Slower pace – Better time.

Remember I told you I was planning on doing my longest training run this Sunday? Well, I did it. It turned out to be my longest training run ever, because in my training for the marathon last year this one was cut slightly short. This year, though, I did my full 32 kilometers. And I felt fine! Do you want to know my secret to success?? – A slower pace! That simple. But still, it took me quite a while to arrive at this conclusion. A slower pace gives you a so much better time! So what if it takes a little longer?! Who cares??

the walls of JerusalemMy goal for the upcoming marathon is not to get a finishing time of under four hours, but rather to finish strong. I am hoping to have a good time, rather than to get a good time. Do you understand the difference?

Now this idea of a slower pace leading to a better time, has had me thinking along those lines when it comes to regular life as well. How about if we would just slow our pace a little bit… Maybe we would really end up having a better time?? It is worth trying. So, – I have taken up knitting again… 😉

knitting

This evening I could sit and enjoy knitting while our son prepared bread rolls for us all by himself. I was not even allowed in the kitchen. (Good thing I had the knitting to occupy my hands. This slower pace thing takes a little bit of getting used to…)

baker boyAnyway, our baker did a great job. The bread rolls came out totally YUMMY!

baking success

I am so happy for him to have such building experiences of succeeding at something he goes for.

fresh dinner rollsAnd hey, the more the children want to take over in the kitchen, the more knitting I get to do. Slower pace – better time! Yes, I think I could get used to this!

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Back to every day life.

Yes, slowly slowly, we are making our way back to regular life after our Jerusalem snow adventures. The branches that fell off the trees in our neighborhood have been picked up, and since then the crew responsible for the Jerusalem’s trees has been here and cut off every possible branch that could have fallen off next time. So, now we are really ready for a hard winter in that aspect! A week has passed since Jerusalem had its last snowfall, but there is still some white on the ground, – which I must admit, I greatly enjoy!

Beautiful freshly fallen snow a week ago

Beautiful freshly fallen snow a week ago

After five snow days, the children went back to school, but for the first two days they started at 10 in the morning instead of at 8 o´clock. (Because of more slippery roads and sidewalks during the cooler mornings.) This makes for very enjoyable evenings, because of the knowledge of there not being a need to set an alarm for the next morning. However, the days themselves just fly by way too quickly. Like, I got the kids to school, bought a few appliances for needy families, did a little bit of translation work, and wooops it was time to make lunch for the kids who soon would be coming home from school. 

scrapbookingSomething I really enjoyed doing during those nice long evenings where there was no need to set an alarm for the next morning, was scrapbooking. I made five miniature albums as gifts for friends and family we spent time with in the States in the summer. It was so nice to work on those little projects. There were so many fun memories popping up in my mind. I am so thankful for the sweet times we had together. My mother in law is over there visiting now, and these little gifts were a way to send hugs in her luggage…

birthdayBefore she left, we celebrated her birthday here. Always happy occasions! 🙂 And yes, – she did manage to blow out all her candles!!

snow in JerusalemAnd here are a couple of photos from one of my runs this past week. I am SO enjoying running in this colder weather. Cold, sunny and dry is just PERFECT for running. Yesterday was not supposed to be a running day for me, but it was just such a perfectly beautiful day that I had to go out there for a quick little run anyway. I enjoyed every step!

snow In JerusalemTomorrow I am planning on doing the longest training run in my preparations for the Tiberias marathon, which is coming in about three weeks. My joy and excitement for running is just increasing, and I hope it will continue like that till the marathon and beyond!

So Many Snow Days!

We just got news that also tomorrow is a snow day, – that will be the fourth day the children have gotten off of school because of this snow, – and that is not counting the Shabbat we had in the middle, of course! (*Good for me I have a home-office so those things don’t throw me off completely. In the end I am having other people’s kids here as well!) They say that it has been more than a hundred years since we had a snowstorm like this one!

snow in JerusalemAnd this being such a rare happening, we are just not prepared with snowplows or snow tires or anything like that. So what happens? Everything stops, – until most of the snow is cleared away from the roads, sidewalks etc. And that seems to take a while this time, as the temperatures have stayed relatively low and we have not had any rain to wash it all away.

snow in JerusalemTo tell you the truth, – we have really enjoyed these days! The snow. The joy. The excitement. The winter-fun. The coziness inside. But it is almost so that I don’t dare saying it out loud, – because this storm has brought a lot of damages to our city, and to our country.

snow in JerusalemThe worst, I think, is the thought of 60 000 homes that were without electricity for several days! Imagine that during these cold days!! Terrible. We offered to host a family we found out were in this situation, but they had found a way to heat one of the rooms in their house, and ended up staying there in the end.

snow in JerusalemIn addition A LOT of trees have fallen over, or big branches fallen off, some of them landing on cars and stuff. And there are all the floods and leaks in houses. We had a small one here too, so we are shuffling water off of our balcony regularly. But all in all, we have been very lucky, and have therefore been able to enjoy these snow-days tremendously.

snow in Bethlehem

This is actually a view towards Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Look how close it is!

I told you about our trip to the Old City on Thursday. Now, looking at those pictures, I realize, we had so much more snow on Friday. And most of all on Shabbat. And every day it just became more and more beautiful. I think the most magical moment was just as we had lit candles for Shabbat, and the snowflakes were so beautiful, light and dry swirling in the air. It was not yet evening, but also not really the light of day anymore. We were just standing mesmerized by the windows. It was soooo beautiful!

snow in JerusalemEarlier on that Friday we had fun playing in the snow.

pool equipment in the snowHere is our daughter looking like she is on her way to the pool, but she is actually just ready for a fun day in the snow!

pool equipment in the snowAnd it really worked! We made a track, and then we could go down with tubes as well.

pool equipment in the snowHaving grown up in Norway, I had all these memories and associations coming at me as I watched my kids running up the hill as fast as they could only to slide down it even faster. I am so happy for them that they got to experience the fun of this!

pool equipment in the snow

It was nice to have abba with us in the snow now. On Thursday he was in school in the Tel Aviv area, and I am so glad he made it back home in time before the huge chaos that was on the roads that evening. (People had to leave their cars right there in the middle of the road, and about 2000 people were evacuated after sitting there for hours!)

pool equipment in the snow

Oh, and as you can see from the pictures, we have totally mastered the plastic-bag inside boot trick. It doesn’t matter if you are wearing waterproof boots, snow makes its way in anyway, and this way your socks stay dry for longer at least. 🙂

snow in JerusalemOh, how we love the snow! And I so enjoy looking at the white views!

snow in JerusalemThe kids have more of a need to actually touch the snow! 🙂

snow in JerusalemThese guys have had a continuous snowball-fight for the last few days! Fun stuff!

snow in JerusalemAfter our morning snow-outing in the neighborhood on Friday, we took a break and heated up inside. Hung our wet clothes on all the radiators, got some work done, and then we were ready to head out for more snow-fun. We have an old Jeep-style type of car, so we actually are able to drive on these snowy roads, – as long as we stay far away from the roads where others got stuck and are blocking the way…

snow in JerusalemWe went for an exciting and beautiful drive to Gilo, a neighborhood even higher than ours, where there was even more snow, and a great view of our city. We had fun building our snowman there.

snow in JerusalemAnd then it was home for a cozy and warm Shabbat. On Shabbat itself we did several short walks and built an igloo in our garden. Good times!

snow in JerusalemToday the snow is starting to melt, but very, very slowly. My husband and I did a long run around our city, and I totally LOVED the views from so many different places!

running in the snowThe slippery surface definitely slowed our running pace, but it was so worth it. I enjoyed every step of the way!

Running on Jaffa road today

Running on Jaffa road today

The bridge was different today than on our other running trips! 😉

harp bridge in snow

And, – look at the Knesset in the snow!

Knesset in snowI will end with a photo that shows how the snow really is on the highest mountains only. Like, you can see how local it is! Some mountaintops have snow, but you can clearly see those that don’t have it as well!

snow in JerusalemIt has been some wonderful snow days! I have a feeling those will be referred to for decades to come! 😉

SNOW in Jerusalem!

Oh, what joy when we woke up to snowflakes swirling in the air this morning! The excitement level was great as we ran from window to window to determine where the snow was sticking best to the ground. After a quick breakfast, we put on the most suitable clothing we could find, and ventured out into this white winter wonderland it was becoming out there!

snow in our Jerusalem gardenWe made our way up the street, making snowballs as we went.

snow in Jerusalem

And we made “angels”…

angels in the snowI always love seeing Palm trees covered with snow, having grown up in Norway with plenty of snow experiences, but no Palm trees.

palm trees with snowThe same goes for the citrus trees.

Citrus tree with snowAnd guess who we met on our way up the street??

snow in JerusalemYes, Savta! (Grandma) She is a tour guide and was waiting for her bus, and so we got a ride, and went for a spontaneous trip to see the Old City covered in snow!

Snow in JerusalemIt turned out a challenging bus ride, as the traffic was completely chaotic with cars getting stuck and sliding around etc. We are so not prepared for driving in the snow in this country! So, the bus and the group decided to leave the city as soon as possible, and we got off to explore the Old City on our own.

Snow in Jerusalem

It was so special to see all these familiar places with the magic cover of snow!

Snow in JerusalemI just love the rare combination of the Jerusalem stone walls and snow!

the Kotel in snowAnd look at this! The Kotel / Western Wall all white with snow!! Such a special sight for the eye!!!

Kotel in the snowYes, it was pretty cold and wet too…

Kotel in the snowBut, oh, so very special! And, this is the first time since 1956 that Jerusalem had snow in December.

Kotel in the snow

On our way out we walked through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

snow in JerusalemAnd we were very happy to find that The Jewish Quarter Cafe was open!

Jewish Quarter CafeSo we enjoyed some warmth and dryness as well as some totally yummy hot chocolates there. I always love the view from this place, – and look at it today!!

throwing snowballs in JerusalemThe kids made snowballs pretty much constantly, wherever we were.

throwing snowballs in JerusalemThey loved dropping them down somewhere, and listen to them land.

throwing snowballs in JerusalemAnd then there was the sliding on the snow…

sliding on the snow in Jerusalem

Who needs a sled…?!?

sliding on the snow in JerusalemWhere there is a will there is a way… Here they are sliding down the hillside of Mt. Zion.

snow in JerusalemI spot a boy in this photo looking for a good place to slide down the hill. Can you see him?

snow in JerusalemAnd how about the girl in this photo, – can you find her??

snow in JerusalemI loved seeing the Israeli flags outside of Mt. Zion hotel on our way home. They looked just perfect there in the midst of the snow!

snow in JerusalemThe temperatures were rising, and the snow was melting, which was kind of alarming because there was so much more that we wanted to do with it!!

a snowball fight in JerusalemBut we are blessed to live in one of the Jerusalem neighborhoods with higher altitude, so as we got closer to home, we found plenty of snow, and had ourselves a really good snowball-fight!

snow in Jerusalem

And the good things is, – they have promised us another snow day tomorrow! Maybe an even better one!!! It sure looks great out there with the snow falling down right now!

Winter has arrived

Winter is most definitely here. From last week till this week we had a temperature drop of 20 degrees Celsius. That is pretty big. So, we have dug out winter comforters and electric sheets, winter jackets, hats and scarves etc. We have brought out our sheep-skins and the reindeer-skin that we brought back from Norway in the summer. Candles there were already a lot of, so, yes, well, there still are.

winter decor

And when I showed you this photo, I also have to show you this one:

organizer

The organizer next to the phone is a post-hanukkah gift for myself. It was just exactly what I needed for that spot, as it tended to be pretty much constantly cluttered. And now there is a system in the mess. (*So much better to have a system in the mess, than a mess in the system…)

cookie making

Back to the weather: Today was particularly stormy outside. So much so that quite a bit of students did not show up at school. This is when our daughter pipes up, – they don’t understand, – this could have been Norway in the summer…

cookie making

Anyway, we have stayed cozy and close to heaters for as much as we could today. And, – we made yummy Peanut butter cookies. Did I say “we”? Because that is not true. It was not “we” who did it, – it was our princess who did it. Pretty much all by herself. So I got to sit down with yet another cup of coffee. Not all bad.

coffee

Other than that we have been watching the temperatures today. Because there is a rumor out there that says that maybe, just maybe, we might get some snow in Jerusalem…! Now, that would be pretty cool! In every meaning of the word.

temperature drop

And now after the kids were in bed, besides keeping an eye on the temperatures and the weather outside, I have been enjoying scrapbooking, for the second night in a row. I needed a fun and cozy winter project now after Hanukkah, and this has been just right. I am way behind on the photo albums I am making for both of the children, but I am trying not to stress about it, but rather enjoy and celebrate every page. Look at the last one I made.

scrapbooking page

Kind of fitting for a cold winter night to enjoy warm summer memories, don’t you think?

snow flakes

Ok, friends, I am off to bed, to dream of a white tomorrow, or maybe after tomorrow… oh, how nice that would be…

Birthday Party Trip

In our house we start planning birthdays months in advance, and the plans change several times along the way. I dream along with the children, and then when we come across something that I really want to encourage, I do just that. This time, it was when our little princess started to talk about wanting to do a trip as her birthday party. We had fun planning where to go, what to bring, whom to invite etc. etc.

girls in the carAnd off we went! The party of course started already in the car! It was a real joy to listen to the excited girls in the back seat! We had two cars, – thank you, Savta (Grandma), who was willing to come along and drive the other car!

The place we were headed to, was En Gedi, a beautiful oasis in the Judean desertEn GediWe hiked from waterfall to waterfall.

En GediIt was actually warm enough for the children to really get into the waterfalls.

En GediThey loved it.

En GediAnd we enjoyed the hike in between as well.

En GediAlong the way we came close to interesting wildlife.

And afterwards we did our birthday picnic by the Dead Sea, – or the Sea of Life, which it is also called.

Birthday picnicI had bought all this fun stuff to make it all beautiful and festive, but by the time we had our picnic, the (warm) wind was so strong that I was glad it did not all fly away. (So, – we told the kids to hold on to their plates…)

birthday cupcakesThe main thing is, – the birthday girl was happy.

birthday girlAnd so were her guests.

birthday picnic I had made Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, upon request from the birthday girl.

cookies and cream cupcakeWe had pitas with various spreads and vegetable sticks in addition to the cupcakes and other sweets.

birthday picnic

I think that from now on, we will do our birthday parties as trips! Great experiences! Very bonding. You get to know each other better, and you get to learn about places in the country you live in. (And, – you don’t have to clean up at home afterwards…)

By the way, her friends were also saying they wanted birthday party trips for their next birthdays! Now, that is a good measure of success, isn’t it??

Shabbat in Jerusalem

Hanukkah is over, but we decided to leave the decorations up until after Shabbat. So we get to enjoy them a bit in the peace and quiet that came after the holiday excitement was over.

Hanukkiah

It has been a lovely shabbat in Jerusalem. Just walking the streets of Jerusalem is a spiritual experience on shabbat. Really. I thought of it today as we were out there walking on this beautiful cold and crisp but sunny and dry Jerusalem day. There were lots of other people out there also going to and from synagogue and home. People are wishing each other Shabbat Shalom. You bump into people you know and stop and talk with them for a while. It feels more like a village than the capital it really is.

A view of Jerusalem from one of my runs last week

A view of Jerusalem from one of my runs last week

Whenever we are not in Jerusalem on shabbat, I miss it. There is just nothing quite like it. You can basically feel it in the air you breathe, that it is shabbat. There is no way you for a moment would forget what day it is. There are no buses or public transport, people are off from work and shops are closed. It is a real shabbat. People have time for each other, for the things that really matters (*which as the saying goes, aren’t things…).

Another photo from my run last week

Another photo from my run last week

In the weekly portion that we read this Shabbat, we learn about Joseph revealing his identity to his brothers when they had come down to Egypt for their second time. The most amazing words in this portion, I think, are: “Ani Yosef.”“I am Joseph.” Just start to imagine what is going on in the heads of the brothers as they hear it!! In that very instant all their questions and mysteries get their answers! All of a sudden all the puzzle pieces fall into place!

And this is what it is going to be like when the Messiah comes and reveals His identity. When we will hear the words: “I am the Messiah”, our questions will get their answers, and all the pieces will fall into place. We may very well be surprised, but at the same time it will all make sense! What a day it will be!!

winter movie night

We enjoyed good reads, yummy treats and fun games at home on this shabbat afternoon. And as our family tradition is on winter motze shabbat (saturday nights), when shabbat goes out early, – we had a movie night.

Yup, it’s been a good day. Life is not all that bad after Hanukkah either!