December 28, 2005


Just like last year, Tyler's pre-school had a Hanukah party. The kids dance, sing and perform for their parents. Tyler loved it and we were glad that he got to do it another year. Tyler told us he is looking forward to next year's party. We didn't break it to him that he won't have one next year.

Tyler clapping

Because Tyler is one of the older kids this year, he got to be one of kids that placed a Hanukah candle on a menorah on the floor.

Placing a Hanukah candle

One of Tyler's favorite parts is when they turn off the lights and all of the kids wave their flashlights with the music.

Flashlight song

Tyler enjoyed dancing. We thought he was pretty good. He also did really well singing the songs. For several weeks leading up to Hanukah, we could often hear him singing Hanukah songs in Hebrew to himself.

Hanukah dancing

After the dancing and singing, the kids each received a dreidel with candy inside. They also got doughnuts which are a traditional Hanukah treat. Tyler didn't want his, so Tiffany enjoyed eating it.

After the party

We had two hanukiahs this year (menorahs for Hanukah are called hanukiahs here) so we got to light a lot of candles every night. We have a traditional one our friends the Hansens gave us last year, and Tyler made one at preschool with shiny pieces of colored glass.

Hanukah candles at home

Here is a video with some of the highlights of Tyler's Hanukah party.

Hanukah party (video)

"A few kilometers of applesauce." - We don't know if that means a lot or a little.

"tag" - on clothes
"pleazz" - when she really wants something

Posted by sjbowden at 10:29 PM

December 25, 2005

Christmas Letter

Here is our 2005 Christmas letter.

Family Portrait at the Sea of Galilee

Happy Holidays from the Holy Land!

We are grateful for the chance to be here in Israel longer than we originally planned. Although we miss our family and friends very much, we love living here. It has been an amazing experience for our family. This year we have traveled to Greece, Eilat (the southern tip of Israel), the Czech Republic and Austria. We also made a quick trip to the States for Scott's brother's wedding. We have also enjoyed the opportunity to see many of the sights here in Israel. There are still so many things we want to see and do here. We hope to fit in as much as possible before returning home to Oregon in July 2006.

Brooke (2) is the sweetest little girl we know. She loves giving hugs and kisses, playing with her dolls and dishes, trying on clothes and hats, and wearing Tiffany's shoes. She is learning new words everyday. Brooke is also our little monkey. She climbs everywhere that Tyler does and then some. She amazes us with her agility and fearlessness. She is almost always happy and is great company for Tiffany during the day.

Tyler (4 1/2) loves going to his Israeli preschool. He speaks Hebrew very well. His teachers say he speaks more correctly than his classmates. We assume that it's because we don't know enough Hebrew to corrupt him with any slang. Tyler is all boy. He loves cars, trains and planes. He also loves building things with Legos. He is often rambunctious, but when he wants to, he can be very sweet. We have been fortunate this year with only two hospital trips: a minor hernia operation and then more recently a few stitches above his eyebrow.

Tiffany (just right) is kept very busy with two active children. People here are amazed that she stays at home and takes care of them. Of course all the chasing helps keep her slim. At church, Tiffany is in charge of the four young women. They love her and have enjoyed experiencing some traditional experiences of Young Women, such as handouts, activities and Personal Progress. In her limited free time, she manages to scrapbook a little.

Scott (31) has been enjoying his job tremendously. He is involved in multiple design projects. His church callings keep him busy too. Scott loves to play Legos with Tyler. He also loves being greeted at the door after work with a hug and a kiss from Brooke. He enjoys reading to our children at bedtime. In his limited free time he manages to read a few books himself.

We try to regularly post pictures and descriptions of our adventures on our webpage:

We are thankful to live in the land of our Savior's birth. We are blessed to be here and to be frequently reminded of His life and mission. May you feel the joy and love of this Christmas season and throughout the coming year.


Scott, Tiffany, Tyler and Brooke Bowden

Posted by sjbowden at 10:28 PM


A few days before Christmas, Tyler remembered that he hadn't written a letter to Santa yet. So Scott and Tyler sat at the computer and picked pictures and then Tyler dictated the letter to Scott. Tyler was thoughtful and even asked for something for Brooke.

Letter to Santa

On Christmas Eve morning we got up, went downstairs and discovered an inch of water all over the floor. It had rained tremendously all night and the balcony drain had gotten clogged. A lot of toys had to be washed and dried and Tyler's road carpet had to be rinsed. We also had to pull all the boxes out of the closet under the stairs, empty them and dry the boxes. Fortunately the water didn't reach the computers in the office; it was just a couple feet short. This was much worse than the flood we had last year when the drain clogged. We cleaned it up as fast as we could, got ready for church and barely made it to church on time.

Another Flood

We had an enjoyable Christmas program at church and returned home and finished cleaning up. In the evening we watched the Luke 2 video and then put the kids to bed. Then we put the presents around the tree. We hadn't set any out beforehand because we were worried that they would get opened early.

Christmas tree on Christmas Eve

The kids didn't get us up too early, which was nice. Santa had left their Chevron car ice cream trucks on the sofa. Tyler was very happy to receive more Bob the Builder Legos and some Herbie cars and Herbie pajamas.

Opening presents

Most of Brooke's presents had to do with Disney princesses. She got a princess stroller, princess pajamas, princess slippers and princess fruit snacks.

Princess girl with fruit snacks

Tyler loves helping Scott work with tools, so he was thrilled to get a Fisher Price tool set with a drill and saw.

Hard at work

Here is Princess Brooke with her tiara. Her favorite gift is the pair of slippers. She wears them every chance she gets.

More princess stuff

"The problem is..." - when he wants to emphasize something.

"share" - Brooke likes to be fair.
"fiffers" - slippers

Posted by sjbowden at 9:09 PM

December 19, 2005


For Family Home Evening the week after Tiffany's parents left, we decorated for Christmas. Tyler has a small tree that we put in his room. Brooke loved helping.

Decorating Tyler's Tree

Of course Tyler and Brooke had to help with the big tree too. They concentrated on the bottom half of the tree. Brooke loved to organize the ornaments by putting several of the same type of ornament on the same branch. Tiffany was nice enough to wait until after the kids went to bed to redecorate the tree.

Decorating the big tree

On the next Friday, we had a branch activity. Everyone thought Brooke and Tyler were so cute decorating the tree that they let them do most of it.

Decorating the church tree

As part of the activity, we made matchbox nativity ornaments. We then took them home to add to our tree.

Christmas Arts and Crafts

The second week in December, we had our church meetings at the Mount of Beatitudes. We were fortunate that it was a beautiful day. It was wonderful to listen to the speakers and look out over the Sea of Galilee. Kym Child from our ward in Oregon was on a business trip and he came with us.

Mount of Beatitudes

After our meetings, Tiffany took the kids home and Scott and Kym stayed to tour around the Sea of Galilee. Scott took Kym to Capernaum, Tabgha and St. Peter's primacy. At St. Peter's primacy, they ran into some of Scott's co-workers on a business trip from Costa Rica. Before heading home they decided to stop at the 2000 year old boat that was discovered in 1986 when the level of water in the Sea of Galilee dropped. It has been treated to preserve it and put on display.

2000 year old boat

On the third Saturday of December, we had district conference and a Christmas program at the BYU Jerusalem Center. Tiffany sang a Christmas song in Hebrew with two of her young women and Ann Hansen.

Jerusalem Center Musical number

The children acted out the nativity, but Yulia, who was supposed to be Mary, got stage fright. Everyone else already had a role, so Brooke got put in as Mary. She brought the house down with laughter as she wandered around the stage and examined the doll that was supposed to be Baby Jesus.

Brooke as Mary

Here we are posing for a family Christmas portrait.

Christmas portrait

On December 19th we celebrated Tiffany's birthday. We took her to the mall to go shopping and bought her a chocolate fudge cake.

Happy Birthday Tiffany


"Sometimes I cough, sometimes I bless you" - After sneezing.
"I'm not percent sure." - Trying to imitate his father.


"tree" - Christmas tree.
"hold you" - Pick me up.

Posted by sjbowden at 5:58 PM

December 5, 2005

The Rest of the Visit

After Tyler and Scott returned from their trip to the dairy, we all went out to Chinese food. It is a really good Chinese restaurant called Tokai (it used to be called Sea Waves). Here are the two girls showing how cute they are.

Chinese dinner

On Saturday, we all went to church. After church we went to Capernaum to eat a picnic lunch. Here are Brooke and Tiffany in front of the steps that lead down to the Sea of Galilee beach.

Just hanging around

We were able to get a picture of the whole group with the Sea of Galilee behind us.

All of us at Capernaum

After Capernaum, we drove to the Mount of Beatitudes. As always, we enjoyed the peaceful feeling on the beautiful grounds. The kids especially enjoyed exploring the garden paths.

The girls and their mommies

We stayed at the Mount of Beatitudes until sunset and then headed home.

Sunset over Mt. of Beatitudes

On Sunday, Scott had to return to work, but Tiffany took Mom, Dave, Tawni and Brooke to the Baha'i shrine. Dad and Lexi stayed home to play.

Baha'i shrine

Dave and Tawni were able to take a tour of the Baha'i gardens and descended down 19 terraces to the German colony at the base of Mount Carmel. Mom, Tiffany and Brooke walked around the central level of the gardens where the shrine is located.

At the Baha'i gardens

Tyler really enjoyed playing with Lexi. He kept saying things like, "I love her. When will she wake up? I want to play with her."

Hugging cousins

The two little girls had fun taking a bath together.

Splish splash taking a bath

Here is Grandpa with the newly washed girls.

Grandpa and the girls

On Monday, we all went to the airport to see our visitors off. It was sad to see them go, but we had a great time together. We were so glad they were all able to come visit us.

Going home


"Sometimes I talk funny." - About his groggy morning voice.
"Only two each." - When asked if there were lots of animals on Noah's ark.

"Tor" - store. Brooke loves to go to the grocery store.

Posted by sjbowden at 10:47 PM

December 2, 2005

Field Trip to a Dairy

On Friday, while Tiffany's family was still visiting, Tyler's pre-school had a field trip to a dairy. Tiffany stayed home with her family, and Scott went with Tyler. The father of two of Tyler's classmates is a bus driver, so he arranged for the whole group to ride on a bus, with him as the driver. Tyler was thrilled to be able to ride on a bus and enjoyed singing Hanukkah songs with the other kids. The dairy is located in Bethlehem of Galilee (not THE Bethlehem).

Tyler on the bus

When everyone arrived at the dairy, the kids ran around, played and watched the dogs and horses until it was time to start. Tsvika was our guide and started by showing the class a mommy cow with her baby. The kids watched as the baby cow nursed. Next, Tsvika showed pictures of how a baby cow is born.

Next, each child was given a shovel and told to shovel hay to where the cows could eat it. As you can imagine, it was crazy: twenty-five children with shovels, a pile of hay and fifty or sixty cows.

Working on the Farm

The cows have learned patience and also to be wary of children with shovels. Tyler loved every minute of it, running around with a shovel and shoveling hay.

Feeding the cows (video)

After feeding the cows, everyone went to the milking station where each child had a turn milking a cow. Then they took the milk that they had milked and Tyler was the one chosen to give it to the dogs to drink. Afterwards, Tsvika filled 2 liter bottles with milk and each child fed it to a baby cow. Tyler got to do it twice.

Feeding the babies

The next thing the children got to do was make cream cheese. The children each got to stir the cream until it became cream cheese. Then they made chocolate milk and drank it while they ate the cream cheese on bread.

Then Tsvika gave each child a head of wheat. They pulled the kernels out of the head of wheat and then ground the wheat into flour.

Grinding the wheat

After making flour, some other dairy employees helped the children roll out dough to make pita. Each child got to roll out the dough and then watch the pita bake.

Making pita

Tyler chose to have chocolate on his pita. Scott got a pita too, but had labane cheese, olive oil and za'atar on his.

Eating the pita

After the pita, the class ate the food that everyone had brought for lunch. Tyler and the other kids then painted plaster of Paris cows.

Painting the cow

Here is how Tyler looks as a baby cow.

Tyler becomes a cow

Tyler loves his cow shirt. Scott bought it for him as a souvenir of the day. Scott and Tyler really enjoyed the day and had fun spending time together. It was amazingly inexpensive too, about $20 for the whole day and the T-shirt.

The Cow shirt


"Put tape on my band-aid." - because the band-aid wouldn't lay flat.
"When I'm sick I have to watch lots of shows and take one nap." - He wasn't successful with the nap, but he did watch a lot of shows.
"She was chocolate and I was the wrapper." - explaining why he was smashing Brooke.


"Treet" - A treat, usually chocolate
"Pocky" - Pajamas

Posted by sjbowden at 10:57 AM

December 1, 2005

Tiffany's family arrives

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Tiffany's parents came to visit. They were joined by Tiffany's sister, Tawni, Tawni's husband, Dave, and their eighteen month old daughter, Lexi.

On Saturday morning we drove to the airport and waited anxiously for their flight to arrive. The kids loved running around at the airport. It was especially nice because the airport was nearly empty due to the Sabbath. Tyler was disappointed that he couldn't ride on a plane, but very happy to see his grandparents.

They came!

After they arrived, we picked up the rental car and drove to Haifa. They were pretty tired so they spent the next couple of days recovering. Poor Tawni was even pretty sick. We were thrilled when she told us at the airport that she was pregnant but sorry she was sick. Fortunately her morning sickness subsided once she caught up on some sleep. It was fun to just spend time together and talk at our apartment.

Once they recovered, we went to Jerusalem. We stayed in the Notre Dame Guest House again. After we were checked in, we went to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. Scott drove in the car with Dad, Tyler and Brooke. The rest walked (parking is a pain near the Garden Tomb). Here are Tiffany and her mom at the Damascus gate as they were on their way to the Garden Tomb.

Damascus gate

Fortunately, Scott remembered most of what the guide told us the last time we were at the Garden Tomb, so he was able to share it with the whole family.

At Golgotha

We had a very relaxing and enjoyable visit to the Garden Tomb. It is so peaceful and beautiful there, especially compared to the noisy, dirty city just a few hundred feet away. It is a wonderful place to sit and feel the Spirit.

Garden Tomb

After we returned from the Garden Tomb, we called Omar, and he picked us up and took us to his shop. Omar is an olive wood carver who specializes in pieces for LDS church members. For example, in the picture below is a figure of Nephi and another one of Brigham Young. He also makes very beautiful nativity sets. We all bought some souvenirs and then returned to the hotel for some well-deserved sleep.

Omar's shop

The next day, we went into the old city. We started by taking taxis to the Dung gate (the gate closest to the Western Wall). Here are Tiffany, Tawni and Mom on the women's side of the Western Wall.

The women at the Western wall

We spent some more time in the Western Wall plaza and then we wandered through the shops of the old city. Dad got a cane and Mom and Tawni got watches.

Jerusalem shops

After shopping, we split up. Dad, Tiffany, Tyler and Brooke returned to the hotel for naps, and Scott, Mom, Tawni, Dave and Lexi went on the Hasmonean Tunnel tour. It is the tour that starts near the Western Wall at what was ground level at the time of Christ but is now underground. The tour runs along the base of the Temple Mount and ends in the middle of the Old City.

After the tunnel tour, we went up onto the Temple Mount and saw the Dome of the Rock. We were pestered by a man who wanted to give us a tour. We finally let him and he told us a little about the history of the Temple Mount. At the end, Scott gave him a little bit of money which of course the man complained was too little. However, Scott felt it was a 50 shekel tour, so that is all he gave. Despite our guide, we enjoyed the visit especially because it was a beautiful day.

Shipleys at Dome of the Rock

We all met back at the hotel and had dinner and a relaxing evening at the hotel. The next day, Scott took Mom, Tyler, Tawni and Dave shopping in the Old City. They bought a wide variety of souvenirs: olive wood, jewelry, Ahava lotion. Tyler was given an olive wood donkey by one shopkeeper, a stuffed camel by another and a couple of Christmas tree ornaments, so Tyler came out ahead.

After shopping, we ate lunch at our hotel. The hotel has a wonderful little cafe that serves good and inexpensive food. They even serve food we haven't had in a while: quesadillas and burritos!

After checking out of our hotel, we drove to the BYU Jerusalem Center. We were given a personal tour by our district president. It was neat to have a tour just for us, with more commentary than the standard tours get.

Jerusalem center

After finishing at the Jerusalem Center, we drove back to Haifa. On the way home, we decided to stop at Avasi for some good middle-eastern food. It was great: pita fresh from the oven, falafel, salads, hummus and skewers of meat. We then went home and collapsed into our beds, exhausted.


"I love toys, Daddy loves books and you love clothes." - Explaining to Tiffany how our family works.
"You said I'm smart; that's like the car." - One of Tyler's favorite kinds of car is the Smart.
"Unhanged it up" - To answer the computer phone (Skype).
"Write that down" - When Tyler realized he had said something funny, he told us to write it down on the Tyler-isms list.


"Poppy" - Potty. We have had a few successes among many attempts.
"Troltrol" - Stroller

Posted by sjbowden at 8:57 PM