Saturday, July 29, 2017

Turning a corner

I call architecture, frozen music.  - Goethe

Friday, July 28, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Eye of the Tiger

When the Eye of the Tiger comes on the radio, friends, it' a moment for these two.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Round Three & Fancy Dress

It's that time around here.  Round three of potty training.  A note to self, the purchase of scooters and the onset of potty training should have probably been spaced with a bit more distance to reduce mom-stress. It's been seriously exciting around here this week.  

We are making significant progress in our scooter etiquette, and far fewer people are jumping out of our path on the sidewalks.  As has always been the case in our household, M & Ms serve as great motivators in our potty training progress.  

Hubs took me out for a fancy dinner last night.  I snagged a "new" dress at that 1Euro market I love so much, so we dressed fancy.  We literally walked across the street to a restaurant we've been wanting to try since we arrived.  It was delicious! I'm still getting used to all the seafood on the beach-town menu, but I'm branching out.  I even considered ordering octopus last night...but went for the salmon instead.  It did not disappoint.  Nor did the company.  

Happy Tuesday to you! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Seashore Book

  Spending our first summer in a beach town has definitely been a new experience for us.  We actually have to plan time to enjoy the shoreline.  Otherwise, we'd never make it that mile toward the shore.  For those of you who are headed to the beach this summer, I just wanted to give a quick recommendation for this little jewel.

We're half way through, and the boys love the characterization of different animals that Thornton Burgess weaves so wonderfully in his stories.  As I've written before, I do think Burgess is a bit of an acquired taste in reading aloud, but he's worth acquiring a taste for.  The Burgess Seashore Book for Children is one of our top picks for beach living this year.

Give it a try! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017


 I'll admit that we haven't gotten quite as much "summer school" done this week as I had planned.  I affectionately refer to the slump that follows vacation as PVD, post vacation depression.  I just always have a touch of the blues when we come back from a good vacation.  We're back on our routine now, though, and gratefully so. Here are a few random tidbits from our world:

1.  I bought Silas and Asher scooters for the summer. Jude has a skateboard.  The first time I attempted to take all three children to the park "on wheels," I almost sat down on the sidewalk to cry.  Elderly ladies would see us coming from down the street and press themselves against the building walls to protect themselves.  Let's just say, we're still working out our system. Once we actually get to the park, it's wonderful.  We have some work to do though on our navigation of main thoroughfares.

2.  Cars 3.  They've been watching the trailer for 6 months. It was love at first watch.

3.  This summer breeze blows my doors around all day long.  They sell chic door holders here...for 10 euros each. But I just can't bring myself to pay that much for a block of wood that has a cute rope on it. Last night I up-cycled some kids' pillows that a friend passed on to me with a packed bag of salt in the bottom.  Perfectly cute little door guards for the boys' rooms.

4. Put your earbuds in, mommas.  This episode was just the kind of conversation I needed to listen to mid-way through the summer heat with three boys under foot! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Andorra, Part 2

The bags are still spilling out clothes and boots.  But we're home.

This was one of the most refreshing weeks I've experienced in a while.  I won't say restful.  We made two trips to the doctor. (Tonsilitis for David and the old wheezing cough for Asher....that's family life, right:) We hiked hard.  But it was refreshing.

My favorite hike was the day that we realized about an hour into our path that the little guys just weren't going to make it up the mountain that day.  So David took Silas and Asher back down the mountain while Jude and I pressed on.  It was tough going, but we made it to the Cabana Sorda Lake. We caught tadpoles in the puddles, waded in the freezing water and watched the guys who were cliff diving.  Cabana Sorda,known for it's depth (18 meters), is one of the best places to jump off rocky ledges into clear icy water.  Jude is my little introvert, so the one-on-one hike meant a lot to him.  Watching him absorb that kind of stunning natural beauty was such a gift to me.

When we met back up at the trail head at the appointed time, David took off to trail run up to the highest lake in Andorra. The sun doesn't set until 10pm, so we picked him up from the trail head again just before bedtime.

Let's just say, we came back a little sorer and stronger than we went.

Farewell, Andorra!!! You were better than we hoped! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Andorra, Part 1

We are on vacation this week.  No meetings attached.  No work to attend.  On a whim, a couple of months ago, I found a screamin' deal at a mountain ski resort.  On Monday, we drove into the Pyrenees mountains of Andorra. Summers are a little slow in a ski town.  But we like slow. We're looking for slow.  It's been amazing. The stillness is exactly what we wanted.

We're hiking.  That's it.  There's no other agenda.  The restaurants aren't even open near our rental.  It's that slow. Here's a little peek at the beauty.

Friday, July 7, 2017

a friend

You may or may not remember that season I had in our South Asian life when loneliness was a word I thought about every day.  I was knee deep in language learning and motherhood was breaking me in hard. I spent a lot of time in that year praying for deep friendships, and making efforts to seek them out.  I needed community and I knew it. 

One Saturday morning, we went to a hotel in the city for an ex-pat brunch. In all our time overseas, I've only been to such events a few times.  I went that morning a bit out of desperation to find new friendships.  I'd heard it was a good place to meet people. I met a girl who'd recently moved to the city for her husband's job in the tech industry of our city.  We chatted for a bit. 

Later that week, I sent her a quick message asking if she'd want to meet up for a playdate. We did.  

From that simple start,  we had playdates almost every Monday until she moved back to the US. This sister and I have shed plenty of momma tears together and told plenty of culture stress stories over tea and cookies.  I can't tell you how much I looked forward to those afternoons of same-culture/same-age boys.  It was one of the many ways that I saw God answer those tearful prayers for community.  

The details are fuzzy, but it was somewhere around 5 years ago now.  We've both long since left those  dusty, bumpy roads we first traveled to get to one another's houses. This week, Sara and her family have been vacationing in Barcelona.  The boys haven't seen each other in several years.  But they just picked up where we left off.  It's been so sweet to watch. 

And as for the mommas, the seasons are different, but there's still plenty to shed tears and laughter over...this time we are just doing it over gelato. 

Here are a few pictures of the fun. 

Love you, Sara.  You were (and are) an answer to prayer.  

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Helsinki, Finland

Here are a few pictures of our morning in Helsinki, Finland.  In spite of all that travel drama, we had to look at one another and say, "What are the chances that we'll ever get a day in Finland again any time soon?" So, off we went!

We took the train into the city early that morning and started out in Senate Square.  Behind the square is the famed Helsinki Cathedral.  Just a few blocks away, is Market Square where you can catch a city water bus out to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress.  From the boat, you get a great view of the Helsinki Skywheel and the Allas Sea Pool...where you can undoubtedly get a few minutes in a sauna if you wish.  Our (limited) impression of Finnish people is that they love the forest, they drink blueberry juice and eat berries from those forests, swim in the 188,000 lakes in those forests, and that they really get into their saunas. One lady told us that even apartments have their own's essential to Finnish living.  We found it to be a beautiful and fascinating place.

Helsinki was pretty modern, and very interesting, but the charm of Finland seems to lie in the land itself.  If we ever go on a (planned:) trip there, we'd definitely want to go into the countryside more.  Forests and blueberry juice? What could be better!?

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is a twenty minute boat ride from Market Square.  Originally founded in 1748, it was used as a military base by Sweden, Russia and Finland at different points in the country's history.  It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.  As is usually the case with UNESCO, there's a good reason for the preservation.  It's a fascinating island, and absolutely breathtaking. We could have spent days exploring the museums and coast line!

We headed back to the airport, through the city.  I regret to inform you that we did stop at McDonald's on the way back.  (Though David and I grabbed sandwiches from a deli.) We'll have to save culinary exploration for another day.  Somehow, the kids just weren't up for sitting down to a big Finnish meal:)

Farewell, Finland! You were such a beautiful surprise!