Friday, September 22, 2017

the day without cars

Today was the official "day without cars" in Barcelona.  It's an optional exercise in environmental awareness.

The local library blocked off a street and set up an interactive display.  Silas walked over with his class for a quick field trip this morning.  We hit it again after the kids came home.

The bike obstacle course was a big deal in our house.  The dinner time conversation got a little tense about who had the most biking injuries.

Ironically enough, I had a driving lesson today.

Next week was supposed to be the culmination of my eight month driver's license saga.  My final practicum test (not to be confused with the written test, for which I studied all 2,799 question) was scheduled for this Tuesday.

However, there's another strike on Tuesday.  Test cancelled.  At this point, the humor definitely wins over the frustration.  What's another month?

So we spent our lesson driving around town, on the day without cars.

the clamor

For the past two nights, at 10:00 on the dot, our neighbors start banging pots and ringing bells on their balconies. Cars blow their horns.  Shouts erupt.

At 10:15, it stops.

It is, apparently, the clamor for independence.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Just in case you haven't heard it on the international news, there's some pretty serious stuff going on in our town these days.  We've been hearing the rumblings since we arrived, but it is beginning to come to a head.  Last week, a million people marched in the streets for independence from the rest of the country. The capitol will hear none of it.  Let's just say the political situation is a bit tense right now.

This is what it looked like a block from our house last week.

Thankfully, it's a peaceful process at this point.  We're not really sure what the days ahead will hold though.

Pray with us for peace in the city and for the good of the people.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

sante gelato

You know you're creeping towards 10 years of marriage when you ask hubs if he might consider running up to the gelato place for you at 9:30pm because you just really need a little sweetie.

And he walks to the freezer, pulls out the exact flavor that you want -- which he purchased at 6pm on his way home from work.

He's a keeper. And this gelato, ya'll.  I slightly regret we even found this place...I used to have to walk a full mile for a good raspberry gelato. Now, we found a hit only 3 blocks away. That's good news and bad news all in one.

P.S. My gelato craving may have something to do with the first week of school rigor.

By this morning, everyone was claiming "stomach ache" and begging to stay home. Silas even convinced his teacher to send him home with his backpack for lunch because he was "too sick" to return. But I put that pack right back on his shoulders and sent him anyways.  He had a great time and was all smiles at pick up. The drama is almost too much for this momma!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

School Begins

Second Grade and P5 started today for these little cuties! I asked them at lunchtime to rate their morning on a scale of 1 to 10.  10 meaning the best day you've ever had, and 1 meaning someone dug a hole and poured dirt on top of you. 

Jude gave his morning a 9.  His bestie from last year is in his class and sits across the table from him. 

Silas gave his morning a 0.  He doesn't understand his teacher and he didn't get to eat his chips at snack time. 

This was not particularly surprising.  Last night Silas had a "stomach ache." Then he had the hiccups.  Both ailments were referenced as reasons why he should probably stay home from school. 


And so we begin.  

I feel confident that at least by afternoon pick up, Silas's perspective will have improved a bit.  

If not, there's always tomorrow! 

Here's to the 2017-2018 School Year! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

The piano

We bought a piano. A small, apartment-sized electric that we found on the second hand website.  And we love it.

No. We don't play the piano.

I mean, beyond those childhood piano lessons, which have actually been helpful.  David says he's pretty sure he quit because his piano lessons were during 2nd grade.  Maybe not the most motivating hour for a seven-year-old.  I probably just quit because--well-- I'm undisciplined.  😂

We're using a pretty cool website called Skoove to take lessons.

I know, I know.  My more musical friends may be sighing right now. Music lessons online is probably not the best option, but for us, it's the most affordable (and linguistically simple) way for us to all learn the basics.

We're actually loving it. It's been really relaxing for David and me in the evenings.  And Jude and Silas can just squeeze a lesson in when we have time.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fall Fun

We took the boys to the mountains for a long weekend before school starts up on Tuesday.  We roasted marshmallows, drank hot chocolate, climbed some good sturdy trails, and enjoyed the quiet cool of fall.

The northern winds are picking up at the peaks, and by the time we left, there was snow in the forecast.  We probably won't return again until the summer sun warms those peaks up again, so we were glad to get a few good hikes in. The biggest hit was the salamander pools.  I felt my only-gal-in-the-family status when I just had to own that I really don't want to touch salamanders. Ever. Hubs was happy to take over the salamander hunting. The boys loved it. And I enjoyed that mountain air. Here are a few pictures for the scrapbook.

And now, we're barreling toward the first day of school, and praying for a surprisingly calm night for all our Florida friends.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Asher at 2.5

Asher is officially two and a half. That half matters, folks. 

Here are a few thoughts for my fading mom-memory.  

He is tall.  So tall that people ask me twice how old he is.  On our little growth chart, he's well exceeding his brothers' heights at three years old. 

He thinks he's seven, not two.  If the brothers can do it, so can he. Developmentally, this is actually working to his advantage.  The kid has some seriously good coordination.  He can kick a soccer ball better than I can, and he'll soon be outrunning me too. 

Which means I should bear down on his obedience issues.  When Asher wants to obey, he's very chivalrous about it. He says thank you and please like a champ.  He minds the street rules and scoots along without many sidewalk mishaps at all these days. But when I request an apology from him after a biting incident or a unwieldy sword, he sets his mouth in a line and no amount of cajoling can undo it until he's good and ready. When he decides it's funny to run toward a street corner, he does it, at full speed, with a smirk on his face.  Let's just say, he's got "spirit." 

He likes to cuddle.  I still lay down in his bed with him every day at nap time until he falls asleep. Because sometimes you just need to snuggle.  

He has a pinching fetish.  I think it's a sensory thing. It's weird. It's almost compulsive. And it usually involves me and my elbow joint. Which grosses me out. I'm hoping he outgrows this soon. 

Littleland is his favorite book. We could read it five times a day and he wouldn't tire of it. 

He likes card games.  The boys and I have been playing Uno and Dobble this summer, and Asher really joins right in. We have to help him, of course, but he's surprisingly patient at actually being a part of the game. Legos on the other hand, he still just destroys.  Much to Jude's dismay.

In spite of his lego mischief, his brothers adore him. And he loves them. It is sweet, ya'll. There is just a lot of brotherly love in this house.

He's not potty trained.  It was a major mom failure. When NanNan came, I just put him in diapers to make it easier.  And now he's potty-resistant.  He wasn't actually doing that great before her arrival anyways.  He would stand in the park, peeing in his pants, smirking over his shoulder at me...five minutes after I tried to make him go. So we're taking a break. And we'll try again a little later. Did I mention he has "spirit?" 

He's cheered for Barca all through the summer, even though the season is just picking up again now.  He shouts "GooooooAAAlllll" and cheers for himself while playing soccer at the park.  He seems convinced he's in the league.  He's taken to stealing Jude and Silas's jerseys to wear. 

He can hike with the best of them.  The kid is like a little bundle of energy.  Until he's not.  At which point, you'd better get him home q-u-i-c-k!!! 

I still stand over him often at night and feel my heart jump into my throat. We love this little guy so much.  He is a gift from God.  Worth every bit of the mischief he's brought to our world! 

We love you, Ashy!

Monday, August 28, 2017

NanNan's Visit

One of the things that I love about my mom in retirement, is that she's gotten pretty spontaneous with her travel.  I told her the boys and I were enjoying the city museums before we get back to the school/language routine. She bought a ticket and was here by the next week to join us.  It was such a fun surprise and, in spite of all the city drama, it was a really special week of grandma bonding with her boys! 
We hit Museum Blau for their dinosaur exhibit, took her to our favorite beach one morning at low tide for boat riding and shell seeking, made a trip to El Corte Ingles for new legos, she treated me to some sweet editions to my fall wardrobe from Mango, spent a fantastic day in Tarragona, and on her last night she and I took the tour at Gaudi's Casa Battlo. 

Pardon the picture overload. A week with NanNan is always full of adventure! 

Come back soon! 

The March

Saturday evening, the first responders to the attack, the King of Spain, the Catalan diplomats and a half a million people marched down Passeig de Gracia in an anti-terrorism display.  The city was alive with emotion.

We hung the "No Tinc Por" (I am not afraid) banner from our balcony, and the boys and I went down to  march a few blocks.  David was out of let's just say I hesitated to get in the middle of it all with three kids on my own, but we got the feel of the event and the boys definitely were impacted by it.

Jude was chanting in Catalan with the crowd. Asher was eating his apple. And Silas, apparently, thought we were seriously marching to battle.  He was a little nervous. (We may listen to Les Miserables a bit too much in our house.)

These are hard conversations with our kids.  These are good conversations.  So grateful we get to be the ones who first walk through these kind of events with them.