Thursday, February 22, 2018

Our Spainiversary {Year 2}

Well, it doesn't seem real but we have been in Spain TWO years today.  And I am not even sure where to begin this post either... So just bear with my ramblings!

First, I think it is crazy that our little lady has lived more of her life outside the states than she did in the states so far -- girlfriend is going to have killer culture shock when we move back!  And her Spanish language abilities are just something else.  There are some things that she doesn't even know the English word for (oops!) or she just simply calls many things by the Spanish word.  But my personal favorite is hearing her little voice speak Spanish, I find it to be the cutest thing in the whole wide world :)

Second, I feel like we really settled in this year -- while we didn't travel as much (not nearly as many day trips), we settled in and found our grove.  We spent more time with our friends -- doing various group outings or get togethers, rather than day tripping on the weekends.  We spent time exploring our town -- finding new places to eat and drink or hang out.  And our Peanut has found her groove at school -- she loves her teacher and friends (I love seeing her so happy and learning). 

Most importantly, we got more comfortable with living in a foreign country -- especially since many of our tasks invovle speaking Spanish and doing things the Spanish way.  We've found a Spanish dentist and nativagated getting our cars fixed (our dentist does speak English, the mechanic speaks no English).  We've learned a lot of about our Spanish house this year with all of our issues (it sure has made us laugh).  And while my Spanish is not perfect nor am I even close to being fluent, I feel more confident in speaking and stumbling my way through.

And while I feel like we didn't travel as much this past year, we still did some traveling and it was wonderful to discover new and amazing parts of this world.  We took an unforgetable trip with friends to the Canary Islands -- seriously, this trip was so much fun!  We went to southern France (Lyon, Marseille, and Provence) where we explored so much and saw so much and made us love France that much more!  Then finally, Trevor and I took such a wonderful trip without our little lady to Copenhagen + Stockholm -- it was awesome!

Our first year was all about exploring, learning... this year was about getting comfortable.  I have more confidence in doing things around town (shopping, talking to people, taking care of business type stuff).  I have found that we are accepting and appreciating the Spanish way better.  We have come to accept that some things move faster but that others move much slower.  Overall, it is a much slower pace of life here and it does me good -- even if it drives me nuts at times.

But it all comes down to one thing -- we absolutely love living in Spain and are still so thankful we have this opportunity to live here.  We can't wait to see what this next year brings!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Day Trip {La Rambla}

Recently when my mom came to visit, she and I (along with a friend) took a day trip to a town about two and half hours away from here -- La Rambla.  La Rambla is famous for their pottery and ceramics.  In fact, this it the town were many larger companies get their pottery from (Crate and Barrel being one of them).*  And going directly to the source is a lot of fun and saves you the price mark up -- and the prices in La Ramba are amazing!

La Rambla is NOT a tourist destination, it is really only know to those that live in the area (and the Americans here).  It is a small (small) town, so you are only going for pottery.  Lucky for us, many Americans have gone before us and have shared their wisdom (word of mouth and also Facebook groups).  We had an amazingly detailed written guide to help us figure out the best places to go.  We strayed a little from the guide so here are my recommendations for La Rambla:

First things first -- BRING FOOD.  While we did get a few restaurant recommendations, I highly recommend bringing a sack lunch and snacks.  The stores close for comida (siesta) so you will definetly want to use your morning wisely and not stop to eat (snacks are okay) until you are done shopping!  Get an early(ish) start seeing as you only have until about 2:00 to shop until the stores close (we left Rota about 8:30 and pulled into La Rambla about 11:00 -- we moved quickly at each place and it was enough time for us... if you want to spend more time at the stores, leave earlier) and finally, BRING CASH -- some places will take credit card, but not all of them, so it is best to be prepared!

So -- the places to shop!  These are just the four we stopped at but there are plenty more in and around La Rambla, so if you have time -- stop into any store that's open!

El Titi: my personal favorite and right on the main street of town -- be prepared to call the number on the door (numerous times) when you arrive and maybe get help from the various old men having their morning chat or a street worker who knows where the owner lives (yes, this is how we finally got into the store)!  But once inside, it is WORTH IT -- gorgeous color spanish pottery and super cheap (but cash only)

Pepe Mejias: this one is down closer to the warehouse district of La Rambla, two floors of various pottery and outdoor pots and a really amazing collection of more Moorish influence pottery (like things you'd find in Morocco)

Rio Salada: in the warehouse district and has a HUGE selection of different patterns, you could easily spend so much time looking at everything!  Our personal favorites were the gorgeous plain colored pottery, very classic and different from anything else you see in Spain

Navarrete: also in the warehouse district and has a HUGE basement (tell the worker you'd like to go down and see if they don't turn on the lights for you aleady) -- mostly outdoor pots and other outdoor items but does have some gorgeous pottery

A few other notes -- while each place will pack your items, make sure you have it secure in your car so it doesn't break on the way home.  We brough blankets and packed things in the trunk nice and tight so nothing would move around -- the road out to La Rambla is a little rough and tumble :)

*So a friend of mine went to La Rambla and bought a gorgeous pitcher -- she got it home, went to wash it and saw the Crate and Barrel stamp on the bottom!  So yes, I turned over EVERYTHING I looked at to see if I could find one myself :)  (But I was not as lucky)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Peanut is Three!

Our sweet gal is three -- which calls for an update on our Peanut.

Nicknames: sadly, she no longer calls herself Sheena (which we all miss)!  Most recently she has been calling herself Sera or Seras but does use Serafina pretty often too -- we mostly just follow her lead in what to call her :)

Looks: still curly blond(ish) hair -- although it is straigthening out a bit and is darker now that it is winter.  She is tall but skinny and has no butt to keep her pants up (ha!), so she wears a lot of dresses and leggings if she isn't wearing her school uniform!

Eating: lucky for us, Peanut eats great at school!  A three course extremely well balanced meal -- you name it, she's probably tried it and eaten it at school.  And thanks to school, she LOVES eggs now -- LOVES!  She and Trevor make vegetable omelets almost every weekend!  And she could eat a whole tortilla de patatas if we let her (kind of like a big omlete with onions and potatoes).  At home she loves any and all fruit and does fairly well with her vegetable, but still hates broccoli!  She loves fried rice, anything with quinoa, spaghetti and meatballs, chili, yogurt and more!  And I should note that our sweet gal self-weaned at just shy of 2.5 years -- while bittersweet, it was time and I am so happy I was able to nurse her as long as we did!

 ugh, I thought sleep was supossed to get better after age two but that sure did not happen in our house... shortly after her second birthday, our Peanut started having awful, horrible, really bad nightmares -- and even some night terrors.  We'd be up for hours trying to calm her down and/or to get her back to sleep.  We got more sleep when she was a newborn; it was awful.  And yes, in the beginning, it was almost every single night.  And yes, we tried everything -- including tracking everything she ate and did every dang day to see what was causing the wake ups, nightmares, etc.  And it went on for months (and is still going on...).  But we did learn that keeping her on a pretty strict routine and having a very long calm down time in the evening seemed to help the best.  And that she is very sensitive to any changes within her little life (like moving to a more full-time schedule at school).  It makes things difficult for travel and our social lives (as a family) but we just take it one day at a time....

Health: well, she is a toddler... and goes to school, so we are right on track with the average of 10-12 illnesses a year (ugh).  She got Hand, Foot and Mouth a second time -- just 3 weeks after the first awful round.  She got pneumonia in May and has had her fair share of ear infections and random super high fevers... but that is just life with a toddler, right?

Saying: I don't even know where to begin with this one -- she talks all the time!  And it is so much fun to have conversations with her and I pretty much crack up laughing on the daily with her phrases and commentary :)  I think I love this age the most and their talking -- so funny!  I miss the cute, baby way she'd say some things, but it is really fun to have full conversations with her!  Now, with that said -- her English has actually regressed a little within the past few months (nothing to worry about, I promise), but it is because she FULLY understands Spanish and speaks it very well.  Her teacher was telling me that she does not use English anymore at school -- only Spanish!  It is so amazing to watch her understand when someone speaks to her in Spanish and to hear her say things in Spanish.  There are many times she struggles to find the English word for something, especially right after school pick up.  It really is amazing how easily language can come to kids when they are young.  

Likes: lots of things -- 
- building with anything: legos, blocks, magnatiles, and this includes using her play tools as well as Trevor's real tools -- pretty sure girlfriend loves it when we go to IKEA since she then gets to help Trevor build everything
- cooking and baking: we actually got her toddler safe knives so she can help more in the kitchen and she LOVES it 

- swimming: still taking swimming lessons and still loving it, she was moved up to the next class a little early which was amazing since it meant we didn't have to get in the water with her!  She is by far the littlest and youngest in her class, but it sure it fun to watch
- art: loves drawing, painting -- anything to do with art and art projects
- princesses: we sure didn't teach her, but she has learned all the Disney princesses and loves them, along with anything and everything she thinks is a princess castle or princess related (she is going to LOVE going to London in the upcoming weeks)
- animals: oh man, if we were stateside, we would've gotten this girl a cat or dog already -- but it's just too hard here with traveling and such!  Luckily for our little lady, we have a frequent cat visitor (totally domesticated and super sweet).  Serafina has named it Kia or gatito depending on the day and it is always a good day when it comes to visit

- baby dolls: she loves her baby dolls and loves taking care of them like a little mommy (and trying to bring them everywhere)
little blurry but her baby dolls go everywhere :)
- Little People: which she calls her "babies" (not to be confused with her actual baby dolls!) and she loves playing with all the people in their various houses, farms, etc. that we have for them 

What Else: She is doing so great in school and is such an independent little lady, she waves "adios" to me every morning and runs to her teachers.  They had a cute little celebration for her birthday at school -- I brought in cupcakes and American candy!  I am not sure what we are all going to do when she has to go to the big public school next year.  We have a few trips coming up and I am so excited to see how she does and the things she falls in love with (we haven't traveled with her since July).  While we have officially hit the threenager stage (and holy cow is it rough!), overall, our sweet gal is so much fun and brings us so much joy -- and her little personality just cracks us up!  We can't wait to see what this year bring!

celebrating at school
Some of my favorite pictures from the past year --

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