Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Feliz Navidad

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving, re-cap

I'm a few days behind on this post, but I know I'll wish I had written in to look back on in years to come.  Our first Thanksgiving in Spain was actually a big success.  Did you know there's a statue of Christopher Columbus in our city looking out over the sea? History stories crossing the continent.

We sent the boys to school. Our kids don't actually know that Americans get off school for Thanksgiving. David and I still hit our language classes, and then we met up at a friend's house for a spectacular feast late in the afternoon.   Not to mention, amazing decor.  She set such a beautiful table!

I wish I had taken more pics, but I got distracted by all that good food. We capped it off with apple cider, pumpkin pie and apple crumble.

SOOOOO grateful that even in a new country, new city, new community, God is giving us community.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rain or shine

Have I mentioned that we walk to school and home every day in the morning, at lunch and again for the afternoon pick up. It takes about 10 minutes and we love it! 

Except when it pours. We've been drenched twice this week. 

Ok, so maybe the boys love it even when it pours.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What I have

This season.  Whew.  I should really sit down and write to you about it one day.  Let's just say, this has not been my easiest year.

The dust, both literally from all those furniture parts and figuratively from all these miles traveled, is beginning to settle.  As we move into a routine more and begin to figure out the new life we have here in this place, I've been surprised at how much dust is still floating around in my heart. Sometimes I just about choke on it in the most unexpected places. 

One of the patterns I'm noticing is discontent.  Part of this is my re-entry into life in the consumer-culture of the western world.  I didn't realize how much it would impact me to be surrounded continually by "more." It plays itself out in some really subtle ways, and I occasionally feel like I'm living in a re-written Screwtape Letters. (Side note: If you've never read that tiny but powerful post entitled A Screwtape Letter For The Unappreciated Momlink a cut to the heart, in such a good way.) 

There are tiny strands running all through my mind right now that when I take them out, put them on the table and get out the microscope -- they are teeming with discontent.  Wanting what I don't have.  It's not just stuff either.  It's not living fully the life I've been given, but thinking up the life I might live if this happens…or that happens.  Wondering if I had a little more time or creativity or money or personality if I'd be able to keep up a bit better with everyone else.  Comparing myself, my house,  my clothes, my effectiveness to some vague standard gathered by glimpses into lives that are not mine.

Let's note something here. I like my life. If we sat down and had a conversation about where our family is at right now, I'd probably brim over with tears.  I'd tell you how unbelievably grateful I am that we get to do what we do, live where we live, parent the kids we parent, and that I crawl into bed every night with a man that I not only love and respect, but whose friendship is kind, rich and good.  The discontent isn't about actual circumstances. It's about my heart. 

It's a choice to "want"what I have and name that out loud.  Calling those dusty thoughts what they are - discontent - is helping me.  Thanksgiving, however cliche, is reminding me to take the focus of the perceived lack, and onto the extravagance of the Giver.  It re-orients my heart to speak thanks with my lips. Godliness with contentment is great gain.  

This week, when you are gathered around the table, putting out your little box of decorations, remembering how non-pinterest you are…resist the temptation to listen to the whispers of what is not.  Give thanks for what you have.  Give glory to God with the gifts He gave to you.  Embrace the story that God is writing, these days are tiny threads He is weaving into His glorious epic. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In everything, give thanks.

Monday, November 21, 2016


My days are passing in a blur. Sometimes I have trouble remembering words, in any language.  By 7pm, everything sounds like clanging in my ears.   I'd like to say that I had forgotten this part of language study.  But I haven't.  I'm in familiar territory.  

The good news is, language almost always pushes me to explore outside more than I would have otherwise. 

We headed for the hills this weekend, literally.  

Hubs heard about an inactive volcano toward the foothills of the Pyrenees.  The boys were enamored.  The hike was perfect for them, and the wide green "mouth" of the volcano was the perfect spot for a little lava/magma lesson. 

Mountain air does a brain good.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


It's like springtime in my room all year now. I love yellow. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


My first Christmas purchase was, embarrassingly enough, a mistletoe headband. 

Asher's already feeling festive!

Monday, November 14, 2016


We tried the famed "patatas bravas," and loved them. 

We took the kids to the park that looks over the Sagrada Familia last night for our Sunday evening stroll. 

But I have to face the reality that in some areas of culture, I'll always struggle to adjust. Spaniards will always sound like they have a lisp to me. 

I cannot understand their persistence in this. 

But I've given in for the sake of language acquisition. I have one now too. 

 I really don't think I'll ever overcome my awkwardness at the moment of the cheek kiss though. With ladies, sure, it's like a chic hug. But when a dad from Silas's class leans in, I still feel shocked. Like a strange man just kissed me. 

Because he did. 

He really did.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Let's just say it's awkward to be an American in Europe this week. Politics that look crazy from inside a country , look really crazy from the outside. 

I'll leave it at that.  I think you've heard this discussion enough lately. 

Moving forward, we are making progress in language this week. Currently, I am at odds with "ser" and "estar." I'm having flashbacks to Spanish class 1996 and it's not pretty. 

In other news, the boys are becoming pros at baguette eating. Our carb intake is on a steady incline. 

Can you taste the excitement?!

Monday, November 7, 2016


Day one of language is down for me. Whew. I forgot the brain stretch. This is good excercise. Curious about our new schedule? Here is it: 

8:45 am School Drop off 
9am-12:15 am Laura's school and study time; hubs hangs with Ash and tries to get a little work done too
12:45pm School pick up for the mid-day lunch & siesta
1pm David is off to his school
2:45pm Drop Jude back at school, pick up groceries for dinner, take Asher and Silas to the park to burn off some energy
4:45 pm Pick Jude back up, eat a snack, stroll around a bit
6pm David arrives home. Dinner, baths, prep for the next day
7pm Stories, snack and bedtime by 8pm

Hit repeat for the rest of the week. I like routine, but even for me this is a wee bit structured. 

This is the new normal though, and it is so good to have a normal!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Last stitch

Maybe I got the hem a little off on the curtain for our room. Maybe I moved the sewing machine in to fix it instead of taking them down. 

Don't tell my mom. 

Though I feel sure she already knows I'm a completely lazy sew-er. 

This was the last stitch though, friends. I feel like I should have a house party. 

But I'm too tired.

 Language class starts for me on Monday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


We drove 6 hours to Madrid yesterday, spent a quick night, picked up some needed paperwork this morning. 

And now we are driving back. Family road trip. 

The good news is, we shouldn't have any more legal hoops to jump for a while! 

This is one beautiful country.