Sunday, January 28, 2018

40 before 40 list

A few years ago, before I turned 30, I created a list of thirty things that I wanted to do before my next big milestone birthday. I had a lot of fun creating the list, revisiting and revising it and of course, crossing things off. That list helped me focus my goals, what I wanted to do, see and accomplish over a few years. It was a good experience for me and I have been throwing around the idea of doing it again.

I recently finally decided to try to do the same thing before I turn 40 which is still 8 years away but is looming out there in the future. At first I thought making a list of forty things I wanted to do, experience, try, accomplish, see, etc. would be easy. Turns out in some ways it was, I mean, I want to visit more than 40 different places. But my idea was to try to focus on more than just a travel bucket list. I wanted to include goals for different aspects of my life. It actually had taken since about the start of this year to come up with my first definitive list of what I would like to do over the next almost-decade. Some of them are lofty goals and others I could probably do next weekend if I wanted to. Some of them are brand new and others are repeats of my last list or things I didn´t end up getting to or finishing.

So here you have it, my list of 40 things I would like to do before reaching the big 4-0:

1. Buy a house
2. Go back to school
3. Grow our family
4. Go on a cruise
5. Go to Ireland
6. Restart my Italian
7. Walk part of the Camino de Santiago
8. Visit our family in France
9. Explore more of the north of Spain
10. Go back to Italy
11. Go to Nashville
12. Read at least ten books a year
13. Continue my blog
14. Take the girls to a show
15. Go see snow with our kiddos
16. Have another bird as a pet
17. Learn how to make homemade bread
18. Join a book club
19. Donate my hair again
20. Start going back to church
21. Find/create a mom tribe here in Spain
22. Create a new holiday tradition at Christmas
23. See a big Broadway-esque show
24. Get my Spanish driver´s license
25. Take an official Spanish language exam
26. Start a business
27. Get chickens
28. Visit a new country
29. Spend the day at the spa
30. Go camping
31. Go to a concert
32. Get a flamenca dress
33. Continue my Christmas ornament collection
34. Introduce the girls to another language
35. Be debt free
36. Learn to dance for the feria
37. Got to Disney again
38. Finish the Game of Thrones series (show and books)
39. Go on a road trip vacation
40. Go to a paint and pour class

Christmas and holiday celebrations 2017-2018

I figured that before this first month of this new year ended I should probably post about our adventures during Christmas and the holiday season (mostly before I forgot what everything we did and who we saw). So here goes:

Jose and I being teachers have a nice long break from work during Christmas and this year it started on the 22nd, a Friday. That day at our girls´daycare the fantastic and ever patient women who work there created a living Nativity scene with all of the children so we dressed Laura and Vera up like shepherdesses and in my opinion they were the stars of the show. I know that every parent thinks that and realize that they were being plied with cookies and cheetos to sit there nicely, but they looked so damn cute! A bonus was the chocolate and churros that they served all the parents after the "performance."

We had basically just enough time to get everything organized and prepared for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which we always celebrate with Jose´s side of the family (one day for each of his parents´respective families). We spend the two days in their village and eat too much but have a blast. It´s even more fun now that Santa can come for the littles. Laura HATED him but Vera eventually sort of warmed up to the big guy, trying to take everyone else´s presents.

The day after Christmas we were all supposed to go to meet with a big group of our friends but I woke up with a bad, puffy and painful reaction on my eyelid so I bowed out. Jose went with the girls instead. I did, however, make it out to see our friend and Vera´s godfather, Salva, Quasimodo eye and all. We met him for lunch.

Soon after it was New Year´s Eve (I don´t know how the time flew by on our two weeks off but it did). We had dinner with Jose´s parents and rang in the New Year in a traditional Spanish way, with our grapes. Gone are the days of going out to party on New Year´s Eve. I think we both crashed pretty soon after midnight. Alas, this is the life of a parent. Maybe someday we will be fun again. 

The next day my parents arrived for a visit for the rest of our break. We took them into our town to see the Christmas lights and to ride the Christmas train which we discovered last year. I had been amping up the girls for weeks with how much fun we were going to have on the choo choo since they love them. Vera promptly fell fast asleep in the car and didn´t wake up during the entire ride, beeping horn, loud music, chiming bell and all.

We all spent the next few days staying in a casa rural up in the mountains where we got to relax, hang out by the chimney, play cards and barbeque. It´s my favorite place in the south of Spain and the girls love it there, too. They got to see a lot of horses and play outside a lot. We ate some good food and the weather cooperated for the most part.

The one unfortunate thing about being gone was that we ended up missing our local 3 Kings parade since they decided to move it up a day early due to bad weather. We didn´t get to take the girls out to see the Reyes Magos this year because of the rain and due to the fact that they were both feeling a bit under the weather themselves but the Wisemen did NOT miss our house on their travels bringing gifts to all the good little boys and girls in Spain. Vera and Laura were spoiled again!

They got new books, a playdoh set, an art set and from their abuelos they got tricycles. I think they enjoyed opening their presents and ripping the paper and then were even more excited when they realized that all their grandparents were all together when my in-laws came to have breakfast with us and later go out to lunch. We ate the traditional roscón de Reyes cake and then went out to lunch.

My parents stayed a few more days before having to go back to the States while Jose and I had to get back to work. All in all, it was a pretty low key holiday break. We got to see a lot of our families and spend some good time with our friends. But mostly we took it easy this year and I am glad. Last year I think running around so much contributed to our being put in the hospital with Laura for two weeks in January. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Christmas Card from us to you 2017

Merry Christmas! Here I am again to carry on the tradition of my annual Christmas card blog. This is officially year six and you can look back at all our other posts in the following links if you are curious:

Even though 2017 started out on a bad note with Laura being in the hospital for a few weeks and me having to leave my job, it ended up being a pretty good year. Looking back through past years´posts makes me realize how much things have changed over the past six years. We no longer travel as much, although we did get to visit Michigan this past summer. We have been living in our apartment for five years, although we are quickly outgrowing it and may be on a new house hunt in the coming year. Our lives are no longer consumed by bottles, feeding times and naps, although we are still holding on to one daily snooze for the girls. What I mean to say is that, life is good. Really good. And we have a lot to look forward to.

As always, here is our top ten from 2017:

10. Celebrating the girls´first birthday because  hey, they survived an entire year! Hell yes! And now, almost two years. I call that a parenting win. Laura and Vera keep getting more fun and funny by the day. We love them so much!
9. Another thing that has been pretty great this year is watching with wonder as the girls have begun to talk. Jose and I are making a lot of effort for them to be bilingual and it has been nice to be able to see the fruit of that labor. They have been talking a lot more this past year and it is amazing.
8. My parents came to visit us last spring for about four days and we had a lot of fun with them. Laura and Vera love their Noona and Poppa Walrus and we had a laidback visit.
7. We flew to Michigan for another summer of friends, family and fun. This past trip we got to see literally EVERYONE that we wanted to see I think. Even if it was for a brief time, we got to catch up with friends and family that we haven´t seen for years. We all especially loved staying with my sister Katie, Spencer and the girls´favorite person in the world, Daphne. We also crashed at my other sister Chrissie´s house for a while so that we could soak up some time with my other nieces Cawaline and Eve. It was fantastic.
6. While in Michigan we celebrated another GAGME trip to Indianapolis. While running around in our themed-gear we went to the zoo, the Children´s museum, the NCAA museum and out to eat with my parents, sisters and nieces. So fun.
5. We also got to hang around in Chicago with my sister Andie and Unkie Eric on our way in to the States and on our way out. We bought our flights so they would be direct from Madrid to Chi-town so that we could spend some time with Noodz and it didn´t disappoint.
4. Laura and Vera went to their first feria this past spring and dressed in their flamenca dresses. They were adorable. They even went on a few of the rides in the midway.
3. My mom came to visit us right at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 so she was here when Laura and Vera got to celebrate their first Reyes Magos experience. We all went to Jose´s hometown to see the parade and try to catch some of the presents they were throwing out to the crowd. 
2. We have also had the opportunity to spend time with Jose´s sister and her family a few times when they have come down from France to visit. One of our favorites was the weekend we all spent together at the beach in Portugal. The girls love their cousin Eva even if they don´t always get along when they are together.
1. Another of my favorite memories of this past year has been seeing how much Vera and Laura love their abuelos. They spend one afternoon with them each week when both Jose and I have to work and I know that they have a BLAST when they are all together. They love their Alolo and their Abuela and I am blessed to have family here who go out of their way to help us out when we need it and who love our girls as much as we do.

I hope that your 2017 was as good as ours and that you have a wonderful holiday season!

Merry Christmas to everyone. Feliz Navidad!