While Natalie was here, we ended up also having a couple girls from Utah stay with us. They showed up at church one Saturday and pretty much expected the branch to take care of them. I'm still curious why they came to Israel with no plans, no money, and no place to stay. We felt bad for them and let them stay with us. They were fun but frustrating - I'll leave it at that.
Then when Natalie and the random Utah chicks left, we finally got to meet our new friends, the Gublers. We had been awaiting their arrival for a while, so it was exciting to finally meet them. They are a wonderful family who have been living in Michigan to attend grad school, and are here for a year to do Ph.D research. They have three children, and brought their sister, Sheralyn (who is a gem - I only WISH I was that mature at 19). They stayed with us for about 10 days or so. Are you wondering how we fit an additional family of six in our little apartment? Well, we're not entirely sure. But we did it.
This is what our kitchen looked like for the 10 days that the Gublers were here. It's a good thing we like them so much! :)
All the kids lined up on our awesome futon (don't be jealous of that bright blue - you know you want it).Another thing that has added excitement to our lives lately is Jackson has become deathly afraid of fireworks. This becomes a problem when you live in a city (or is it just our part of the city?) that has fireworks going off somewhere almost every single night. I'm embarrassed to say that this fear in him developed because of a stupid mommy moment on my part. One night while the Gublers were here, our neighbors right outside our window started some fireworks (we're talking huge, loud, 4th of July type fireworks). A group of us were in the kitchen and we all went running to the bedroom windows to check out the festivities. Well, Jackson wasn't a huge fan of ear shattering noises and everyone running away from him as fast as they could. :( Poor kid. He's never been the same since.
Church has also been keeping me busy. When I left church last Saturday I realized I was responsible for many things this week - a sacrament meeting talk, Sharing Time, Singing Time, teaching Junior Primary, and nursery. Oy vey, right? Things just get crazy in our small little branch when the Jerusalem Center students leave. But I was able to delegate about half of it out to other people. I still spent most of what little free time I had this week preparing for church today, though. And I'm happy to say it all went off without a hitch. Thank you to those who helped out - you know who you are!
The Junior Primary out on the terrace with a few Jerusalem Center students from this last semester. You can't beat a class picture with the Dome of the Rock in the background! (Joni is in second from the left, in the pink skirt)
Some of the children in the branch gathered today for a movie after church while parents took care of other things.
We're thinking of putting Joni in a kindergarten here. She technically doesn't need to because she doesn't turn 5 until October, but we thought it would be an awesome chance for her to learn Hebrew. We'll be going to visit the school in the next couple of days to see what we think. It will all be in Hebrew so it will be a big adjustment for her. But I do think that in the long run she will really enjoy it.
Tom has been back in summer Hebrew classes since the beginning of the month (the same thing he was doing at this time last summer while the kids and I were still in Utah). So he has five hours of class every day, plus several hours of homework. It will last until the end of September. Then he will have a break until the beginning of November when fall semester starts. I am definitely looking forward to October! :)