Saturday, December 1, 2012

Apparently we have run out of storage on our blog, so until I figure out what to do I won't be posting any further pictures from our trip!

Athens, Greece

We spent 1 day in Greece.
 We took a tour of the Acropolis. It's so crazy to think how old everything is!

 We also got to stop by this stadium, where the 1st modern Olympics were held.


We spent 2 days in Egypt. The ship ported in Alexandria and then we took a 3 hour bus ride down towards Cairo.

 The traffic there is crazy! They have some interesting transportation. Egypt was very dirty and there was garbage all along the river and roads. We had to take water from the ship because even their bottled water isn't sanitary. We also couldn't eat any fresh fruits or vegetables to prevent us from getting sick.
This picture gives you a good idea of how Jake felt about the bus ride.

We first saw the alabaster sphinx in Memphis.

The fallen colossal statue of King Ramses II.
Going down inside a pyramid. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside. At this site we also visited what is believed to be Joseph of Egypt's tomb.

They raise lots of pigeons in these houses.

We didn't take any camel rides because we were told that the camels are cheap to get on, but really expensive to get off. My cousin also had a horrible accident a few years ago when riding a camel in Egypt, so we thought we would pass and just look from a distance.

The Pyramids of Giza

The Egyptian in our family picture below was really obnoxious! They try to get in your pictures and dress you up and then demand money. They were really pushy trying to find any way to get money from you. No worries though, we had a security guard with a machine gun with us the whole time so we were safe and sound.

The Sphinx
 There was a little girl about 8-10 years old that grabbed us and started posing us. She was quick and did a good job, but we only had a $20 bill on us. I felt really bad we didn't have a dollar on us, but then again we never asked for our help. Next time I will be prepared with lots of $1's!

This guy gave us a demonstration on how to make real papyrus.

There were mosques EVERYWHERE! It was really interesting to hear their calls to pray throughout the day.

We were really glad we were able to go to Egypt. The cruise ship the week before us was not allowed to stop due to safety reasons. There was a demonstration held in Cairo when we were there, but we didn't see any of it except on the news. In general the people were really friendly and would wave and smile as we would drive by. The people who make their living at the tourist sites were really obnoxious, but we were warned about that. Overall, we felt really safe (we would never go out alone without our security guards and tour guide!) and had a great time!

The Highlight

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of our cruise! We took almost 2,000 so obviously you are only going to get a small sampling of the amazing things we were able to see!

The highlight of the trip was definitely Israel, where we spent 2 days. It was such a testimony builder to be at the places where Jesus taught and lived and blessed so many people. Such a humbling experience (one we never thought we would be able to experience for ourselves), but the feelings you feel when you are there are indescribable.
Daniel Rona was our tour guide. He is a Jew and the only LDS tour guide in Israel. We were so lucky to have him, he is amazing!


On the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Eating dinner at a restaurant  at the Sea of Galilee
They served St. Peter's fish. Some of our group had a half shekel in it's mouth, just like the story.

We saw lots of Jewish men with funky side-braids like these.

We went to the Western Wall and witnessed some Bar Mitzvas taking place. This is a religious ceremony that takes place when a boy turns 13. The men and women are separated by a wall. When it was over the women chucked candy at the men. Definitely a different experience!

 My mom and I at the Western Wall. Slips of paper have prayers written

We were able to go to an upper room similar to that where the last supper was held. Daniel taught us about the passover here.

On the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. This picture is taken at a park where leaders of the LDS church felt was where the Garden of Gethsemane was located. Here we read scriptures and had a picnic lunch and the priesthood holders consecrated olive oil for us to take with us. We also met Omar, a man who sells hand-carved olive wood carvings. We bought a nativity and a statue of the Christus.
 Jesus walked these actual steps that are located next to the House of Caiphas where Jesus was kept in a dungeon after he was arrested.

This is Golgotha, or place of the skull. Many people believe Jesus was crucified at the top of the hill, but it was actually at the base of the hill along the roadside. The skull is hard to see in this picture, but you can see the eyes at the right of the picture.
Our favorite experience was the Garden Tomb.
This would have been the actual height of the entrance to the tomb.
This rock would be similar to the size of the rock rolled in front of the tomb.

This is where Jesus' body was laid. They had to cut extra stone out for his feet.

We are beyond grateful to the Brazell family, who gave us this special opportunity and so many sacred experiences. We will be able to forever treasure these feelings and insights. We now have better understanding, an increased desire to learn about our Savior, and can now relate to the stories and places talked about in the Bible.

We know without a doubt that Jesus lived and died and is alive again today! He atoned for our sins so that we can live with Him again someday. We are so grateful for the plan of salvation and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in our lives.
The church is true! We know it. We live it. We love it.


We went to the zoo again, but this time with Cooper's cousins. It was less busy so he was able to run around more, and it's always a good time with Carter, Aubrey and Elliot!

We made a trip out to Grandpa and Grandma Elwood's. Cooper loved riding the lawn mower, but ONLY if it was turned off!

 He LOVES Grandpa's cows. Every time he talks to Grandpa he asks how his cows are doing.

 We went to the park by our house with our friends Jess and Jack. I caught them sitting on the curb just watching the lawn mover together.

Cooper wanted to watch Signing Time zoo train one day, but had to bring all of the animals Grandma Elwood had made for him, plus his monkey and horse.
 Playing the piano with Carson and Chelsea at Grandma Susan's house.

 It's hard to see, but Cooper has a little tear under his right eye in this picture. We had been out riding bikes and it was a cold day. When we came inside he said to me "I'm a little bit sad." It took me a minute to realize he was referring to the tear! He makes us smile and laugh all the time!

 We got to go to the Grizzly hockey game because Jake won tickets on the radio. Coop had lots of fun cheering them on!

A week ago we got rid of Cooper's binkie. We snipped the end of it and he hasn't had it since then. He would say "binkie broken...darn it!" Overall, he did really well with the adjustment, thank heavens! We really couldn't ask for a better kid!