4.29.2007

Visiting Family

In the past few days the girls have been schlepped all over Los Angeles & Orange County in a last ditch effort to visit as many relatives as possible. We've spent time with their aunts, uncles, cousins, and even great-grandfather. The girls have had a great time running around, and stayed up WAY past their bedtime. As these opportunities occur so infrequently, their crankiness was overlooked. :)

Here is a photo of the girls with their great-grandfather and his companion.


Here are the girls at Cynabubs house with cousin Noah

4.26.2007

Legoland





Today we took the girls and cousin Andrew to Legoland. For those of you unfamiliar with Legoland, it's an amusement park that's totally geared towards kids aged 2 thru 12. They have all sorts of shows, rides, play structures, and of course, Legos! One cool thing about Legoland is that all of the structures are entirely made out of Legos. We arrived around 11:30 am and stayed until closing. We made it around the entire park while going on almost every ride that was suitable for ages 2-6. Before leaving, Riley and Andrew had their faces painted and I bought a few souvenirs. The kids were so pooped that Sheridan crashed out in her stroller and Riley and Andrew slept most of the way home. What a blast of a day!


4.23.2007

Hanging With The Cousins

We spent the weekend hanging out with family on both sides. Saturday morning we had brunch with Matt's side of the family and Sunday was spent celebrating cousin Cynthia's birthday. The girls had a blast running around with all the kids and creating special bonds. Here are a few photos.



Riley & Sheridan with cousins Justin, Andrew, Allison, and Zoe


Cousin Andrew, Cousin Noah, and Riley are just a few months apart


Singing Happy Birthday to Cynabubs


Matt with cousin Heather

4.19.2007

Horseback Riding


Yesterday we took the girls horseback riding with one of Micky & Neil's friend's. Pam owns two horses and boards them at a stable about 1/2 hour from their house in the Orange County Hills. The girls were very afraid at first to even get on the horse, let alone ride around the ring. However, there was a REAL cowboy named Thomas who works and trains there, who took time out of his schedule to ride with the girls. He took each of them around the ring a few times separately until they were comfortable, then he put both of them on the horse with him and rode for quite awhile. He's been a professional cowboy for the last 15 years and he's currently training for a show this upcoming Saturday. The girls had so much fun that they didn't want to get off the horses. This was a real change from the last time the girls rode attempted to ride horses in Jordan.

Take a look here at some of the photos. http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AaNnDVo2YtWNH

Disneyland or Oral Surgery?

I'll take oral surgery for $1000.... Actually, make that $3900 to be exact. Matt is going in on Friday to the Periodontist to have micro graft gum surgery to restore receding gum tissue. He had this done 12 years ago, and lucky for him, he gets to do it again. Sadly, BCBS insurance doesn't cover the procedure as it's not deemed a "medical necessity". Sure, they'd pay for his dentures if all his teeth fell out... but nothing preventative.

Unfortunately we had to cancel our Disneyland trip for this upcoming Friday as it was the only day that the Periodontist could do the surgery. Ironically, we probably would have spent about the same amount of money at Disneyland as we're going to spend on Matt's teeth. Wish him luck!

The Trip Continues

After living the life as a bachelor for the previous 8 days, Matt made his long trek to San Francisco on Friday the 13th. The girls were SO excited to see him that they squealed with delight and wouldn't let go of him the entire night. We then spent Saturday shopping for a DVD player, hanging out with my cousin Janis, and eating a fantastic Mexican dinner at Chevy's. I got to see a few girlfriends earlier in the week and had fun catching up and hanging out with their kidlets.

On Sunday the 15th we made the drive down to Matt's parent's house in Orange County. We left my parent's house around 9:15 am, and after 7+ hours and a flat tire about half-way there, we finally made it.

We've been chilling out, relaxing, eating, shopping, and making plans with family and friends during our stay in Southern California. There's lots planned, so stay tuned...

(The photo below is of me, the girls, and my college roommate/sorority sister Debbie and her boys Theo and Thomas)

4.12.2007

Updated Katz Family Photo

For the first time in a long time, both my brothers were at my parent's house at the same time as me. We had a nice weekend together. Before Scott left to drive back down to Los Angeles, we set up our cameras and took a much needed photo. Sheridan tried very hard to ruin the picture by shoving her fingers up her nose. To combat this, my mom and Randy each had to hold her hands down. Crisis averted.

4.08.2007

Passover

In complete Perlman fashion, we hosted our almost-annual Passover Seder the day before the girls and I left on our R&R. We enjoyed opening our home and sharing our traditions with the 14 friends who attended our feast. We kept the evening light and airy amidst the very religious Haggadah's (sp?) we used. In fact, after I finished chanting the Four Questions Matt said, "Dawg... that was good, that was good. A little pitchy in a few places, but that's aw'right".

Our Passover dinner was Asian themed. Didn't they say that on the 7th day G-d ordered in Chinese food?

Here's a photo from our evening.

Purim Photo

I've been taking a ton of photos of the girls with my parents and brothers over the past few days, and when I downloaded them onto my computer I realized that I never sent out any photos of the girls from their March 5th Purim carnival at school. Here is a belated photo of the Supergirl Sisters.

California Trip

On Thursday, April 5th, the girls and I left on our annual R&R and made the trek from Tel Aviv to San Francisco. The 24-hour trip wasn't without incident, but it was relatively uneventful... and doesn't include the heated exchange that I had with a crotchety old man in business class (story to be told at a later date).

We left our house around 2:30 am, arrived at the airport by 3am. We had a quick check-in, and then Matt helped us get to the gate for our 5am departure. Our flight from Tel Aviv took off on time and both girls fell asleep on the plane for about 2 hours.

We had a 5 1/2 hour layover in Frankfurt and managed to kill the time fairly well. We had to wait for over 1/2 hour for our stroller once we de-boarded the plane, we walked around and looked at the shops, we had a timeout for Riley in a bathroom, and then we spent over 2 hours in McDonald's eating nuggets and fries and watching the planes land and take off.

We boarded the next flight and took off right on time. We upgraded to business class with our miles and of course, I was the only one with kids... They fell asleep right after take-off and slept for the first 3 hours... however, when they woke up they were roaring to go. They didn't want to eat anything (they forgot our children's meals - would you have expected anything less), and I felt like I was putting on a song and a dance to keep them entertained. Can you believe that they had on-demand children's movies and they wouldn't even watch them?? Let's just say that it was a LONG flight - the 11 hours seemed like 24. But, we eventually landed in San Francisco after a solid 24 hours of traveling, and met my dad at the airport.

The girls actually did ok with attempting to sleep through their first night. First order of business on Friday was of course a Starbucks run and then on to Target. Oh how I missed Target.

Here are a few photos of the girls from our flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco.





Masada

The last night of our whirlwind trip was spent in Ein Gedi at the Ein Gedi Kibbutz Hotel. It was probably the first lodging founded on the Dead Sea... and hasn't been updated since as evidenced by the corrugated tin roofs on the buildings and old rusted out appliances in yards driving into the Kibbutz. The hotel rooms were "cozy", reminiscent of sleep away camp, a place frequented by Teva wearing, white haired, hairy legged, backpack hostelers. While the hotel couldn't be any more bare bones, I really enjoyed it. It brought back great memories of my first trip to Israel.

We spent little time at the hotel; just enough for dinner, a little shut eye, and breakfast the next morning. After check out, we drove south about 20 minutes to Masada National Park to hike up Masada. For those of you who aren't familiar with Masada, it was a fortress built by King Herod of Judea. It was the last bastion of Jewish freedom fighters against the Romans; its fall signaled the violent destruction of the kingdom of Judea at the end of the Second Temple period.

There are two ways to get up to the top of Masada; you can take the tram or hike. My mom chose to take the tram, and my dad, Matt, Riley, Sheridan, and I hiked up. There are about 700 steps along the 2 km of winding path. The difference in the altitude between the bottom of the path and the top is 350 meters, which means that when you reach the top of Masada, you are AT sea level. The sign at the bottom states that it takes approx. 45 minutes to ascend the snake path to the top. I can tell you that it takes much longer than that, especially if you have a whining 4 year old toddler and a 30 lb. baby in a backpack with you.

Matt, my dad, and Riley walked together, while I tagged behind carrying Sheridan in the Kelty backpack up the mountain. The original plan was for me to start with Sheridan on my back, and then Matt would take her about half-way up. However, I got a bug up my tush and had to prove that I could carry her the entire way up - and that I did. It took us 1 hour 18 minutes to climb to the top. After a few minor meltdowns at the beginning, Riley did an amazing job of walking up the path. My dad was able to combat her whining by rewarding her every few hundred feet with small treats. At the very end of the climb she pooped out and my dad carried her on his shoulders the rest of the way up.

We met my mom at the top and took a tour around. We saw what used to be great buildings; the Western and Northern Palaces, bathhouse, water cistern, beautiful observation points. To the girls, everything looked like large rocks to climb and lots of ways to get hurt and annoy mom. We spent about an hour walking around, taking photos, and looking at the beautiful views of the Dead Sea. Then my mom, Sheridan, Riley, and I took the tram down to the bottom, while Matt and my dad walked/ran back down the snake path.

We got back into the car around 2pm and after feeding the girls a small meal of peanut butter and crackers, we drove back home. We arrived around 5pm, and ordered in Pizza. It was a fun weekend, but whew, we were thrilled to be home.

Here are photos from our hike.
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4.03.2007

Petra, Jordan

If you haven't been to this potential new 7th Wonder of the World, you must go! Petra is the treasure of the ancient world, hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains boasting incomparable scenes that make it the most majestic and imposing ancient sight still-standing nowadays.

So back to my story... We drove to the border in Eilat and Matt's Israeli contact who works there, helped expedite us through customs and even drove us from the Israeli side across "no-man's land" and into the Jordanian border (about 200 yards). While it took us only a minute to drive across this unoccupied area, it was a huge help as we had 2 car seats, backpack, and more kids crap than was needed for an overnight trip. Once through customs at the Jordanian border, we met our hired driver, Saad, who picked us up and took us on the 1 1/2 hour drive to our hotel. It was easier to hire a car in Jordan rather than take our car as it would have required us to purchase Jordanian car insurance and entrance/exit fees that came close to what it cost us to hire Saad.

Saad gave us a detailed tour on the drive to the Marriott Hotel. Once there, he waited for us to check into our rooms, change clothes, and then drove us the additional 10 minutes to Petra. It was COLD and windy. Thankfully I had enough clothes to dress the girls in 4 layers of long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and jackets with hoods! We arrived at Petra around noon and asked Saad to pick us up around 5pm.

Petra is considered the most famous and gorgeous site in Jordan located about 262 km south of Amman. It is the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Petra is now a UNESCO world heritage site that enchants visitors from all corners of the globe. The Petra basin boasts over 800 individual monuments, including buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, and colonnaded streets, that were mostly carved from the kaleidoscopic sandstone by the technical and artistic genius of its inhabitants.

I don't need to go into much more detail about our trip. Riley and Sheridan had a great time running around and we were in awe looking at the amazing structures. The highlight of Riley's day was riding in the white horsie carriage back up to the top.

Here are the photos from our trip.
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4.02.2007

My Parent's Trip to Israel

My folks came for their annual visit from March 8 - 21. This time they were able to spend some quality time with us and the girls as well as travel throughout Israel. They would stay with us for a few days and then travel around, come back to our place, and then head off again. They saw everything from Jerusalem, to the Golan Heights in the north, Ein Gedi in the desert, Eilat in the south, and even Petra, Jordan.

My parent's first weekend in Israel was spent at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem (the same place that the Secretary of State stays EVERY month...). The girls and I met my folks in Jerusalem Sunday morning and we all spent the day with our cousins Jeremy & Yaara. (photos of them are in the last blog I wrote). We had fun shopping in the Old City, walking around, and eating.

My folks left on Tuesday for their trip up north. They drove to the Golan Heights and stayed at our favorite horse farm and B&B, Vered Hagalil. They saw several sights on their way; Caesarea, Haifa, and even drove around Lake Kinneret. They arrived back before Matt's 36th birthday on Thursday, and we all went out to celebrate at our favorite sushi restaurant.

On Friday, March 16th we drove to Eilat for our whirlwind 4-day trip. We caravaned down with my mom and the girls in my car and Matt and my dad in his rental car. It took about 5 hours (not including stops) to get to Eilat and by the time we checked into our hotel it was around 5:30pm. After unpacking and getting settled we drove to the promenade, had dinner, and then walked around. We got home by 9pm and let the girls sleep together in the pull-out sofa bed. Oh boy was that a horrible idea!!! Sheridan had never slept in a bed, and not only was she taking up too much room, but she also thought that because she was "sleeping" with her sister that it was play time. Au contraire. Sadly, I had to pull her in bed with us as she annoyed Riley too much. Of course, I didn't get a good night sleep either as she slept perpendicular to Matt and me.

The next morning we packed up our cars and headed to the border for our trip into Jordan. Stay tuned to my next blog to read all about it. Until then, here are a few photos from our trip down to Eilat.

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February Recap

It's been over 2 months since my last Perlman Update and we've been busy! To catch everyone up to speed, let me give a quick recap of February.
  • Baby Jack Fleming decided to arrive a smidge early. He was born on February 4th (his actual due date was mid-March) and had to stay in the hospital a little longer than anticipated. We spent the first few weeks of his birth helping the family out with making/organizing dinners to carpooling. We had planned to throw them a "Welcome to the World" party in mid-March, but due to scheduling conflicts needed to reschedule until mid-May.
  • Riley's 4th birthday was on February 12th.
  • On February 15, Riley & Sheridan's preschool classes went on a field trip to the dentist. They learned about the importance of brushing their teeth so that the cavity monsters won't make holes in their teeth. The hygenist then pointed to her plastic teeth and told the kids that if they don't take care of them that they'd have to get fake ones like her. That went over well!
  • I bought a sewing machine and started sewing lessons. I wanted to make a duvet cover for Sheridan since she'll be moving into a big girl bed once we return from our R&R trip to California in May. My girlfriend Michelle is a fantastic seamstress and really enjoys teaching sewing, so a few of us "signed-up" for her Wednesday morning lessons. She began by teaching us the basics; threading a machine, sewing a straight line, accessories to purchase. The next class we practiced cutting fabric, sewing, ironing. Our last lesson before my parents came to town was on reading patterns. In between lessons I began working on Sheridan's duvet; I decided to do a patchwork design. I finished the front and it looks great!
  • Matt worked on yet another Secretary of State visit. This time he was gone for a week.
Here is the link to Shutterfly to view photos from February and the beginning of my folks visit.

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AaNnDVo2YtWMD

Enjoy!

Love to all,
M, J, R, S, & L

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