12.31.2013

Our 2013 in Review

Mic check, mic check.  Is this thing on??  It's been a while.  We are no longer in Israel, my kids are no longer the babies you see in the blog header above and a lot has changed since that last blog post back in June.  I figured I'd recap our year to catch everyone up.  And resolve to be a better blogger/documenter of memories in 2014.
Without further ado, here is what the Tambos did in 2013:

January
Spent New Years Day with some of my favorite people at Caesarea. (Followed by our first, and luckily only, visit to the ER in 2013...Jonathan fell, busted his head open and the doctors glued it shut.  He's fine and doesn't even remember it).
 Celebrated my birthday with a night out in Tel Aviv.
 Took the kids to see snow for the first time at Mt. Hermon.

February
Celebrated the 4th anniversary of the birth of a princess!
 Celebrated Ron's birthday with a homemade chocolate cookie cake.
 Took an AMAZING trip to Barcelona! 



March
Worked my butt off for this opportunity.  Probably the biggest highlight of my year.

 Participated in the Palm Sunday procession into Jerusalem.

April
Ron completed the Go Ruck Challenge---11 hours, 10+ miles, lots of push ups, heavy lifting and navigating his way through Tel Aviv.  He kicked ass!
Partied 80's style.
Brought our children to work.

May
Celebrated Geeta's birthday.
I have no pictures to document it, but Jonathan was also potty trained in May.  He tossed diapers for super hero undies!  The Buzz toy was his reward.

June
Marched in the TLV Pride Parade.
 Proclaimed our love for Daddy on Father's Day.
 Took a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Dome of the Rock.
 Kaitlyn performed in her first school show.  She looks miserable, but she was up there and doing it...we were so proud!!
 Took a final trip to Jerusalem and finally got to go to Jesus' tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
 Stopped for one more visit with"Pistachio", the camel.
And one final dip in the Dead Sea.

July
Visited our favorite local spots in Tel Aviv.  Schnitzle Man.
 Said goodbye to Geeta, who had become part of our family.
And goodbye to another local favorite...Salad Lady!
Packed up our belongings in preparation to move back to the States!
The kids and I departed Israel and headed to Miami.
We spend time with cousins.
 Played in the cool water at Zoo Miami.

August
Enjoyed time on Papa's boat.
Welcomed Daddy home from Israel!
Celebrated Jonathan's 3rd birthday.
Went to the JT and Jay Z concert.  Best. Concert. Ever.
More cooling off.
Got together with beautiful friends.

September
Moved to Virginia and the kids started school.  Jonathan's first time going to school. :)
 Celebrated 6 years of marriage.

October
 The kids both learned to ride their bikes without training wheels.
Went trick-or-treating as Merida and Buzz.

November
Spent the day at Sugarloaf Mountain in MD. 
Moved into our new home!

Celebrated Thanksgiving.

December
 Enjoyed our first (big) snowfall in VA. 

Watched the kids perform in their Christmas show. (Side note: Not pictured is Kaitlyn sitting on her teacher's lap...where she spent her time while the rest of her class performed.) 

Enjoyed the first Christmas morning in our new house.
What an amazing year it was!!  See you in 2014!

6.29.2013

Father's Day: Tour of Dome of the Rock, Garden of Gethsemane and the Western Wall Tunnel

On Father's Day, Ron and I had the rare opportunity to attend an exclusive tour of the Temple Mount, a highly religious and controversial site in the Old City of Jerusalem.  The Temple Mount is open to visitors of all faiths, however, entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock is generally only for Muslims.  The U.S. Consulate arranges this exclusive tour which allows us access to the mosque and Dome of the Rock...only five embassy employees are allowed to attend each tour.  It's a long waiting list (we've been on the list for over a year) and we were lucky that our names came up for the last tour before we depart Israel.

We started early, meeting our group at 7:45 a.m.  In order to attend, we had to adhere to a strict dress code.  Ladies were required to wear ankle-length skirts or baggy trousers...nothing form-fitted, a shirt past their elbows and a head covering.  Men had to wear pants and long sleeves.

Upon entering the compound, we soon saw the Dome of the Rock, the well-recognized golden dome.


We first went into the al-Aqsa Mosque "the Farthest Mosque".  It is the third holiest site in Islam.  Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to the al-Aqsa during the Night Journey.
We took our shoes off outside and entered.
The interior is decorated with lots of stone and mosaics...all of which only depict images from nature.  They do not allow images of any humans or animals as they only worship Allah, and He is not seen.  The mosaics and structures were all so beautiful.













A prayer clock with the current time, date and prayer times for the day.
An ablution fountain used for cleaning before entering the Mosque for prayer.
Heading to the Dome of the Rock.


There were more beautiful mosaics.


The interior of the Dome was under renovation.


Ron entering the Well of Souls beneath the Foundation Rock.



Some more photos of the Temple Mount.



Thanks goodness I don't have to wear a hijab on a daily basis, it sure makes my face look round!

After the tour we stopped by the Church of All Nations to visit the Garden of Gethsemane.
The Garden is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives and is the place where Jesus was betrayed by Judas while praying.  This was the night before Jesus' crucifixion.

The mosaic in the middle shows Jesus praying at a rock before being betrayed by Judas and arrested.  The altar and church were built around this rock, which is just below it and out of picture.

The below two mosaics show (left) a guard on the ground after having his ear cut off by one of Jesus' disciples, (right) the "Kiss of Betrayal" when Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek to indicate He was the one to be arrested.
Next stop was the Western Wall Tunnel, an underground tunnel exposing the full length of the Western Wall.  The Western Wall is the most scared site recognized by the Jewish faith outside the Temple Mount itself as it is remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple courtyard.
Below is what is known as the Western Stone, it is the largest stone and ranks as one of the heaviest objects ever lifted by human beings without powered machinery.  It is estimated to weigh 570 tons.



We had a great morning in the Old City.  After lunch, we headed back home for a dip in the pool with the kids.

Happy Father's Day, Ron!

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