Saturday, October 30, 2010

{Halloween Overload}

Phew! I don't want to sound like a Scrooge, but Hallelujah that Halloween is over! Every year I realize that it is a lot of work. Like, I seriously don't know how I managed to fit it all in. For reals. But I do love me some Holidays, and I'm sure by next year I will forget the headache and lack of time/sleep that comes along with this busy week. Here is how we have celebrated over the past week:

We made our yearly batch of sugar cookies, topped with as many marshmallows, candy corns, sugar sprinkles, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips as they could hold. I'm honestly so grossed out that the divas can eat these babies when they are done frosting them...but they do.

Each year my mom has us all over to carve pumpkins. The grand kids love it, and the men in the family loathe it because they end up doing most of the work, but anything to please the kids...right?

Amy, Lucy and their beautiful blue eyes.
T helped Enna carve up a skeleton.

And Grandpa helped Adyson carve up a ghost.
Handsome Simon.
Me and T.
The skeleton.
The witch.
Next up was the ward carnival, and the ladies were so excited to finally wear their costumes. Adyson called herself a poodle girl. We finally trained her to say a 50's girl in a poodle skirt. She kept forgetting 50's and would say she was an 80's girl instead. Cute.
Roo was our little pirate. So fitting!

Then enna got to get dressed up again for her school party and parade. Here she is with her vampire cousin. Awesome.
And her cute teacher after school.
The next day Adyson had scary hair day at school. I was in love with her huge hair the day I did it. (But didn't love it so much after trying to comb it out the next day.)

She also had a class party that day and a parade. Sienna opted to walk in the parade with her. Natch.After the parade we went Trick or Treating at Trav's office, and then met up with Grandma Lorraine (who made Adyson's cute poodle skirt) and Aunt Tiff at the delicious Temptation Cupckae for some cupcakes.

Which brings us to today, the actual Holiday. The girls were quite as excited to put their costumes on as they were mid week, but they were really excited to go Trick or Treating. I got them all ready and put red lipstick on Adyson. Of course Sienna had to have some too, and then they wanted me to wear we all put some on and then decided to smooch daddy all over his face.

Afterwards Adyson said "Dad is dressed up like a lover for Halloween!"
Loved it!
Here they are, dressed up one more time.
I'm hiding the red lipstick. She's too pretty.
And have you ever seen such a cute pirate? I die.

Me and Trav (dressed as a lover).
And the best costume of the night goes to beautiful Lucy in her Lucille Ball costume. She even had pearl earrings in. Cutest thing ever. EVER!
The night ended with the kids pouring out their buckets and checking out the goods. They got a lot of goods too. I'm so happy! That means I get to steal from them!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to nap till Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Links to Spain

Just thought I'd link up our trip to Spain day by day.

Day 1:here. (Madrid)
Day 2:here. (Aranjuez)
Day 3:here. (Segovia)
Day 4:here. (Toledo)
Day 5:here. (El Escorial)
Day 6:here. (Manzanares el Real)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 6: Manzanares el Real

Our last day in Spain we ventured to the small town of Manzanares el Real. Trav had been there once before and we went kind of on a whim when we realized that we couldn't get a bus to the city we originally wanted to go to.

It was a happy accident.

This was a cool city, and a great way to end our trip.

The first thing you see when you get in the city is this beautiful old bell tower, home to nesting storks. There weren't many people in the city that day, and as we walked the quiet streets the bells were ringing and it was really quite lovely.

We only had to walk about a half mile to get to this amazing castle, The Castle of Mendoza. (If you've seen or heard of the movie El Cid, this is the castle that was used in the film). The castle was constructed in 1475 for one of Spain's most powerful families, the Mendoza's. I thoroughly enjoyed touring this castle for a few reasons, 1-it was almost empty while we were there. There was one other couple we saw outside, and a few tour guides. It was so nice to be able to just take our time and stroll through this amazing castle. And 2-this castle just felt old. Parts of it were still in ruin. This is the last time on the trip that I had the chance to wonder why I'm not Queen.
This is the wall that is built around the castle. I couldn't believe all the detail work that was done and can't imagine how they managed to do it clear back then. Astounding.
The courtyard here is surrounding by a few different 'coat of arms'. This one happens to be the Mendoza coat of arms.

Inside was pretty awesome. The paintings and tapestry's were just beautiful, and so freakin old!
This is the view from one of the balcony's, it overlooking the lake.
1 of the 4 towers.
The view from the top of this castle was just beautiful. The mountains here are worth seeing and draw a lot of attention due to the rock formations, and you could see the whole city from here. I imagine the Mendoza's view was quite different back then though.:)
This is overlooking part of the ruin. I so wish we could have explored there too.
These keyholes surround the entire wall. The details of this castle were all so beautiful.
Awesome, just awesome.
After seeing the castle we walked through the city to see the medieval bridge that the town boasts.
And after crossing the bridge we found the 'old castle'. This is where the Mendoza's lived while building the castle we just toured. It used to be fairly big, but is obviously in ruin now. Still pretty cool to see.
We then made it to the main Plaza where we dined on the biggest Spanish Tortilla sandwich ever made. Seriously, this was half a baguette. And only 2 euros! And sooo tasty. It doesn't look like much, but yum.
We left Manzanares el Real both excited to be coming home to our comfy bed, beautiful ladies, and regular life, and so sad that the trip was almost over. We decided to make the best of our last night and went to the Prado located near the beautiful banco de espana. The Prado is one of the worlds most greatest art galleries and it is huge. I was a little overwhelmed when we got there because I knew there would be no way to take it all in. We were able to see some of their most prized pieces, and Travis really wanted me to see Goya's dark pieces. A whole room with some of the most disturbing art I've ever seen. We were a little bummed because the night we went the Renoir exhibit started, and we were all excited to see it, till we finally got there and realized you had to pay extra, all the way downstairs, and we were only a half hour from closing time. We bagged it, and opted to go out to dinner instead.

Here's a cathedral located right above the Prado. Another gem in the city.
The Prado

We went to a little restaurant near our hotel for dinner and learned that Spaniards like to take their time when they eat. We were quite ready for our check by the time it came. And when it came it came with complimentary mojitos. We felt a little bad just leaving them on the table, but I couldn't get Trav to drink em with me. (I kid.) That night Real Madrid was playing Milan (Futbol), and we were able to watch the game in the restaurant. It was really cool to watch the game while in the city with some serious fans. We were talking about how we should have got tickets when they showed a clip of the policemen beating some fans from Milan for causing a bit of a riot, and I was glad we were no where near the stadium. They love them some soccer!

Our trip really was a dream come true for us, and ended up being completely amazing and time we will cherish forever. Someday we hope to take the ladies along for the ride, you know, when they are old enough to really appreciate it. It is so nice to be home though. We missed our girls, we missed our home, our bed, our friends, our family, and our boring normal life. We have it good here!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 5: El Escorial

Day 5 was dedicated to the city of El Escorial. While in Spain Travis and I really enjoyed walking from the train or bus station to wherever we were headed. Most of the time it was a good mile or 2 walk, but the weather was perfect and we got to see so much on the way. So we did our usual routine when we got to El Escorial, and I wanted to die by the time we got to the Monistary there. It was straight uphill. Beautiful, but straight uphill.

Anyhow, after about killing over, we made it to the beautiful monistary. Built in 1563. I was blown away by sheer size of it. Huge and amazing. This was both a monistary and a palace for royalty and now is the burial site for most of the Spanish Kings of the last 5 centuries.

(Image stole from the web)
We were pretty bummed to find that it's closed to visitors on Mondays. Travis told me a little about the inside and it sounds pretty amazing, but it was still very cool to see the grounds and be in the beautiful city.

After checking out the Monistary we walked up to the main city square and I fell in love with it. It was just beautiful, and somehow I forgot to take a picture of it! There was a gorgeous waterfall fountain and the trees shaded the cobblestone streets to perfection. I could have shopped there in their darling boutiques all day long. It sits just above the Monistary so the view is just lovely. After seeing the square we started the trek down to the other part of the city, and found this beautiful trail that runs along an old rock fence. The fence surrounds the prince's royal hunting lodge (also closed on Mondays!). But the size of the garden alone was astounding. And walking the pathways was lovely. They had plaques up along the way with sayings from the monks who used to walk the same trail each day. Very cool.
The prince's house is in there...can you spot it?
We then walked to the 'downtown' area of El Escorial and dined on our usual lunch of a tortilla sandwich for T and a queso manchego sandwich for me. We sat in the park and ate and just relaxed. It was one of my favorite moments of the trip. After our picnic lunch we opted to walk just a little further and stumbled on this beautiful church built in 1594. I still can't get over just stumbling into these amazing, and very old buildings. It was such an adventure!

Then we reluctantly made our way back to the city via the train. T reading the paper-catching up on some Spanish news.
Self portrait right after saying, "I really should capture my sexy hair."
I must add that I really, really loved not doing my hair for a week straight.
It was heaven!
Tomorrow:Monzenaares El Real.
The last day! Boo!