Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A 3 year old in our house!

I am so over due posting pictures from Eli's birthday! (I am making myself sit down to write a quick post before we have a party for Cai next week.) This little man is an absolute joy to our life. He sure is a handful, but man oh man do we love him! Everyday he surprises us with how much he is learning, growing, exploring, and loving life. He has a laugh that is contagious and a "I just swallowed a canary" look that could win awards. He is always climbing up in a tree wanting to go higher and higher. or swinging on the hammock wanting to go faster and faster, or running ahead of me wanting to go farther and farther. I had someone ask me the other day what I did to work out...Eli...that is my total body workout. This little man pushes me to be creative, hold my tongue and think before I speak, to dig down deep and get to the root of my feelings, and to lean hard on the Lord. David and I frequently find ourselves reliving the day and telling each other our Eli quotes of the day.

For all of you who have heard the epic Eli roar we decided to fittingly through him a dinosaur party complete with dinosaur foot prints going up the mile long sidewalk we have here, dinosaur eggs for decorations, gift bag with you guessed it DINOSAURS, baby dinosaur egg hunt in the dirt and even a dinosaur pinata. We had a blast hanging out with friends and running from activity to activity. Eli was so tired by the end of the party (noted in picture below) but it really was a great day. Thank you Tia Alicia for the incredible handmade pinata, Nicole thank you for picking up my camera and taking pictures, and thank you to everyone that could come and celebrate Eli with us! And a Happy Birthday to Emma, too! (E and Emma are Birthday twins!) 

Photo credit: Nicole Chewning

Photo credit: Nicole Chewning

Photo credit: Nicole Chewning

Photo credit: Nicole Chewning

Photo credit: Nicole Chewning

Photo credit: Nicole Chewning

Photo credit: Nicole Chewning

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just trying to tempt you to visit...

Before I start there are two statements/disclaimers to this post (and those rules do carry over)...

1. I really really am not trying to brag about living in Spain. 
2. But we really are enjoying our time here and are so thankful that God has given us this opportunity. 

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I am going to post as many pictures as I like about our adventures here with the hope and desire that they inspires at least a couple of you to come and visit! (I mean seriously, I finally have a guestroom with an actual bed in it so you don't have to sleep on an air mattress in the living room!) 

Here we go. Many moons ago (back in May) we had our first experience of Feria. I am still learning all that the Spanish culture has to offer, but have quickly found that Feria is a huge favorite around here. From the horses, to the lights, to the casetas ("little restaurants") filled with tapas ("appetizers") and dance floors, to the amusement park, and don't forget the bold and colorful dresses (didn't wear one this year...I pooper!). We went during the day time so didn't get to see the lights on, but the kids sure had a great time on the rides and Cai even had his first carousel ride (just for you Mima!). 

Can I just say that I LOVE shore duty! It has been an incredible breath of fresh air for our family to be able to spend so much time together. I get a smile on my face every time I think of how David got to hear Cai say his first words ("Daddy " and "EEELIIII"), how he is getting to see Cai crawling around, and even just the simple little things like watching little Mr. dropping his food on the floor when he really should be eating it. David missed all those milestones in Eli's life because of deployment. I am beyond thankful to have him home with us.

We have really been trying to spend intentional family time and one of those times involved an overnight trip to Sevilla. The cities and towns surrounding us are incredible, but we have really had to bring our hopes and expectations of our adventures to lets just have fun. No huge itineraries. No seeing absolutely every tourist spot. No stressing because it just makes grumpy kids and crabby parents. When our expectations are low we have found ourselves enjoying every second of our family time and actually getting to do more than we had hoped. Some of the highlights of our overnight to Sevilla included walking through the streets lined with gorgeous buildings (and of course flying our airplanes along the way), treating ourselves to Starbucks (thought of you Sarah!!!), and going on a carriage ride to see all the tourist spots (best decision ever! David and I got to be tourists, e thought the horse was the best thing ever, and Cai fell asleep).

At the end of June Stephanie (a dear friend that we have known since we were in South Carolina that puts up with our crazy family) came to visit us (just ask her, we really do have a guest bed!) and we had to do some sightseeing before she left. Bring on Gibraltar (guess what...I didn't forget our passports this time!). What a fun place to go. If you ever have the chance it is a great day trip. We took the "easy" way and paid the money to go on one of the taxi tours. Best way to see the island with a 3 year old and almost 1 year old. Our guide was hysterical and so accommodating with our big old stroller and two little ones.  

I have so many favorites from this trip, but here are a few (ok, a lot): 

- You have to cross a jet way to get onto the rock ("Alright kids, stop and look both ways. Are there any airplanes coming?")
- English, but not just any old English. English with a British accent! LOVE! Their accent makes me smile every time I hear it. 
- Phone booths. I don't know how many the boys will get to see in their lives, but at least e has a picture with one here. (Sad day how they are become a novelty verses a commonality.)
- The monkeys! E was not sure about them, but must have enjoyed them because he kept talking about them after we left. We also got to see the one of the caves, some of the siege tunnels and a look out where you could see off in the distance Africa (gets me every time that we are that close). 


These last two pictures are quickly becoming some of my favorites. That double stroller (thank you Mary!) has gone with us so many places and I can't get over how much I love getting to see those little feet of our boys sticking out. The last picture melts my heart. It goes right along with what I wrote above. God is so good to us and I am eating up every minute of watching David with our boys. 

ps...I promise that you will be seeing more of Cai in the upcoming pictures. He is now entering the stage of wanting to investigate and be a part of the action instead of enjoying the ride from the comfort of his side of the stroller.