Gavilanes 2016

September 23, 2016 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

Gavilanes 2016On the weekend of September 10 and 11, 2016, my wife and kids and sister-in-law drove five and a half hours south to a little mountain village called Gavilanes near Ávila. If someone told you to put a pin on a map in the dead center of the Iberian peninsula, not just Spain, you would probably skewer Gavilanes. Why did we choose this place? It is the home town of the husband, Óscar, of my wife and sister’s second cousin, Lourdes. Óscar and Lourdes attended my wedding, and the second cousins recently reconnected and released how much they liked each other recently on a sisters’ road trip to Madrid, where they live. Óscar and Lourdes brought their 11-year-old son, Daniel, who was great with our kids, and we all stayed in a house that belongs to Óscar’s mother.
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Ian’s First Day of School

September 09, 2016 By: erik Category: News, Parenting, Photos

Ian's First Day of School (cropped)Yesterday, September 8, 2016, was Ian’s first day of school. As is natural, he has been very excited to attend the same school as his hero and older sister, Nora. He knows that name of the school and has been telling everyone all summer that he will be starting. I think he kind of thought that he would be sitting next to Nora in her second grade class, but I think he understands now that he’s entering at a different level.
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Itchy Eyes

May 17, 2016 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting

Spring BeeStarting about two weeks ago, shortly after his third birthday, coinciding with a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, Ian’s eyes starting itching, particularly his right eye. He was rubbing the heck out of them. It got really bad this weekend, to the point where one of them got hugely swollen, almost swollen shut. On Sunday we took him to the ER and they gave us two bottles of eye drops, one was an antibiotic in case the swelling was from an infection, and the other was an antihistamine in case the cause was allergy. He hated having them applied, but they did the job.
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Nora’s Seventh Birthday Party

March 19, 2016 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, Videos

Nora's Seventh Birthday PartyToday we had a birthday party for Nora’s seventh birthday. She has been going to classmates’ birthday parties for a couple of years now, but this is the first one that she has thrown. She filled out little invitation cards with the date and her mother’s mobile phone number and gave them out to her classmates and her best friend three floors down. As a result, she is the only living human who knows her mother’s new phone number by memory; the number recently changed, and I have not memorised it yet, and her mother never learned her previous number of nine years.
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State of the Offspring Address – November 2015

November 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Maybe if we put our heads together we can figure out how to have fun in an airport!Our November was primarily dominated by the run up to and execution of a whole-family trip to the United States to visit my family for Thanksgiving. However, plenty of other things happened first, so let’s get to those. On November 1st, All Saints Day, we took a lovely long walk on a nearby beach (we actually walked there from home) at Golden Hour.
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A Visit to Mimosa Hills Farm

November 24, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, USA, Videos

Mimosa FarmsDuring our visit to the United States for Thanksgiving, we took a little day outing to a local farm, called Mimosa Hills Farm. They give riding lessons and even have a special program to help people with mental disabilities from the local state institutions. We had a wonderful time.

When we walked into the barn, Ian pointed at each and every horse, declaring “I want montar that one! I want montar that one!” Nora was quite a bit more timid. If her brother hadn’t gone first, she might have chickened out about riding the horse.
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Pico de las Nieves with Kids

November 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Spain, Travel

Nora on top of the worldOne of our favorite local hikes is the Pico de las Nieves, a mountain that we can see from our house that is only about as hard to climb as ten flights of stairs. On November 8th, we decided that it was time to take the kids there. It was a beautiful day with plenty of visibility, which made it a perfect choice. We packed a picnic lunch and hopped in the car and headed up.

Ian, unfortunately, has gotten quite sensitive to motion sickness, so we had to stop and get out of the car for 5 minutes about four times during what would normally be a 25 minute ride. Poor guy.
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State of the Offspring Address – October 2015

October 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Halloween 2015The Raslets made some good progress in October. The biggest event was Nora starting French lessons. We had been searching around for a potential French teacher for some time. Pretty much the only language that anyone is interested in teaching children in Spain is English; all the French classes are for older people. Someone directed us to a woman who lives in the building adjacent to us who was going to give French classes to students at a local school, but, as is often the case in public education, the funding dried up at the last minute and she ended up not doing it. I spoke to her, and she said, “Hmm, well, I’d need to brush up on my textbooks from school, but I could probably teach some basics to a six-year-old.” Not quite what I wanted to hear.
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State of the Offspring Address – September 2015

September 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Carlos V in LaredoSeptember was a good month, but not nearly as milestone-laden as August. The highlight of the month was the visit from my parents, which greatly boosted Ian’s English. The biggest steady improvement over the month was Ian’s language and potty skills. The other major event was Nora starting her scholastic career in first grade.
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State of the Offspring Address – August 2015

August 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Summer SonTo say that August was a month of milestones would be an understatement. The kids spent almost all of August in the little town of Higuera de la Serena, in Extremadura, in southern Spain, where their maternal grandmother is from. They had a blast, with the lack of schedule and structure that accompanies many memories of summer vacations. The milestone that most excites me is that Nora finally learned how to ride her bicycle.
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