour of Bethlehem.

The highlight of our trip for Tyler was the Tower of David museum. They had a special exhibit called "Train tracks to Jerusalem." The open air courtyard had LGB sized trains running everywhere. Tiffany was thrilled to see some Chihuly glass that remained from an exhibit in 2000.

Train amid Chihuly grass

Tyler could have stayed at the museum all day. In fact, we spent the rest of our time in Jerusalem at the museum. We had to leave a little before noon to check out of the hotel, but then we returned to the museum to stay until closing time at 2 pm. Inside one of the rooms of the museum was a miniature town setup with many trains running around and through it.

Happy boy with trains

Tyler loved watching the trains go around on their tracks. Many of the trains also had sounds.

Entranced by trains (video)

Here is a view of the Tower of David courtyard. Tiffany was a little disappointed that we hardly got to see any of the other exhibits at the museum because we spent the whole time watching trains. However, the train exhibit was one of the main reasons we wanted to go back to Jerusalem. We were hoping to go during our last trip but it was already closed for the Sabbath when we arrived in Jerusalem.

Tower of David museum

The Tower of David museum is called that because it has many tall towers that have been attributed to King David. We climbed to the top of the tallest tower just as the Muslim prayers were starting.

Sounds of Jerusalem (video)

From the top of the Tower of David we were able to get one of the clearest pictures of the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock we have taken.

Dome of the Rock


"The colors sound the same." - The colors looked similar.
"Did the rain stop raining?" - We finally had our first day of rain.


"Kucker" - Sucker
"Wakca" - Washcloth
"Aww gone" - All gone. When she finishes her food.
"Sarsar" - Sorry. She usually says this after Tyler has been told to tell her sorry.

Posted by sjbowden at 5:53 PM

September 20, 2005

Soreq cave, Hasmonean Tunnel and Notre Dame

There is so much that we didn't get to see in Jerusalem that we decided to go again. Scott took Thursday off of work so that we could spend two days in Jerusalem.

On the way to Jerusalem, we stopped at a gas station. They sold Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream in individual size containers, so we had to buy some and eat it right there. Tyler was thrilled to see a race car parked at the gas station.

Driving a race car

On the way to Jerusalem, we stopped at Soreq cave. It is a cave with stalactites and stalagmites. It was discovered when blasting at a nearby quarry opened a crack into the cave. We had to wait a little while for the next English tour, but it was good because it gave us time to convince Tyler that he really wanted to visit the cave. We watched a short movie about the cave and then a guide led us through the cave. We learned all about macaroni stalactites, elephant ears and other formations. Along the way, the guide would point out formations that looked like animals and cartoon characters.

Soreq cave

Inside the cave is was slightly cool and very humid. We had to walk carefully so we wouldn't slip. Fortunately there was a nice path with handrails. The formations were very beautiful.

Looking back into Soreq cav

We continued on to Jerusalem and checked into our hotel. Then we walked through the Old City to the Western Wall. We had reserved spots in an English speaking tour of the Hasmonean tunnel that runs along the Temple Mount. Unfortunately, the English guide forgot to show up so we had to wait 40 minutes for another guide. By that time, Brooke and Tyler were exhausted and not on their best behavior.

Western wall

We entered the tunnel just north of the Western wall. We descended a couple of flights of stairs. We then listened to a presentation about the ancient temple and the tunnel. Then we walked through the tunnel. The tunnel runs along the western side of the Temple Mount and starts a couple of stories above what used to be ground level. It runs all the way to the north-west corner of the temple mount. The tunnel was mostly level, but as we continued northward, eventually we reached ground level, because the ground slopes upward. Tyler and Brooke (remember they weren't on their best behavior) were loud which made it hard for people to hear our guide. They also escaped from us a couple of times (fortunately they couldn't get lost in the narrow tunnel). We really enjoyed it, but we would like to go back, either without children, or with well-rested children.

Hasmonean tunnel

We exited the tunnel onto the Via Dolorosa. From there our guide walked the group back to the Western Wall. However, we left and took a shortcut to our hotel. Our hotel used to be a hostel for Catholic pilgrims from Europe. It still caters to that group, but is not exclusively reserved for them. It was a little strange to see pictures of the Pope and to see Catholic priests around, but it was inexpensive and a very nice place. The hotel is right outside the old city walls and close to the New Gate.

For dinner we ate in the cafe on the grounds. We had sandwiches which were very good. They were nice enough to split a grilled cheese sandwich on two plates to make both Brooke and Tyler happy. After he ate, Tyler ran off to play with another boy. After a while, the boy's parents came over to talk to us. They are retired police officers from Arizona that train Catholic missionaries and humanitarian aid personnel how to stay safe around the world. They are based in Jordan, but just got back from Kenya. Scott mentioned that his parents are in South Africa. They asked why and Scott explained they were on a mission. We were very surprised to find out that their daughter was baptized a member of our church several years ago. It was not what we expected to talk about in a Catholic hostel in Israel!

Here is a picture of the front of the Notre Dame Guest House at sunrise from our room.

Notre Dame Guest House

This is the view out our hotel room looking towards the old city of Jerusalem.

Sunrise over Jerusalem

Stay tuned for details about the rest of our trip to Jerusalem.


"I want to go on a spaceship and fly to the moon with Daddy." - He has been really interested in rockets recently.
"When I am older I want to drive (an ambulance, a fire truck, a police car, a tow truck)." - Take your pick, he likes them all.
"Don't buy a fire truck until I can drive it." - Tyler made us promise. I hope we can keep the promise.


"Mawr" - More. She says this a lot.
"Elba" - Elbow. She is pretty good at identifying body parts.
"Yay" - What she says when she's excited.
"Boon" - Balloon.
"Shores" - Shorts. She loves clothes.

Posted by sjbowden at 9:03 AM

September 12, 2005

Mount Hermon

It has been over a year since we visited the Golan Heights so we decided to go again. One of Scott's co-workers told us about a guided hike on the top of Mount Hermon, so we packed up the kids, snacks and sunscreen and headed off. Mount Hermon is one of the possible sites of the Mount of Transfiguration. It is also mentioned often in the Old Testament.

We drove up to the only ski resort in Israel in the northern most corner of the country. We bought tickets to ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain. We were a little nervous about Brooke on the chair lift, so we had brought the Baby Bjorn in order to strap her to us. It was a good thing too because she was wiggly and kept asking to sit next to us on the lift. We also brought along the backpack carrier so that we could carry Brooke on the hike. Scott wore Brooke on the way up while Tiffany held Tyler. Brooke loved the ride up; she giggled and pointed to everything. Tyler was a little nervous about the ride. He wasn't sure he wanted to ride on it until we told him it was like a cable car. Later he told us he was scared because he thought there would be wild animals at the top.

At the top of the lift

We got up to the top just in time for the last tour of the day at 1 pm. It was just the guide, another family and us. The other family could get by in English, so the guide did the tour in English. At the top of the chair lift we got to go onto an Israeli military base on the top of one of the peaks. It wasn't a hard hike although we took it slow due to the elevation. The top is about 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) above sea level. We figure that the base of our apartment building is about 150 meters and our apartment is about 200 meters above sea level.

The hike was really interesting. The guide talked about geology, geography, wildlife, plant life, politics and military history. She pointed out rock formations that looked like things and gave Tyler an assignment to look for ladybugs.

A view from the top

From the top, we could see Lebanon in the distance and Syria and Israel right below us. The border meanders through the mountains, so Syria was directly below us to the east and the northernmost villages of Israel were to the south of us.

Looking into Syria and Israel

After about an hour we went back to the chair lift and rode it down. This time Tiffany wore Brooke in the Baby Bjorn and Scott held Tyler. Tyler enjoyed the ride down much more than the ride up because he wasn't as scared. Brooke was mad the whole time because she couldn't sit next to Tiffany on the chair lift seat.

On the way down

The other family on the hike took pictures of us descending on the chair lift and emailed them to us.

Almost down

We wanted to eat lunch at the ski resort cafe. However, we discovered that in the summer they only have ice cream and other treats. So, we ate ice cream for lunch; it was the only thing we could do.

Yummy ice cream

Next to the ski lift was an alpine slide. Brooke was too little to ride, so Scott and Tyler got to ride it together. It is almost like a roller coaster. A chain pulls the little car to the top and then there are bumps and curves on the way down.

Alpine slide

Tyler loved the alpine slide. When Scott and Tyler got to the bottom Tyler told Tiffany that he had gone really, really fast. Scott however said they went fairly slow. Tyler loved it and wanted to go again, but it was closing for the day so he didn't get to go.

Happy sliders

We had a fun day at the ski resort, even in the middle of summer. However, it was about this point that we realized we were turning red. It was so cool at the top of the mountain and we were so happy to get out of the car when we arrived that we forgot to put on sunscreen. At church the next day everyone commented on our pink tans.

That was fun

Here is one of the mountainside villages we passed on the way back home. A little later we stopped in Rosh Pina for dinner, where we ate at a restaurant called Macaroni and Grill. We just couldn't resist trying it. It was a fabulous meal. Scott had olive oil and garlic shrimps and Tiffany had spring chicken in a sweet pepper sauce. The chocolate-vanilla souffle we had for dessert was delicious.

Mountainside village


"I'm a boy and boys tease girls." - Ah, that explains it.
"Going up a hill makes us lean back in our seats." - Another profound realization from our driving in the mountains.
"The cool air makes us cool from the hot." - describing air conditioning


"Boby" - body. She says this when she wants to get dressed.
"Too/Two" - We are not sure she knows the difference. She says this when she wants more than one and also when she wants the same thing Tyler has.
"Pooh" - pool. She loves to go swimming. If we say, "pool," she will strip out of her clothes and demand to swim.
"Cersal" - breakfast cereal

Posted by sjbowden at 8:48 PM

September 5, 2005

Train Museum and Apollonia

During Tyler's break from school, Tiffany, Brooke and Tyler came to Intel for lunch with Scott. Scott's co-workers were really nice and gave Brooke and Tyler chocolate. Scott's co-workers also entertained Brooke and Tyler during lunch and in turn Brooke and Tyler entertained half the cafeteria.

Tiffany decided to have an activity for the young women from our branch. Ann Hansen was nice enough to pick them all up and drive them to our apartment. They worked on a personal progress activity while Brooke napped and Scott and Tyler went to the park. For lunch Scott barbequed hot dogs and kebabs (spiced minced meat). In the afternoon we all went swimming.

Young women activity

We have been trying to get to the Haifa train museum for some time. It is only open in the mornings a couple of days a week. So Scott finally took a morning off of work since Tyler was off from school and we went to the train museum. Tyler was very excited at first, then a little apprehensive when he saw how big the trains were. He kept asking if they were going to drive away. It didn't take long, though, for him to warm up and start running around looking at everything.

Boxcar hobo

Tyler had fun pretending to drive one of the locomotives. There were lots of trains on display. Many of them date back to before World War II, when you could take train from Turkey, through Israel, to Egypt. Now Israel doesn't have any railroad border crossings.

Our little train engineer

Here we are in front of a train crane that Tyler really enjoyed.

Fun at the train museum

Tyler's second year of preschool started September 1st. Of course we had to take a traditional back to school picture near the front door. Tyler is in the same class as last year, but now he is one of the older kids. He kept asking us where his friends were that had moved up to kindergarten.

First day of school

On Friday we went to visit Crusader ruins north of Tel Aviv. It was good timing because Tyler had gotten interested in knights and castles because of some pictures on a box of cereal. The site has several names: Tel Arschaf, Apollonia and Arsour. It was first settled by the Phoenicians, then inhabited by the Romans, Muslims, Crusaders and finally the Mamluks.

The Mediterreanean from Apollonia

A large battle was fought between the Crusaders and the Mamluks. The crusaders eventually lost and were forced to raze their own fortress. All around the site there are piles of large stones that were used in catapults during the siege.

Arsour crusader fortress


"I like hotels a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, ..." - Tyler is excited about our upcoming trips.
"But I would be impressed!" - Meaning he would be depressed if Tiffany washed his blankets.


"appa" - apple
"bow" - bowl
"pane" - plane
"bo" - boat
"wawer" - water
"cooka" - cookie

Posted by sjbowden at 9:17 PM