Sunday, October 14, 2007

Weekend Update

Another weekend over already. Whew, time is flying.

On Saturday, Matt and I took the girls into the Parade city center (the city in which we live). It's a very short walk from our house. We walked around and browsed the fish, meat and produce market. I really have to learn how to cook fish well. Some of the fish still had hooks in their mouths. Talk about fresh! And the meat! I've got to learn what cuts Matt and I like to eat and how to to ask the butcher what I want in Portuguese (our grill will arrive soon and we're ready to start grilling on our patio) . We ended up getting a few pounds of fruit. Olivia, in one day, eats more fruit than I eat in a month. I leave it out on the counter in her eyesight and fruit has become her first choice for a snack.

After the market, we wandered into a paint store and I was able to buy paint in the colors I had been looking for in order to paint the table and chair set I got at Ikea for the girls. I also want to paint the shelves in Olivia's room. So, now I'm all set. I had looked in some Home Depot type stores but hadn't found what I wanted and couldn't find anyone who spoke English well enough to help me. Now, I just have to find the time to prime everything and paint.

Saturday afternoon, I got my hair cut and highlighted for the first time in over three months and then Saturday night, Matt and I went to a movie for the first time since before his deployment to Iraq. I don't have to remind you all how long he was gone and how long he's been home. It was getting pathetic that we hadn't seen a movie together in that long! So, our housekeeper, Lousia, came over at 1900 and stayed with the girls. I put Lila to bed before we left and Olivia, apparently, went to bed a half hour later without giving Louisa a problem.

My dear husband, who didn't even want a housekeeper in the first place, found himself explaining to her that if she cleaned up the house again (she comes on Thursdays) while she babysat, he'd pay her extra money. We don't think she understood what he meant b/c when we got home, she had ironed Matt's dress shirts and pants - but had not cleaned. Matt paid her extra for the ironing. Next time he'll have to be more specific. She's from the Philippines and while she appears to understand what you're saying, often she doesn't. As in this case. Oh well.

The movie was great but was a late one and Matt and I didn't get to bed until nearly 1:00am. Therefore, we were very pleased that both of the girls slept until nearly 8:30am. Lila has been sleeping through the night most nights out of the week. Often from 7:00pm-8:00am. I can't believe how lucky I am! Now, if I could just go to bed at a decent hour, I could easily be getting enough sleep!

Since Matt and I had more energy than we thought we would Sunday morning - after a late night (1:00am is very late for us), we packed up the girls and headed into Lisbon to visit St. Jorge's Castle. I want to get a good shot of the side of the castle as it is magnificent. But, the parking and driving is not very good in that area and it'll have to wait until a later time. We did get a few good photo's of Matt with Lila and Olivia with me. Once again, it was a castle that has been mostly ruined. But, the outer structure is intact enough to enjoy pleasant views of the orange roofed houses of Lisbon and spectacular views of the ocean.
During lunch, right outside the entrance of the castle, I enjoyed rabbit stew. I gave Lila a few bites of rabbit before Olivia asked, "What are you and Lila eating, Mommy?" to which Matt replied, "You know how Curious George likes to play with bunny rabbits? Well, Mommy is eating one." to which Olivia asked, "Mommy, can I have some bunny rabbit please." Later on she was heard asking, "More bunny rabbit please!"
We had a great morning and a great lunch. However, as always, the girls fell asleep in the car ride on the way home for about 10-20 minutes.
And, once again, they didn't want to finish their naps once they got home. This happens nearly every weekend when we go on an adventure. We just cannot leave the house and get back by their normal nap time at 1:00pm. Everything is just too far away for that. And, if we stay out past their naps - well, let's just say that by the time lunch is over, Matt and I may be re- energized and ready to see more - our children, however, are over it. So, each Saturday or Sunday (sometimes both days), the girls spend an hour or so whining in their beds until Matt and I go get them giving up on nap and quite/cleaning/homework time. They spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening grumpy and unbearable. Olivia still cannot get past 3:00pm without a nap. It would be one thing if she stayed her happy-self until 6:00pm and then just went to bed early. But, no, she's a wreck by 3:00pm. Lila, well, she still appreciates a short morning nap. So, you can imagine how she is if she's only had a 10-minute nap all day. If anyone has any advice (aside from driving around for two hours once they both fall asleep in the car-gas here is too expensive for that), please let me know. What starts out as a great family adventure, ends up with mom and dad pulling their hair out. I'm beginning to understand why there are years in which parents just don't travel much with their children until they are older. I used to think these parents were just wimps. Now, I'm beginning to think they just smartened up. Matt and I may have to start getting a sitter for the day on the weekends - that way, we can see the historical things we want to see and not at the expense of our small children.

On other notes, we still have not received our household goods(it's been nearly THREE months). We think it'll be another two weeks. The upside is that we have learned that we need very little to live comfortably. The downside is that it IS hard to live without proper cooking utensils. I haven't been able to make many proper meals. We really miss our Sunday morning pancake breakfasts! While I do have a frying pan, I'm used to a griddle and only being able to make one at a time makes it almost not worth it. But, occasionally, I've caved in and made some blueberry pancakes! The girls blueberry faces are priceless!

My Portuguese professor is encouraging me to go on to Portuguese II. Portuguese I ends on Wednesday. Portuguese II starts in two weeks. As much as I'm enjoying learning a new language and as frustrated as I get when I realize I still don't know enough to get by properly, I don't want the pressure of a grade. I think I'll get an A this time around, however, my enthusiasm is waning. I'd rather go to Portuguese conversation tea once a week. My professor does organize that and I'll have to talk to her about it tomorrow (conversation tea is when people, who know the basics, get together once a week to practice conversing in whatever language they are trying to learn. Usually, there is a teacher or native speaker leading the group). In any event, I need to find a new sitter no matter which I decide to partake in.

Other than that, that's all the news we have for now. We have several friends and family members starting to plan their trips to visit us. Matt and I have a couple of places we want to go "recon" before the first set of guests arrive. We want to have a few places we'd enjoying bringing guests to visit. Matt and I also want to start planning on trips outside of Portugal and throughout Europe. We're in the early stages of discussion and, hopefully, soon, we'll settle on places and timelines. I love it here in Europe and can't wait to start out on adventures outside of the country - though, bringing grandparents with us to help out with the children is beginning to sound like a good idea!


Annette said...

I have so enjoyed reading about your journeys. The girls are gorgeous. You and Matt seem so happy. I'm thrilled for all of you.


Alaska Dunns said...

I know what you're feeling about the nap thing. That's tough with two little ones at different nap stages. Sometimes it feels like my life is dominated by nap schedules. Then, my much more flexible husband insists we do something outside our normal schedule and it usually works out just fine, despite my worries. :) Fortunately, each stage is a little different and you should find that they get a little easier to take out with you soon. I am usually able to get Mikey from the car to his bed if he falls asleep without too many problems but I have to keep Daniel awake in the car if I want him to nap at home. So we play games, sing silly songs, or, if necessary, pull off his shoes and socks and tickle his feet. I know someone who keeps a stash of suckers in the car to keep her child awake. But take heart -- this stage won't last forever. Soon enough, the girls will be more flexible and then the next little one will come along... ;)


Natalie said...

Suckers are a good idea! Though, Lila, apparently thinks that a 10 minute nap is good for her also and she's too young for them. Maybe I'll have to resort to sitting in the backseat to keep them awake on the way home. Great ideas! Thanks.