Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Aug '12

England and Spain Adventure, Day 14: Groceries and Playing at the Resort

By Wednesday we wanted to give our kids and ourselves a break from the many hours we had spent in the car, driving to and from Seville and Cordoba. We spent the day doing laundry, getting groceries, and just playing.

Our first order of the day was groceries. We had been eating breakfast at the resort’s small cafe, which served a continental style breakfast including croissants, bread, fruit, and cereal. It was fine but we thought we could save money by getting our own cereal and croissants. Plus, John was hankering for bacon.

Our resort offered a free shuttle to a SuperSol market down on the main stretch closer to the ocean. It’s a good experience to shop for food in a foreign country because it’s always different than shopping at home.

For starters, you can buy sombreros in the entry.

The grocery carts cost money.

So we used the handheld pull carts, which were free. The kids each took one, and they LOVED it.

Some of the big differences in food between here and Spain:
1. The eggs are in the aisles, not the refrigerated section (as seen in the video above).
2. The milk is reconstituted dry milk, which I think tastes awful. It’s the same in Mexico. We only bought milk that was imported from England and came from actual cows. SO much better. And we bought a lot of milk. Between John and the kids and a pregnant woman, we drank a ton.
3. We had the hardest time finding pretzel sticks, which if you know Wes, you know are kind of a major part of his diet. John finally tracked some down.
4. Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is available, but it costs about 7 US Dollars. (And I bought one anyway.)
5. As we were checking out the clerk gave each of our kids a little package of party toys to take home, for free. I thought that was really nice. Until I opened it and found one of the main toys in each bag was a horn they could blow.

Afterward we waited outside for the shuttle to come pick us up again.

A peek at our fridge after groceries…

Yeah, we drink a lot of Fanta in foreign countries! We did in Mexico, too. It kind of grows on you.

After the kids’ naps I took them to the kiddie pool at the resort. It was great because it was about 18 inches deep and it was often in the shade. The water was a little cool but that didn’t stop Wes from getting in and wading across. Carissa was more timid, but after a while she got in, too. They both had a lot of fun. We took our beach ball, and Wes enjoyed kicking it around.

Right by the kiddie pool there was a small playground area that the kids liked playing on. It was also shaded. Wes actually kicked the beach ball over the fence here into an area of wilderness I couldn’t reach and I had to work up the courage to ask the front desk employees to send someone out, into the brush, to get it back for me. But they did!

So much of a vacation is making it fun for the kids, and I’m glad we could.

Back in the room for a change of clothes, Wes was reading my Spanish/English dictionary. So smart!

Then we took the kids back out for miniature golfing. This was their first time. Good thing the course wasn’t busy because it took a while with two kids, and all rules were abandoned. We only had one club and one ball to share, but it was enough. The kids took turns, and occasionally Mommy or Daddy got a turn too. It took Carissa a while to learn that after someone hits the ball she shouldn’t run over and pick it up, but leave it there. The kids loved mini golf.

(Our room is on the third floor overlooking the course.)

I love how Wes is jumping up and down in this picture. He is such a great cheerleader in sports.

While we stayed home today John’s mom and stepdad took an organized bus tour to Gibraltar, which is a British territory only about an hour and a half from our resort (think: Rock of Gibraltar). We were happy to stay and take a break, and were even more so when they got back and we heard all the drama of the day involving John’s mom accidentally leaving her purse at a rest stop on the way to Gibraltar and having to abandon the tour to retrace her steps and find it again. It was not their most restful day. But we had fun!

It helped us get ready for one last road trip together, to the famous Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

Aug '12

England and Spain Adventure, Day 13: Córdoba, Spain

On Tuesday (day 13) we drove about two hours north to the city of Córdoba, Spain.

Carissa was our navigator.

After our first day in Spain, spent getting lost in the small, impossibly narrow streets of Seville, the first thing we did when we drove into the Córdoba was stop and get a map. Lucky for us we parked near a tourist information kiosk that had maps readily available. And while we picked that up, John went in search of a SIM card to convert his tablet to a cell phone (he found a store, but waited ridiculously long and never get helped).

Córdoba was an interesting place to visit, in part because of its history and in part its age. Right now there are only about 300,000+ residents but in around the 10th and 11th centuries it was the most populous city in the world, and for a time it was considered one of the most advanced cities in the world. There’s a strong mix of Roman and Muslim influence due being handed back and forth between the two peoples.

One thing I loved about the place is that it’s so OLD. I mean, just look at these pictures. I snapped these just as we walked from our car to our destination, the Córdoba Cathedral/Mosque. We were on some narrow streets among the locals and saw some school children in uniform walking back from school (not pictured).

The first item of business was stopping for lunch. The thing about Spain is that businesses commonly close around 2 pm for siesta time and don’t open again until 4 or 6 at night. So we made sure to eat early and get it done. We found a nice place inside a hotel. We ate in the courtyard.

I loved visiting the Córdoba Cathedral. It was unlike any other cathedral I’ve been to. It started as a place of Roman Catholic worship, but when the Arabs stepped in it was built up as a Muslim mosque. And later, after it returned to Roman hands, became a Catholic cathedral again.

Some cool beams hanging near the ticket counter from the original structure.

The inside of the cathedral was so beautiful, but I had a hard time picturing myself attending church there. I think I’d be staring at the red and white arches the whole time.

The place was giant. HUGE. You can see it a little better in the video.

Even the door to exit was big and grand and ornate.

Across the street, of course, were tourist shops. My mother-in-law and I enjoyed browsing the shops but John and Guy were ready to move on pretty quickly.

The kids? They ate ice cream (“helados”), of course.

After leaving the mosque-cathedral we walked across the old Roman bridge (I mean OLD–built around 1st century BC), crossing the Guadalquivir River to see the historical tower on the other side. It was hot. H-O-T. We passed some street performers (bridge performers?) along the way, and I can’t imagine how miserable they must have been under the sun.

You got a good view of the cathedral from the bridge:

Here is the tower on the end of the bridge. We bought water from the smart people selling it in the tent to the right.

And its moat. I don’t know what it is about moats, but they are just so neat.

We stopped at one more famous landmark in Córdoba, the Alcázar (which means “the palace). It was the residence of Queen Isabella and Ferdinand. It has a rich history including Isabella meeting with Christopher Columbus before his sailing to America, hosting some of Napoleon’s troops in the 1800’s, and serving as a prison. In the 1950s the Spanish government turned it into a tourist attraction.

The actual Alcázar wasn’t bad but the gardens were lovely, definitely worth the visit.

Alcázar entrance and statue of King Ferdinand, maybe?

There was one small bathroom that we waited around to use so I could change the kids’ diapers. No toilet paper, but at least we had baby wipes. Wes waiting on the rocks outside the restroom for his diaper turn.

Like I said, the gardens were the best part.

The kids liked playing in the dirt. We had to drag them away.

When we were walking back to the car we stopped to let the kids play at a playground. It was just what they needed. Kids need to play.

The funny thing is that we were at the park for a while, but it wasn’t until we were back in the car and driving away from the park that we noticed a sign on the building across the street from the park: “La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias.” (Or something like that.) It was an LDS branch meetinghouse. Kind of fun to see.

It was a two-hour drive back to our hotel, and I thought our kids handled the car time pretty well overall. We had books and an electronic toy (for Wes), but it was often near bedtime by the time we headed home. During our time in England and Spain Carissa was just starting to develop a more independent and chatty nature. Here she is chatting as we neared Malaga.

The next day was Wednesday, and we had enough of road trips. We were going to stay home, do laundry, and play!



My two kids were in the backyard the other day, and after a while when I peeked out I couldn’t find them. Looked empty to me.

Then I saw this:

And this:

Aug '12

Snuggle Time


The Littlest Mommy

What would a mommy be without a pink purse?


Down on the Farm

Today I needed a break from the house. We’ve been working on potty training all week, which means we’ve been fairly homebound. Funny thing that a “break” for me entails taking the kids and doing something that they might enjoy. But at least we got out of the house.

I took them to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point. It was our first time. Wes was pretty brave but Carissa was more timid about getting too close to the animals.

She was brave enough to touch the cow a few times.

They liked the duck pond. Wes spent most of the time tossing gravel at to the ducks. Carissa spent a bit of time watching the little birds land near her on the bench and fly away again.

Two kids and two kids.

They brought a miniature donkey out for kids to pet. Wes was more than willing to help by holding the lead rope. Carissa wouldn’t go near the donkey.

Wesley’s admission included a pony ride. He loved it and I had to use some serious persuasion skills to pull him away from there when it was over. We also got a wagon ride around the property that both kids liked.

After an hour or more I dragged them inside to wash up. Once Wes discovered that you turn the water on by stepping on a bar near the floor he was happy to stay there all day and play in the water.

It was lunchtime but I bought the kids suckers that Carissa picked out. She likes suckers; Wes not so much, but he took a few licks anyway. They were the kind that turn the tongue colors.

On the way home.