Easter Parties

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Easter (just a week early). We were blessed to have three of our friends from Texas come with lots of supplies in tow to help us host 5 different Easter parties. We did a small one for café inglês, a special dinner for our Bible study group, then we did two BIG family/kid parties on Saturday and helped the local church we attend host one in their neighborhood on Sunday. We had an absolute blast just getting to love on so many kids over the weekend. Below are a bunch of pictures so you can get an idea of the fun we had, from making bunny ears, decorating cookies, playing pin the tail on the bunny, a bunny sack race, doing crafts, listening to the Easter story and of course hunting for eggs. We just love all of our kids’ friends and feel blessed to be able to host things like this for them. Hope you enjoy the photos!DSC_0981

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10 year old Henry

Henry is at such a great age!   Just wanted to highlight some of the things Henry is into these days.DSC_0914

Above he is showing off his “big” birthday present…a kindle fire.  Mg and I are both happy that he has turned out to be a reader (a child after our own hearts) and thought this would be a great way to keep him stocked with books in English since they are harder to come by over here.

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He is going on his third year of basketball and it has been really fun to see how much he has developed in his b-ball skills!

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He is still an animal lover and when we told him we were going to skip throwing a big party this year but told him he could pick a fun activity to do, he chose the Lisbon zoo.  Here we are with the friends he decided to bring along.  It was such a fun day and I loved the random animal facts he was able to share throughout the day.  (He also still loves watching Nat Geo Wild…just yesterday I picked him up and he said, “I have to hurry and do my homework because “America the Wild” is coming on at six.”)DSC_1799

In case you were left wondering how far we’ve come from him living in the corner of a purple bedroom, just wanted you to see that he has come a long way.  He still has to share a bedroom, but it is an all boy bedroom and I just love it!  (you can even see the duct-taped basketball hoop hanging on their bed!)

A few other things you can see in this picture…we just recently got through to him how handsome he looks when he does his hair…he is a leftie (notice his watch)…his favorite color is currently orange…and he’s such a cute, “euro” boy…I just love his skinny jeans!

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 Just this past week he finally mastered the art of blowing a bubble and he is so excited!  I suppose that’s a type of right of passage for kids :)

He is also an avid lover of board games (we are excited he can play strategy games like Catan with us).  I can see bits of my grandfather and brother in him…he loves, and is so GOOD, with little kids.  I can see bits of Mg’s brother in him in his love of all things computer…even taking things apart and putting them back together.  I still LOVE when he gets to laughing about something till he cries.

One last pic…here he is making our friends little girl crack up.  I just love it.

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A quick interview with my 10 year old:

What is you favorite subject in school?

Math

What is your favorite thing to watch on t.v.?

Nat Geo Wild

What is your favorite board game?

Ticket to Ride

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Zookeeper

What is your favorite color?

orange

What is your favorite food?

spaghetti and meatballs

Who is your favorite futebol player?

Calvin :)

Portugal vs. USA…who do you root for?

Portugal

Where do you want to go to university?

A&M (we’re doing something right at least ;) )

What is you favorite drink?

root beer (poor guy…he can’t get that here)

What is your favorite animal?

otter

What is your favorite book?

Harry Potter

What is your favorite place to go on vacation?

Disney World (well…he’s got some Burkhalter in him ;) )

Serra da Estrela

 One other great thing we got to do this winter was go on a mini-vacation with friends!  We are SO grateful for the families in Calvin’s class including us on their getaway to the mountains.  We’ve gotten to experience lots of different things with Portuguese people over the years, but I don’t recall ever actually having an overnight trip with any.  This was SUCH a fun way to delve into the culture a little more.  For starters, I have to say that our friends are some of the most patient, laid back, go with the flow people I’ve ever met.  The weather was anything BUT cooperative this particular weekend.  No way we could do our peaceful outdoor picnic like planned, so instead we borrow someones garage and turn it into a fun and at least, dry, haven :)  When we get to our house, the power goes out.  Everyone keeps their cool and maneuvers a way to eat in the dark.  I was amazed at their skills!  We tried waiting out storms in cafés and when that didn’t work, we moved to the mall and saw a movie, etc. etc.  Nothing seemed to get them down and I was really humbled by that!  We also learned other fun things, like how different our typical breakfasts look, how much more they drink milk, how they worry a little bit more about things causing their kids to get sick…but all such fun stuff!  I even fell down the flight of stairs (so embarrassing) but aside from getting picked on a little bit…everyone was so gracious!  Even though nothing this weekend went according to anyone’s plans…I really, truly had a great time just getting to feel like a part of the gang!  (oh, and we did FINALLY get to play in the snow for a bit…the whole point of the trip…but we didn’t stay long because the wind was brutal!  got a few cute pics though!)

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Portugal dos Pequenitos

We had a few sunny days this winter and for one of those we finally took advantage of some coupons we had to go to Portugal dos Pequenitos.  This is a landmark in our city that was built by the old dictator as a means of building a love for Portugal and it’s colonies in children.  My kids always love visiting, but it’s a little pricey so it’s been years since we last visited.  It was crazy to realize how BIG my kiddos have gotten since the last time.  Instead of having to stay on top of them (like last time when they were little), we were able to play a nice game of hide and seek.  Henry was impossible to find…he was tucked away in some tiny house and finally had to surrender himself because we couldn’t find him!  It’s just little family days like this that do my heart good!

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Lyon

I never got around to sharing about our trip to Lyon, France.  I figured after my cranky post I needed to focus on some of the good things that took place this winter.  By far my favorite thing was our families quick little getaway to France for a Christmas festival.  It was a lot of fun to see how another country celebrates.  We were pleasantly surprised at how kind and helpful the French people were.  We didn’t know a thing about Lyon before going but had a blast touring it’s history museum, puppet museum and miniature museum (we had no idea it was the birthplace of marionette puppets and different lighting for theater/films).  The food was amazing.  Nothing better than festival/street food.  The light shows were spectacular!  Definitely a memory that will last for a lifetime!  (I don’t have many pictures from our night time outings because they didn’t turn out too well :( but trust me, it was amazing to see!)  It was simply a fun time to be together as a family, hang out, splurge on a few things and take lots of fun pictures.  Here are just a few of my favorites…and I’m trusting that the pictures will describe our trip better than my words!

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Winter Cristi

IMG_2675Michael likes to joke with me that living in Portugal, I have two sides…and they stem from the two seasons that Portugal has.  There exists a winter Cristi and a summer Cristi.  The summer Cristi LOVES life while the winter Cristi becomes a little sullen.  I mean, I’m a Texas girl.  We don’t deal well with cold.  I am in a country that basically has cold, grey, rainy days for SIX months straight.  What’s worse…we don’t have good heating in our home and it’s often colder inside than out.  While other European countries have commodities like heated floors and can walk around barefoot in their homes in the dead of winter, here the entire country LIVES in their heavy coats and scarfs for six months because, well, we don’t have heated anything.  There is no reprieve and to be honest…I. get. cranky!  I’d like to blame my lack of blogging on lack of inspiration.  We have come to realize most people here seem to  hibernate for the winter.  We don’t see many friends, we can’t go outside, etc. etc.  Anyway, the first day the SUN came out I took a picture.  It. was. GLORIOUS.  I’ve missed it.  I’ve missed blogging too.  I’m hoping with spring on the horizon I will find more time write.  After all…the summer Cristi is about to come back and she can usually find lots of fun things to share.  (You would think after four winters here I’d have found my joy in the winter too, but I shamefully admit that I haven’t).  Okay…enough negativity.  Come on spring!!!  (and I mean, please come on…I’m shaking while typing this because it’s so cold up in here!  and, my Texas feet need to taste the freedom of flip-flops again!)

 

December 31st, 2013

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We got up and headed straight to Lisbon for a day of sight-seeing.  I love this picture we took in the mirror during a tour of a GIANT old palace.  A really cool old place…wow!

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Then we went to the museum of coaches (or carriages) which was actually way more interesting than I was expecting.  I never knew they were actually so detailed and fancy…I always assumed that was something Disney made up :)

Sad that it was our last day with Mama Sue, but at least it was a good one!

December 30th, 2013

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We headed back into downtown Coimbra just to get out of the house for a bit.  I was amazed that my kids stopped and wanted to take a picture with this statue once again.  The last time I took a picture of them with this lady was right after we moved here (nearly 4 years ago) and my kids have grown up SO much!  Sigh…I better be enjoying every minute with them…it’s going fast!

December 29th, 2013

It was the sunniest day of the week so we finally got to go take advantage of some of the fun Christmas things there are to do around Coimbra.  First we headed to the tiny town of Penela to visit their Presepios (Nativities).

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It’s really beautiful out there!  Then we stopped to ice-skate in another small town.  It was our kids’ first time and they did really great!

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Later that night Mama Sue sent Mg and I out on a belated anniversary date…including a night in a hotel.  All in all, a super great day!