Sunday, July 28, 2013


Another week of summer fun has come and gone!  Here are my favorites from last week.  

How adorable is this little guy getting his first haircut?   I love it.  Jane Mabel's portraits are always fantastic.   And this over at My Sentimental Jamboree are just beautiful summer moments.  And how fantastic are these black and white shots over at Taylor Made

As for us...
Still going strong in the sprinklers!  She does this every day, sometimes dragging her fully clothed mother and brother along through the water.  =)
This little guy wants to be just like his dad.  He's getting bigger every day, but thankfully we have a good long while before he fits into these shoes.  
And this is what I get for bringing the camera out while the sprinkler is on.  Pounced on by two wet monkeys.  I'm not complaining, though.  They are a whole lot of fun.  

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."  
Inspired by Jodi.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fiesta y Siesta en Sevilla

We concluded our Spanish road trip in Sevilla.  After a few days there, I realized I have lost my ability to cope with heat.  It was 40+ degrees Celsius (into the 100s, Fahrenheit).  I would have been happy to just sit in front of the hotel air conditioner vent.  The hotel's air conditioning was not so bueno though, so we strolled around town, shooting back cones full of melted ice creams every few minutes.  And that kept everyone refreshed!  With all the heat, Patrick had no trouble falling asleep in the stroller, so it was pretty easy to just leisurely stroll around town. 
Bull fighting is big in Spain and huge in Sevilla.  We popped by the Plaza de Toros to tour the arena and visit the museum.   I have mixed feelings on bull fighting.  On the one hand, I am amazed by how imbedded this sport is in the Spanish culture and the reverence people seem to have for the matadors and the bulls alike.  On the other hand, I pity the bulls very much.  I saw a bull fight in Pamplona about 10 years ago and left feeling so sad for these creatures.  And that was even after two matadors were gored.     

It was interesting to learn about the history and evolution of bullfighting.  For example, the matadors used to ride horses.  Didn't know that.  The medical interventions have come a long way as well.  Because they do on site transfusions here at the arena, they haven't had a (human) death in decades. 

This poster for the 2013 fights is all over Sevilla.  I think this guy looks just like Barack Obama.

Patrick trying new things.   Olives!
We stuck to tapas restaurants the whole trip and that served us well.  Fast service and small, yummy dishes the kids could pick from until they found what they liked. 

My favorite spot was the Alcázar of Sevilla.  It was originally built as a Moorish fortress in the 1360s, but later became the palace to the royal family of Sevilla.  It is the the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe.
The centuries of Muslim rule over Sevilla is evident in the architecture of Alcázar.

Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla.  It's underneath the palace.  Rainwater collects here.  I tried to keep my shaky hands still, but it still came out a bit blurry.  
The gardens were even more beautiful than the palace.  We spent a good hour or two just walking around, getting lost.

Patrick was most happy splashing around in the fountains.

The Sevilla Cathedral was most impressive.  It is a spacial wonder.  The construction started in 1402 on the sight of a former mosque.  The oral history goes that the men who commenced the construction boasted "Let us build a church so beautiful and so great that those who see it built will think we were mad".

It is also the final resting place of Christopher Columbus.  Columbus was originally burried in Spain, was then reburied in the Dominican Republic, then in Cuba and finally returned to Sevilla.  This picture is of his tomb.
For those unable to crane their necks to see the beautiful vaulted ceilings, they had handy convex mirrors on the floors.   Very thoughtful touch.
That is all from Sevilla!   Buenos noches! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


I had two favorites from last week.  First, I loved the sweetness of little Eva from To the Sea, busy playing in the sand.  Very cool perspective as well.  Also, Charlie and Edie playing in the tall grass in the sunset are just great.   As for us...
Claudia, this summer you have been so busy... swimming, mud making, hula hooping, bird watching, jumping on and off stuff.  I am thankful for the few short moments in the day when you just want to sit and drink a juice box.  =)   I am barely keeping up with you, but I am enjoying trying.
Patrick, your favorite activity at the end of every day is to play in the sandbox.  Sometimes sister joins you, but even if she doesn't, you are happy to toil away in there on your own, sweet little dude.  

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."  

Inspired by Jodi.   

Saturday, July 13, 2013


First my favorites from last week.   Lullaby and Lala.  HERE   Its hard not to love sleeping baby photos, but this one of Alfie is just perfection.  It is so lovely and so real.  And next, there is Birdie who looks like she has a good secret.  And finally, a great action shot.  All three pictures are so different, but all three great!

As for us, somewhere along the line someone posted a picture, maybe at the beach or lake, noting that it was the type of summer they would be nostalgic for when it was over. This week, while watching the kids contentedly play together in the sandbox for a straight hour, I felt the same way.  
Their respective sand play sums up their personalities well.  Claudia carefully scoops it up and let it drizzle out between her fingers.  
Patrick picks it up and flings it into the air.  By the end of day, he is covered from top to toe with a mist of sand and is so happy about it.
I knew as I watched them play together that it was a perfect day.  Nothing special happened, no field trips, no visitors, no plans.  It was just a long day with me, the kids and the sandbox.  Some might say it was a boring day.  But to me it was perfect and I can't even explain why, it just was.  =)   

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."  
Inspired by Jodi.   

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Madrido with the Kiddos

This here is the Madrid leg of our Spanish/Portuguese road trip.  Let me start by saying Madrid was especially kid friendly.  It was a great walking / stroller-friendly city.  There were well designed and well kept playgrounds stationed near or along the way to all the big sights and everyone we encountered was very kind and patient with the kids. 
The Royal Palace (Palacio Real) in Madrid is ranked third in the list of swankiest European palaces, right behind Versailles France and Schönbrunn.   These kids of ours (and I suspect most kids) don't care too much for palaces, so we didn't spend too much time there.  
Here is the symbol of the city, a bear and the Madroño tree in Puerta del Sol.

Plaza Mayor.  Now it is a great plaza to rest, play, eat and watch street performers.  Over the course of it's long life, it has played host to street markets, soccer games, bull fights and, during the Spanish Inquisition period, even public executions.   Now its a great place to get tapas, trinkets, baked goods, cured ham and churros con chocolate. 

Siesta time... sitting upright at the table, with her face in my hand.  The waiter was so great.  He got her blankets to support her hand and wanted to make her a bed made of chairs.  The waiters everywhere were especially helpful with the kids... making sure the tapas for them were out quick and even entertaining them while we ate.  Amazing.

Here is a sweet girl in a bakery at the Mercado de San Miguel passing Claudia a bag full of churros through a secret door into her bakery.  

There was really no shortage of sweets consumed on this trip.  It's really how we survive any trip.  Just through ice cream at any problem you encounter.  Sixty percent of the time it works every time.    (I'm so excited about the Anchorman sequel).

Again, I have to brag on Madrid and it's superior network of abundant, clean and cheerful playgrounds.   They made this girl so happy.

The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid was my favorite spot.   Since 1774, it has been situated on the Paseo del Prado and under King Charles III, beautiful, rare planets were collected from all over the world and brought to this beautiful garden.

My favorite was this Agave plant that towered above all our heads, brought here from Mexico.

The skies were the bluest of the blue in Madrid. I thought this place was a cathedral until I consulted my guidebook and discovered it is a colossal museum dedicated to the  Spanish Armada.  
The children's favorite spot was the beautiful Retiro Park, another hot spot for playgrounds, but also had this beautiful lake, complete with rowboats for rent.
They sold ice cream there too.  =) 
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