Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Books for Boys

Over the Christmas break, Jude read through a pile of books I'd ordered from a variety of lists.   It's beginning to stretch my genre to find books that appeal to a little lad.  I was an Anne of Green Gables kind of girl myself.   I spend plenty of time perusing good lists that on curriculum websites to keep his appetite fed.  He recommended two from the pile for me to enjoy myself.  And I won't deny that I read well past my bed-time while they were waiting on my night stand.



Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman is the tale of a sixteen-year-old  who climbs the mountain looming over their village.  It is the same mountain his father died climbing.  Based on the climbing of the Matterhorn, if you have any love to mountaineering at all, it's well worth your time - even at age thirty-seven! 

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan is a fictionalized story based on the story that Norwegians saved $9 million in gold bullion from the hands of the Nazis in WWII. The ship reached Baltimore in 1940.   The legend goes that the brave children pulled the gold on their sleds to the ship under the very noses of the Nazis.  

Both are fascinating stories, well worth the eyes of any boys you have in your reading world. I enjoyed them immensely myself.  I'd recommend both for ages 8 and beyond. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

How we've grown




Friends popped in to visit this weekend. They live in the bush of Africa, in a wild life so different from our city scape that we were enthralled by their tales. The favored story was of their cat whom they presume was eaten by a snake.  My boys were flabbergasted that there could be such a thing as a weekly "Bonfire Night." Open fires are quite strictly forbidden in Europe, even when camping. Jude asked why we don't just move on over to Africa next.  

We haven't seen each other in about seven years.  We pulled up the last picture we have together. It was taken the week that Jude was born.  We've grown a bit since then. Seasons change, and our families have spanned 3 continents since we last met. But this gospel fellowship is so sweet and strong in the midst of it. Might I just write how privileged I feel to be in such good company, with friends who are giving themselves away quietly in hard places for beautiful reasons?  




 I can hardly bring myself to imagine what we'll look like when another 7 years have passed!


Monday, January 8, 2018

Barca vs. Levante



 Thanks to a very generous Christmas gift from NanNan and PopPop, we had our first glimpse of the inside of the famed Camp Nou this weekend.   No one was disappointed!


We watched Barca defeat Levante, 3-0, and maintain their #1 position in LaLiga. It was a little surreal to look down and see the unbelievably talented Messi kicking right in front of us.  I won't deny that I find his personal story fascinating.  We're quite the fans in this house.

It was definitely an experience we won't soon forget!
















Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tres Reyes Parade


It is, hands down, my favorite Barcelona tradition.  Part of me doesn't even want to post pictures, because there is simply no way to capture the magic of this parade. You just have to be there.

We waited on that side walk for 2.5 hours with a passel of children in order to have front row seats...and it did not disappoint.  It really is magical.














What's New

The Christmas break just flew past us. I haven't even had time to write my 2017 in review.  Maybe later in January I'll do a flash back.  I can tell you in one little word what's been keeping me so busy.  

His name is Asher. 

In a two week time span, he's dropped a nap, given up that beloved pacifier, and....ahem....wait for it....potty trained!!!! 

Go big or go home. 

Just to give you an idea what that looks like for us, in our very big city lifestyle.....



I bet you wish you'd been able to have a playdate with me this week. Trust me, we weren't bored. 




Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Resolutions

As the New Year celebration and reflections begin, I would commend this old article to you.  Worth every bit of your time to read.

My resolutions in summation this year.


"I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence."  

- John Piper, on a lecture by Clyde Kilby

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas, In Pictures

I always like for the grandparents to wake up to the pictures of our morning on the far side.  Here are a few memories from Christmas Eve and this morning. Last night, we went to a candlelight service at the international church.  And we worshipped Jesus with people from all over the world.  I made a big pot of tortellini soup for beforehand and we gathered with a few other families who are away from home.  This morning, Silas snuck out at 5am "for a glass of water." I promptly put him back to bed.  By 7:30am though, the excitement couldn't be held off any longer.  A flurry of wrapping paper followed.  Asher's outside riding his new balance bike by the mercat, the boys are racing with their new stopwatch, and I'm putting the roast in the crock pot for this evening after a Christmas hike.


I've been listening to Dickens's A Christmas Carol while I cook, with full eyes for all that God has given to our household.  Not those hilarious pajamas or the new toys, but the people that are right here with us. The ability to spend my energy and time on giving my boys a warm childhood, with joy and excitement and affection.

It's Jesus.

He's the reason I have anything at all to give.  He's the reason our hearts are awake.

That blessed babe, born in a stable while the angels proclaimed.

Merry Christmas to all.
















Thursday, December 21, 2017

Marmee




A friend brought me an old copy of Little Women this fall.  I am not sure when I last read the tales of those little women, but it's been at least a decade. I can hardly ever resist a book with yellowed pages and it just seemed like the perfect December fare.

I love how good books change as I age.  They give me new gifts for new seasons.

Fiction can breathe perspective into my soul in a way that no straight forward lesson ever could. Marmee's wisdom, Jo's tempered passions, Amy's beauty, and Meg's sweetness all felt richer in a new way this time around.

Their stories help me see my own small story a little better.

Of course, my story is a bit different, isn't it? No little women in this household.



These little men are keeping me on my toes.  Christmas break, here we come!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Grand Finale


We finished off the week in a flurry of school and church programs, a visit to Santa, a day trip to Girona, a few final scoops of ice cream, and lots of hugs.  As a final gift, NanNan & PopPop bought new Barca futbol gear for the boys, and tickets to a real live Barcelona game for the whole family.  (The excitement of this in our household cannot be underestimated.) The boys are ecstatic.

Basically, our time ended as it began, with a lot of love, excitement and fun.

Mid-way through the week, I ran over to lend a hand to some girls who were working on a sewing project.  They asked how it was going with my parents, and I said something like..."Oh, you know how it is, the kids are just making such fantastic memories and having so much fun. My parents are totally spoiling them but it's like a year full of special moments piled into one special week. We're loving it."

My friend, whom I had forgotten has a difficult and complicated extended family, responded, "Wow. No, I don't know how that is.  But it sounds wonderful." There was no bitterness or rebuke in her tone, simply an honest, gracious reminder that it is a huge gift to have a family who loves us well and thinks of how to bless our kids.  Not a perfect family by any stretch, but a faithful one. That simple response sweetened the end of the week for me even more.  And turned my prayers toward a generation to come, that we would so build into our family and marriage now, that my grandchildren might receive that gift as well.

Farewell for now, NanNan & PopPop! We love you!










Thursday, December 14, 2017

Silas's P5 Christmas Musical






Silas was a tree in his class musical.  Let's just say, generally speaking, Silas gets the backdrop parts in school productions.  He's not much of a stage man, but he did that tree dance perfectly and watching him recite the Catalan poem so confidently was a decidedly good moment for all of us.

He has really grown this year in his language skills.  Primarily because his teacher, who I'm guessing speaks a good bit more English than she lets on, refuses to speak to him in anything but Catalan.  While I didn't exactly have the warm fuzzies over this policy, I have to hand it to her...he's grown by leaps and bounds already this year in language.

Their play was a mix of traditional Nativity figures, hilarious miniatures of traditional reindeer and snow fairies, and a few songs and poems. Afterward, we were all invited to the classroom to receive our handmade Christmas ornament, and look at the latest artwork.  Check out his amazing self-portrait! I sure hope that makes its way home one day!








We've come a long way since last Christmas, and I couldn't be prouder of my hard working little tree!!!