10.30.2007

The Bid List Is Turned In...

On August 20th it was revealed and on October 30th it was sealed...

Who shall go domestic and who international

Who flies in business and who in economy

Who to Chicago and who to D.C.

Who to Shanghai and who to Lisbon

Who to Kabul and who to Kathmandu

Who even knows where the hell Nouakchott, Mbabane, Ouagadougou, and Peshawar are located on a map.

On August 20th it was revealed and on October 30 it was sealed... let's just wait and see where the chips may fall and where we will go. We'll let you know.

10.29.2007

Riley's Big Night

Last night was a huge accomplishment for Riley... she went to bed for the first time wearing "big girl underwear" instead of pull-ups. For over a month she's been asking to go to bed wearing underwear like all her friends, but she hadn't been able to either hold her urine in all night or wake herself up to use the bathroom. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that we made a deal with her that if she had 2 weeks of pish-free nights that we'd let her wear her underwear to bed. She succeeded!

She was very excited when we tucked her into bed - she must have told us at least 10 times that she was wearing her underwear. Of course, she did wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me that she was still dry - very sweet, though I could have waited until morning to hear the good news. She continued on and woke up this morning as dry as could be. She was very proud of herself and so were we.

Wish us luck that this continues!

10.27.2007

Halloween

We went to a huge Halloween party tonight at our friend's Michelle and Chris Young. Since the Embassy didn't put on a big trick or treating fest as in year's past, Michelle decided to do it herself. She bought all the candy and decorations, asked her neighbors for their help, and planned the shindig of the year. She invited the entire preschool - and almost every kid and their siblings showed up! The kids had a small cluster of houses in which to trick or treat, and then they ended at Michelle's where there was dinner, dessert, games, and even a pinata.

Dressed up as princessess... again!









Top Left: Jill and Christine.

Top Right: Jill, Heather, and Michelle.

To the left: Michelle, Lee, and Jill

10.24.2007

Yay for visitors!

On the day we returned from Egypt, Matt's good friend from middle school, Richard Tesler, came to Israel for a visit with his family. Unfortunately Rich's trip got cut short as his father got sick and was hospitalized the day he arrived. Rich, Yen, and their son Liem stayed with us for a few days in between traveling around Israel, and on their last night we were even able to get a baby sitter so we could have a civilized dinner. What a treat. (On a side note, the last time we saw Richard was in June, 2003...a lot has changed since then!)

Richard and Matt with their kids

Rich, Liem, and Yen

10.23.2007

Riley's Ballet Class

Here is a video clip of Riley's ballet class tonight. Parents aren't allowed to watch the class or even be in the room, except for the last minute.

video

Riley is the 3rd girl in the middle row wearing the dark purple leotard. By the way, there is sound, so turn up your speakers. Enjoy!

10.22.2007

Back to Israel

It was an uneventful trip back to Israel last Monday. We left the hotel around 6am, checked in for our flight by 7:30 am and had well over an hour to hang out and relax. In the terminal there was a disgusting play area for the kids, while upstairs I was in heaven... a Cinnabon directly next to Starbucks! I could have stayed there ALL day.

A few hours after we arrived back in Israel Matt left for the airport to pick up his friend Rich and his family, who arrived for a two-week visit. More on that later...







Our last day in Cairo

Our final day in Cairo was spent being lazy and laying around our rooms and the hotel. We all woke up late (yay!!) and had a late breakfast. We then got dressed and went to the pool. The girls swam a little and had lunch with daddy and Poppa, while Micky treated me to a relaxing manicure / pedicure at the spa. The rest of the afternoon was relaxing as we all napped, read, and did absolutely nothing.

Our last supper was at Spices restaurant, a beautiful Chinese restaurant in the hotel. It was fabulous! They had crayons and coloring books for the girls, and even a children's menu with none other than hot dogs and chicken nuggets.






Nile Pharaoh Dinner Cruise

We followed our long morning of touring with a dinner cruise on the Nile. Our driver picked us up from the hotel around 5:45 pm and dropped us off at the dock of the "Nile Pharaoh". We had an hour to kill so we checked-in, sat around, took a few photos, and waited...and waited... Soon enough we were boarding our boat and seated at our dinner table.

The half-full boat took off exactly at 7 pm, and by the time we started moving we had already been served our mezza, appetizers, and drinks. By 7:15 pm we were served our main course, and by 7:20 pm we were done. Their efficiency was key and their service impressive... the Israelis could learn a thing or two - however, I digress.

There was a small show on the boat that began at the end of the dinner service, with a belly dancer, a whirling dervish, and a musical number. The kids enjoyed watching and they actually stayed in their seats the entire time. After the show we took a walk around the boat and even went outside for a quick view (too much longer and Sheridan may have taken a header off the side). We docked at precisely 9 pm and our driver was waiting for us. The girls were so tired when we got back to the hotel that they quickly crashed out. Thankfully we could all sleep in the next morning...



Sitting at our table

Our first photo together in a long while

Whirling Dervish


10.21.2007

The Museum, The Mosque, and The Market

On Saturday the 13th, our tour guide Mohammed took us to the Egyptian Museum, followed up by a trip to Sultan Hassan Mosque and Khan al-Khalili Market Bazaar.

We arrived at the Egyptian Museum around 9:30 am, just after it opened, and there were already hundreds of people waiting outside. It was a great idea to go with our tour guide as we soon found out inside that most items are not well marked in English and there isn't a map to guide you through. The museum holds over 120,000 items on display, most notably Tutankhamen's tomb. We zig zagged through the tour groups and made our way quickly through the ground floor and upstairs to the really interesting stuff. While there are kings who are known for accomplishing more during their reign than Tutankhamen, finding his tomb intact has made him the most famous Egyptian Pharaoh. There are more than 1700 artifacts of his in the museum; his tomb, couches, throne, coffins, and of course, the fabulous golden death mask.

We stayed at the museum for close to 2 hours and after seeing many mummies (both people AND animal), sarcophagi, pottery, pictures, columns, and knick knacks, it was time to go. We then went to visit one of the oldest mosques in Egypt, the mosque of Sultan Hassan. I was expecting to see something similar to the Great Mosque in Oman, but I was sadly disappointed. While the dimensions of this massive structure are truly grandiose, that's about it. The carpets inside are disgusting and it's in need of a major renovation AND cleaning! It probably hasn't had much work done to it since it was built in the late 1300's. I was also surprised that neither men or women were required to dress modestly while entering the mosque. While we were all conservatively dressed we saw many people walking around in shorts and t-shirts.

We finished our tour with a quick trip to Khan al-Khalili, the outside market bazaar. We went during the first day of Eid, so unfortunately many of the vendors weren't there. However, I think that's probably a blessing as I don't know if I could have handled any more nagging, begging, and haggling with the shop keepers. I was prepared to buy something interesting if it caught my eye, but nothing jumped out. Instead we bought a just a few t-shirts.




10.18.2007

The Sphinx and the Solar Boat Museum

To the south of Khafre's Pyramid sits a huge creature with the head of a human and a lion's body. The Great Sphinx is believed to be the most immense stone sculpture in the round ever made by man. The Sphinx is made out of limestone and was under renovations while we were there. It was surprisingly much smaller than I had imagined, but awe inspiring nonetheless.

Our final destination was to the Solar Boat Museum. It was fascinating! In 1954, a boat, over 120 feet long and made entirely of cedar wood, was discovered at the base of Khufu's Pyramid when the ground was cleared for a tourist road to be put in. Forty slabs of limestone were discovered set in the ground with the pieces of a complete boat arranged in 13 layers. The boat was laboriously removed from its pit, piece by piece, and in 1958 reassembling of the 1224 pieces began. It took 10 years to complete. No nails were used in the construction and the planking was assembled through an ingenious system of stitching through holes with ropes of vegetable fibers. When the wood was swollen by water the ropes would tighten and make the boat watertight. Spectacular. The museum was built at the same spot where they found the boat.

After our half-day tour, Mohammed dropped us back off at the hotel where we had lunch and napped. We spent the evening exploring the area around the hotel, dodging traffic and playing "chicken" in the road with our lives, and letting the girls eat dinner at none other than KFC.











The Pyramids of Giza

Our first full day in Egypt was spent touring the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Solar Boat Museum. Our tour guide Mohammed picked us up at our hotel at 9 am, and once in the van began giving us background information on our day's events. He went into great detail about Egypt, and more specifically Cairo and the 24 million inhabitants living in the small city. He told us all about the Pyramids of Giza, and how it took close to 20 years to complete each pyramid due to 1.5 ton stones being quarried and transported distances of up to 500 miles. He also told us that each large pyramid housed only 1 king after he died.

There are 3 pyramids in Giza. The Great Pyramid, which at its highest peak is 138 meters, was built for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. Next to it lies a slightly smaller Pyramid of Khafre, Khufu's successor, who is also commonly considered the builder of the Great Sphinx. A few hundred metres further south-west is the Pyramid of Menkaure, Khafre's successor, which is about half as tall. The entire Giza Plateau is believed to have been constructed over the reign of five pharaohs in less than a hundred years.

As the Pyramids have been around for over 4000 years, the city of Cairo is clearly built around them. It was rather odd to be driving through a relatively residential part of town only to turn left and have them staring right at you. The Pyramids are the best known man made structure in the world and truly are a modern marvel. It's amazing to look at them and see the amount of work it took to build them without the use of our every day machinery.

Matt and his dad went down into one of the smaller surrounding pyramids, built for one of the queens. While they weren't supposed to take any photos, the guide took one of the two of them at the bottom.

Panoramic View of the Pyramids


Perlmans at the Pyramids




Matt and Neil down in the bottom of the Pyramid



10.16.2007

Cairo

On Thursday, October 11, we left on a 4 1/2 day trip to Cairo, Egypt. We flew out on Air Sinai airlines (which was really Egypt Air) for the hour-long flight. We originally wanted to only go for 3 days, but since there are only 3 flights to Egypt a week, we didn't have a choice in our return date. We made the plans in advance, hired a guide for 2 half-day tours, and left our last day to sight see on our own... or just relax at the hotel.

We had an uneventful flight to Cairo and arrived just before lunchtime. Our expediter met us at the airport and helped whisk us through customs and as well as take our bags to the awaiting van. With traffic, some of the worst I've ever seen, it took us about 40 minutes to get to the hotel. But as soon as we pulled up we were in heaven. We booked our stay at the Four Seasons Hotel... for $165 / night including taxes and breakfast. What a score!

By the time we checked into our rooms, unpacked our bags, and vegged out it was about 5pm. We got dressed, walked around the hotel, and went to dinner across the street at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Here are some photos of our first day in Cairo. As I don't have all my photos loaded, and I'm still waiting for my father-in-law's, I'll be writing these blogs of our trip over the next few days.




10.15.2007

What a week!

Sorry for the delay in our blog updates ~ we've been a smidge busy since my last note. Matt's parents arrived for a 10-day trip last weekend, but before they arrived, we had a lot to do. From parent board meetings to school activities, preparations for another visit from the Secretary of State, to a visit from the flu bug, we've been running in high gear.

Matt's folks made it here on a great Delta flight last Saturday, October 6th. Unfortunately, Sheridan and I were both under the weather with a nasty little bug. But we were troopers and managed to make it to the airport with Riley to pick them up as their flight came in earlier than expected and Matt was in the shower. :)

We hung out for their first few days here, resting and relaxing as best we could before the chaos ensued. Matt had Monday off for Columbus Day and we took a quick tour of the Embassy and went shopping on my favorite street in Tel Aviv. We picked the girls up from school at 12:30 and began our hectic week of activities. Here's what we've done:
  • Last Monday, Riley had her first gymnastics class and we all went to watch. She loved it and grinned from ear to ear the entire hour.
  • Last Tuesday, after Riley's afternoon program at school, I took her to her first ballet class. We're going to a different place this year as the classes are a lot more structured and she's learning more technique and grace. This is some SERIOUS ballet. Parents aren't allowed to watch except for the last 2 minutes of class ~ Riley was again grinning when we left.
  • Wednesday we all went to the girls swimming lessons and finished the day with Sheridan's ballet class.
  • In between this we had to run errands, take care of meals, and plan and pack for our trip to Cairo, Egypt.
We left early Thursday morning for our 5 day trip to Cairo, Egypt and just got back a few hours ago. So much to tell, so many pictures to download. I promise to update y'all with our amazing trip and details of traveling with the girls when I pick my head up off the pillow tomorrow.

In the meantime, we're preparing for yet another visitor. Matt's close friend Richard and his family are arriving in less than an hour for a 2 week trip to Israel. We'll be busy...

10.03.2007

Just Go To Sleep!!



For those of you with children, here's a little ditty from YouTube that me laugh out loud. I think the artist sat in my house and then wrote his song.

Enjoy!

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