Greeks learn in order to comprehend.
Hebrews learn in order to revere.

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone! We just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all of you! We will be celebrating here with some friends and just enjoying being here in Jerusalem during this special time. We will greatly miss our family and friends back home. This week we are preparing for our trip to Greece and also just relaxing a bit. Perhaps we'll do some sightseeing around the Old City and maybe even the zoo. Once we return from all of our travels, we'll give you the full update. Brad also plans on sharing his Egypt trip with you. Until then, have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brad, Shallon, and Denyon

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Semester Break Begins!

Another semester is complete and now it's six weeks break before the next semester starts! Brad is currently in Egypt for a week to conclude his class on the History of Ancient Egypt. He is going all over the country to see various temples, pryamids, and museums and also has enjoyed floating down the Nile several times on boats to star gaze! Perhaps he'll write more about his adventures in Egypt.

This particular absence of Brad has been harder on Denyon and me because our good friends Erica and Lylah have now gone back to the states. We miss them very much already. Fortunately, I have made some other friends so that helps. One friend, Winona, has two children and they live just a couple blocks away. We had a park playdate and also had dinner at their house while Brad was away. We're also a part of the same playgroup that meets on Tuesday mornings at a local park. A large portion of the group is a singing time which Denyon just loves. It's so fun to see him interact with the music and the props associated with the songs. It's good for both him and me to socialize with other kids and moms so we've really enjoyed this Tuesday morning adventure.

Today Denyon and I spent the morning at the zoo! He just loves it and it's good for me too. It is a great way to get out of the city and enjoy nature. The zoo is beautiful and so well kept. Today the tigers were especially entertaining. There were two right up by the glass for proabably ten or so minutes. Denyon just smiled and giggled as he watched them. He also again enjoyed the petting zoo and tried to tackle the goats. He's definitely not afraid. Given the opportunity I think he would have tacked the tigers too. The penguins were quite enjoyable again. Denyon is becoming more and more vocal now so after every animal exhibit we viewed, as we were leaving he's say "bye bye!" As if to say good-bye to the animals. It was so cute!

Speaking of being more vocal--it's amazing what Denyon is learning. He can now say, "mama", "dada", "book", "bye-bye", "ball", "Lylah",and "bonk!" As if he's "bonking" his head! We have also been doing signs with him for quite some time and they are really starting to catch on. He can sign the following words: milk, more, help, please, hat, all done, and has good attempts at thank you and play. It is so helpful for us in our communication and so much better than whining for something! And he is enjoying making animals sounds including a lion, sheep, cat, dog, and pig. It is just so amazing what his little brain knows.

As mentioned above, we have about six weeks before our next semester begins. During that time we are planning to spend a week in Greece. We will travel to Thessaloniki, Philippi, Mt. Olympus, Corinth, and Athens. We are also hoping to go to Eliat--the southern city in Isr

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Park & Zoo

After a whole semester of enjoying days at the park, we finally have some proof to show how much fun Denyon has when we go. Whenever Denyon and I go somewhere (like the park), for one of three reasons we usually don’t have the camera: one—Brad has it on a field study; two—I forget to bring it; three—it was broken and we were waiting for our replacement camera to arrive! So, this past week Brad and I went together to the park (only a block from our apartment) and Denyon played around on the equipment for at least an hour. He loves to crawl along the bridges and through the tunnels. He loves to climb up the stairs and peek down the slide, although he’s not brave enough to go down by himself yet. He has to know that mommy or daddy is there to catch him at the bottom, which is actually comforting to me. I’m sure it won’t be long before he whizzes down by himself when I’m not expecting it. The park is so close that we usually make it there every day, even if it’s only for a short while. It’s so nice to be outside here still and Denyon loves to play. Unlike at home where most of the parks are covered with grass, here, the playground sits upon sand. So the sand adds another fun aspect of play to the park.

In addition to time at the park this week, Brad and I, along with our friends Erica and Larry took the kids to the zoo. I mentioned it in an earlier blog but the zoo here is great. Last time we were there Denyon had so much fun watching the penguins, although this time the penguins didn’t put on quite the same show. They weren’t swimming like they were last time. Denyon is getting into making some animal sounds including a lion, cat, dog, and sheep. So, when he saw the lion—he roared, and he “baaaaed” when he saw the sheep at the zoo petting zoo. He tried to hug a goat while his friend Lylah gripped onto her daddy’s leg because she was a little timid. He cracks us up! He also tried to climb up the fence to get into the cage with the bears! He was a long way from success but he still thought he’d try. There was also an exhibit of molekats (sort of like groundhogs) where there were tunnels you could crawl through and then pop your head through clear plastic bubbles right inside the exhibit. It was quite entertaining for the kids and they had fun crawling through the tunnels. Overall, Denyon had a great time exploring the world of animals, much of it riding on top of his dad’s shoulders. I remember riding on my dad like that and loving it…Denyon does too. And both times we’ve gone to the zoo, the next morning the first thing Denyon pulls out to play with are his little stuffed animals. I think there’s definitely a connection!

This is Brad’s last week of school before his trip to Egypt so he’s preparing for finals. We’re already grieving the fact that our friends Erica, Larry, and Lylah will be leaving on Sunday. Denyon has had so much fun playing with Lylah and often says her name with so much excitement! We bless God for these wonderful friends and will be so sad to see them go.

Until next time, seasons greetings!