Yesterday as I was looking through my purse for some change to pay for something, I remarked out loud that I couldn't find a ten shekel. To which Michael enthusiastically suggested "Mom, you should just use your magic and grab it out of the air!". He seemed rather pleased with his solution. I guess our dinner time games have been convincing.

And a story for Ella, too. Several weeks ago as we were finishing dinner, I got distracted as I was unbuckling Ella's tray. She wiggled it out of my hands and immediately turned it upside down on her head, all the food came raining down on her and with a big, silly grin she declared "hat!". She had us all cracking up. Two of her favorite words are "funny" and "silly" and boy does she have both of those qualities down pat.


Thanksgiving in Jerusalem

We took a half day trip to check out some of Jerusalem's old city. It did not disappoint! Besides all the cool sights, we lucked out on some Bar Mitzvah parties. I learned that Thursday morning is one of only three acceptable times that a Jew can have a Bar Mitzvah. Here it is tradition for the party to dance and sing and drum their way through the old city. Some people hold a fancy tent/cover/shade thingy above the special boy as they parade over to the Western Wall. We scored some candy as they partied past us. (Which really helped us out when Ella got fussy on the drive home.)
At the Dome of the Rock.
The Western Wall. Ladies must approach it from one end, men on the other. The line of people are men and women congregated on the fence that divides the two, standing on chairs to talk to each other over the fence. Cracks in the wall are all filled with prayers written on paper.
The interplay between multiple different faiths and all the history of these sites is so fascinating!

The stroller was a terrible idea. We usually anticipate stairs and choose the Baby Bjorn....oops. Stairs everywhere.


Recent stuff

Tonight I went to pick up Michael from his friend's house, several minutes drive from my house. About 10 seconds down the street cars were stopped still in an endless line as if there was an accident or something impossible to go around. I turned to take a different route, only to quickly meet up with the same grid-lock. Like a parking lot. This was on streets that I've never even seen real traffic. Tried a few other routes and met up with the same scenario. Then I heard the name of my street on the radio, amidst Hebrew so I had no idea what was being said except for I was certain that the apocalypse must be starting right there half a mile from my house. A terrorist had bombed a bus in Tel Aviv a couple hours earlier and so my mind was wandering...maybe something happened here too? Rude driving was going on. A van tried to squeeze in on my right where there was no lane, trying to eek past me. Of course I'm like, what the h#!!?! And as I looked over to the car with that expression on my face, I saw a man who gave me the most evil I'm-going-to-kill-you look I have ever been flashed, and in the same instance saw a huge chain saw sticking straight up into the air next to him. A FREAKING CHAIN SAW!
So I kindly offered him the spot in front of me, via his non-existent third lane.
The boring end to this story is that after 45 minutes of "driving", I turned back home (it took about 3 minutes once I was able to turn around), put on my running gear and took the jogging stroller to pick him up. It was amazing how light it was without Michael, and Ella kept screaming with delight "Fast! Fast!". It only took 15 minutes, I passed all those cars as quickly as I was passing houses, and my smugness was so delicious I could taste it. These are the instances I LOVE that I love to run. I had visions of what it might look like if there ever really was a mass exodus and my vision of us escaping by bike with the kids trailer attached made me happy to think about.*
Apparently the insane traffic was because IDF was stopping cars trying to find the bombers.

Unrelated, yesterday Rob actually witnessed the crazy guy who attacked the guards of the US Embassy with a pick axe.

We are happy to hear the cease-fire deal. My hopes are high, but expectations low, considering that there have already been numerous rockets launched into Israel from Gaza since the cease fire. I guess they aren't coming from Hamas, but it certainly doesn't make it seem like the most effective deal ever made.


Since this is already long, I'm can't help going pointing out some lameness about the news reports. From a report in BBC about the bus bombing:
The US "strongly condemns" the bus bombing, Mrs Clinton said.
Thanks for that nugget, BBC!

The Ichilov medical centre in Tel Aviv said that of the 28 injured, 10 had suffered "body injuries" - three of them serious - three received "moderate-light" injuries including shrapnel wounds and burns, and the remainder were suffering from "anxiety". 
Is BBC seriously humoring whoever decided to call anxiety an injury? Honestly!? I'm sure the anxiety is dreadful. But not an injury. Come on now. All the spin that both sides are trying to put on every aspect of this war is ridiculous. 

*Dear Anna - it's kinda like the homeless survival game.


So, about that little spat in Gaza...

For those wondering: yes, air raid sirens have gone off in Tel Aviv, but the rockets keep landing in the ocean. Luckily, HAMAS isn't very good at aiming. Also, we live about 8 miles north of Tel Aviv, so the sirens have not gone off in our town.  On the plus side, the weather is still warm and the beach is still nice!

In short, while you should be constantly thinking about how awesome we are and how much you miss us, you don't need to worry about us- yet!


Rockets, rockets, go away

Thanks to everyone who has been checking in on us during this mess!
Surely, having rockets launched at Tel Aviv feels a bit disconcerting; however, we are really, truly 100% fine here.
On an entirely personal level, the only ways this has directly affected us has been Rob working lots of overtime, a cancelled football game, cancelled church, and an email inbox full of security notices from the embassy and loving concerned notes from friends and family. On the most selfish of levels, I hope the fighting deflates quickly so that I can enjoy Rob more at home. I love what he does for work, but more between the hours of 8:00 - 5:00.
Not that I am unfeeling about the greater impact of it all - it's been a somber past couple days and I feel for all the Israelis and Palestinians who are greatly affected by the conflict. But if I hadn't talked to anyone or read anything or watched anything, then I would know no difference in my world. The sirens have gone off in Tel Aviv (Rob hears them at the embassy and heard an explosion in the sea), but we live in a suburb just to the north, supposedly just out of range of rockets from Gaza. So no sirens here. It can sound scary but at the current level it isn't really (in my little world, I mean). The rockets are terribly inaccurate and mostly land in the sea. If it isn't going to land in the sea or open land then they can be intercepted. They have launched hundreds of rockets and only 3 civilians have died, much south of here where it is in better range. Hamas doesn't have the most advanced warfare and aren't going to get very far unless others get involved. To me, that is the real concern - that this could escalate into something bigger. But unless that happens, things are totally fine (for an American family abroad, at least)! And if it does happen, I guess we could be home early. The next few weeks could be telling. But I must say, I really love it here so I hope that does not happen! We finally just got our household shipment a couple weeks ago and are starting to feel settled in to the activities of our new life. The weather has cooled down to perfection in the 70's (mid-20 C), and life is good.
So, don't be scared by the news - they report on the sensational stuff and not on everyday life in a suburb. Maybe you don't want to visit next week, but once this settles down a vacation here is still a great idea!
p.s. Apparently Rob and I decided to post about this at the same time...we so fit the stereotype of what a guy has to say about something versus a girl!


Guess who just won night duty

Ella has a cold and was fussy going to sleep tonight. After many long attempts to get her settled, I finally put her down. She started crying right away, so Rob came in to take a turn. After just a minute she started to squirm away and declared, "Bed! Sleep! Goodnight." He put her down and we haven't heard a peep since.
Rob just won night duty from here on out.


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