30 April 2011

Easter 2011

So this is what it's like trying to get two 4 year olds and a 6 year old to pose for the camera.

See the chocolate and dirt on Reegan's dress?  That's what happens when you don't get up early to take pictures before they eat and play at church!!

 Great jumping shot of B-man there!

 Umm, why is Brennan licking Karis' flower?  I have no idea!

This one is decent!

At least the photos show their antics and personalities well!

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!!

29 April 2011

Valencia Oranges

The region of Valencia is covered in orange groves.  I was so surprised that many of them were easily accessible to the public.  Like this!
We truly could have helped ourselves.  Of course, we didn't!
I think we hit this area at just the right time to see the trees laden with oranges and flower blooms!  It was just lovely!!
That's it on our trip to Valencia.  Stay tuned for more travels in our future!  We may be headed south soon.....to Sevilla!  We have been so blessed to see so much of Spain in such a short time!  I'm glad for that since we're moving soon.

28 April 2011

El Oceanográfico en Valencia

Did you know that in Spanish (Spain Spanish anyway) that Valencia isn't pronounced Va-LEN-see-ya?  It is pronounced Va-LEN-thia.  When we got here, I had to get use to the use of the "th" sound in some instances of using the "c" or a "z," which sounds similar to a lisp.  Ha!

Anyway, Thursday was rainy!  Bleck!  We knew we could get some rain on our trip and my thought was to visit the Oceanografico, which is an aquarium, the largest one in Europe and keep out of the rain. 
We drove into Valencia and had quite a trek from the parking garage to get to it.  Grr!  And then we learned that a good portion of walking around the aquarium was outside.  Take a look at this lovely, frizzy hair I was sporting for the day!  Yuck!  Ha!
The aquarium was nice, but I was expecting more.  So I was a tad disappointed.  The weather didn't help though!

This penguin would follow every move that Reegan made.  The whole room was cracking up.  It was so funny and too cute!

 This tunnel was really cool for the kids.  It showed what it was like for sea life that live in the "splash zone" and simulated crashing waves.
It was a bit of a crazy day.  Things don't always go as planned, but we made the most of it.

27 April 2011

Oh How I Love The Beach!

Tuesday of last week we headed to the beach.  We wanted to give my parents a taste of the Spanish coast.  Selfishly wanting to experience it as well!  Ha!  If you can't tell, we love the beach!

I really wanted to stay on or near the beach within a good price range for a family of 7!  Not an easy task!  I tirelessly searched and searched and within days of leaving I found a very reasonable place in Oliva, Spain, just south of Valencia.  On the internet it looked very bare bones, but to be able to look out over the porch to the waves was what I was aiming for!

I was a bit disappointed when we arrived Tuesday evening.  The caretaker seemed a bit strange and the place smelled.  I thought "Oh great, what have I gotten us in to for 4 days?!"  The kitchen left MUCH to be desired and I was a bit grossed out by it and the haphazard, dingy shower curtain barely hanging by it's broken rings in the tub.  Luckily, the sheets were wrapped in plastic and smelled very nice.  That was a bit of a relief!  It seemed the place had just been closed up for awhile and needed some airing out.

What changed the perspective?

Waking up to this the next morning and the next 3 after that!!

Could you resist that?  Just take a look at that sand!!  Beautiful!!

This is the apartment from the outside.  Ours was the top floor of the orange house in the middle.  The porch in front was very large and we also had access to the roof.
It needs some TLC, but other than that it was a great place.  The kids loved it!  That made me feel better that they thought it was so great and didn't even notice the dinginess of the place.

Did you see that smooth sand with just a few footprints in the above picture?  A big tractor would come through in the morning combing the beach to smooth it out.

The area around us was mostly residential, although it was a public beach.  It wasn't a touristy area at all.  That can be nice and it can also be an inconvenience.  It would have been nice to have some restaurants or stores nearby, but there weren't any!  We had to drive to get anything, but it worked out fine.

For April it was still chilly and the water.....brrrrr.  It sure didn't stop my kids!!
They must have gotten my Alaska blood, right?  Which I lost somewhere along the way!  I could hardly step in the water.  It was freezing!!  Brrrr!

 The beach can be such an interesting place to find things!!  We found this piece of wood with some type of plate on it.

I began to wonder where it'd been, what it was from.

My dad figured it was from part of a crate slat or something.  When we got home I did a little googling and found it to be a packaging company.  My dad was right!

I had a hard time narrowing down the beach pics, so forgive me for it being picture heavy!
 Can you make out Jerry & Karis?

 My dad getting his white legs some sun!  Ha!  We won't discuss my white legs!!

 The sand was SO beautiful!

 Buried alive!

 I love this action shot of Brennan jumping in the surf!
We had a great time!  Hmmm, can we get one more beach trip in before the move??  I guess we'll see!

26 April 2011

Birthday Bashin'

We kicked off Monday of last week celebrating Karis' birthday. We had planned on starting the day with a trip to the zoo and finishing up with a party, but the zoo was a ZOO!  Ha!  The line was CA-RAZY!!  I had this idea that everyone left Madrid for the coast for the Easter break, but boy, was I wrong! It seemed like everyone was there!

It took a bit of convincing to get her to leave, a bribe promise that we would play hooky and go on a school day and the fact that she would get THREE days of birthday celebrations. She even got to go play at a park as well as a birthday lunch out at TGIFridays complete with a birthday serenade!

I had made the cakes the day before, but I was actually glad for the way things turned out as it gave me more time to get ready.

Karis wanted a Hannah Montana party. I had a guitar cake pan left over from a colleague and then just needed to pick up a few things to add.

Thanks to all our colleague friends for celebrating with us!

25 April 2011

Karis' Class Birthday Party

I've been meaning to share this slide show Jerry put together of Karis' party at school before we went on our Easter break. 

She really didn't want us to stay for her party......Miss Independent.....but after a few tears and words she let us come.  Seriously, I don't know what to do with that girl sometimes.  We all ended up having a great time and got some great pictures.  I just love her teacher and her class!  It's been so good for her!

You may notice that I look a little teary when the class presents her with a card they made.  Seeing the handmade pictures of each of her classmates just did me in.  Especially knowing that we would be moving and it would be such a precious keepsake for years to come. *Sigh*

Take a look!

18 April 2011

Lettin' You Know

I've been holding out on you.

I hope you'll forgive me.

But the time has come where I can give the details!

You know that little trip to Vienna?

It wasn't just a girl's getaway, but a site visit....

To move there!

I'm going to have to get use to colder weather again.

This has been a topic that's been discussed for the last 6 months.

It finally became official.

We had NO IDEA when we moved to Spain that this would EVER be a possibility.

And now it is.  We will be relocating to Vienna, Austria at the end of the summer along with the rest of our team.

It is a bittersweet move.  Really sad to leave Spain, but excited to live in the same city as our team members.

I'll be sharing more in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned!

And prayers for making a move for our family of 5 and our team of 5 families would be greatly appreciated!

Aww man, and MissyMom in Madrid had a great ring to it!   Time for a new title!  Ideas welcomed!

15 April 2011

Dream Come True

Over a year ago I began thinking and praying about Hannah's Prayer Ministry (the infertility and loss ministry that I am part of) starting a blog.

I took my idea to the other board of directors.  It took some time, a little convincing (you ladies know it's true ;)), lots of prayer, a bit of hashing out the details, more convincing and prayer!

But we got there!  In January the blogging team was formed.

This group of ladies has been SUCH a HUGE blessing!!  They have taken this blog farther and more professional than I ever imagined!

And it all starts today!

Held is born!

The actual launch isn't until April 25th, but we have to get the word out there, right?!
And do we ever have some incredible contributors lined up!!  I'm giddy with excitement!!

Would you consider helping us spread the word?!

Will you give us a follow, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter??

Be sure to tell your friends that could benefit from this incredible ministry!

Thank you!!!

14 April 2011

A Weekend in Vienna

I met up with 2 of my teammates in Vienna this weekend.  It wasn't all play, but I'll go into details another time.
We had a blast together!
Stacy, Julie & Me
 We sure did miss our other 2 team wives that couldn't join us!  We have an awesome team!  These ladies are not only my teammates but my friends, my confidants, my prayer warriors, my ministry and accountability partners!  God has blessed us so much with an incredible group of people to work with!  I thank God constantly for them!

We had a great time of chatting, praying, eating, drinking coffee (tea for some) and keeping each other from getting blown away by the wind.  Wow is that city windy in the Spring!

We took one morning and headed to the city center.  We didn't have a lot of time and our main goal being to eat some lunch and get some dessert at Demel, a famous pastry shop & chocolatier founded in 1786!
 Look at that display!  It was hard to choose!
 Some of the cute chocolate boxes!
 Our choices!
Two variations of chocolate cake.  Stacy & I shared.  The one on the left was our favorite as far as being a cake.  Mainly because the one on the right had a liqueur flavor that wasn't a favorite, however that chocolate coating on the outside and top were to die for!!  Oh my!  Just give me that chocolate!

This is about my 4th visit to Vienna.  None being very long.  While living in Prague, we would take day trips to see a few sites.  Here are a few pics of downtown.

St Stephen's Cathedral, part of it is covered with scaffolding that is covered by a large type photo.  Can you tell?
Vienna is a beautiful city with such rich history.  

It's funny going back into "Europe" from Spain and seeing the differences.  Of course, Mediterranean countries do tend to have a flair of their own.  That was apparent to me stepping back into Austria.  Not bad, just different.

We've got a crazy few days ahead of us.  We are having Karis' party at school today (her birthday isn't until Monday).  Tomorrow the kids are out for 11 days for Semana Santa, Holy Week.  We welcome my parents back on Saturday.  They've been spending time with my brother in Greece.
Then we've got Karis' actual birthday, which we are planning to spend at the zoo and then we head to the coast for a few days to show my parents the sites!  And you can't forget my favorite thing, spending a little time at the beach and dipping our toes in the water.  We've been told it could be warm enough to get in!  We'll see about that!


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