Sunday, June 4, 2017

Things are getting heated here

I was just reviewing my blog, thinking that it had been a super long time since my last post but it turns out to have been only about a month ago. I guess I am doing better at this no-so-monthly updates thing than I thought. Last I was talking about my parents´visit and the girls´first feria experience, and since then we have done some other cool stuff.

First we visited an animal preserve about an hour outside of Seville called La Reserva. It´s in the mountains, off the beaten track, and you drive through it in your car rather than walking. As you drive the various animals come up to your car and look for carrots. I assumed since the girls seem to love animals that they would be excited to see them up close and personal. I was wrong. Laura promptly started screaming at the first emu who rudely shoved his face into her window, so we rode with her side up the rest of the time. 

They have all kinds of animals there and the least dangerous ones can either come up to your car, or you can stop and get out to see them in their habitats (like the wolves and chimpanzees). Some you just had to drive by and couldn´t get a good look at, like the lions, tigers and rhino. We got to see tons of camels and zebras but my favorite were the giraffes. I fed them carrots and we got to get really close to them. So cool and worth the pricey entrance fee in my opinion. You can actually drive through the circuit as many times as you like. We only went through once and then had lunch before heading home.

We also spent one day in one of Seville´s huge parks with Jose´s family. The girls got to see their cousins and it was adorable and exhausting have four one year olds to chase around. Jose´s grandmother and the girls´great grandmother was there. She got four great granddaughters in the span of three months last year. I am glad they are all so close in age and that they will all grow up together.

Jose and I took the girls to the feria in the town where we live and so they got to wear their dresses again. This time we weren´t there too long and when we went in the morning it seemed like we must have chosen the family time since the only rides that were going were for little kids and everyone else there had a stroller as well. Next year we will work on dancing with the girls.

Not too long ago we bought a bike trailer second-hand and in the past month we tried it out. I was pleasantly surprised that the girls seemed to really enjoy being pulled around and that Jose didn´t die pulling it up a hill behind his bike. We rode around a park by our house and stopped at the playground where the girls made friends with other kids. There is nothing like heading out with kiddos to strike up a conversation with other parents. The thing is you always end up learning the child´s name but not the adult´s. Oh well.

Vera is now walking really well. She started while my parents were here visiting and in the past month no longer needs to hold on to anyone´s hand or furniture. She is cruising around by herself and she loves it. We have also been trying rather unsuccessfully to get both girls to eat more actual food. It´s been slow going. On the bright side, they have been sleeping most nights all night. Vera has NOT been wanting to nap during the day though. She has also started blowing kisses and waving to everyone which is adorable. She will also give her dad and I smooches which seriously melts my heart. She´s is so sweet and has started to carry around her baby doll, giving it kisses, too. Vera says "mama" and just today said "Cooper" for the first time.

Laura is now pulling herself up to stand in her crib and on the furniture. She walks really well holding on to someone´s hands and I have caught her a few times passing from the couch to the chair or from the table to the chair so I am hoping she starts taking steps on her own soon since both Jose´s and my backs are taking a beating from walking bent over all the time. Laura still takes a nap at the same time in the morning and has been sleeping really well. She is the better eater of the two and tends to try everything I put in front of her. Laura says "dada" and loves to clap at everything. She is also obsessed with animals including dogs and horses and loves to point them out.

We just recently booked our flights back to the states for the summer and are excited to be home for almost two months! We hope that the actual act of getting overseas goes as easily as it did last year although this time we have two quite active toddlers instead of two little babies. I have my doubts so any advice on what to do with them for nine hours on a plane would be well received. Our pool will open next week and as they love their baths so much I am sure they will enjoy swimming. It´s gotten really hot so I am looking forward to being able to cool off. 

Well, that´s about all we have done in the last month. It´s been busy and we are glad that Jose is now on half days until his vacation time. Oh and Eurovision happened and Spain came in DEAD LAST. Like almost no points. The singer was awful, his voice cracked in the middle of his performance, the song was annoying, everything about it was a disaster. And not the over-the-top kitschy  disaster that is the show in general. Portugal won this year with a beautiful song in Portuguese. Jose made fun of me for watching it again. Whatever. Did I mention that I got a job for next year and that it allows me to be home with the girls in the morning? Yay! I will keep everyone updated. 

Also, I will leave you with a few pictures of me since I have come to realize that I am usually behind the camera. One is from an afternoon Jose and I spent in downtown Seville a few weeks ago. The other is from today when I got to see some friends from my time at UNC who I haven´t seen in years. It was awesome to be able to catch up with them!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Noonie and the Walrus visit and first feria

My parents recently stopped here on the tail-end of a trip they took to Italy. They were here for about four days and since we hadn't seen Poppa Walrus since summer or Noonie since Christmas it was a fun time for the girls. They couldn't believe how big Laura and Vera have gotten and I have to admit that they are growing by the day. Vera is now walking by herself, wobbly when unaided and practically sprinting if she can get someone's fingers to hold on to. Laura is crab crawling along behind her and is more stable when standing. We are working on her pulling herself up. 

While my parents were here we avoided going into Seville since their visit coincided with April's Fair which makes the downtown area a zoo. The fair was originally a time when people would bring their livestock into town and there would be parties and celebrations as happens when people gather together. Now it involves carnival rides, tents with food and dancing, music, traditional flamenco dresses and seeing and being seen. We don't go to the fair in Seville because most of the casetas or tents are private and with the girls just the thought of getting to the fair site makes me nervous. Instead we go to Jose's hometown fair which is the weekend before.

We got our girls coordinating dresses and they looked adorable in them!

At the feria we had lunch and a few beers. We also took the girls on the enchanted train where a witch tries to hit you with a broom. If you can grab the broom you get to keep it. It's one of those Spanish things that you understand if you have lived it your whole life. I don't get it but Jose and Vera liked it. Laura fake cried during most of the ride. We also took them on the ponies which in all honesty bummed me out. All I could think was, poor animals.

This year we went during the day since the girls are still small so we didn't get to see anyone dancing but the girls have been practicing their clapping and hands so next year they will be ready. It's also a tradition to take a picture at the gates or portada of the feria. Luckily this time we made it out without having to buy any toys or stuffed animals (even though my dad kept threatening to buy them a drum) but next year I am not so sure. I think we should start saving now! Feria isn't cheap!

Besides our visit to the feria it was a pretty laidback visit. My parents had been hoofing around Italy for the previous week and I think they appreciated being able to just relax a bit and enjoy their granddaughters. We went to the park to see the animals, played on the play structure and ate out a few different restaurants in our town. We also went out to the Roman ruins outside of Sevilla in Italica. I have been a few times before and they are really worth the visit. In fact, I am not sure why they aren't more well known as a must-see when visiting Seville. They even filmed part of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones there. Unfortunately when we went the biggest part was closed and we could only visit the amphitheatre. 

We were sad to see Noonie and Poppa Walrus leave earlier this week but we are planning on heading to Michigan over the summer so we said, hasta luego and see you in a few months. Also, you may have noticed that Laura is holding a comb in quite a few pictures recently. She has become quite attached to it and if she sees it, she needs to have it in her hand. When she realizes it is gone, she will look for it. I took the comb away and hid it the other day during her nap and she doesn't appear to be upset that it's gone. We had a few intense days where the comb was like an extension of her arm but for now it's put away. She's such a weirdo.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Holy Week and the beach with babies

Ok I am going to preface this post by warning that it is going to be full of pictures, more than usual since we had a pretty chock-full week of photo-worthy moments.

We kicked off Holy Week (which you probably know is a big deal around these parts) with an Easter egg hunt hosted by the American Women's Club of Seville which I have belonged to for several years. It is a club for English speakers from around the world which organizes all kinds of events throughout with year and though I think maybe Laura and Vera were a bit young for this last party, I had a good time with them looking for eggs and meeting a few new moms.

Domingo de Ramos or Palm Sunday is sort of the official start to Holy Week. It is customary for people to wear a new outfit on this day as they go out to see the processions taking place all over. Vera and Laura were no different, they wore new dresses and looked adorable. We went to see the procession in Jose's hometown and the weather was beautiful.

Later on in the week we headed to Portugal to go to the beach. The girls had been before but when they were too little to enjoy it. This time they had a blast. The weather was nice and we got to use our new wagon to haul both babies and gear out onto the sand. We had the whole beach to ourselves, the way I like it. We spent most of the time trying to keep Laura and Vera from eating shells and other beachy and apparently yummy finds. 

We visited our favorite Indian restaurant and dive bar as always while we were there for a few days. I guess you would call Jose and I creatures of habit. We have found these two places we love and make it a point of going there whenever we are visiting. It's nice because the owners of both bar and restaurant now know and recognize us. They all think the girls are cuties, and I wouldn't say they are wrong.

After being at the beach for a few days we headed home to partake in more Holy Week celebrations. We took the girls to see another procession in Jose's hometown with his parents and then had lunch with them. Vera and Laura wore new outfits of course. This time they were dresses made by my mother-in-law.

We also went to see Jose's whole family one day to celebrate his cousin's daughter's birthday. We first went and visited one set of Jose's grandparents before heading to the party. I have mentioned before that basically all of Jose's family lives in the same village or pueblo. We try to visit the pueblo at least once a month so that everyone can see the girls. Visiting the pueblo usually involved traveling from house to house and eating a lot. This time was a bit different since there was a birthday party and we had a great time. There was a bouncy house and a ball pit which the girls absolutely loved. We were all exhausted at the end of the day.

Jose went back to work this week but not soon after his sister, partner and my niece arrived from France for a visit. So what did we do? We headed back to Portugal last weekend and took all three girls to the beach. But I will post more on that later because I can hear the telltale giggling of two babies up from their naps.