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.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Part of the story

With my mom in town, we made a trek down to the town of Tarragona this week. It's been on my list for a while since it is known for having some pretty spectacular Roman ruins.  We were definitely not disappointed.  It was a fantastic day trip.  Jude read The History of the World by Bauer this summer, so we combined a little history with the fun.  The boys did chariot races in the old Roman Circ, and we toured the spectacular Roman colosseum.

In 259 A.D. three Catalans were martyred in the Tarragona Colosseum for their worship of the Christian God, during the persecution of the church under the Roman Empire.  It made me consider the larger story.

The church has known persecution from the beginning.

On weeks like this, I'm tempted to ring my hands and look at the state of the world.  I wonder what kind of life my children will have if they choose to follow after Jesus.  The depravity of the world, so full of sin and wickedness, feels hopeless.  It helps me to consider that men and women have been following Christ down hard roads, through volatile political situations, amid persecutions and trials for over two thousand years.

It is noted that as the flames in the colosseum enveloped them, they raised their hands and prayed to God.

We are a part of a bigger story.  It is a story of the living God's glory in every generation. We are marching toward that end.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The attack on the Ramblas

The words of Christ, the peace of his promises and the unshakable love that he both offers and bestows in us -- are our hope.  Sure and steadfast, firm and unmoving.

We live about a mile from where the Ramblas attack happened this afternoon, the sirens are still wailing past our house. We walk those streets.  

To be honest, we moved to this city knowing that this day would very likely come.  And that we could be walking the streets when it did.  Almost every time I am in a crowd with my children, I consider the possibility.  Today, it happened.  We were in a museum looking at dinosaurs with my mom, who flew in yesterday. In God's mercy, we are safe.  

Many were not.  

Pray for the peace of Christ to break into this darkness.  And remember with us that we already know the end of the story.  Evil does not win. Cowards will not reign.  

The God of Justice and Might sent a Rescuer.  He wins. And all eternity is in His care. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

the unity shirt

Sometimes you just have to enjoy the little things in parenting.  Like when you're dealing with mid-summer sibling squabbles, and the best way to squelch them turns out to be a bit of humor, as opposed to a lecture.

I've turned to the "unity shirt" this summer.

No, it wasn't my idea.

But I laughed out loud when I saw a picture of someone else's kids stuffed into a shirt.  So it began.  My boys hate it, but in a hilarious, giggling under their breath way that refreshes those attitudes that have run amok. I usually require them to do a task together such as build a block tower.

Occasionally, I require them to stand together and sing that old Baptist chorus, "We are one in the bond of love." It cracks me up every time.

Perks of parenting. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Happy Hollisters

While all the cute first-day-of-school pictures pop up from the US, we are still in the throes of summer.  We're barely even feeling bored yet. I know that mid-September will creep up on us though.

Currently, Jude is completely enthralled with The Happy Hollisters series.  His face is glued to the pages.  I actually have to make him put it down to eat.  Isn't it amazing that a book written in 1953 can still evoke that in a little boy in 2017?

Tonight, hopes are running high in our house.  I said "maybe" to the picking out of a matchbox car at the big department store near the Plaza.  If this momma can get up the courage to take all three boys down to the tourist district in mid-August.  It's wild down there, ya'll.

Summer, summer.

Carry on with your back to school pictures.  We're still watching cartoons over here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

city bikes

Did you know that Barcelona ranks in the top 20 most bike-friendly cities in the world? People really do bike almost everywhere here. It's a city goal.  A lot of people have these crazy fold-up bikes that they take right into their office with them. Even the traffic laws are aligned so that it's legal for you to get pretty much anywhere by bike.  There's a city bike service with bike pick up points that tons of locals use. You buy a card for the year and have access to bike pick ups all over the place.  This week, our card came.  Most of David's work is within a couple miles of our house, so for him, this will probably be a major mode of transport now.

Usually, I have a kid or three with me, so I doubt I'll be on a bike too often, but today I went for a ride down to Plaza Catalunya.  I could be wrong, but I think it's been somewhere around 5 years since I rode a bike. I had to get up my courage in an alley way before I hit the streets.  (Don't worry, I stayed within the guarded bike lanes.)  It was soooO fun.  

Here's to a little more time for city exploration this summer! 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Parc de Laberint d'Horta

If there's one thing that I've learned after seven years of mothering little boys, it's this: if you don't run them, they're gonna run you. Tuck that bit of wisdom away for all the lads in your life.

This week, with four boys seven and under in the house, basically, the entire goal has been to expend energy. As much energy as possible.  

We were going to make them climb a mountain today.  Seemed like a really good plan. But the car had a flat, so we made needed to make a last minute change of plans that could be carried out via Metro.  I've been wanting to trek up to this labyrinth since I first heard about it. It was a huge hit! They just ran around shouting at each other and getting lost and found and lost again.

By the time we got home, they settled in for quiet time with no complaints and remained perfectly docile for most of the afternoon. 

And now, it's scooter riding until dinner.  

P.S. Asher has a bad case of heat rash, hence his shirtless state.  Don't judge;) 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tuesday Tid-bits

1. Let's start with the caramel cake.  I've made it on three continents now. And it's a sure win everywhere. 

2. Tid-bit number two is that we are keeping someone's seven-year-old for a couple nights this week.  Of course, it's a boy.  I am surrounded.  Completely outnumbered.  It's my fate in life.

3. We visited the Natural Science museum this week (because they have a/c:) and the boys were enthralled.  Favorite moment was when they looked at the animals of the Amazon and hubs started telling him stories from his years in Peru.  They were enthralled.

4. While we were debating on whether or not it would be a good use of money to put in an air conditioner to help us survive the summer, our landlord offered to buy one and have it installed to upgrade the apartment.  Who does that?!

When I see her next, I will kiss her (because actually, I kiss a lot of people here...on the cheek:) and tell her she has contributed to my survival in the Spanish climate.  It's only in the living room so we're still sleeping in hot rooms. You don't want to be in my path when I wake up.  But it makes all the difference in the world to be able to come in from outside and get a cool breeze going. Thankful!

Happy Tuesday to you!