Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thanks Granny and Grampy and more swimming...

Granny and Grampy sent our first package to Spain! Here are some pictures of the girls in their new Tiana bathing suits and the new outfit. (Ignore their hair - we've been swimming every day of the week!)


The girls just finished their 2nd session of swim class. They both continued to make nice progress.

Here is Rayna practicing her swimming (with some help). And my fearless girl getting ready to go down that HUGE slide (with her swim instructor - he kept her from going UNDER water since she's still working on holding her breath underwater for long periods of time (more than 5 seconds))!

and Reese...has become QUITE a swimmer...

As a final, her class jumped off the diving board into 11 feet of water...

and although Reese jumped from the side of the pool into the deep end...she was NOT a fan of jumping off the diving board alone. So, after some negotiations with her private coach (ahem, Daddy)...

...She jumped!!!

Here are the girls getting their certificates -

Rayna getting her gift bag and report card from her teacher Jesus (no jokes, please). :-) and then in her safety jacket for after class recreational swimming...

Reese passed Level 1 and is 1/2 way through her Level 2 quals to pass to Level 3 per the American Red Cross check list for safety swimming. Rayna is making good progess on Level 1.

Way to go R&R!

Missoula Children's Theater

The Missoula Children's Theater Company was in Rota!!

They are a theater company from Missoula, Missouri who travel to military bases all over the world to put on plays for children. They come in on Monday and by Saturday, they put on a full length, musical production complete with sets, costumes and singing and dancing children! (Reese is in the front row on the far right end).

When I sat through the try outs on Monday, I was a little skeptical that they would be able to pull off a skit, let alone a full length play with all the wiggly, giggly kids, but...BOY was I in for a treat!

The production was of Pinnochio and Reese was cast as one of Geppeto's toys...a ballerina toy to be exact.

She was the leader of the pack of toys and the toys were featured 3 times during the story! All of the children did a WONDERFUL job. Everyone knew their lines, blocking, dance moves, they were all so funny and so, SO cute!

The only sad part was that they didn't allow pictures DURING the production...but we got some after the show!

And a huge thank you to our awesome friends who came out to support Reese in her first Spanish production!

After the show we went to one of our favorite restaurants Las Tinejas... Cheers to Reese's wonderful performance! (Don't worry, those are non-alcoholic dessert shots provided complimentary from the restaurant as a "Thank you for dining" customary in Spain.)

It was about 8pm when we got there and since the Spanish don't eat dinner until 10ish, you can see what a Spanish restaurant looks like at 8! LOL! Its nice for us Americans though, we never have to wait for a table!

And to top off a wonderful evening we all went to the Drive in (which didn't start until sunset (10:45pm). In the meanwhile, you can see all the kids playing at the playground in front of the screen as the parents get there early for good parking and await the sunset.

Good times with Great friends! Great Job Boogie Bear!

Dinner Party!

R&R LOVE their Swim Instructors (Miss Blossom - aka Kelly and Miss Buttercup - aka Shannon)! So, we invited them over for dinner!

The Camp Adventure teachers sent out a newsletter informing parents that the Swim Instructors (college students in Spain for the summer) would love to be adopted for a home cooked meal! And we had so much fun getting ready for our special guests. We got to know our new friends a little better, played Wii down in Johann's "man cave" and ate and ate and ate!!!

We made appetizers - Fruit salad w/ cherries and Piel de Sampo (known as Santa Claus melon in the states - but we just discovered it here in Spain and its our new favorite fruit!) and..

Bruschetta - my new Spanish recipe (plump, vine ripe tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, fresh basil, crushed garlic, finely chopped onion, EVOO, red wine balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt - over hot garlic bread! Mmmmmmmm!

And since Miss Buttercup is a vegetarian, I experimented with a Vegetarian lasagna - zucchini, summer squash, portobello mushrooms, garlic, onions, green bell peppers and fire roasted tomatos seasoned and sauteed in EVOO and then added to my marinara sauce and layered into my lasagna with ricotta cheese mixed with spinach (canned, but strained), 1 egg, a tsp of nutmeg, salt and pepper, and mozzerella cheese...

OH MY GOODNESS was it good!

Bon Appetit or shall I say en Espanol, "¡Buen provecho!"

Football Fever!!!

Spain won the World Cup!!!

The energy around here was crazy! Everyone had Spanish flags flying from their windows. Faces were painted yellow and red! There was nothing else on television except the games, commentary about the games, reruns of the games and predictions about the games.

And anytime Spain made a goal, we pressed MUTE on the TV to hear all the yelling and cheering from our neighbors! It was like being INSIDE the Staples Center during a Laker Game during the playoffs.

It is very warm in the evenings here so most people keep their doors and windows open, eat outside and entertain outside. When the big games are on, extended families and friends come together for late dinner, and extension cords are added to the televisions which are pulled outside and everyone watches the game from the backyard where its cool.

When Spain won the world cup, people were chanting and singing in the streets, cars honked out little tunes as they zoomed down the road, and fireworks exploded into the sky from all around the city.

As a result, R&R are very interested in soccer and Johann brought home this little game for them to practice with until the real soccer season begins for the kids in September!

Ray is making a great Goalie!

And Reese has a pretty good kick!

Even Zeke got in on the action!
Look out Mia Hamm!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

American Independence (in Spain)

The Rota base is actually a Spanish base that "allows" America to operate here. Therefore, it's not "our" base, we just work here...and we're guests...and thus...there is not ONE American flag flying anywhere on base - nor can Americans living on base even hang a flag visible in their garage.

So, the 4th of July weekend is a huge deal because it is only at this time that Americans can see the red, white and blue waving in the sky. It's something I definitely took for granted while living in the states. And I have to say, I did get a little excited when I saw the big HUGE American flag the base put up in celebration of the 4th.

It's also neat to be here in Spain where in 1492, Queen Isabella gave Cristobal Columbe the thumbs up to "discover" our hometown....

And Rota celebrates in style! There were food booths, no less than 7 bouncers for the kids, arts and crafts stations, live bands, and a beautiful fireworks show at midnight - which was great since Johann was on a job in Bahrain for the week and not due back until 11:00 - he made it in perfect time for the big show!

The girls had a BALL! They are getting so brave! Reese was always Miss Cautious...now she's climbing and flipping and Rayna is RIGHT BEHIND HER!!! Where's the pause button?! They are getting so big soooo fast!

The base even had a huge inflatable movie screen and showed 'How to Train Your Dragon' for the kids to keep them up till midnight! Rayna crashed out about 11:15 but woke back up to see her Dad and the fireworks...Reese hung with the big dogs all night long!!!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Swimming Lessons

Summer is here and the girls are taking swimming lessons on the base. The instructors are American college students majoring in Education, Child Development, etc. who applied to become 'Camp Adventure' instructors and are here for the summer, living on base and running different programs for the military families here in Rota. (There are Camp Adventure programs on military bases world-wide apparently)...

I digress...

R&R were thrilled to be taking lessons which are 4 days a week (Tuesdays - Fridays) at 5pm at the base Housing pool. (There are two pools on the base...an indoor pool and the 'Housing' pool, so named because it is in the base Housing community. (duh)...

The instructors did a little song and dance on the first day of class to introduce themselves (and their alter egos - Miss Buttercup and Ms. Bubbles (they all chose Power Puff Girl names) and then the children took a swim assessment test.

Reese and Rayna were placed in different sessions of Level 1 where they would learn skills such as water safety, diving for objects under the water, floating on the back and of course swimming.

They have both completed their first session and are ready for session 2. In 2 weeks' time, Reese went from a non-swimmer to being able to SWIM underwater (see below - swimming to her teacher).

Rayna too has mastered the "Chicken, Airplane, Soldier" moves and is continuing to get more and more comfortable with her skills.

Another perk to swim lessons is that with their lessons, the whole family can swim for free!!! Hooray! Cause, it's getting hot!