The Nativity

For all my belly-aching about being homesick during the holidays, you can't really get more Christmas-y than going to Bethlehem, can you? This trip was fabulous. Here are some pictures in Bethlehem and at the Church of the Nativity.
Stairs down to the original nativity. The church has been built up over it. The main entrance (not pictured) to The Church of the Nativity is child sized so that one must bend down and be penitent upon entering. Or just be a child, I guess.

The believed birth place

The place of the manger

The outer halls of the church.



Michael needed a haircut.  We liked his long hair, but it needed help.
Per custom, I first gave him a mowhawk.  Although it needed more gel...
Also, per custom, Lorena made me get rid of it shortly thereafter.
And there is the finished product.



I have to admit I've had a bit of the Christmas blues creep up on me here and there. Until the season got here, I hadn't really considered all the things I would miss by living in a country that does not celebrate Christmas. How completely ironic considering this is where Jesus lived! Anyway, I read that there was actually a little Christmas festival in Nazareth. I figured that was just what we needed to feel the Christmas spirit so Rob took off work early and we made the drive. I even kept a decently good attitude when we got stuck in traffic. I wasn't a fan that it added an extra 40 minutes and made us take nearly 2 hours to get there, but then I contemplated Mary's journey - about twice the distance, while pregnant, while riding a donkey. And that sort of put the traffic into perspective. And makes me understand why she had her calling and not me.
Look at the smile on that boy! Such a happy little goof.
We finally got there and realized that they shut everything down early on the last day of the festival. Everyone was packing up. There was a big tall tree still lit, but that was it and I felt pretty heartbroken. But then comes in the beauty of children. They didn't know what they were missing and were still happy as ever, singing and dancing and wandering around. Michael was as enthusiastic as ever, Ella was as curious and enthralled (with rocks and stairs and such) as ever. And almost nothing ruffles Rob's feathers. My family saves me.
We still got to see Mary's Well and see the Church of the Annunciation (one of three that claims to be where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary) and eat the most scrumptious Arabic food I've had yet. So it doesn't entirely deserve to be filed under "disaster trips" in my memory, but somehow I think that is where it sits. If only my brain were more sophisticated. 


Fifty Nifty

This has become our go-to party trick lately.
He learned it mostly on his own from youtube, because I still can't sing it through without getting stuck somewhere. He has a craze for maps and the USA and songs, so Fifty Nifty was an immediate favorite. I haven't been able to brainwash him into always saying California is the best (in the part of the song where you get to insert your favorite state) - he is a goof and always changes it up and Rhode Island won today (he knows he's being silly). I told him we would get to move the the USA one day and he was all, WOW, REALLY?! As if I told him we'd live at Disneyland one day or something.


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