Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pause



Well. We're traveling again.  Oh, ya'll.  I forgot about all this.  Suitcases, toddlers, overnight flights, crowded airports, weird time zones.

But we're seeing old friends on the far side, and it's been unexpectedly good to remember our life in South Asia up close with people who walked that season with us.

And...we flew through Helsinki.  That's in Finland.

Silas learned Finnish on the plane from a lady who was eager to teach him.  We drank blueberry juice, which is apparently their national drink or something.

You just never know what a day will hold, do you? 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Beach Day

We sent the older boys to school.  And hubs took the morning off so we could beach together. I even jumped in for a swim.  The water is still pretty cold, but the sun is heating up fast these days.  It was wonderful. 





Then, I popped that beef in a crock pot to greet me at 8pm after a wild driving lesson.

Yes.  I'm in driving lessons now.  I have only passed the theoretical part of the exam.  I've been waiting (since March) for a spot in the practical exams.  Hopefully, I'll get a spot this July.  This means, I'll drive for 30 minutes while someone critics everything from the way I hold the wheel to whether or not my tire touches the white line of the bus lane while turning. He told me yesterday, as I was double checking to make sure we didn't get t-boned whilst pulling onto a road from a stop sign on a steep incline in a stick shift car, that I needed to have an attitude of "command" in the car in the presence of the official instructor.

Ya'll.  I not only need to practice driving.  I need to practice having a commanding presence while driving.  

I came home to this goodness. Ropa Vieja (Cuban shredded beef), with black beans and rice.  



Hands down, the best dish I've cooked in six months.  Click here for the recipe.  I admit I modified it quite a bit based on what I like/don't like and what I can get here.  Nonetheless, it was lick-you-plate good.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

Here's the quick catch-up on a crazy few weeks. 


1. The end of school concerts are here.  Apparently, Jude's been learning Spanish guitar at school all year.  He failed to mention this to me until recently.  They had quite a little concert on Friday night to show off their skills and we loved it.  And these beautiful buildings are never lost on me!



2. The Spanish guitar concert kicked off a round of fevers that swept through the boys.  This happens in our house in hot weather. I don't think I'm exaggerating to say that we're usually sicker in summer than in winter.  It's begun.  This heat, ya'll.  It's going to be something.

I spend my evening hours daydreaming about air conditioner installations.



3. I feel disturbed still by this image. Stirrups.  They are selling stirrup pants in Zara on Passeig de Gracia.  This is parallel to finding stirrups on 5th Avenue in NYC.  Just say no, friends.  Just say no. Sometimes the fashion world just doesn't know it's own limits. 







4. I invited a friend from my Spanish class to dine with us this weekend. She's lived in Paris for 10 years, prefers her dog to having children, and is in finance.  In considering these details, I won't deny that I felt a need to step my cooking up for the event. I went with Italian, and even purchased my noodles from the legit Italian grocer on the corner.  He said "Chow," when I left...a sure sign of noodle success.  Here's the Pioneer Woman pasta recipe I used.  I served roasted asparagus and a salad with raspberries and blu cheese. I made the Food Network's balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  

 I have a habit of complimenting my own food when I work hard on a dish.  I mean, it's all about the recipe, right.  I refrained in her presence. It was delicious. But, I'll say it here again. It was delicious. 

I'm all of the sudden inspired in cookery. Tonight I'm attempting a Cuban dish.  I went to the real butcher to get the meat and he specially selected it for me. 

And now, I better get cooking.  

Happy Tuesday to you! 




Friday, June 9, 2017

Wonder



Laurin told me about this one.  I could not put it down.  Don't fool yourselves into thinking that children's books shouldn't be in your hands, people.  Pick this one up!  Definitely one of my favorites for the year. 



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Alhambra


Hubs has been down in Granada this week for work and had a chance to visit the famed Alhambra.  When time and internet permit, I'll post a few more! 





Sunday, June 4, 2017

Silas & Nephratiti



Silas just finished a unit on Egypt in his class. He made a pyramid out of straws and his friends wrapped him up like a mummy. He seriously loved it.  It just so happens, that the Egyptian museum is down the street from our house and kids are free.  ( I kind of doubt they thought one person would show up with three kids...but...I did:) We popped in this weekend and saw real bones and mummies and hieroglyphics. The boys loved it.  I admit, I did too.  One of my earliest childhood memories is that huge statue of Ramses that showed up in Memphis for an exhibition in the 1980s.  Apparently, they learned quite a bit about Nephratiti and it's adorable to hear him name all the objects in Catalan, since he studied it with his class. 


The cutie also just had his class "exhibition." Apparently, they learned about chess in English class and played a silent round for the parents.  He also danced to the alphabet, video provided for grandparent viewing😜


video





It's been a tough year for this guy, but he's pushed through and made some serious progress.  We're so proud of him!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Park Guell


We have a few friends from Louisville in town this week. It's been good to be around folks from home.  They have also been amazingly sweet to our kids.  Tonight hubs and I were able to snag a date to the incredible Gaudi creation, Park Guell.  It's been on our bucket list since we arrived and we just haven't made it inside the gates.  Followed by tacos and guacamole in the hip part of town, Gracia, and finished off with a little gelato on the square...it was such a fun night!











Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Baked Potato Salad


We have a crew from the US coming to town tomorrow, so let's be honest: I'm mopping and cleaning out closets today.  I use guests as external motivators for all sorts of household projects.  

I also popped some potatoes in the oven because there's a meal on the schedule that's right after Silas's Pre-4 "showcase." This has become my favorite make-ahead side dish.  

Link over for the recipe to Foodie With Family.   Check out her loaded Baked Potato Salad.  

Memphians, think Corky's potato salad...only in your own fridge! (Note for ex-pats: Because sour cream is hard to come by in these parts, I substitute plain greek yogurt, blended with some cream cheese and it's delicious!

With BBQ Chicken in the crock pot and this little dish in the fridge, I feel like I walk into the house and dinner is ready! 

Put it in your recipe box for this summer, ladies.  This one is worth the effort! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

return to Ikea

We had a few things that have been stacked in a return pile for about 6 months now, so last night we headed to Ikea. I don't think I'll ever stop feeling nostalgic about that store.




It makes me remember that season when we were living in a little hut near the ocean.  Asher was dancing near the roof edge during laundry hanging.  The boys were tired before we even walked out the door in the mornings.  We were spending all our time walking the streets on the grand apartment hunt and our evenings eating at Ikea and shopping for a house full of furniture.  I told you I'm all nostalgic about it, see?

We've come a long way.  And Ikea, and their wonderful Swedish economy, helped me build a home here.  Boy am I glad to have a home to rest in.

We bought a new bookshelf, because it's just about impossible to leave that store empty handed.  Those people know how to market.

Hope we're done there for a long while now.  Except for the hot dogs.  We'll never be done with their hot dogs.



Hubs ate three. He loves Ikea too:)


Thursday, May 25, 2017

something

Um.  I've not been doing so well at keeping up lately.  We had a few visitors from the states.  And I got not one picture.  And my friend from here is in the US right now.  So I've had six kids every day at lunch.  Six is a lot.  

Thankfully, this lot is seriously well behaved.  Barring my own two year old maniac.  It's been so fun to watch the kids together.  And there's a girl in the mix! (Yes, only one.  5 boys, haha!) We did a sewing project together.  It's like boy-mom therapy. 

It's definitely eaten into those few spare minutes of blogging time:) I just wrote on my to-do list today: Blog something. This is it. 

Someday soon I'll tell ya something deep.  For now, here's the monster. The cutest monster I know:) 



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jude's Party











How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon.  December is here before it's June. My goodness, how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
- Dr. Seuss

Thursday, May 18, 2017

unique

 I had the morning off of class on Tuesday.  Usually, those mornings are spent catching up on all that falls to the wayside while I'm conjugating verbs.  It's occurred to me lately though, that I really don't spend as much intentional time with this little two year old as I did the other boys.  I'm a multi-tasker, so it always seems so much better to go to the zoo or do an outing when I need to entertain all three boys.   But if I run things down that track, the third born will definitely get the left overs of this momma's time.  

So we went.  

We sat in front of the gorilla cage for a long time.  He looked at pigeons and ignored the flamingos.  He gave me a big kiss by the monkey swings. 



Then, we were standing in front of the pelicans.  With their weird beaks and crazy faces. 

This past week in particular, I have been battling comparison.  Feeling shoved into all kinds of boxes in my mind...what I should be, do, say, how I should dress, eat, pray.  Part of it is the necessity of finding a way forward here in this new season we're entering.  But another part of it has been so dark and tangled, accusing me of a thousand things that I'm just not.  

Someone else said it. I can't remember who.  

Comparison kills spirituality. 

And friends, it does.   I've been battling against it hard lately.  It will spread a blackness on your soul.

Anyways, I was looking at a pelican, marveling at that beak and those eyes, when my soul heard the whisper of truth.  God made pelicans and ant eaters, flamingos and tigers. Those little ground hogs and prairie dogs, cows and butterflies.  

If someone is pushing me into a box or making me feel like I need to have a certain cookie cutter shape of gifting and abilities to be "right", it's not my Maker.  He is a God who delights in differences.  He gives purpose and place to the smallest ant all the way up to the roaring lion.  He created them all.  And because of that, there's dignity in all.  

Me included. 

You too.  

Think about a Maker who creates so uniquely and extravagantly .  It will take your breath away.  

My purpose and yours is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  And that might just look as different as a pelican and an elephant.  


I should go to the zoo with Asher more often. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mother's Day

These boys are all sorts of sweetness.  And wildness too. Which is why my Mother's Day request was breakfast in bed.  







Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Grand Camp-out

For Jude's upcoming birthday, he requested a family camp-out.  My parent's gave David camping equipment for Christmas and we've been waiting for warmer weather to try it out.  



Friends had told us that European camping is much different.  And, wow, they were right! 

The "campground" had a full service restaurant, a grocery store, a swimming pool, jacuzzi, tennis and futbol court, trampoline and playground. In the summer months, they have entertainment 2x a week, and a disco party on Saturday evenings.  No fires.  It's like a European rule or something.  We roasted marshmallows over a candle.  The campsites are practically on top of one another.  Thankfully, right now is low season still so it was really peaceful for us. It's almost like a summer camp set up...only for everyone.  I walked past a camper full of French-speakers near dinner time and their table was set with crystal wine glasses.  

These people are serious about their camping.  The Germans we talked to were using their maternity leave to camp with their parents.  The Dutch were taking a two month sabbatical to camp...in a tent....with their toddlers. It was a big tent though.  Big.  

They thought it was hilarious that we unloaded all our stuff to stay for less than 24 hours. We're just dipping our toes in now though:) Ok. Enough chatter.  Here are a few pictures. 










Happy Campers.  (Let's keep it real too: Silas was like an inchworm all night in his sleeping bag.  At one point, Jude was using Silas's bootie as his pillow. David couldn't fit inside the actual tent with us comfortably, so he slept in the entryway. And my back is so sore today that not even Advil could cure it.) But we did love it! The birthday boy was particularly happy!