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A Whole Pile of Family

Vignettes of our life abroad



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Christmas in Munich

Posted on January 4, 2014 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (10831)

Palm trees at Christmas was just going to be too strange for us, so in lieu of spending Christmas in Barcelona, we decided to venture out to Munich, Germany where we thought it would feel like a more traditional Christmas for us New Englanders. We weren’t disappointed. One of the main reasons we chose Germany was because we had heard so much about the Christmas markets. I had also been to Munich several times before and really enjoyed my time in the city - I figured Martha and the kids would enjoy it too. To top it off, flights were very affordable, so we booked the trip and ventured to Munich on 5 days before Christmas. Emmett also claims to be able to speak German and to be from there originally, so we thought it would be good to get him back to his roots.

The Novotel hotel wound up being a great choice for our accommodations. They had rooms to accommodate a family of four (not overly common in Europe), a great breakfast, an indoor swimming pool and the kids’ favorite was the game room – complete with Legos, coloring books, building blocks and two Xbox consoles. Despite having use of really only one hand due to his broken finger, Emmett quickly learned how to navigate Buzz Lightyear around the Toy Story game on the Xbox. The play room also proved to be a great place for the kids to make friends with other guests of the hotel.

This city also was very festive and Martha and I enjoyed the Christmas markets and especially the Gluhwein – warmed, spiced wine that help fight the colder weather when shopping outdoors at the markets. We also took a trip over to the Munich zoo, which was a good size and had a fantastic playground. The kids really seemed to like the polar bear and the primates. And of course, they were serving the ever-present Gluhwein to keep me and Martha happy. My personal favorite day of the trip was when we went to the Englisher Garten – the English style park that has lots of open space, a few playgrounds and lots of rivers running through it. At one particular point at one of the rivers there is a natural wave formed in the rapids. The wave itself is pretty big and neat to look at, but the coolest part of it is that the locals surf it. Even on Christmas Eve there were 4 or 5 surfers queued up, taking turns riding the wave. It was a lot of fun to watch and the kids got a real kick out of it.

The food in Germany was good, but certainly by the end we were all porked out. In Germany, much of the food seems to be different variations of serving pork – braised pork, roasted pork, pork knuckle, pork loin, sausage of pork, pork with potatoes, pork with onion sauce, pork with gravy … you get the idea. They certainly do a good job with it and the benefit for us is that Emmett is not allergic to pork, so it is a go-to meal for us. We also branched out and discovered that the Germans cook a mean duck, so we expanded our pallet and had duck to eat on a couple of occasions – the kids really seemed to like it too. By far, my favorite meal was on Christmas day when we went to a local Bavarian restaurant – Wirtshaus in der Au. The friendly staff was dressed in their finest lederhosen, they served mas biers (full liter beers in giant steins), it was full of locals and the food was very solid. Emmett’s favorite part was the pee wall in the men’s bathroom. Instead of urinals, they had a whole wall that you could just pee on (they had water streaming down the side to wash it off and help it into the drain below). For Emmett it was perfect – he couldn’t miss. On one occasion I had both Emmett and Abby with me in the bathroom. Emmett was happy peeing all over the wall, when I turned around, Abby was pulling her pants down about to give it a try herself.

All in all, we had a great time in Munich. We definitely got home sick and would rather have been back home with our family, but it wound up being a nice alternative and a memory we will always cherish. Next up for us in Barcelona is 3 kings day, or per the popular song, the 12th day of Christmas. This holidays is just as celebrated here in Spain as Christmas day itself.

Feliz Navidad y Bon Nadal!


Broken Finger and Surgery

Posted on December 29, 2013 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (6719)

At the end of the visit from Grandma and Grumpa, Emmett thought it would be fun to climb the bookshelf in our living room. Just as Jeff said “be careful up there” he slipped, fell and apparently banged his pinkie finger into the window or radiator. He was in quite a lot pain and his finger immediately swelled up – so Jeff and Grumpa took him into the children’s hospital here in Barcelona. As a first hospital visit, it was quite an expedient process. Our expectations, having been set by the invariably long waits at emergency rooms in the USA coupled with the typically slow pace of things in Spain, were greatly exceeded as we were all in and out of the hospital with x-rays and a splint (for the fractured pinkie finger) in about 30 minutes.


Emmett was taking everything well with the splint, but then about two weeks in, I guess a classmate stepped on his broken finger while he was at school and made the fracture worse – making it a displaced fracture. Unfortunately the school never mentioned this incident to us and we only found out about the severity of the issue when we went for a follow up appointment in another two weeks – where to Doctor found the now displaced fracture and given that two weeks had gone by and it had healed improperly was now going to require surgeries.


Fast forward 3 days and we are at the day of surgery. Overall the surgery went fine, but we were definitely unprepared for how things go in Spain. On the positive, we had a private room all to ourselves and were able to hang out there for the pre-op visits, waiting for the surgery to finish and for Emmett to wake up from the anesthesia.  The kids also loved having. On the negative, during what we thought was another pre-op visit, the doctor just walked away with Emmett and apparently started the surgery. Luckily, the nurses were able to explain what happened and Emmett did great. Coming out of surgery Emmett had some nausea and vomiting from the anesthesia, so had to stay the night. I stayed with Emmett and Jeff had an enjoyable night staying with Abby. From what were told, the surgery went well and was faster than we thought. Of course we will know for sure once he has his cast off, which should be tomorrow, and see how his finger is doing.


The day it started to turn around

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (7161)

Jeff says that no one wants to hear complaining. (Like that has really ever stopped me :)) but his traveling on Abby's and his birthdays and thanksgiving. Emmett's pinky fracture turning into a break near the growth plate and needing surgery (that will be another post), Issues with Emmett's school which lead to social drama and requiring us to look into a new school and then our babysitter canceling on us last minute, so I wouldn't be able to do my spanish lessons. We were in a rut.


Today is December 18 and I feel like our luck is turning around! Maybe it's just time or its grumpas birthday or my friends Pri and Sandhya are visiting. Or jeff got some good news regarding the battle with verizon he had been having.


But today was great. The weather was warm (60's) and sunny. We found a new playground near sagrada familia. Emmett ate a croissant!! (The bakery near us makes one without butter and eggs!!!!!!!). Javier our Spanish tutor (perhaps guardian angel?) has been helping us lots. By speaking Spanish to the kids (and me) and helping us navigate hospitals and schools. And mostly he plays with the kids and gets them laughing. I think I heard Emmett laugh for almost a full hour today.


We met with a school that was nice but language communication would be an issue but she wholeheartedly recommended another school we were already considering. Phew confirmation of our path was what I needed. I have been second guessing myself due to the issues with his current preschool so that was the boost I needed. And we finally got our meeting with kinder his previous preschool. It was like a break up super awkward very uncomfortable but necessary. Jeff (his nickname from Javier is Chulo) took the lead and was his usual diplomatic, stay focused, work the the process self. I only derailed the conversation 2 times :). We will see if they follow through on the agreement however my mind with kinder is at ease. They know and have accepted where they have messed up.


Now it's time to plan for Christmas:). Two days until Munich


Grandma and Grumpa Are Visiting!

Posted on November 2, 2013 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (1124)

What a treat! The kids have been thrilled to have their first visitors (and I have been thrilled too!)


G&G arrived Tuesday early enough to go pick Emmett up from school. We took our usual mosey home down the Rambla de Poblenou and then headed to the beach. The kids jumped in the waves and built sand castles, and then G&G ran out of gas (the flight over here is a red eye). We headed home for some R&R. Both kids were enjoying grandma and Grumpa that I was able to make guacamole and tacos for the evening. In fact they played amazing, I actually thought that G&G were awake! hahaha apparently my kids just need adults (that are not me and Jeff) in the room to behave. It was so nice to have family around and the kids curled up next to Grandma and enjoyed reading their favorites stories with her.


Wednesday G&G went exploring and we went to the park after school with some friends. We even got to visit daddy at the office (holy chaos! Imagine 5 kids in an office with balloons, bowling pins, ping pong table, white boards with pens for walls, golf clubs, enormous pillows, etc) and got home a little late with a sleeping Abby, so Grumpa made dinner for everyone, while I scooted (yes I stole my 4 years olds scooter) to a parents meeting about his school. Problem, the meeting was held in Spanish. Good Lord. I felt like a peanuts character listening to the teachers... wah wa wanht wahnt... I was thinking how long to I stay here versus get home... Abby is probably awake and raising bloody murder (which she was) and maybe they are actually saying something that is important to me? I made it home, Jeff had the kids entertained with the ipad. (as many of you know we limit screen time, but we have a code word... desperation.) so if either Jeff or I are overwhelmed with the kids or life.... we state we are "desperate" and plop the ole kiddos in front of the ipad. I still wonder what people did with their kids before TV. Dinner was delicious. As my mom always says, dinner always tastes better when you don't make it yourself :)


Thursday we went to the zoo (Emmett played hooky from school... there was a lice breakout and I am not feeling up to tackling lice in Spain yet). The kids had a blast. As we waited for G&G to get their senior discount (seriously if you are over 65 you get more of a discount than a 8 year old), Emmett was deciding which animal he wanted to show them most... wait for it... yup, the warthog. I mean, they are cute here and have babies etc, but seriously? No lions, or elephants or dolphins, he wanted to show them warthogs.


Anyway, Emmett has been totally loving having the grandparents around and stayed with them at the zoo for the dolphin show (when Abby went home for a nap) and then went with them to the beach. When Abby woke up we met them there and they were loving life. I might have (very easily) convinced Grumpa to work from Barcelona and stay longer their next visit. I mean honestly, they are eating food, drinking drinks and the kids are playing in the sand with toys that the restaurant provides. Life is good.


Later, we met Jeff after work to eat out and have tapas. Not sure if Grumpa was just jet lagged or woozy from his earlier beers, but apparently the food seemed to be the best he had ever had. Hahahaha. It was nice that G&G were loving the food and the location we are in. We are enjoying their company, and appreciating their help. G'ma is a cleaning machine (our apartment has never been so clean, I don't have to wear socks at all time to keep my feet from getting yucky) and G'pa seems to make the kids laugh like crazy. Hopefully they will visit again in the spring!



We Have a Trash Shoot and other cool things...

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (5942)

Now I'm not one of those people who moves somewhere else and thinks, WOW they do everything better than us. Ok, I am, but while there is plenty here in Spain I don't like (smoking, dog poop everywhere, no window screens etc.), there is lots I do like:


1. We have a trash shoot. I never thought I'd have a "shoot" of any sort in a home I live in. I mean, after watching Webster as a kid I really wanted a dumb waiter, but now at least we have a trash shoot - right outside our door. It is awesome. We cook fish, out to the trash shoot it goes and no stinky trash to worry about. Awesomesauce... Oh year and Emmett can haul the trash out for me, open the shoot and dump it down (and be proud of himself).. even better


2. Kitchen Door. Man before we moved in, I was looking for ways to take off the kitchen door. I thought it was the stupidest thing ever AND it was going to block our refridgerator which I go in, 200 times a day, so I was hell bent to hate it... well I love it! Keeps the kids out of the kitchen when cooking or keeps the heat from the washer and dryer out of the rest of the house!


3. Hallway door. The Spanish have it figured out. There are a lot of extra doors here... and most of the time we keep them open, BUT sometimes... we close the hall door. That way we can keep the kids doors open, but block them out still.


Short Nuggets

Abby likes green beans frozen, says "come on", likes teeter totters, loves dogs, will play with trains or farm animals for a while by herself, constantly singing the wheels the bus and mulberry bush, talking like crazy, pushing her stroller, taking care of big papi bear, her baby doll, doggie (the black webkindz) and beary. She doens't like sand on her hands, says uh oh when a pigeon is anywhere and can ride Emmett's scooter – very slowly or stands and let's me pull her...


Emmett loves his scooter, smoked salmon, sticks, honey cukes (cucumbers with honey on them), playing with babies and little kids. We call him "the sheriff" as he likes to keep everyone safe and things fair. He loves building legos, will clean up after himself...likes cars, trucks machines, super heroes, loves to jump run chase, doesn't like having his picture taken so we often tell him to make a silly face, likes using the exercise machines at the beach to get healthy, hates naps, loves to help put trash away, can open the elevator and trash shoot by himself.


Home Sweet Home and Other Thoughts

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (4942)


Home Sweet Home

We have finally moved into our permanent housing. It was a little hairy if our stuff was going to get through customs in time to move before our temporary housing ran out... but it did, phew! Our house is nice, maybe like 1500 sf or something, a gorgeous sea view (6th floor), a playground downstairs, close groceries, health care (although I haven't tackled that yet), 20 min walk to Emmett’s school, lots of storage and under budget. However, before you get all drooley, it didn't have any appliances (refrigerator, washer and dryer) until Thursday, we don’t yet have a remote to the garage (so our bikes are on our deck, and the prior tenant was apparently a smoker so it has third hand smoke. This is the new rage apparently... and it'd probably be in any apartment here (so many smokers in Europe in general). It’s basically like injecting your children with cancer, slowly. (What isn't these days?) So, to remedy this, we have been cleaning like crazy and I guess washing with vinegar and water typically does the trick.

Anyway, remember how I just said "lots of storage"? Well normally that would be awesome, except, when you have third hand smoke to get rid of and all the book shelves and drawers to clean... so I have been furiously moving all our unpacked stuff all over the place and re-cleaning everything Jeff cleaned with Windex with vinegar... on the positive, some of the smell has been disappearing... but now... we are getting more bug bites.... so more research, vinegar can attract bugs... WTF... so NOW I'm RE-cleaning all the re-cleaned book shelves with Windex again.

Apparently Emmett and I have some type of skeeter allergy where we have excessive itching and swelling (JS, on the odd chance you are reading this,.. feel free to comment).... my hand is so swollen you can’t see my knuckles... and there’s this extra special mosquito the "Asian tiger mosquito" that is super aggressive and bites during the day, so now these super mosquitos are eating me and Emmett alive.... at least I saw one this morning and killed it... that felt therapeutic!!

Here is the view from our apartment:

Emmett's birthday

We actually moved on Emmett's birthday. So we didn't celebrate until Friday, he was great about it and was surprisingly cool about opening presents a week later (presents that we hadn't gotten yet...yikes!) and I wanted to have a fridge and be able to make him cake since, you can't have a birthday without cake:) Jeff thinks that he was probably psyched that all his old toys arrived on his birthday along with all our furniture.

So the big gift was his scooter. Now for those of you who know about the balance bike... that $100 purchase he never used... I got gun shy and first purchased a cheapo scooter... then on the 29th, we went to a classmates birthday party (it was nice to meet many of the parents and they are all from everywhere, Finland, Italy, Chile, etc.) and everyone had these micro scooter things.... and he was riding them all over the place. So, I furiously looked for a place to buy one, which I couldn't find in a store for some reason, so had to buy online and then hope and pray it got here by Friday. Luckily it made it and he LOVES it! He picked up riding steering and braking in one day. (So Thanks Grandma and Grumpa and Auntie Andie, Uncle Chris, Lauren, and Kelsey and Claire and Jack!!). I think he'll ride it home from school most days.... in fact, I actually want one to keep up with him! I'll see how Abby does when she gets hers for her birthday, but I think it could be easier than bikes (which he still doesn't ride the balance bike.... argh).

We also found this cute book store while wandering around the area near his school which is ADORABLE (the area and the store). We got him this book, Rolf y Flor and it’s a Spanish and English book with music (thanks Auntie Katie, Uncle Rich and Emily!!). It’s a books with like 8-10 songs in a Spanish version and English version about how Rolf and Flor went to meet each other.... the cutest was Emmett picked that as his first gift to open.... since he could tell by the wrapping paper that it was a book....

Emmett and his scooter:

"Spain is really good about value added services." -Jeff

After buying Emmett's book at this cute little store (which had a play area for kids, as most do here) the owner who knew it was for his birthday gift wrapper it for me... FOR FREE! She even offered to give Abby some blue flower thing she had found after wandering around the back room... amazing.... Then we went to Veritas, which is an organic food store around the corner... and upon checking out... they added a jar of honey.... FOR FREE.... so while everything is more expensive, these little gifts "regalos" are awesome...


So our grocery store is two blocks away... it’s nice that it’s so close so when I am going there every day it’s not a big deal, except I am often going with an almost 2 year old, who is pushing her stroller (cutest thing ever...) and she needs to stop and rearrange the babies, then they need “uppies”, then the sun visor needs to go up and then down, etc... so a normal 5 minute walk takes me 30 minutes, but man is it cute... .This grocery store is like ones I’m used to, where you can buy paper towels and cleaning supplies in the same building as fruits and meats. I still have to go to probably 3 or 4 different stores to get all the stuff we like and have found... but that really isn't different from going to Whole Foods, Market Basket and Shaws... the other amazing thing about this grocery store is... IT DELIVERS!!!... How amazing is that? You can set it up with whatever time slots they have available at check out and then they just deliver it to your door.... FOR FREE ... we haven't figured out if you are supposed to tip, since tipping is different here and the guy didn't do the awkward lingering thing, but it’s pretty awesome.... and Abby’s stroller is big enough to bring home anything that needs refrigeration.

Abby and her stroller:


Now I know I have mentioned I might switch to scootering since Emmett is doing so great with it, but we bought used bikes (AND we negotiated 20% off accessories...savings of 40 euros by buying both bikes there)... the bike takes Jeff’s normal 25-30 minute commute down to 15 minutes with riding through la Rambla del Poblenou (adorable walking street lined with shops and car free) and then by the sea. Not bad. Jeff takes Emmett to school every morning on the bike and then bikes home after work. I haven't gotten a chance to take my bike out and ride with Abby since we have been going to the grocery store so much (see previous post)... but either way for those of you inclined to visit, we have two bikes with lots of locks (4 per bike... two u locks a seat like and a child-seat lock) and child-seats. We actually have the same bike (We are so turning into my parents... yikes!) Jeff's is at the highest setting and mine is the lowest... hahaha...dorks....

Eating Out

So the grocery store is part of a mall, which is hot. So when the kids are restless at check out from the grocery store... I let them run to the play bus and candy machines... there's also a sports store there, and various restaurants (Japonese, Chinese, Indian....) and a small organic food shop. OUTSIDE there are two restaurants, and lots of open space. So we can go eat... when the kids get tired of sitting, they can run around (or scooter around) in a safe enclosed area... this really takes the edge off the slow service... which is... really slow... if you come visit, make sure to allot extra time for meals...

In Closing

Lots has been going on here and we are hoping to normalize soon as Jeff starts to travel. Work for him has been tough with the time difference between here and Lexington, but he's a champ and doing well. Emmett's happy at school (which is very exciting) although a bit aggressive with Abby at home... we are hoping as soon as we get more settled his behavior will improve.... Abby is adorable, talking lots, singing (with hand motions) and playing with her animals, she can be quite the caregiver!

La Merce

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (7803)

One of the holidays for Catalunya is La Merce' ( Feel free to wiki it. Anyway, we went to go see the festivities of dancers, parades, human towers. Dancing - People dress up in tradition clothes and dance, it’s pretty neat and a lot of the people are younger so it’s nice to see the total age gamut for these festivals, we tried to see more stick dancing that we liked when we visited Sitges, but we went to the wrong place and instead got to see the Sardana dance competition. Ok it was boring, especially when we were expecting sticks. And the kids were tired... it’s basically a group of people stand in a circle holding hands and bouncing on their tippy toes... it was definitely something you needed to understand to appreciate... but I guess there are like hundreds of variations, its age neutral and I can see how it'd be hard to keep on your toes the whole time with your arms up. I also think they have to stay with the music..... after we saw enough dancing to warrant the wait for the dancing, we went to go see the giants parade and some other things I can't find... so this other thing, ends up being guns fired in the plaza... clearly (in looking back) the only folks in the plaza were tourists... I had Abby on my shoulders and Jeff was with Emmett (who wasn't sure how he felt about the giant parade) and then boom... holy guacamole... those things were loud.... everyone with kids was running away from the plaza holding their ears... I am surprised we didn't lose hearing... you could hear the shots from 4-6 blocks away (city blocks that is)... both Emmett and Abby were crying... omg,... happy La Merce.... hahaha.... stupid tourists.... anyway I brought Abby home for a nap and Jeff and Emmett went to explore some more. They wanted to find the human towers. Dude, the Barcelonians are crazy. They make these towers of up to 4-6 people high and throw a 5 year old on top.... apparently (as Jeff told me) they realized how unsafe this may be and started putting helmets on the kids... (see red helmet in picture)


Start of School

Posted on September 21, 2013 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (6802)

So I feel the need to document Emmett starting preschool at Kinder. Kinder is an international preschool with cohorts of Catalan, German and English in the morning and Spanish for the afternoon... its philosophy is based on a lot of the educators I like such as Marie Montessori and Rudolf Steiner

Spain does things a little different: once kids turn 3 they often put them into preschool for 5 full days. It’s crazy but free for those working, although even non-working moms often seem to put the kids in the schools since it is rare to see any children over the age of three at a playground.

I really struggled with the full 5 days even though it was "half" days. I had the option of 8:30 - 12 or 2 (including an organic lunch... which btw, the catering company says his diet is crazy and unhealthy... argh... but they will make him a special diet and they get regulated so it’s got fruits and veggies every meal...)

The kids are ages 3-6 in Emmett’s room and there are about 14 kids in his class, 1 lead teacher and 2 helpers... who happen to be boys... which is kind of fun (side note... there seems to be a lot less gender division in the workforce here as I’ve noticed before with many women sanitation working, and women butchers, and now male preschool teachers...)

They have this adaption process where the mom or dad goes for the whole first day and whole second day and then slowly leaves for periods of time as the child adjusts to the new school... well by day two Abby and I were gone for 1 hour and day 3 he didn’t want me around anymore, so he made Jeff drop him off and stayed through lunch - he LOVES it! After spending my whole life as a working mom feeling guilty about leaving him at daycare... it was an interesting feeling to have him "leave me". I found that it was nice and refreshing.... and while I have my own issues of not being "that mom" who can keep a schedule with proper discipline, and engagement with crafts and activities and playdates and learning themes and organic food, blah blah, I will say, now that Emmett is in school, I find I have more bandwidth to get closer to the patient and understanding mom I want to be....its early though... so who knows:)

And I am more productive.... in 1 morning, Abby and I went to the playground, the market, the bike store (for 45 minutes) went to a bakery and 2-3 kids stores and another playground... all before picking Emmett up....


Two Weeks In

Posted on September 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (672)

August 25 – September 1, 2013

Two weeks down and still adjusting. This week we went to about 15 different playgrounds, I am not even exaggerating. Of course none of them are within 2 blocks of our apartment. Abby is still a little socially awkward and either says a very loud “uh uh” (like a no) to any new kids on the playground, or she pushes other kids OR leans in like a dementor (Harry Potty reference) to kiss them. Hahaha Actually Emmett kissed a girl he met at a playground on Friday… on the lips! hahaha

At our favorite/closest playground...

Earlier this week Abby, Emmett and I went to Sagrada Familia (a big, super-unique Gaudi church that is still under construction after over 80 years). We did not go in, but we saw it from the playground. It was a nice set up with a younger section and older kid section. Of course Emmett wanted to be in the older kid section and made friends with a lovely girl Ruth. She helped him navigate the older kids section and battle with some of the older kids 8-12 who were all around him.

We went to the zoo for our second trip earlier this week and saw the second half with the big cats and fun birds (see picture of Abby and the punk rock pigeon). Emmett really loved the screecher which is a bird in South America? That they use to protect herds instead of dogs since its aggressive and loud! We went to a super fun children’s area with a playground and many farm animals. We brought Jeff with us Sunday and still saw parts we hadn’t seen yet and finally got to play at the amazing big kid playground. Both kids had a blast and rode on the zip line! After three trips, we still haven’t seen the sea lion show. We are huge fans of the zoo, except for the flies. Emmett is getting crazy fly bites that are super itchy. So bring bug spray or spend $8 on a bug bracelet. BTW Floss is 5 Euros. Holy Moly, I never even bought floss in the states, but 5 euros, seriously?

Friday was a big exciting day. We met the wife of one of Jeff’s coworkers, she has two kids 4.5 and 3 and is expecting a third. The older boy and Emmett hit it off and were playing all morning together. He kept calling Emmett his “best friend.” Note: In Spain they send their kids to preschool for full days at age 3, so at playgroups or playgrounds, it’s rare to see kids over the age of three (except in the summer). So often Emmett is the oldest and I’m guessing his “new best friend” was super excited to have another older buddy too! Plus he is probably going to be in the same preschool as well. It also turns out that this mama was roommates with my old college roommate when she lived in Northhampton, what a small world!


Catching Up With a Series of Posts

Posted on September 14, 2013 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (4763)


Park Guell should be named Parc Grueling, to get to...

a trek to the train... then up a huge hill from the train to the parc. that said... the morning was quite nice. We found a total of 5 playing grounds, one on the way and 4 there. that kept the kids interested during the walk! there was lots of live music and I was surprised to hear Cat Stevens as we started our journey. Toward the top, we heard the Mañaneras, a lively ska-reggae-hip-hoppy type of music and they were super fun.


In the AM we went to Casa Batlló. It is beautiful and unique and EXPENSIVE bring your wallets, its 20Eu. Although ok with kids, would be a better trip without since they give you audio to listen to and it is too slow for kids. At the top they have a cool replica with a show on it, unfortunately the show has a dragon on it and Emmett got scared, so we had to sprint through the second-half:)

Outside Casa Batllo (the Dragon House)...

After that we went to a restaurant Tapas Tapas. It was nice to sit outside and enjoy the lovely weather. Emmett loved the tuna sushi that came with the chips and guacamole and Abby liked the fried egg (yay she can eat it!)  We ordered a bunch of tapas so it was fun to try a bunch of stuff. Emmett liked the grilled tuna too!

Then we got back to the house for a nap and Emmett and I went for a discovery trip. We found a playground near la Boqueria (a large market off of Las Ramblas) and it was super fun. I noticed the sanitation/ clean up jobs seem much higher respected, instead of blue grey uniforms blending in, they are in the bright yellow green suits, driving cute cars, and out and about during the day. They work in pairs and you seem women and younger people on the clean-up.

Then we went on a search for a bathroom and Emmett held it for 15-20 minutes while we looked for a bathroom. We went exploring and found la Plaza Real (Royal Plaza) which was an amazing huge area with lots of outdoor eating and a huge fountain. Then we went on an adventure looking for another playground. We were having trouble finding it so we decided to rest and get a drink. What a great decision we saw a street show of a guy with hacky sack doing an amazing little skit with it. We got to see him again when we got ice cream, so we could give him money.

I have been impressed with the wait staff at the food places we've stopped. Every time I mention Emmett’s allergies, whomever I am talking to knows what is in the product. It’s very helpful and nice I don't have to wait for a manager or whatnot.

After eating the gelato, we took a turn to go down a quieter street and we found the gothic quarter playground we had been looking for! What a great find.

Jeff is becoming the master cook. Not only can he cook without an oven, he can cook using only 2 pans, 2 pots and 2 burners. That's my new reality tv show idea... City Chefs! Make a great meal with minimal prep, supplies and space!


We played at the Arc de Triumf playground today 9well near it) in the rain! (and this is just after Jeff wouldn’t let me buy a rain coat... argh)