Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Been a Zoo!

We said good-bye to my parents today. Tears were shed. Not by Jesse or Renae, but my Mom and I took care of their share. We had a wonderful visit, and we really enjoyed having people from home here to see and understand where we live. Our living room is getting re-painted this week so I won't be taking any new pictures. I'll just do a few installments of my parent's visit. We were so busy this past week that I had no energy to blog at the end of our days.

We spent the day at the zoo last Saturday. The weather was perfect!

This was before Renae gagged and puked at the baby farm animal area.

Getting ready to watch a sea-lion and seal show. It was great!

These bears were hilarious.

Renae enjoyed the many rides on Grandpy's shoulders.

Renae had no fear of the sharks.

Here, she is probably telling Grandpy all about the sea animals.

Good thing we had a zoo navigator!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Friday, November 21, 2008

They're Here!

On time and happy! (Renae helped with the sign, though you can't see her art work in the picture.)

Three of the four suitcases they brought were filled with things for us.

Thank goodness for Skype! Renae knew exactly who Nana and Grandpy were.

One happy Grandpy.

Renae wearing her new hat, checks out the goods:
(Bath and Body hand soap, candles, underwear, socks, chapstick, deodorant, gel, cake mixes, brownie mixes, french fried onions, liquid smoke, grape jelly, parmesean cheese, socks for Renae, slippers from Aunt Julie, squeaker shoes, marshmallows, chocolate chips, presents from our connection group, baggies, long sleeve onsies, 18 month onsies, 6 new oufits for Renae, presents from Penni and Kevin -we didn't look!- and the list goes on . . .)

Enjoying lunch in the Plaza Mayor.

Me and my favorite Mom in my favorite park.

Life. Is. Good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Piso Pics

My Grandma asked me if she'd missed the post where I posted pictures of our place, and I realized I never had! Since my parents arrive tomorrow, the piso is in tip-top shape, so what better time to take pictures right? These are taken at night, and our apartment came furnished so I don't claim ANY of the window treatments. But the decorations I do. FYI.

Welcome to our home! This is what you see when you walk through the door.

My alley kitchen. It may look small (it is) but Europeans are good at utilizing space! Through that door is my laundry room-home of the washing machine, drying rack, broom, vacuum, recycling container, UHT milk stored in bulk, and other miscellaneousitems.

La sala.

And the back view of the living room.

This used to be a third bedroom. It's tiny! This is our "office."

Renae's room! Those books are put away, but usually they are strewn all over the room. As for the toys in the basket, those are also usually found in each room of the house during the day. This room is just as tiny as our "office" but I still managed to divide it in half so Renae had a play area.

Can you figure out what room this is?

The other end of the bathroom.

Our room. The duvet cover really helped the room look cute despite the burnt orange curtains. Now it's pretty cute!

A wall of mirrors! Renae LOVES playing with the sliding mirrors, and smiling at herself.

The message board all ready for my parent's visit!!

All rugs, comforters and cute decorative items can be found at your local IKEA! We love that place!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Peppers, Paella and a Wee Bit of Spit

Just today I was telling Jesse that I don't think Renae gets enough vegetables. I guess Renae knew it too, and decided to take matters into her own hands.

Tonight, Renae sat on the counter "helping" me make fajitas for supper. After I sliced the green peppers, she reached over and picked one up. At first, I thought she was just wanting to see what it felt like, but when I saw her open her mouth, I was shocked. And for the next 15 minutes, this green pepper was Renae's pre-supper snack.

"What's not to like? Pepper? Goooood. Green? Goooood. Crunchy? Goood."

Last night my crazy neighbor Rosa taught me how to make paella (pronounced pie-ay-yuh) which is practically the national dish of Spain. She is such a great neighbor. She talks a mile a minute (yes-she talks more than me if you can imagine) so it's REALLY good Spanish practice when I speak with her.

Onions, artichokes, red peppers and green beans are the veggies.

Hmmmm, a nice hot pan of paella. Paella is like chili. Each person makes theirs a little different. It's usually made with some kind of fish. But I don't do fish. Kari and Trey, you can be expecting this in the menu sometime during your stay. It's that good.
When I came home from making the paella with Rosa, I found Jesse recording Renae and her newist "trick." She usually takes about a 2- 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon. Yesterday however, Renae slept for over 3 hours! Needless to say, we had one hyper girl last night who was not ready for bed at 9:00 as usual. So we had fun being entertained by the talented spit-master.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Your Share . . ."

I know Jenny can sing along with that wonderful clean up song, but if you can't, you should learn it. It's great for singing with children, and it even gives your husband a clue that he's expected to help too!

My parents will be here in just a few days! We can't wait for them to get here so we can show them around the city, and mostly so they can enjoy being Nana and Grandpy to Renae. Our only regret is that they aren't bringing the rest of my family with. (Although it would be tight quarters with 12 adults, and 4 kids here!)

So in preparation for their visit, I've been attempting to make this place neat as a pin. I do this for 2 reasons:

1. I have to DO something as I wait for them to get here! I can only do so much of my regular activities before my mind wanders again to our very first visitors coming to visit. When I'm excited about something, I like to do something that makes me feel like I'm helping the event come about. Even if there is nothing tangible that I can truly do yet, I usually find a way to DO something involving the upcoming event.

2. There is something about your MOTHER coming to visit that makes cleaning different than any other visit. It's not a chore to clean my house (although Jesse thinks it is) when my Mom is coming. I think it's a Mother/Daughter thing. Every daughter wants to show her mom what a great job she did at teaching the daughter to cook, clean and keep house. I am the youngest in my family, with three older brothers, so my chores growing up were the usual girl tasks. I was the one who helped my mom with cleaning when guests came over, and I helped with the hospitality aspect of visits too. My Mom is a GREAT hostess, and loves to have people in her home. She demonstrated to me what a house should look like when guests were on their way. (Which honestly, wasn't much different than what the house looked liked every day!)

So posts may be lacking a bit this week as I enjoy getting our piso ready for the parental units to arrive. Like most people, I feel relaxed when I know my house is REALLY clean when guests are over. And this upcoming visit gives me a good excuse to do a DEEP clean. I better get back to my list. But before I do, I have to leave you with the list of people that I think have really, really, really clean houses. ALL the time. Seriously.

Cleanest friends:
1. Jenny K.
2. Julie (not me, my sister-in-law)

And my messiest friends:
1. Steph (she'll admit it)
2. Jess Starmer (I only lived with you for 5 weeks . . .)
3. Mandi . . . I'm debating whether to put you on this list. :) I don't think you're quite messy enough though. Sorry. You'll have to be added to the in between list like the rest of us.

Now I'd like to know, on a scale of 1-10, how clean of a house do you USUALLY have?
10-If you were to lift up my couch you would not find dust bunnies.
1-If you were to lift up my couch, you'd find crumpled up wrapping paper from last year's Christmas.
(Jenny and Julie-if you rate yourselves below a 7, I'm going to give you a verbal beat down.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Renae Draws on Herself

So as it turns out, my battery died on the camera as it was downloading. I DO have pictures of the hole in the wall! You are double lucky today because I know you are dying to see pics of a hole in the wall.

Looking into Renae's room.

Zee hoooooles.

Now back to Renae . . . .

Last weekend we all were a little sick, and I had to get creative in keeping Renae entertained. So I pulled out a large piece of paper (paper table cloth to be exact) and let her have at it with markers. I had enough sense to strip her down before I gave her an uncapped marker.

I think she will be one of those teens who wants tattoos when she's older.

Attempting to draw on the paper (a the rug too . . .)

I traced her body and it came out looking like we have a wider than normal little midget for a daughter.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cultural Tidbits from the Repair Man (Men)

I have a story to tell with no illustrations. I hope the ones I do have will suffice.

Last week, I received an email from our landlord. It said Urgent! (But it was in Spanish so it said Urgente!-some tricky stuff eh?) She told me that the man who's business is below us saw water dripping from our apartment. Susana, my landlord was of course worried that our piso was flooded. I quickly checked each corner and found no standing water. Whew. So I called Susana, told her I saw no water, but that I would speak with the man downstairs about the supposed water coming from our apartment.

I peaked in his shop and told him I lived upstairs, and had heard there was water coming from our place. He quickly showed me a spot on the bottom of an extended part of our piso. It was in between Renae's room and the "office." I could tell the spot was wet and the floor was cracking. I thanked the man, and went on my way. As I walked, I thought, "Oh great . . now we have water problems and this will probably take forever to fix!"

As it turned out, I was very wrong. I talked with our truly awesome landlords that day and they sent someone later on in the day to check it out! When he arrived, I couldn't believe someone was there to fix it already!

As it turned out, I was very wrong. Again. You see, here is what I've learned through this process: (the answer is at the bottom in case you're in a hurry) This particular man who came the first day came to look at the wall where water was supposedly coming out. Then he busted a hole in our wall to get a GOOD look. After doing that, he told us what was wrong and that it needed fixed, then he left.

So the next day, we had to check the pipe inside the wall and see if it was wet. Yep, it was.
So then we called that same guy.
The first guy then called our landlord.
Then our landlord called their insurance company.
The insurance company called someone to come look at the bad pipe and determine that what the 1st man said was true. It was.
So our landlord called a repair man. (I'm not sure what the first guy was-demolition?)
He came earlier this week and fixed the pipe.I thought surely this would be the end of the hole in the wall.

As it turned out, again, I was very wrong.

When the repair man had finished fixing the pipe (and creating a bigger hole in the wall) he picked up his mess, said Adios, then headed out. I wanted to follow him and ask, "But aren't you going to fix that hole in my wall?"

After a few days of peaking in on Renae's room through the hole in the living room wall, we wondered if anyone was going to fix the hole. Finally, yesterday, a 4th man came. Yes, that's right, I said 4th man. Wait,that's not right. I forgot about the OTHER guy that came twice. Let's review:

1st man-demolition. "You've got a bad pipe. Needs replaced."
2nd man-insurance- "You've got a bad pipe. Needs replaced."
3rd man-heat on/off switch guy-"I'm here to turn off the heat."
4th man-pipe repair- "You've got a bad pipe. I'm here to fix the pipe and nothing else."
5th man-heat on/off switch guy. "I'm here to turn your heat back on."
6th man-wall repair guy-"I'm here to put the wall back together."

You're wondering if there is a 7th man aren't you? Well we are sure he exists. The 7th man is the paint guy. He comes after the wall guy's repair is dry enough to paint. It's scheduled to be dry the day my parents arrive. Which means we are trying to get that sucker dry so the paint man can come paint the wall white, so we can paint it the correct color before my parents get here. I guess that makes us the 8th and 9th "men."

So we learned that a problem will be fixed quickly. But it will take several men all doing their very (VERY) specialized task before it's completely fixed.

Coming to a near you TOMORROW: Renae draws on herself and some on the piece of paper.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Renae's Ramblings-Part 14

Mommy's been sick this week. So she asked me to update the blog. Daddy got sick too but she knows I'm a better blogger than Daddy. I'm getting sick too. Why do I have to do the blogging?

So this week Mom made a really, really, really good chocolate dessert. She let me watch. I couldn't wait to try it! So when she turned around to wash some dishes, I grabbed the nearest utensil and dug in. It was goooood. When Mommy turned around she was not very happy. But then she started laughing after she got a good look at me. I was scared I'd be in big trouble so I turned on the water works. Mom just laughed and took a picture. And apparently, the cake wasn't for us anyways. Big bummer.

I love to play with my shoes. I love to play with Mommy's shoes. I REALLY love to play with Daddy's. For awhile, whenever we were about to go out, Mom would ask me, "Renae where are your shoes?" I don't always understand when she talks to me so I couldn't really help. Well as it turns out, Daddy and her had been looking for a few days for these puppies:

I wish she would have been more specific in her question. I could have told her my shoes were in the wine rack where I store lots of my treasures. I'm kind of bummed my hiding spot has been found out. I'll have to move my secret candy stash elsewhere.

"Now where can I hide these?"

Daddy says that when I was really little I would take naps like this. Dad says he really misses that. I'm a big fan of Daddy so I decided that a nap with Daddy sounded like a good idea. I love my Daddy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Couldn't Have Said it Better . . .

I stole this from someone else's blog. I love it. It was recorded a few days before the election, but his challenge to us in the last few minutes are what ring so true to me in these post-election days. Gotta love John Piper

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics and Royalty and Renae's Point of View

Election day was yesterday. Duh. However, even if we wanted to ignore it we couldn't. Why? Because almost every TV station was providing minute-by-minute updates of the election. And we live in Spain! Jesse and I were shocked at how much attention our home country was receiving. So yesterday when I was at the market buying cheese from the cheese guy (that's what I call him-not his real name) I asked about it. There was another woman waiting to buy meat and cheese there and she told me that Spain is concerned because of economic reasons. "If the US Economy goes down, so does ours."

Then the cheese guy asked me who I wanted to win. "Ahh, I don't want to talk about THAT!" I said with a smile. But he assured me that he didn't want to talk politics, he just wanted to know because he too was concerned about America's economy and how it would affect Spain. Surprisingly, he told me that he thought Obama would be dangerous and he didn't want him to win. It seems a lot of Europeans wanted Obama to win so to hear this guy say the opposite was a surprise (and a welcome one at that.) Moving on . . .

I had a meeting to attend in the main part of town yesterday so Renae and I decided to explore a bit when we were done. I usually haul Renae around in the stroller, but I didn't feel like dealing with a stroller on public transportation. So once we hit the Plaza Mayor, I put her down and let her roam free. (With me close behind of course.)

Renae looks at the statues of Felipe the IDK (I don't know)

This is how she sees it. Little shrimp!

"Hey Mom! Look over there!"

Renae had spotted a royal looking tent with the royal guards, secret service men and a bunch of policemen. Why? Because the Queen and Princess were helping with a Red Cross fundraiser! We saw a big crowd of people taking pictures, and a few camera crews. When we got closer we saw that we were only 50 ft away from the Queen of Spain (Sofia) and her daughter-in-law Princess Letizia! Since Renae is so cute, I found something in the street to stand on so we could see better, AND so they could maybe see Renae. However, they never really looked our way so Renae wasn't able to put on her charm for them. Oh well. At least I can say I've seen the Queen and Princess! Oh-and on our way home, we saw another royal looking tent and in that one, we found La Infanta Elena. She is one of the King and Queen's grown daughter.

This is Renae's view as she walks down the street.

One of the advantages of riding with a baby/toddler-you always get a seat!

Renae's view out the bus window. I have to admit, mine isn't that different of a view.