Thursday, July 30, 2009

My First Hair Cut

I'm back! My Mom has been the main blogger for quite awhile, but because we're leaving for Germany tomorrow, she let me do a post. I'd like to tell you about my first hair cut.

"Mom . . . you're letting Dad use those scissors on me??"

Last weekend when my Crazy Uncle Lance and Aunt Kristi were here, Daddy decided it was time to give my hair a trim. I must admit, I was getting tired of Mom constantly messing with the hair in my eyes or on my neck. So I guess Dad knew what he was talking about when he said I needed a hair cut.

"I've got candy to eat while this thing happens . . . not too shabby."

Mommy of course whipped out the camera to take pictures while Daddy chopped away. I heard my Nana tell Mom that she didn't trust Daddy to cut my hair well beacuse of how he cuts his own hair. I kind of like Daddy's summer hair cut. It's soft and fuzzy.

"Had I known he was going to give me crooked bangs, I'd have asked for a refund."

Overall, the haircut turned out pretty good. I have less hair in my eyes, and my neck doesn't get so hot. Did you know that it's REALLY hot here?? We stayed inside a lot this week in our diapers. Well, I wore my diaper most of the time. Don't worry, I'm not saying Mommy and Daddy have diapers, much less wear them at home!! But we did do whatever we could to stay cool.

"Just about done!"

We're off to Germany tomorrow where the weather looks like it'll be a lot cooler. I can't wait to see old friends!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Finally Went to a Bullfight

Bullfighting is a very Spanish, very cultural thing to see here. I've avoided going a long as possible. Whenever a fight is on TV, I have to change the channel because it grosses me out. However, we were given 4 free tickets to a bullfight last Sunday, and there were 4 adults so . . . I really didn't have a good excuse not to go.

The "picador" is the man on the horse who must stab the bull with his spear thingy.

Renae seemed to have no problem enjoying the "aminals" in the ring. No matter the bulls kept getting killed . . .

She even clapped each time the crowd did. "Yay a bull died!"

Yeah . . . Kristi and I weren't so sure how we felt about all of it.

This guy got gored in the leg!!! But he finished it and ended up doing such a good job that the master of ceremonies guy cut off one of the bull's ear and gave it to him. If a matador receives 1 ear, it means he's done very well. If he receives 2 ears, it means he's done an amazing job.

Two of our favorite people in the world. Seriously.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Come On Baby!

In December we had one set of good friends come see us, and this past weekend, we had the other set come see us. We are so blessed!!

Kristi and the Preggo in the Plaza Mayor.

Jesse and I-can't-take-a-normal-picture-Lance in the Plaza Mayor

P.S. Valerie, Kristi and I took a picture in front of the palace with "you" in it. But it's on their camera so they'll have to do the photo shop to get you in it. You enjoyed it. I promise. :)

Who knew we had access to Mt. Dew?

Lance, Mr. Statue, and Jesse. All in serious Nacho thought.
On Friday we headed to the waterpark where we all fried. Literally. We had a long relaxing day in the sun and on the slides (even me! I sucked in my tummy so I could do just one ride.) and in the wavepool. Again, Renae was a fish. By the end of the day, Lance, Kristi and I were burned to a crisp. And yes, we used sunscreen.

Kristi is laughing about something, and Renae is trying to help.

After a long day at the pool, we celebrated 3 birthdays within a month of each other. I sang all by myself.

Saturday was a special day so Renae needed to get dolled up.

It was special because we went and ate amazing burgers at Alfredos Bar-b-que!! (Going there is like a quick trip back to the states.)

Riding on the bus to do tapas.

Enjoying the churros just a bit too much . . .
There is more to come. Check back later.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Another Year Older

Jesse turned 28 on the 14th and we took the day to relax and celebrate!
With Renae at a friends house for a few hours, we headed to Retiro.

Enjoying my favorite Spanish summer time drink. (Ice, sugar and lemon. Yummy.)

Jesse opened up his cards from Penni and Kevin, and Grandma and Maynard.

What a better way to spend your birthday than rowing a pregnant woman around in a rowboat! I can't complain. It was pretty nice.

We thought it would be fun to make Jesse look like a shmuck for making his pregnant wife row the boat . . . I lasted about 5 minutes . . . and we mostly went in circles.

A statue of a mermaid (not a merman) killing some kind of fish. Nice.

This is the closest I've been to the Alfonso the XII monument.

Spanairds like to make out in public. I consented to a quick kiss on the cheek.

A rare family photo . . .
After our afternoon date, we picked up Renae and headed to a friend's pool for an hour of cooling off. Renae continues to be quite the fish and loves to be in the water. Then, we went home where I made a nice healthy American meal of Chic-fil-A esque fried chicken, and homemade french fries. We topped it off with homemade angel food cake, strawberries and ice cream. Not a bad day.

Tagine . . . It's Good . . .

Finally, my friend Aicha taught me how to make one of my favorite Moroccan dishes. It's called tagine because of the type of container used to cook the meat and vegetables. On this particular day Aicha demonstrated beef and fish tagine. I've also had her lamb tagine and I've got to say . . . that was some good stuff too. (And I don't like eating lamb!) The steps for making the fish tagine are essentially the same for chicken which is probably what I will make when I make a go at it by myself. (I know Mom . . .big surprise.)

Aicha peels and chops 4 carrots in the same amount of time it takes me to do 1.

Adding yet another spice . . .

This is a tagine pot. Somehow I'm bringing one home to the states.

The onions begin adding to the liquid . . .

Renae thoroughly enjoyed the potatoes.

The finished products all ready to eat!

And what did Renae do while we cooked? She played with Aicha's son. They had a blast.

Renae enjoying a slice of fruit.

Incase you are wondering if you would even like tagine, here is what was in the beef dish:
  • Beef (marinated in spices overnight)
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Green and Red Peppers
  • Seasonings (salt, garlic, parsley, cilantro, paprika, white pepper, cumin)
  • Vegetable broth

Tagine is usually served with some kind of bread (Moroccans use a round flat bread) and often couscous. I would leave the recipe on my recipe page but I filled up almost 4 pages of notes trying to right down each thing she did. I would ask her how long she would let something cook and each time she said "I don't know, I just watch and I know when it's done." So when I finally do make my own tagine, you can bet it will not be as good as hers. Next up on Moroccan cooking lessons, pastela! Pastela has chicken almonds, cinnamon and other things stuffed into a pastry type shell. It is AMAZING.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guess Who Arrived . . . almost 2 weeks ago?

Ok . . . soI didn't really lie when I posted this picture last time. Eric DID arrive . . . just not yesteday as it seemed. And this picture was taken on Tuesday morning when Jesse dropped him off at the airport to return to the US. Eric arrived on July 4th and spent a little over a week with us. His Mom wasn't expecting him home for another 2 weeks, and she thought he'd be arriving here yesterday. However my cousins and uncles knew that Eric was secretly arriving early to surprise her on her birthday-yesterday!

So . . . I couldn't post about any of our adventures (which actually weren't that many because of the baskeball camp we were helping out with) because then Aunt Becky would know Eric was already here. Add to that the fact that my camera died and I didn't recharge it until Thursday . . . and then I was cautious about taking pictures with Eric around, I literally have 3 pictures of him from his time here. Three. Oops . . . While he was here we did have Kurdish food (it was really yummy), we did go out for tapas, we did visit El Escorial (see pictures below) and we did enjoy the company.

The view from a palace in El Escorial

Phillip II built this palace/monastry and today it houses many of the dead Spanish monarchs. In one of the fancy tombs there were a few blank caskets-these are all ready for the current Spanish King and Queen when they die . . .

Part of the palace . . .

Jesse and Eric at a bullfight!

The team of volunteers from the states were given free tickets to a bullfight and Jesse and Eric went along. This was Jesse's 2nd bullfight, and Eric's first. He loved it so much he went the next week too. Both times I was pursuaded to come. Both times I said "Eww, no thank you."
Aunt Becky, I hope you enjoyed the surprise and I hope my post aided in throwing you off. :) Eric was worried you would ruin your own surprise by being snoopy so I had to help where I could. Happy Birthday too!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guess Who Arrived?

If you're one your way home to the US from the Middle East, you really should stop by Europe first. So Eric did! On the menu of things to do: Attend a bullfight, eat Kurdish food (prepared by Eric, not me) enjoy Spanish tapas, play with Renae-lots, visit El Escorial, and play Mario Kart. It's a tall order to fill but I think we can do it. Welcome to Spain Eric!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Renae and I have something we'd like to say:

Julie: I hate to break to all you other ladies out there but, I happen to be married to the greatest guy in the world. And I'm not exagerating. So good luck in your husband search . . .
Renae: Yeah, my Daddy is the best. He's pretty fun and funny!

Renae: My Daddy likes to hold me and cuddle with me and I just love that so much. He also likes to play his guitar for me so I can sing and dance along. When Daddy is gone, I can't wait for him to get home because he's my favorite man in the whole world.

Renae: He's already said that he will be the one teaching me to drive, not Mommy, and Daddy lets me practice on the small stuff!
Julie: This is true. Jesse is by far the better one to teach all our kids to drive. One, he's the better driver, and two . . . he's WAY more patient than I am. Infact, name any typical character trait and I can gaurantee that Jesse is more patient, more understanding, more self-controlled . . . the list could go on.

Julie: Seriously . . . being overseas has made me fall in love with my husband all over again. Not that I wasn't in love with him before . . . but while here, God has really shown me how he has created Jesse's with many great qualities and giftings. If I, as future self, would have been able to talk to Me 5 years ago on our wedding day, I would have said, "Do it girl and have no worries! You may be hesitant about all the what ifs that come from marrying someone who isn't perfect, but I promise you, Jesse is EXACTLY the man you NEED. He will lead you, love you and be the perfect balance for your crazy emotional self. You can walk down the aisle with confidence my dear because YOU are getting the greatest man in the world."

I am blessed beyond description to have a man like Jesse by my side. He will hold quite a high standard for Renae someday (in the way, way, way off future . . .) as she looks for her husband. For now though, Renae and I get to have Jesse all to ourselves and we are not sharing!

Happy Birthday Babe!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Upwards Basketball Camp

So this should explain the lack of posting lately . . .

I was teaching the ESL portion of an Upwards Basketball/ESL Camp these past 2 weeks.

I pretty much just stole a 3rd grade unit I taught when I was a Spanish teacher, and changed everything into English. It was fun to step back into that teacher role for a few weeks. But I'm glad it's over . . .

Some of the younger kids reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" for the parents.

Renae's two best buddies are "Leebuy" and "Dabid." Here she is with Dabid.

This was the group of ESL helpers for the second week. All the way from Tennessee!

And during the first week, one volunteer took a ton of pictures of the camp. He's a great photographer and sent us these he caught of Renae.

Cheese face with glasses . . . sort of . . .

Cheese face normal

Last but not least . . . my guapo husband. I love this guy tons.

Jesse was there too, but I don't have any pictures of him leading the music time. We actually got to lead the music time together which was fun. Renae even "helped" by standing up with us and clapping/dancing along. We had fun but we sure are glad the 2 weeks are over so we can get back to a bit of normalcy . . . whatever THAT looks like here.