Friday, December 23, 2011

Then There Were Four

I know you think we very well may still be in Spain if your only interaction is this blog so I'll try to get you caught up on the last few months.

You really haven't missed much except work, playing with Ehren and getting ready for the new baby.

Can you see why I haven't blogged lately?

Just as a reminder the new baby was due December 27th. Notice the past tense? Yeah, he decided he was ready to enter the world on December 5th instead. We now have another son: Asher Spurgeon Fykes.

Now we weren't exactly ready for this and my water actually broke in the middle of 2 different real estate negotiations which means I was that pretentious person at the hospital on the phone. At one point the doctor on call actually came in the room and I was on the phone with another agent and I held up my finger and asked her to come back in a second. Luckily, the doctor thought it was pretty funny instead of annoying and you really should have heard the other agents once I told them..."okay I'm going to have to go I'm at the hospital and my water just broke so it may be a few days before we can get back to you."

We've now been home almost 3 weeks and we're learning to adjust. My parents are here for a couple more days and we're trying to soak the help in while we can. This is the longest they've ever stayed with us (two whole weeks) but I'm not looking forward to them leaving. NOT.A.BIT.

Life with 2 kids is going to be different but you've never known us to shy away from a challenge, right?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quite a Legacy

La Sagrada Familia - spire construction 2

I was close to crossing this off my list of things to do. After going I can't believe I almost missed it. Having seen many of the greatest cathedrals in the world, seeing Gaudi's interpretation and vision of a cathedral is amazing. He takes the plan and grandiose volume typical of a cathedral and makes it organic and a bit funky in his quirky art nouveau style.

La Sagrada Familia - Interior 2
La Sagrada Familia - Interior 6

This project started over 100 years ago. It's currently about 50% complete, it was about 25% complete at Gaudi's death. He knew other architects would continue his vision with their own interpretations which is amazing and has created much debate in Spain over whether the newer work is really staying true to Gaudi's. Personally I really like the newer work (passion facade)

La Sagrada Familia - Passion facade
it's a bit stripped down and abstracted in contrast to the more Gothic, busy and ornate original entry.(nativity facade)

La Sagrada Familia - nativity facade

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

By a Few Threads

We just barely made it.

This stroller has the huge rip on the side, the frame poking through at the bottom and then this morning the net ripped through when I put the guidebook in it and the top where he rests his head now has a gaping hole.

Stroller falling apart

I guess we have to come home.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ehren's First Topless Beach

We have loved every single day trip we have taken but at the same time seems like the trips home from all of them have been miserable. After Toledo we thought, totally our fault we can do this better in Morocco and then there was that nightmare so last night we made a quick change to the plans and decided not to put Ehren through another day trip so that we can see some really cool mountains and hear a boys choir at Montserrat.

Instead, we stayed in Barcelona and decided that when Ehren plays 2 Truths and A Lie, one of his truths can be that his first trip to the beach was at a topless beach in Spain.

See. We are excellent parents and always looking out for his best interest.

Beach-Ehren digging

We googled around and found a place that lends out shovels and toys and made quite a morning of it. We all wore sunscreen and since I had forgotten my bathing suit I laid on my bathtowel and read a book (that they also lent out at the shovel lending place) and documented the experience.

Beach-Ehren & Dad

I think I was careful and only got PG photos.

Beach - Ehren & Dad 2

I have always pictured topless and nude beaches as tucked away and not easy to just stumble on. Yeah, this is the beach that has office buildings right beside it on the other side of the road. For those of you that know the beach on Ocean Drive. Ladies just walking up to the shower getting fully tan. Quite interesting to say the least.

Overall probably one of the greater last minute plan changes we made and it was a great way to see a different part of Barcelona. This is a great city that you have to dig into to get away from the urban feel but it has so many different personalities. The beach, the old city, the weird Modernista architecture and then full urban. I'm glad that this is in the north of Spain so that when we do come back to do France we can hop over here and visit it again because 5 days only scratches the surface.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Not for 2.50 Extra

Now the temperature here in Barcelona is a high of 82 and a low of 70 degrees. Sounds nice, right?

Do NOT be fooled.

I have no idea how it is only a high of 82 but this is probably the hottest location we have been to. By 11am I have sweat rolling down my back and it only gets worse from there. This morning Ehren was out of the stoller running around for probably 25 minutes and he came back with his hair totally soaked and I have never seen sweat pouring down his face but he was drenched.

The moderate sounding forecast also tricked me into booking an apartment with no AC for us and let me save you that painful experience.

Get a room with AC.

Now if we could keep the windows open at night it probably wouldn't be so bad but we are on the first floor (what Americans think of as the second floor) and we've had 2 strangers and our apartment host tell us that we need to lock our windows at night or when we leave. I don't feel unsafe at all, however, I did read a review in this part of town of someone who didn't heed that warning and they ended up with someone in their apartment. In the middle of the night. Spraying them with pepperspray and taking their computer.

I can take a hint with the best of them so we are sweating it out at night in lieu of a pepperspray incident.

Barcelona Harbor statue

Today we just explored a bit and thought we would be good parents and do a very vanilla activity for Spain and take Ehren to the aquarium where there was surely air conditioning in the heat of the day. One thing Joshua and I do when we are approaching new attractions with very little information is play the "how much are we willing to pay" game. (I also do this with clothes - I'll show him something and say "what do you think it's worth" and if that matches the pricetag I'll buy it). So as we were wandering around the port trying to find the aquarium we decided we would each pay 15 Euros not because we wanted to but because we were hot and we wanted to be good parents. We finally found it and the ticket was 17.50 for each adult.

Blast it! Why couldn't it be 25/person?

After standing there for a few minutes debating we decided to stick to our guns and instead we played in the shade for an hour on the boardwalk. You have to draw the line somewhere, right?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nearing the End

You can tell because our photos are starting to wane a bit.

Last night we took the train from Granada to Barcelona and we were braced for a horrible night. I expected to get very little sleep and Joshua expected to be snuggled up with Ehren in his bunk for the entire night getting absolutely no sleep. Then, after laying in the dark all night as soon as the light came through the curtains that kid would be up and impossible because he is contained in a 4 x 8 square for 3 hours.

I'm shocked to say it didn't go down like that at all. We splurged on the family room of only 2 beds (paid an extra 40 Euros) and I'd pay that two or three times again for how smoothly everything went. We had enough room on the floor that Ehren got his own pallet and slept until we woke him up at 8:30 even with light shining right in his face.

Ehren-overnight train to Barcelona

Yes there were melt downs as we waited for the 10pm train and yes we caught him licking the floor of the train station not once but twice, however, it was worth it all for a successful night train experience. We now know that night trains are possible with kids and think of all the fun Spanish immunities his little body has.