Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Israel, Part 1

Just returned from 5 days in Israel....such a beautiful country. It was an intense 5 days, as we spent 8-10 hours each day with a guide. He was great. We learned so much and kids did amazingly well considering they had very little freedom for 5 days. Israel will require several blog posts, but I will start with some of my favorite kid moments of the trip.

*Cade loved our tour guide so much. He would run and yell, "Mr. Horn!" each morning when he picked us up. I think Mr. Horn loved Cade, too.

*One day, while walking in Capernaum, I tried to explain to cade that this was where Jesus lived. So sweetly he replied, "Is this Heaven?"

*After seeing so many places that Jesus walked, lived, etc, Cade started saying, "I want to play with Jesus." Chelsea, my little realist, responded rather curtly, "Cade, to play with Jesus you have to be dead. Do you want to be dead?"

*Chelsea's favorite was the Garden of Gethsemane. There, she sat and read us the scriptures from Jesus' last night. Precious.

*Logan was a trooper, trekking around in the stroller and backpack most of the trip.  We also got him a kid backpack with a leash  "freedom cord" before we left. We thought he would hate it, but he loved it and would go get it and ask to put it on. The other 2 kids would fight over who would get to walk the Logan.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Highlights from a long weekend in Istanbul....
The Basilica Cistern....super cool, super big, and a little creepy. Kids loved it. 
The Blue Mosque - beautiful inside and out. Spending a weekend in a Muslim country, hearing the calls to prayer, and observing the rituals involved in entering the mosque all provided good opportunities to talk to the kids about why our faith is different. I did have a revelation that if I heard the call to prayer 5 times a day, my prayer life would probably be richer. 
Hagia Sophia - a church then a mosque now a museum.

Cats...everywhere. Cat-spotting kept the kids quite occupied and entertained. One day they counted 65 cats! They were seriously everywhere. We ate in several outdoor cafes, and the cats would scamper around our feet as we ate waiting for crumbs. 
Markets - we loved walking around the markets. What a visual feast!

This was the only one I didn't love. So crowded at one point that we couldn't move an inch. People coming from every direction. No way out. I don't deal well with no way out. :) Add to that trying keep up with kids and pushing a stroller....not fun.
Trips to markets result in souvenirs - a highlight for these 2. 
Logan wasn't left out, and got a hat on this trip.  

Topkapi Palace - another beautiful site, with some cool artifacts and jewels. Also the site of 2 rude American old ladies who thought I couldn't hear them when they said that children shouldn't be allowed into museums. My kids were acting great, so I mustered up my courage a few minutes later and walked up to them with a smile and told them I was really sorry if we disturbed them, and I hoped they enjoyed the rest of their day. The look on their face was priceless. 

Beautiful views of the Bosphorus Bridge connecting Europe and Asia. 

Food - the Turkish food we tried was great. The Turkish people were all so friendly and kind to the kids.

It is amazing that just a 2 hour flight away lies such a different culture and different world. Thankful for the opportunity to experience it!