Sunday, May 30, 2010

Superman returns

Remember Superman Frank I talked about in this post?  Well, he was back today.

It was war.

I found the nasty cockroach casually crawling around on the wall above my kitchen sink.  Of all the nerve.  Most roaches seem to stay in the dark, but not this guy.  Maybe because he's so big he thinks he can take me.

Moments like this always make me think of how Tom used to give me a hard time about killing bugs when we were first married.  He would joke that I was going to have to answer to every one of the crawly creatures when I get to heaven.

But when it comes to roaches, I think it's a different story.  There is NO WAY there will be cockroaches in heaven.  And what if I don't go to heaven for killing so many bugs?  Well, so be it.

On with the story....

Jackson and I stood on the other side of the kitchen watching the nasty little big bug crawl all over the place.  As I stood and watched him, I was trying to get up the nerve to kill him.  But I know what a "splat" they can make, and I just didn't know if I could muster up the courage.

I decided I would count to five and just do it.  So I counted to five.... over and over and over, chickening out every time.

Finally, when I knew I couldn't miss, I did it!  But I only got the back half.


He ran away, leaving a TRAIL OF GUTS behind him on my counter.  No joke.

So I tried again, but this time it made more guts SPLAT against the wall behind the counter.

Are you grossed out enough yet?

Even after two guts splats, he ran and hid underneath our wooden knife holder thingy.


So after IM-ing Tom about the whole thing, I decided I'd go check to make sure "Superman Frank" was still there.  To my horror, an army of ants had suddenly attacked my counter, and they were



My own story is making me sick as I write it.  I won't be offended if you stop reading.

By now it was time to go get Joni from school and I knew I had to make one last attempt to either kill or capture.  So after counting to five again... oh.... 10 different times, I heroically knocked over the wooden knife holder thingy and as the maimed roach tried to get away with the two legs he had left, I threw a bowl down on top of him, and then put several of Tom's expensive language dictionaries to good use.

I put them on top of the bowl so there was NO FREAKING WAY he was getting out this time.

He's still there as I write this, several hours later.  I injured him enough that he's probably dead by now.  And if he's not, I'm hiring a hit man tonight (a.k.a. Tom) to take care of him.

See you in hell, Mr. Roach.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Western Wall Tunnel Tour

I won't be able to do this justice, but here it goes...

The famous Western Wall that I've shown pictures of several times is a part of the retaining wall for the Temple Mount that Herod built.  But it's only a very, very small portion of it.  I'm talkin' teeny tiny.  Most of the wall is hidden underground and behind private residences.

So in recent years, there has been a lot of excavating to reveal more of the wall and some of the things surrounding it.  Just one year ago they found an ancient mikvah (ritual bath) that dates back to Christ's time.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture of it because you can only see it from a distance through a window in the ground.  And they are discovering new things all the time.

You can take a tour underground to see much, much more of the wall.  First, you see a series of arches that held up a bridge 2000 years ago.  The bridge led right up to one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.  These pictures don't even begin to show how interesting and beautiful they are....

Here we are walking along side the wall.  The stones on this level were ENORMOUS, usually weighing somewhere between two and eight tons each.  There is even one that is 42 feet long and weighs 570 tons, if you can wrap your mind around that.  When the tour guide told us that, she said, "Now I'm sure your next question will be how they got it here.  The answer is, we don't know."

A model of what the Temple Mount would have looked like 2000 years ago.  The tall white part in the middle would have housed the Holy of Holies, and that white structure would have been TWICE the height of the structure that currently stands in that same place now, the Dome of the Rock.  The little yellow box that I drew in shows the small portion of the wall that we can see today.

A part of the wall that is the closest that women can currently get to where the Holy of Holies was (aside from being up on the Temple Mount itself, and I'm not sure they're even allowed to go there - they certainly would not be allowed to pray there).

At the very end of the wall they have uncovered the ground that would have existed 2000 years ago.  Scholars disagree on what this area would have been used for, but many believe it would have been a market place.

Also at the end of the wall we walked through a HUGE ancient aqueduct.  It was impressive.  Our tour guide said that we don't even know how old it is.  Then at the end of the aqueduct you come to the moat that Herod built around one of the northern corners of the Temple Mount.  We were able to see a portion of the moat, but I didn't get any good pictures of it.

The Tunnel Tour was pretty amazing, and it was something I hadn't gotten around to doing before Mom and Becky came.  We did this on their last day here.  Their entire stay was so fun for us.  I'm so grateful that I got to show them the sites here, and also what our day to day life is like.

Hopefully we'll be back someday and we can show more of our family members around the Holy Land!

On our way to the Western Wall

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I posted a lot of pictures the first time I went to Qumran, but it was cool to go again and show Mom and Becky around.

It was HOT.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food surprises

One of the things my sister loved doing while here was try new foods.  On our way home from the Galilee area we stopped to get some dinner.  There were a few different eating places close together that we could choose from.  Becky decided on a salmon and cheese sandwich.  Once she sat down to eat it, she realized the salmon was raw.  She was pretty freaked out, but we had a good laugh over it.

My mom and I were trying to go the cheaper (and more kid friendly) route by getting hamburgers.  They told us (in very broken English) that it was cheaper to buy the burgers together.  So we ordered me, Mom, and Joni a hamburger in a meal deal.  When we picked it up we saw that it came with a huge pile of fries, then onion rings, then cut up hot dogs on top!
Sometimes it's fun to see what you actually ordered when you can't read the menu.  We didn't even come close to eating it all.

But Joni went to town with her hamburger.  She was so pleased with how good it tasted.  Ahhhh, the simple things.

Sea of Galilee

My mom, sister, Joni, and I had a great trip up to the Galilee area for a couple of days.  A friend of mine suggested a cabin to stay in that overlooks the Sea.  We got there late at night, so we had no idea what the view looked like.  This is what we woke up to the in the morning....

Grandma Joni and Little Joni took full advantage of the hammock in the front yard.

Later in the day we drove around the Sea and saw the sites.

Joni put her feet in the water.

I settled for putting my hand in. :)

Our favorite was a boat ride out onto the Sea.  We were with a little Christian group from England and they were so sweet.  Once we got out in the middle of the water, they turned off the engine and had a little service.  Then we all sang "How Great Thou Art".  It was one of the most amazing moments I've ever experienced.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Megiddo was a city that was very influential in the ancient world.  They have found nearly 30 layers of ruins here.  It's an archeologist's paradise.  

This area is also where many think the great and last battle will occur.

An ancient grain silo.

My sister, Becky, is standing at the entrance to what they think may have been a palace of Solomon's.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nazareth Village

Nazareth Village is this fantastic place up in Nazareth where they have recreated what the small town would have been like 2000 years ago.  It was easy to imagine Christ growing up here (verses the crowded, loud city that it is today).

A recreated watchtower that would have overlooked a vineyard (this was built near an authentic ancient wine press).  

Our guide explained that they would have always smashed the grapes with bare feet.  Apparently, if you wear shoes it also smashes the seeds which gives it a bad flavor.  Learn something new everyday.

They even had recreated houses which helps you see what they would have been like.  Two or more houses would share a kitchen and a courtyard.  Then each family would have a couple bedrooms and possibly a workroom.

What the inside of a synagogue would have looked like during Christ's time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Good people

When Tom and I did a big Galilee trip last year, we ate at this cute little restaurant that's owned and operated by an adorable Palestinian family in Nazareth.  They were so nice.  They kissed Jackson to death, and told Joni about 30 times how beautiful she is.  They even told us at the end of our meal that if we ever come back to Nazareth that we are welcome to stay with them in their home.  Talk about hospitality!

So when I was up there with my sister and mom, we thought it would be fun to try and find the same restaurant.  Luckily we did, and the owner recognized me right away.  Again, they were so nice to us.  At the end of our meal, they insisted we stay a while longer so they could treat us to some fresh watermelon.

Church of the Annunciation

This church marks the spot where it is believed that the angel Gabriel visited Mary and announced that she would bare a son, and that she should call him Jesus.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

City of David, Part 2

Towards the end of the tour, the guide had us sit and wait on some steps while some others caught up.  So we hung out there for a while, and then when the guide came back, he explained that the steps we were sitting on were only recently discovered, and they were 2000 year old steps that led to the pool of Siloam.  Say WHAAAA?  Only in Jerusalem.

Joni striking a pose on the steps.

This was the landing outside the pool.  Those stones were there 2000 years ago!

The guide showing us a picture of what the pool would have looked like.

Becky going up from the pool on the steps that led all the way up to the Temple Mount. 

The thing that makes these step so amazing, is that they are the ACTUAL steps that were there during Christ's time, and we KNOW that.  A lot of the sites you see here are either debated among scholars as to whether or not they are the actual place, and/or they are about 20 feet above the level of  Jerusalem's streets 2000 years ago. 

It's pretty amazing to know you've walked where the Savior would have walked.  No debating.  Those steps WERE how people walked from the pool to the temple.

At the end of the tour, back up at the top.  Jojo did amazingly well.  She walked for several hours and was so fun and happy to have with us.  I hope she remembers some of this cool stuff. :)

City of David, Part 1

The City of David was one of the places I had never been before Mom and Becky came, so I took more pictures than I have been at the other places.  It was pretty amazing.  The City of David covers the very oldest part of Jerusalem, and it's all outside the current Old City walls.  It was a city originally built by the Jebusites thousands of years ago, and then conquered by David.  David wasn't allowed to build the temple at that time, but his son Solomon did.  The city is on the slope south of the Temple Mount and they occupied it until about 600 years before Christ, which is when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem.  So for you Mormonites out there, this would have been the Jerusalem that Lehi would have left from before it was destroyed.

Our tour guide explaining things before we start.

Joni and one of our best buddies, April, with their 3D glasses on after the introductory movie.

Looking up to the Temple Mount from the City of David.

Joni with some ancient ruins in the background.

Heading down into more ruins.

Just chillin' underground. :)

The beginning of Hezekiah's tunnel, although we didn't end up going through it because we had Joni with us and we didn't want to be wet the rest of the day.