More Ballet Fun

Here's another video clip of Riley's Ballet Class. Remember she's the only one wearing black ballet slippers.


Riley's Ballet Class

Here is the first of a few videos I'm going to upload of Riley's open ballet class held today. It was the first class that the parents have been able to see all year! The girls had to wear all pink to class, though as you can see, we didn't entirely conform (Riley's the only one wearing black ballet slippers). This is their opening circle ~ clearly the girls were excited that their parent's were there and wanted to show off.

Beauty and the Beast

Last night Matt took the girls to the American International School to see their winter play, Beauty and the Beast. They went with our friends the Flemings, and he gave me the night to relax at home by myself. They arrived a little late and the only seats available were in the very front row next to the orchestra. The play was extremely long; at 9pm he sent me a message from his Blackberry telling me that they were just starting a 15 minute intermission. It ended around 10 pm, and before they left Riley, Kit, and Gabby took a photo with Belle (Sheridan was tired and cranky and refused to get in the photo). Matt said it was a great time and arrived home around 10:30 pm with two sleeping little girls. Surprisingly they woke up at 6 am this morning, bright eyed and ready to go to school!


Gabby's Birthday Party

Today we celebrated Gabby's 6th birthday. John and Christine hired a pony to come to the house, and the kids took turns riding her throughout the day in their backyard. The party lasted almost 2 hours past its end time, and everyone went home cake-filled and happy.

Sheridan's Swim Lessons

Last Thursday Sheridan started her new swimming lessons. She is now taking semi-private classes with her friend Ailie. These new lessons will make my life much easier as both Riley and Sheridan will now be swimming at the same time.


Happy Anniversary To Me!

Eight years ago today I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel Canon in D. Eight years ago today I married my best friend. Eight years ago today I became a Mrs.

These have been the best six years of my life... Kidding. At least the best seven.

Who Is This??

...............(photo circa 1975) ...................... (photo taken today) ...........

If you stand my beautiful baby girl next to her father, there's no doubt that they resemble each other. However, she's a SPITTING image of me when I was her age. Riley looked at the photo and wanted to know why she wasn't playing in the pool with Sheridan. It's almost scary...


Parties Galore

I should have blogged this last weekend, but we were so busy and anxious to be paneled, that I kinda forgot. The girls had 2 parties they attended last Saturday; one for a girl in Sheridan's class, and the other for a boy in Riley's. They had a complete sugar-filled day with cake, cupcakes, cotton candy, and crap. It was a total blast and they surprisingly lasted until we got home around 8pm. After a serious face washing and teeth brushing, they fell right asleep and thankfully they both slept until 8 am on Sunday.

Sheridan eating cotton candy ~ Riley snarfing down a hot dog

Me with Kit & Gabby ~ Sheridan having fun

Riley's entire class made it! ~ Riley & Kit

Riley & Gabby ~ Sheridan and John


We've FINALLY Been Paneled!

As all of you know, our bid list came out in mid-August and was submitted in late October. We hymned and hawed about where we wanted to go... back to the States where Matt would be a supervisor in a field office, or stay overseas for 1 more tour. The selection was grim. Not only were there limited options for a family with a child going into kindergarten, but there was also an increased competition for the few available spots. We had the opportunity to put down 13 locations, though we could only find 6 where we were willing to go.

With careful consideration for our family structure, Matt's career, and opportunities for us as a family, here are the 6 places that we put on our bid list back in October. In order they were:

1. Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (Africa)
2. Lilongwe, Malawi (Africa)
3. Chennai, India (South East Asia)
4. Gaborone, Botswana (Africa)
5. Tunis, Tunisia (Africa)
6. Belmopan, Belize (Central America)

In late May we will be leaving Tel Aviv for our mandatory home leave in California, and then in late July / early August we will be heading out for another 3 year tour to....................................................

Chennai, India

Chennai is a large city on the south eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal, with a population over 7 million people. It is the fourth largest city in India and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Matt will be the Regional Security Officer (RSO) for the consulate in Chennai, with a staff reporting to him, and additional oversight in southern India.

We are absolutely thrilled to be heading out to India for our last tour before we go back to the States. Matt is ecstatic with his assignment, I'm excited for our new adventure, and Chennai is a great jumping off point to the Maldives, Thailand, and other areas we've always wanted to vacation. Additionally, Lufthansa has daily direct flights from Frankfurt to Chennai! What more could we ask?

We don't have a lot of information as we were just paneled today. We'll keep you posted on our details as they come along.


Night in DC...Then Onto Home

On Friday January 4th, the girls and I made an overnight stop in DC before flying back to Tel Aviv. The stop served two purposes; it broke up the trip and it gave us the opportunity to see Kathie and Alison (friends we made in Oman in 2003). After a long travel day (see previous blog), we finally checked into the hotel just before 8pm. It was a whirlwind of an evening - a complete blast from the past. The last time that the 3 of us girls were together was almost 2.5 years ago when Alison and I drove from DC to NJ to surprise Kathie a week after her daughter Molly was born. We had adjoining suites with the door left open the entire night, we ordered in pizza, Kathie brought gifts, junk food, and cocktails for everyone, and we stayed up until 2 am reminiscing and reconnecting.

Saturday we had breakfast, packed up our stuff, and hung around the hotel until 2:30 pm when we had to head back to the airport to catch our 5:30 pm flight. The time flew by quickly and our time together was over as quick as it began... the shuttle bus gave me a minute's notice to get on or they would leave to the airport without us. :( So we said our good-byes and off we went to finish the last leg of our journey.

The sun, moon, and stars were definitely aligned on our trip home: United gave us the bulkhead seats on our flight to Frankfurt, the girls were on their best behavior and didn't have a single meltdown on either plane to Frankfurt and then to Tel Aviv, our luggage arrived quickly, and friends at home stocked the friends and left flowers, gifts, and chocolate chip cookies. What a homecoming.

Matt is busy working with the President and Secretary of State's visit, so we haven't yet seen him since our return. Hopefully he'll be home late Friday night. The girls are almost adjusted back to Israel time. They've been having a great week back at school and doing their normal activities. Tomorrow we have our swimming lessons, Friday a play date, and two birthday parties on Saturday. No rest for the weary.

Here are a few photos of Kathie, me, and Alison as taken by Riley. Pretty good, eh?

Kath, me, and Alison - in our PJ's

Sheridan, Riley, Matt, and Molly


Traveling Home

After a fantastic 3+ week vacation in California it was time to go home. We left my parent's home in the wee hours on Friday, January 4th amidst a horrible rain/wind storm that was coming into Northern California. We got to the airport around 5:45 am and after returning the rental car, checking in, and going through security, we were at the gate by 7:15 am. We boarded the plane around 7:30 am for our 8 am departure, but after sitting on the plane for only a few minutes, it was apparent that we weren't going to be taking off on time. The wind was whipping and blowing our 767 aircraft like a branch on a tree... it was scary.

Around 7:45 am, the pilot came on the PA to let us know that all baggage loading was suspended at the airport due to the high winds and rain, and that they would let us know when it would resume. Thirty minutes pass... then another thirty... soon it was 9 am. The wind was unrelenting and after squirming in our seats for well over an hour, the United agents decided to de-board the aircraft and have us wait outside while they determined whether or not the flight would be cancelled. I was annoyed! While I normally wouldn't have minded the delay, I had made plans to meet my girlfriends Kathie and Alison (friends from Oman) in DC for the evening on a layover before we headed back to Israel. I was now late and my precious time with them was diminishing.

After waiting for over 1 1/2 hours, during which time they issued new boarding passes, the rains had died down enough for the bags to be loaded on the plane and for us to attempt to re-board and take off. The girls were SO tired after being up since 4:30 am that once we boarded the plane at 11am, they fell right asleep. Good thing as we took off around 11:45 am and had the most HORRIFIC take off I've ever experienced. The rain and wind had picked up again just a few short minutes before we took off, and our plane shook and shimmied for the first 15 minutes so bad that I grabbed the guy's arm next to me and buried my head in his shoulder. I was actually frightened, and judging from the oohs and aahs of the other passengers, I wasn't the only one.

It was a quick trip to DC with the girls sleeping a majority of the flight, and once we landed, we had help getting off the plane, getting our very rain soaked luggage, and then we caught the shuttle bus to the Embassy Suites Hotel where my friends were eagerly waiting our arrival. More of our visit, including photos in my next blog.


Happy New Year!

Welcome 2008 ~ We're SO glad to see you! This year is bound to be a good one. It started off with a bang when we took the girls to see the adorable movie, Enchanted. Sheridan loved it, but Riley was a little scared. We're having a ball at my parents house doing all our last minute shopping, returning, and browsing for summer items. We're heading back to Israel on Friday where we'll be until mid-June (or so), and then home for the summer before we depart to our next location (TBD sometime this month!).

We wish you all a happy and healthy 2008 filled with family, good friends, and great memories.

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