Halloween

This year I went ahead & sent the kids to Infantil for their Halloween party (which happened on the 30th as the 31st was a day off of school in honor of All Saint’s Day on which landed on a Saturday – Spanish people like their days off just like Americans!). I have to say I wasn’t super impressed by the costumes I saw as I dropped of the kids – lots of scary costumes & only a couple cute ones. Spaniards only recently adopted Halloween from the States, but when it was brought over they only seem to have latched onto the really dark side of it & none of the lighter, more creative side. I wish there was some way that we, as Americans living in Spain, could set the record straight, but I’m not sure it would work! I did my best & sent my kids in fun costumes!

 

Audrey went as an Oregon State Cheerleader! Go Beavs!

Ezra went as Chris Kratt from Wild Kratts, his favorite show at the moment! He insisted he couldn’t smile normal, but instead had to smile “like Chris”. 

I guess this must be what he means?!?!

Audrey brought home this craft that she made at school! Not sure how much she did on it, but she did tell me that she painted! 

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Micah’s last day of school

I meant to take a picture of him outside our front door with a sign like I have the kids hold, but it was a busy day & I completely forgot! Thankfully, it was a special day at school & one of the parents got a photo of him! It seems quite appropriate for the occasion!

 

No, the school year isn’t over in November! However, October 17th was Micah’s last day of his Master’s program! A lot has happened since his first day of school in 2008!  One of those changes is that he changed his course of study from Curriculum & Instruction to Educational Administration when it became clear that God was leading him into school leadership. We are very thankful for the way that God has provided the funds for Micah to be able to complete this degree.

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Fall Festival 2014

I was on the staff computer at ECA & ran across a few pictures taken at the Fall Festival back in early October. I was so happy to find these, because I had forgotten to take my own camera & the kids were SO cute that night!

Audrey got her face painted! She held SO still & was so proud of it! 

Micah was the sheriff for the evening. For one euro, people could issue a warrant for the arrest of a friend or family member & they would be put in jail for a minute! It ended up being quite popular! 

Ezra was quite busy acting as Micah’s deputy, but he did take time out from his ‘job’ to take a pony ride!

Audrey was excited to get a pony ride as well! 

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While Mom’s away…

While Heather and Stephanie were enjoying Sweden, I got to be Mr. Mom for the long weekend.  And what a weekend it was!  The fun started Thursday night before the girls left, when Audrey ate something she shouldn’t have that caused her to throw up a couple of times at about 3:00am.

Friday morning Audrey seemed fine and ate breakfast with her normal enthusiasm.  I got the kids ready for school and away we went on a very rainy morning. When we were about 50 meters from the school gate, Audrey stopped and bent over the edge of the sidewalk – and threw up all of breakfast.  So, change of plans!  We dropped Ezra off and Audrey came with me to ECA.  We stayed for about an hour so I could tie up some loose ends and answer a few questions, and then I had to bring her with me on an errand in downtown Madrid at a government office.  I had only given Audrey a snack that I thought would be mild on her stomach – not sure if yogurt actually qualifies, but I don’t proclaim to be an expert in these things.  About 10 minutes from our destination, Audrey threw up again ALL over herself and her car seat.  Fortunately she had a raincoat, so I cleaned her up as thoroughly as I could and hid the damage under the rain coat while we were in the government office.  The rest of the day was pretty normal, although Ezra was sad to miss playtime at the park due to the weather.

Saturday was the day on which all the memories were made!  I heard about an air show at a nearby military base, so we decided to check it out.  The forecast said the biggest chance of rain would be between 11 and 12:00, so we left home at 11:30.  There were A LOT of people who wanted to get into the air show, so we spent the next 2 1/2 hours in first gear, circling the perimeter of the base.  The kids showed great patience and it was actually pretty pleasant – Ezra could see most of the planes and helicopters performing out the window.

The highlights of this waiting time were the bathroom breaks.  Audrey was easy – the line didn’t move at all while I ran over and hung her over the guardrail on the edge of the highway.  Ezra took himself out a few minutes later, and as soon as he got his shorts down the line started to move!  I only ended up about three car-lengths ahead, but when he saw us moving he decided to try shuffling sideways while simultaneously peeing on the guardrail.  This was obviously a hilarious sight, and when he realized that someone a few cars back from me was laughing, he decided to turn around to make faces at them and do a little dance – with his shorts still at his ankles.  Then he pulled them up and sprinted back to our car.  Don’t worry, all you moms out there – I brought hand sanitizer!

After all that waiting we finally got let into a parking area – about 1.5 miles away from the actual airshow.  So we had a nice hike, and the rain that had been holding off all came at once – the exact moment we reached the entrance gate to the air show.  It didn’t dampen Ezra’s spirits too much!  Sorry moms, I forgot the umbrella.  I am still in training!

Ezra LOVED the fighter jets.

His one goal was to see planes flying in formation, and leaving colored smoke trails out the back.  I was worried that his wish was a bit too specific, but we actually saw 3 or 4 squadrons that each had their own smoke color scheme!

After about 20 minutes of truly driving rain, the entire place was a puddle 1/2 inch deep.  The kids got hungry, so I waded through a crowd to buy them a bag of chips.  Audrey took one, handed it back, and promptly threw up twice.  The standing water on the ground created a truly impressive effect, as the puke spread like a cloud around the feet of all the people around us.  Fortunately they were all looking at the planes so we were able to make a quick escape from the area! Immediately after throwing up, Audrey wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and said, “Okay, chips now.”

You won’t believe this, but the sun came out right as we headed through the gates to go home!

After a long, pleasant hike back to the car (in which Ezra found and brought along an animal skeleton of some kind, with some fuzzy stuff still hanging off the bones – yay hand sanitizer!), we made it halfway home before Audrey politely requested a throw-up receptacle.  All I could find was a zip-lock bag full of fall leaves that Audrey was supposed to take to school on Friday.  I gave it to Audrey and she promptly filled it… at this point I couldn’t reach her to get the bag back, so I begged her to hold the bag carefully without spilling.  After a couple minutes’ silence, Ezra said, “Uh, Dad… we’ve got a big problem.”  I asked him what it was, fearing the worst, and he replied, “That bag had leaves in it that Audrey was supposed to take to school.”  Phew!

The next two days were relatively uneventful.  On Sunday Audrey’s stomach was finally getting back to normal, and we were all happy to see Heather on Monday night.

 

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Weekend in Stockholm!

As a birthday present, I got to make a long-weekend trip to Stockholm, Sweden with my friend, Stephanie! Stockholm was SO much fun! It was quiet, clean, peaceful, everyone spoke english, & it was easy to get around! It really was a traveler’s dream!

 

We stayed with friends we knew from our time at BFA. Upon arriving, they fed us a delicious dinner & then took us on a tour of Stockholm! They gave us a good overview of the city while also giving us an insider’s view of living in Stockholm!

A gorgeous view of a beautiful city!

Our first stop was at the Public Library! Such a cool room!!! And yes, it is round!!

I think if I lived in Stockholm this is the library I would come to!

After walking around a bit we decided we needed to see what the cafes had to offer! I love that they have fleece blankets on their chairs so if you get cold you can just wrap up in a blanket!

This is a slice of heaven! It is called Kladdkaka. It was the most amazing chocolate cake I’ve ever had & I’m super excited because I just found a recipe! This dessert will be made in our home sometime soon! 

We ended our tour down by the water with an amazing view of Stockholm!

The next day arrived with blue skies & sunshine! We were eager to explore the city by day!

I love the little bike tied up next to the others! 

We walked down by the water, enjoying the fall colors & the sunshine!

We were able to walk to our first stop of the day:

Stadshuset or City Hall, which was built in the 1920’s. We were told that the leaves are only red for a short time, so we were excited that we were there at the right time! 

Stephanie & I inside the Blue Hall (which isn’t blue at all) where the Nobel Peace Prize dinner is served to 1,300 people each year! We’re standing on the staircase that the guests of honor descend!

This is the room where the council members meets & the balcony is for anyone who wants to come & hear what is being said. The ceiling is painted in a traditional swedish style. 

The Gold room (which is actually gold) where the dance is held after the Nobel Peace Prize dinner!

After our tour of City Hall, we headed to the Palace where we saw some military visitors leaving, followed by the changing of the guards ceremony.

The marching band that performed during the ceremony was really talented!

By this point we were famished, so we headed to a recommended italian restaurant! Wow! So delicious! They made the food right in front of you while you waited! Thin crust pizza, pasta, personalized however you wanted! I’m ready to go back just to eat there again!

 

After we finished our lunch, we headed out to explore the old part of town called Gamla Stan.

The views over the water were spectacular!

Stortorget, one of the most famous squares in Stockholm with the iconic buildings & the Nobel museum (in the right of the picture).

Just a cute street!

After finishing our tour of Gamla Stan we found ourselves right near the Katarina Elevator. Unfortunately, the elevator was not working, but we were able to take the stairs & had a bird’s eye view of Stockholm!

 

Stockhom with the Stadshuset in the right of the picture. It’s hard to see, but on top of the building are 3 crowns. Each of those crowns is as big as a volvo car, which gives you an idea of the size of the building!

One of the things that we found fun was that many of the metro stops had paintings on the walls & ceilings! 

It definitely made taking the metro a whole lot more fun!

About a month before our trip, we bought tickets for a boat tour of the canal. We had no idea what the weather would be like, but we certainly were blessed with the perfect day for a tour!

This is the Ostermalm neighborhood, which is where the rich live! Apparently, some of the apartments have 15 rooms (that would include kitchen, dining room, etc.)! 

The fall colors & the sunshine made for the most amazing boat trip!

Here is the royal palace (which has 600 rooms)! The royal family does not live here anymore, as they have a place further from the center of the city, but state dinners & royal functions are still held here.

Being so far north, the daylight hours are shorter than most places & especially shorter than spain, so our traveling ended a bit early, but we felt that we had a productive  first day & were ready to head back to our friends’ apartment for some time of relaxation!

 

Our second full day had neither blue skies or sunshine, but it made for a rather atmospheric fall day! 

This is Drottningholm where the royal family currently lives! Not too shabby! It was out in the suburbs a bit, so it took some time to get out there & back, but it was well worth the time. 

We enjoyed wandering around the grounds & enjoying the fall colors! (I know I keep mentioning the fact that it was fall, but that is because the trees don’t change in Spain until the end of November or even December, so it was fun to enjoy fall during the month that I consider ‘fall’.)

We made our way back towards the city & grabbed lunch followed by a walk through the park we had floated by the day before. Then we headed to the Vasa Museum.

This is the Vasa warship built in 1626-1628. It took 2 years to build, had a 20 minute sail, & sank in 15 minutes. 333 years later the boat was raised from the harbor floor & preserved! 

Stephanie is ready to shoot one of the cannons (in the reconstruction of the gun deck)!

It’s hard to get over how big & how old this ship really is! The crazy thing is that it is 98% original!!!

It was raining pretty hard when we came out of the museum & we were more than happy to call it a day & head back to our friends’ apartment for dinner & some reading! 

 

Our last day arrived all too soon! We had one last walk down by the water & saw a couple last minute things (a fancy department store & one of the open air markets). 

Thanks, Stephanie for such a fun trip!!!  I loved exploring Stockholm with you! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Micah’s trip to Hungary

In late September, I had the privilege of joining two of our students and one other teacher in attending the Student Leadership Conference in Hungary.  This is an annual event put on by ACSI, in which Christian schools from all over Europe select and send a few of their students to meet one another, to worship together, and to attend workshops and sessions focusing on leadership.  There were around 240 students at this year’s event, held at a camp on a large lake.  My job was to spend time with our students, encouraging them and helping them to talk through the things they were learning and discussing at the conference.  I also delivered a workshop on developing intellectual character.

Doing a bit of sight-seeing in Hero’s Square in Budapest on the way to the conference.

Enjoying local cuisine in a large indoor market in Budapest.

On the Danube River in Budapest.  One strange sub-plot of this trip was that we kept getting asked whether the 4 of us were related!  It definitely gave us a lot of laughs – both of us chaperones would like to think we don’t look old enough to have 11th and 12th grade children!

Our students enjoying one of the excellent keynote addresses.  The main sessions focused on the importance of truth in our world today, and the speakers did a great job of using humor and personal stories to impact the students.

We enjoyed meeting the chaperones from the other schools, including some we already know.  This is a dear friend and former colleague from our years at Black Forest Academy.

Prayer time on the last night

It was a wonderful blessing and encouragement for me to be at the conference.  The sessions included good reminders for me, and it was great to see and hear these students from many different nations and language groups praising God together.  We were blessed to see our two students make some important commitments to the Lord, for their own life and for their vision for their classmates at ECA.  We pray that the impact of this conference will be felt in their lives for months and years to come!

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Better late than never!

Back in June, Audrey had her first official haircut (not just mom trying to trim a few hairs so we could find her eyes!) at a really fun hair salon for kids in Salem! Sadly, this mom was in such a hurry to make it to the appointment with both kids that she forgot her camera, but the lady at the salon graciously took pictures on her phone & I finally remembered to get her my e-mail address!!!

Her eyes are disappearing underneath all that hair!! And Ezra is in the background having fun watching a TV show! 

SO much better!

They fixed her hair & spritzed it with something sparkly & vanilla-scented! I was just excited to be able to see her face again! 

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