Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

Choose a Topic:

Sep '12

England and Spain Adventure, Day 15: Granada, Spain

On Thursday in Spain we took one last road trip from our resort to Granada, Spain to see the ultra-famous Alhambra.

If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel bad; I hadn’t, either. But it’s the #1 tourist attraction in Spain, and that combined with the fact that it’s run by the government makes it one of the hardest places to get into to see.

Granada is about 2 hours northeast of our hotel. We aimed to get there around 10 am to try to get tickets for admission in the afternoon. The government only allots a certain number of tickets for entry each day. If you get there and they’re gone, you’re out of luck. The tickets also regulate your entry time to the more famous part of the Alhambra called the Nasrid Palaces. You can visit the other parts of the Alhambra, but you need to line up and be prepared to visit the Nasrid Palaces at your designated time.

Our experience at the Alhambra was good, but initially very confusing. Not only was the tickets situation confusing to us but we had a hard time even finding where to enter the place after buying our tickets. And the place is giant, so we ended up walking around a lot in the hot, hot sun trying to find an entry point. Finally we found a way in on the south side and John and I enjoyed walking through the Alhambra Museum, which has some cool artifacts (but no pictures allowed), and the Charles V Palace.

After we finished there we hiked back up a hill towards the entrance of the Alhambra to eat lunch at a neighboring restaurant, La Mimbre. I remember looking at the menu and not feeling particularly excited about the items offered. I ended up getting one of their specials, which was soup followed by steak and potatoes, followed by a cake dessert. I also remember how pleasantly surprised I was at the food’s quality (except for the soup–I didn’t like it). The steak was tender and delicious and it came with fried potatoes that I couldn’t get enough of, and the coconut cake was too good to share. Carissa ate a lot of steak and French fries. These are the only pictures I have from lunch:

Following lunch (and diaper changes) we walked through another section of the Alhambra called Generalife (“Garden of the Architect”), which was a summer palace and gardens. We never made it through the palace, but the gardens were AMAZING. However, it was also very, VERY HOT, and so we didn’t want to spend too long here.

It had nice views of the city.

Another reason we didn’t roam the gardens too long was because we had a specific entry time for the Nasrid Palaces, and we had a bit of a walk to get there from the Generalife.

The Nasrid Palaces, specifically, pulls in the most visitors, and it is carefully regulated by many rules. We couldn’t bring in our stroller (never a convenient thing, as usually we had at least one child asleep in it) and we had to wear the diaper bag backpack on the front of our body instead of the back. Why? Still not sure. We also had to stand in line in the hot afternoon sun until they let us in.

The highlight of the Palaces seemed to be the intricate engravings and architecture which, yeah, were really neat but we didn’t feel like we were blown away by the experience in general. Some pictures:

This is the Lion’s Fountain. It was being restored when we were there so its area was not open, except to pass by it. It’s from the 11th century. The lions represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Two of them have a triangle on the forehead, indicating the two chosen tribes Judá and Leví (similar to, but different from what my own faith believes).

After the Nasrid Palaces we took a little rest (actually, we did this a lot during the day. Have I mentioned how it was HOT?). There were several locations in the Alhambra with vending machines that offered water, soda, milk, and sandwiches. We went through all the water we had brought with us (and we thought we had brought plenty) pretty quickly and had to buy more.

The next stop was the dungeons (ruins of them, anyway). Bano = “bathroom.”

And from there we went to one more area, the Alcazaba: the military fortress. This was maybe my favorite place, just for the views of the city and surrounding mountains.

We were kind of tuckered by now, which was late afternoon, and we headed home. When we got back, the kids ate pretzels and milk on the floor…

…played with the toys from the SuperSol supermarket…

…and jumped endlessly on the bed.

Sep '12

Super July 2012 Catch-Up

Here’s everything I neglected to blog about in a more timely manner from July.

Our wedding anniversary. Our marriage is 10 years old. To celebrate we got a sitter and went to a free heritage days celebration that included interesting displays from the Pilgrim days and presenters demonstrating the work of colonial bakers and blacksmiths. It was actually really fun. And so NICE to be out without children. Good thing, too, because they would’ve been jealous of this:

My dad’s side of the family had a reunion near enough that we attended.

The kids loved the pinata. Not the candy so much as the hitting.

Cousins Carissa and Ashley.

My sister, brother, and me with some kids.

Girl cousins.

Wes went to preschool four days a week for about 2.5 hours in the morning. This was his aide assigned to give him a little extra help.

And while he was in school Carissa and I did motherly-daughterly bonding activities like drinking frozen hot chocolate at the mall.

One day I found that Wes had scribbled on the table. But when I looked up close and saw how nicely he had written the letter “W” over and over again, I couldn’t be mad.

The kids are joined at the hip, sometimes…

Playing in the sink.

In the sandbox.

In the wading pool.

Eating ice cream.

And apples.

Making a birthday card for their grandpa.

And getting messy doing it.

Eating breakfast on the couch.

Wes likes to put toys or DVDS (which I have since hidden) on the treadmill (which is unplugged) and push them down the conveyer belt, go to the other side, pick up, and repeat.

He also likes to build tall towers, but sometimes he likes to line up the blocks instead.

He is a climber.

Carissa loves her teddy bear.

She’s also a pretty good shopping companion.

She is a painter.

This is her favorite place to sit–on the back steps.

Picture time.

One day I took them swimming. I don’t have pictures of the pool, but of them enjoying their post-swim milkshakes in the car.

We had a church party in the canyon that involved playing football…

…and wading in the stream. Which I wasn’t willing to do, but a kind neighbor was.

About five seconds after we left, this was the kids:

Our grass mysteriously died in patches while we were on vacation in the spring. John miraculously brought it back to life after careful reseeding and diligent watering. Another reason I’m grateful for a husband; if it were up to me, the grass would’ve just died and that would’ve been that.

Park morning with cousins.


We took the kids to a Taste of the Valley event. Here’s us leaving.

And I took the kids to a small local parade. To say they loved every second is an understatement. Wes loved yelling “hi” to the floats, Carissa loved grabbing as much candy as she could, and Wes loved throwing the candy right back at the throwers.

Sep '12

Twins Baby Shower

Today I had the privilege of throwing my sister a baby shower for her soon-to-come twins.

Arriving for the party.

I set up a welcome table where guests could take a size 1 diaper and write encouraging notes for my sister to see later when changing her babies’ bums. She’s thinking of two names that start with “N” and “K.”

Then there was the food. She’s having a boy and a girl but instead of blue and pink I opted for teal and purple (her favorite color). It was fun to put this together.

Her mother-in-law made the salad and our cousin brought the fruit salad.

In addition we had sandwiches, cupcakes, cake truffles, and chocolate.

I can’t ever have a party without displaying quotes. We had two: “Twice as much to love, two blessing from above” and “There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: TWINS.” The one I left out was a Chinese proverb: “It is not economical to go to bed early to save the candles if the result is twins.”

I couldn’t resist these candy jars when I saw them.

I made these cake truffles from this recipe.

I made the mini cupcakes, too. Secret: It was just a French vanilla cake mix. But the frosting I made using this recipe. (I had to triple the recipe to cover the whole batch of cupcakes.)

Wes only ate the frosting.

That was the setup, but the party was all about…

…and the “you” was my sister, Tara. She’s about 32.5 weeks pregnant.

We played a mad lib game called “The Birthing Adventure of Twins.”

And then we got down to business: PRESENTS! People were very generous and brought Tara a variety of diapers, meals to freeze, and other baby items (especially for boys, since this is her first boy).

She got some really great loot!

Meanwhile the kids… Well, they were actually rarely here, in front of the TV, which was too bad. More often than not Wes was where he shouldn’t be, such as inside the horse pen tossing rocks into the horses’ water trough (NOT allowed).

Carissa was good, often reading or playing with cars or the baby stroller and doll.

And that’s a wrap! I hope Tara had a fun baby shower and that she felt loved and supported by the many friends and family who came.