Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Madrid in April

Here are some snapshots of our time in Madrid. I think our favorite spot was the large park in the middle of the city. We went on a paddle boat, the kids played on the playground, and we walked through a maze of bushes and trees while eating ice cream. Definitely a fun day!

The second day we had a pouring rain, but that didn't stop us We decided to make it a game for the kids, by racing from cover to cover and jumping over puddles (or in Hope's case, jumping IN puddles). Here we are as we arrived at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Richard ended up sacrificing for the team by waiting in line for over an hour in the rain (no umbrella!) for us to get in.

The palace view from the church steps where we waited to get inside.

A quick 5 minutes of sunshine... hurry get a picture!

The church view from within the palace gates.

Most of the palace rooms were what you would expect. Elaborate decor, large molding, and detailed floral wall papers. This room, was my favorite. Doesn't it look like something out of Disney's Beauty and the Beast? I can just picture Lumière, the candlstick, dancing across the table as he sings.

After the palace we had the most amazing Spanish meal! Best food out of the whole trip. Here is Gabriel eating every last bit of his fish soup. Yum!

It was a quick weekend trip, but worth it just to say we've been there.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

We had fun showing our love for each other this Valentine's day. We had a special breakfast of heart shaped pancakes with strawberries and pomegranates along with an apple, pear and pomegranate juice.

Gabriel worked for a long time to make Richard a 2016 calendar, and Hope added some paper hearts on a few of the pages. We had it spiral bound and gave it to him on Valentine's Day morning.

And being in Europe, Richard and I were able to order some very special Pink Champagne Truffles from London. We had these when we visited London back in 2010, and they now bring back special memories for us as well as being quite tasty!

All these special little things made the day special for everyone. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gabriel's 5th Birthday

Gabriel asked for a bowling party for his 5th birthday. You see, we tried to go bowling as a family when he turned 4, but for some reason the bowling alley in Italy wouldn't let our kids bowl. They were too young. So we tried again this year, and invited some friends to join us. It turned out a big success! For most of the kids, it was their first time bowling. The alley had a ramp for them to set their bowling balls on and help get the ball all the way down the lane to the pins. The kids loved it!

I made Gabriel a Minion birthday cake, which all the kids loved.

We managed to get the second half of his birthday song on video... and also him pouring hot wax on his finger. Haha!

Happy birthday, Gabriel!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Richard's 40th

Spending Richard's 40th birthday in Europe gave us the chance to go somewhere new for the weekend. Richard picked Lille, France. It's only a one and a half hour drive from where we live, and it's a beautiful city. We walked around the old part of town and saw the old stock exchange building, the opera house and a few different churches.

Inside the Old Stock Exchange building they sell used books, old music albums and small toys.


We took a break to warm up and sip some hot tea and hot chocolate.

Lille is home to France's second largest art museum, the first being the Louvre, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille (Lille Palace of Fine Arts). We took the opportunity to walk the museum, and saw some famous pieces. My favorite was Houses of Parliament, stormy sky by Monet.

Although we had intentions of giving the kids some wonderful exposure to fine art, I can't say they paid much attention to it. They were more interested in laying on every single bench in every single room, then fighting over who could fit on the small ones. I was doing a lot of shushing!

All that bench wrestling must have worn them out, and Richard and I enjoyed a quiet ride back home.

Happy birthday, Richard! May God bless you with another healthy 40 years, and may he bless me with being able to spend them all with you!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January Instagram Pictures

New Year's Eve Party, baby smiles and birthdays sum up our January Instagram pics.

Hope Turns Three

I feel like Hope has been three forever.  Maybe it's because she's 3 going on 13! She's quite the talker and she can boss around her big brother too. So when her birthday came around I almost felt like she should be turning four!

We celebrated Hope's birthday over two different days. One day we did gifts and cake, and another day we went to a children's museum called Technopolis. For her cake, Hope requested apple cake. I had her cover it with powdered sugar, and we sang Happy Birthday to her. Now, normally she's excited to watch people "blow out the fire" aka candle, but when it was her turn to do it, she just cried! She was afraid the fire was going to hurt her. I couldn't help but laugh, it was too cute!

Out of all her presents, Hope's favorites are a baby doll crib and Anna and Elsa dolls. The dolls always sleep in the crib next to Hope's bed.

She also loves her Elsa dress up costume.

At Technopolis the kids had fun brushing gigantic teeth, "driving" and ambulance, creating a marble maze and building with giant Lego bricks. Not to mention some really cool demonstrations.

It's been fun to watch Hope grow and see her own unique personality. I call her our "class clown", because she is always being silly and loves to make people laugh. Her favorite color is pink, but she tells me it has to be really pink aka bright pink. I can picture Hope having bright pink clothes, cell phone and car when she's older. Seriously!

Happy birthday to our sweet and silly little three year old!