Monday, April 26, 2010

Quick update

My laptop is still nicely sitting on our shelf, closed and unused.  It's very sad.

I do occasionally get to hop on to Tom's when he is around and not using it for homework, which let's be honest, isn't a whole lot.  Yesterday he did leave it home all day and it was awesome.  I planted the kids in front of a movie while I made dinner and cleaned the house and I didn't hear a peep from them.



The biggest thing we have going on is we finally have visitors coming tomorrow night.  My cousin was nice enough to hook my mom and sister up with some standby tickets to come here, so all they're paying is the taxes, I believe.  So generous and so thoughtful.

I can't wait to show them around.  I don't know why it feels like such a big deal to me, but it will be so nice to have people see what our life is like here.  They will be here for two weeks, so I'm not sure how much you'll hear from me for the next little while.  Maybe if I can get my darn computer fixed I could post come pictures each evening since we'll be going all over the place.  We'll see.


On a completely different note, did y'all know I hate bugs?  

I had heard ahead of time that Israel has some freaky insects, but I think living in the city has minimized a lot of that.  We get ants and we get teensy-tiny little spiders.  

And then we get cockroaches.  Luckily, when we got our kitchen redone the frequency seemed to decrease quite a bit.  For many, many months, the only time I ever see one is first thing in the morning when I go to throw something away under our kitchen sink.  I promptly slam the door and scream for Tom.  I tease him that he is my knight in shining armor.  But the thing is, I'm serious.  Him going all crazy on a roach and saving the day makes me love him even more than I already do. :)

ANYWAY, this morning I did my normal Monday shopping with a friend and came home to a dark house - I had actually remembered to turn out all the lights as I left, and I hadn't gotten around to opening all the blinds.  I got all the groceries up on the counter, turned on the lights, and just as I went to start putting food away, the BIGGEST freaking roach you have EVER seen was right next to my kitchen faucet.  I died.  My heart stopped, and I died.

Okay really, I screamed and ran across the kitchen.  Both kids curiously came running to see what was wrong and pretty much saw my heart pounding out of my chest.

I longed for Tom.  I froze.  I almost cried.

I didn't know what to do.  There was no way I was going go smash that thing and hear it crunch.  Plus it was sort of hiding behind a kitchen towel, and the logistics of slamming a shoe on it just didn't seem feasible.

(Just a side note, Joni calls the cockroaches "Mr. Frank", so we quickly named this one "King Frank" because did I mention it was the BIGGEST freaking roach you have EVER seen?)

Then I did what any self-respecting mother with two onlooking, frightened children would do.

I paced the kitchen and started talking to myself.  You can do this.  It's just a bug.  You can do this.  Stop shaking, it's just a bug! Should I go get a neighbor?  No, you idiot, they don't speak English.  You can do this.

I then grabbed an empty plastic container and stood in the middle of the kitchen, watching the little antanae that I could see peaking out from behind the bunched up towel, creepily moving around in circles like they were trying to get cell phone reception.

In an instant of bravery, I lept forward and covered the beast with the container, and then promptly slammed two pounds of sugar on top of it.

Whew.  I did it.  I was proud.  I went about my day.

Six hours later Tom came home and I left the room while he approached the dangerous situation.

He lifted the plastic container, and........

nothing.  The dang guy was gone.  He escaped.  WHAT. THE. HECK.

So now Joni is calling him Superman Frank because he lifted two pounds of sugar

Uncle Frank, to my knowledge, Joni using your name doesn't actually have anything to do with you.  But I could be wrong. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Computer problems

Sorry for the lack of posting.  My computer is on the fritz.  


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

God is good

I'm not sure how to keep this short, but still convey how grateful we are, and how miraculous God has been in our lives.

As you know from earlier this year, we have been anxiously awaiting what would happen for us this fall.  We've always known that Tom would have to get a PhD in order to make a career out of his field, but it has always been a mystery how that would all work out in an area that is so competitive.

Getting into a program turned out to be especially hard this year because of the economy.  I know it sounds like a great time to be going to school with all the unemployment, but universities are really hurting, and even some of the most prestigious schools are unable to fund as many (if any at all) graduate students as they would normally be able.

I am happy to say that the Lord has done amazing things for us.  A couple of months ago we did find out that Tom was accepted into one of his very top choices, University of Texas at Austin.  UT-Austin has recently acquired two of the top scholars in Tom's field, the two people Tom has been idolizing for years now.  It has been a dream of his to work with these two professors.

Ever since we (gratefully) found out he was accepted, we have been nervously waiting to hear about whether or not they would give him a fellowship to attend there.  Living in a foreign country for two years and no income has been rough, to say the least, and we've known all along that funding would be pretty necessary on our next journey.  So we have each been checking Tom's email roughly 300 times a day, for WEEKS.  

We have finally received the good news.

They have offered him a funding package, and we have officially accepted.

We feel like Heavenly Father rearranged the world for us.  We can suddenly look back on the last 8 years and know what the reasons were behind all of our promptings to do things the way we did.  They were all pieces to a big puzzle that is turning out to be an amazing PhD program that we only could have dreamed about.

We are overwhelmed that God has looked out for us so individually.  Little ol' us.  That's not to say things haven't been hard along the way, but we just kept believing that if we followed the path God was giving to us, that things would work out.

And it looks like they are.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


In the time that we've been here, I haven't learned as much Hebrew as I was hoping I would.  I know enough to get by, but I rely on Tom a lot to help with the language barrier.

Since Joni has been learning a lot of Hebrew in school, she seems to feel quite superior to me when it comes to languages.  I can tell that in her mind I know nothing in this area.

Case in point, here is a conversation I had with her yesterday....

Joni:  Mom, does Jesus know Hebrew?

Me:  Yes, he knows all languages.

Joni:  Does he know Arabic?

Me:  Yes, he knows all the languages in all the world.

Joni:  Well, I know he knows English, but what about Spanish?  Does he even know Spanish?

Me:  Yes, honey, he knows ALL languages.

Joni:  Mom, I just don't think you have any idea what you're talking about.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Special day

For those of us who are of the LDS variety, we believe that the true birth date of Jesus Christ was today, April 6th.  

We were invited by some friends to go spend the day in Bethlehem, so Joni and I jumped at the chance to see the town where Jesus was born on the very day it happened.  We had a great day filled with amazing memories.  

First we walked around some shepherd fields near Bethlehem and checked out the olive trees....

We found a place overlooking Bethlehem to sit and read Luke 2 and sing Christmas songs.....

Then we were off to Manger Square where our friend from Bethlehem (Sahar, pictured above) was even able to get us in a back door to bypass the long lines to see the spot where it is believed that Christ was born.....

The air had a different feel to it today.  It was easy to imagine Joseph and Mary with their brand new baby, the Savior of the world.  Bethlehem has always had a unique beauty, but today it was especially beautiful.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Out of touch with the world - help!

I am officially a technology dummy.  

My MP3 player disappeared a few weeks ago (how can I do any housecleaning without music?), so I have been looking around online.  What the heck people?  Since when does an MP3 player take pictures/videos, double as a flash storage device, and can be used as a webcam, all for 40 bucks?  I am amazed.  

Reminds me of when my sister came home from an LDS mission and I had to explain to her what the internet was.  I don't know how it works, it just does!

Okay, in her defense, I was FLOORED when I got home from my mission and everyone had switched to DVDs instead of VHS.  All I could think was, "What is everyone going to do with their videos?"  I was horrified.

So help me out.  What should I get???  Is there a certain brand that is best?

I don't need all the bells and whistles, I just need something that will play me some music while I clean every day.  Cheap is good, too, since you know, we don't have an income.  And if it could last me the next 5 years or so, that would be awesome, too. ;)

He Is Risen

Happy Easter

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sad state of affairs

Our futon bed completely fell to pieces a week ago. 

We had it folded up as a couch and the whole family was snuggled up watching something on the internet when it suddenly felt like the earth was moving out from underneath us.  

Joni and I couldn't stop laughing, but Tom was furious it didn't last 3 more months.  We carried the frame out to the dumpster (hopefully not offending observant Jews on Shabbat) and are now sleeping on the futon pad on the floor.  Which is pretty much all we had when we first got married.  Tom says we have regressed 7 years.


I don't even know what to call this post

I've been thinking lately about having the puberty talk with Joni.  She always has a million questions about this or that, but I often turn out to be one of those lame scardy-cat mommas who diverts the conversation to something else.  I mostly do this because Joni is such a talker that I'm worried if I say too much, she's going to go blurt out something about my period or my boobs to a stranger at the park.  We also have never been one of those families who refers to body parts by their official name.  This wasn't thought out or on purpose - it just happened.  So we use phrases like, The Girls, Peeps, Junk, Buns, and the like.  This is evident by a conversation I overheard Joni having with Tom the other day.

Apparently they were wrestling and Joni took a hard, swift kick to Tom's *ahem* "goods".  Tom calmly told Joni he wasn't very happy with her and asked her to leave the room.  When she came back in Tom still had his hands over the "family jewels", and the following conversation ensued....

Joni:  What's the matter, dad?

Tom:  You kicked me so hard I think you bruised my penis (why he suddenly chose to use the proper word, I don't know).

Joni:  Haha!  Peanuts!  Why do you call it peanuts?  Is it like nuts that have pee coming out of them?

Tom:  Ummm, yeah, sort of.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Random Happenings

  • I hate (I know it's a strong word but it's true) heat and humidity.  I am DREADING the hot weather that I know is coming.  I think about it every single day and am trying to thoroughly enjoy the currently mild weather while it lasts.
  • The above statement is a bad thing considering we think we're moving to Texas this fall for Tom to start his PhD program.  But mark my words, our next apartment WILL have air conditioning.  For every other reason besides the heat, we are out of this world excited to go there.
  • Joni is out of school for 2-1/2 weeks for Passover and I might go a little crazy.  I love that girl to death, but she never, and I mean never, stops talking.  I would say she got that from me, but prefer to put the blame on my mother.
  • I look wretched these days.  I feel like I wear the same clothes every day and I've only had my hair cut once since getting here (I think I've mentioned this before, so maybe "these days" isn't quite accurate - maybe "still" would be better).  When I think of the perfect prissiness of Utah I tremble in fear.
  • I think there is such a thing as defective beans.  I briefly boiled some white beans yesterday, soaked them all night, and I have now been boiling them for 7-1/2 hours.  They are just barely starting to soften.  The internet says to boil white beans for 2-3 hours, and if the internet says it, by gosh it should true.
  • I cannot wait to go to Cafe Rio.  Or the chiropractor.  Or the salon.  Or Target!  Ohhhh, Target.
  • My kids had the F-word screamed at them today for no apparent reason.  If there wasn't a fence in the way, I fear Tom would have caused permanent damage to their faces.
  • Jackson thinks he's Superman.  We can't find him a cape here, so he's currently using bibs put on backwards.