View of the mountains_0997

Sometimes snow just wants to be thrown.

Alpine view_0998

And sometimes, the youngest among you feels the urge first. And bad.

Close-up of Goose_1070

Goose scooping up snow_1109

Goose hucking a snowball_1107

So you go with it.

Millie throwing snow up in the air_1078

Silas and Millay walking in snow_1099

Millay and Silas, walking_1047

And everyone ends up happy

Millay in snow_1066

Isn’t that the best?

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Museu Blau

So I frequently write about my teenagers. In contrast, today is a ‘Caboose’ post. If you’ve recently joined me, a short primer on my Caboose, a.k.a. my youngest, who also answers to ‘Goose.’ The nickname Goose hearkens back to his days as an unsteady but fastmoving toddler who often ended up with goose eggs which a) quickly swelled to cartoonish proportions, b) always popped up in the same spot on his forehead, and c) were unfortunately never photographed consistently enough for us to prove to anyone that he pretty much sported a fabulous goose egg for the first several years of his life.

Living abroad has been a bit tough on Goose. Sure, he likes climbing around in old Roman ruins and scaling castles dating to the 1100’s (not that the dates impress him). And yeah, he likes pedaling around town on his bike.

But all the cool markets? (Did we not notice that they smell like fish!?) And the spectacular scenery rolling by when you’re in the car? (Unless you’re too carsick to care.) And the Highly Impressive historical sites? (Blah, blah.) And window shopping while you fantasize about handmade Spanish shoes? (Pain, torture, agony.)

But the museums? Ahh, now there’s something.  Nine-year-old boy + natural history = Intense Fun.

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

Are we feeling it yet? Because Goose sure was.

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

Museu Blau

A day at the museum, and he’s so pumped up he’s ready to leap tall buildings.

Museu Blau

Or at least medium-sized ones.

(Hooray for inspired taxidermists.)

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Hallways of castle at Montjuic_7630

So Mr. Goose is a cub scout.  An earnest one.  The fact that there are no den meetings and pack meetings and field trips (and what not) here in Spain has been a source of (not a little) frustration.

So what do you do when you’re a cub and there’s no den?  You go be your own den.  (Yeah, okay, with your dad, sure.)

But seriously:  a cub scout could do worse than head up to Montjuic (pronounced Mont-joo-eek) to pass off requirements in his scout book.

Goose pathways at Montjuic_7482

Up through the old passageways of the castle.

Castle wall at Montjuic_7560

Out, to explore the battlements.

Goose and cannon at Montjuic_7466

And the machines of war.

Goose at Montjuic_7474

(Especially since they no longer work. But that’s your mother talking.)

Cannons at Montjuic_7505

The view’s not bad from up there, either.

View from Montjuic_7499

Pretty much a 360.

View from Montjuic_7563

And you’ve pretty much got it to yourself.

View from Montjuic_7635

Then on to the botanical gardens, to pass off some Naturalist requirements.

Jardi Botanic_7773

Yeah: pathways, plants, the basics. This’ll work for scouts.

Gardens at Montjuic_7660

Admit it. You don’t mind the pretty stuff. And wait: your big sister would love this!–Canary Island lavender!?

More lavender_7685

And there’s some wild, vine-y stuff, too. Makes you feel like you’re in the jungle.

Gardens at Montjuic_7765

Time to hike back down.

Art museum at Montjuic_7796

Past the art museum just down the way.

Museum through the trees_7832

(A cool place in its own right.)

Main art museum_7877

And rather grand, too.

National art museum_7880

Nice venue for another day, when you need to pass off requirements for Art.

National museum_7900

Phew! Time for a snack. How about you hit up the patisserie?

Pastries after scouts_7905


Biting into a pastry_7909

The new after-scouts treat.

Yum pastry_7914

Yeah, this field trip, it was legit.

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Silas Park

So you head out to the park. By yourself. (Well, with your Dad, but still.)

Who cares?–you’re your own best company!

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How Super Heroes Are Born In Bamboo Groves

by Becky on January 30, 2013

in Travel

Silas and bamboo grove_5328

You might think Super Heroes need special training camps. Not so. A child in the market for super hero practrice doesn’t need anything but a bamboo grove.

Silas in the bamboo_5332

Bamboo shoots offer three things to kids shopping for S.H. training facilities. First, they are virtually unbreakable and thus enable optimal stunt work/acrobatics. Second, they grow up in dense clusters–great for practicing stealth. Third, they help you look totally legit in photographs.

Silas in bamboo, upside down_5339

Not everyone needs to come to Spain to find a bamboo ‘gym.’ But everyone looking to polish their S.H. skills ought to google a nearby location. The workout is unparalleled.


(And with your big brother–and personal super hero–back in the states doing his own S.H. work, naturally it falls to you to pick up the slack. All the more reason to get your program on!)

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So Goose says the other day, “You only post about the girls.”  And I say, “That is absolutely not true!  I’ve done all kinds of posts on you!”

And here’s another.

(So odd, that the people in the background didn’t realize there was a flying boy in their midst . . .)

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Take two siblings–a nine-year-old boy, let’s say, and a fourteen-year-old girl.  Tuck them into the woods behind Rupit, in Catalunya, Spain.  Invite them to run.

Now watch them.

Remember when you could run like that?  With such singleminded abandon?

If you cannot, then study this boy and his sister, their joyful movments the perfect trigger for a capricious memory.

Now do you remember?

I do.

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We often call the baby of our family our “Caboose.” We ought to call him Mr. Stealth because he gets away with all kinds of stuff. And how is that? Well, number one, he’s on the cute side. Even back when I was pregnant with him, the tech who read my first ultrasound kept exclaiming over him. “He’s a beauty!” she said. “Really?” I wondered. I mean, how could you tell that just by looking at the baby parts swimming in and out of focus on her screen? “No, really!” she assured me. “He’s beautiful!”


Number two, he was wanted. Badly. Especially by my oldest, who felt outnumbered and outchromosomed. When I returned home after my ultrasound and announced to my almost ten-year-old son that he had gotten his wish, that he was going to have a baby brother, he burst into motion, running around and around (and around) the house until he finally got so tired out he plopped down on the couch and sat there in a state of ecstatic bewilderment, contemplating his grand future as a Big Brother.


As a result of One and Two, this boy gets away with things. Example. A few days ago, Mr. Caboose said to my older daughter, in a voice all honied up, “You could be the daughter of Aphrodite.” And when she pulled him over next to her for a cuddle and replied, “Ohhhh, that is the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me!” he added, “No, it’s because you always think you have to look perfect.” All at once she shoved him away and started laughing. We all did. He is the master of what I call Sugar Snark.


And the rules? Take bed time, for instance. Since he has older siblings who stay up later, he finds ways to stall. “I just have to . . .” (fill in the blank).   Finish the chapter he’s reading.  Get a snack (because he can’t be sent to bed starving, right?).  Find his pajamas.  Hunt down a pair of socks to keep his feet from freezing during the night.  Attend to a bit of unfinished homework.  Download the next book in the Rick Riordan series.  Collect another hug.


Last night, I agreed to lie down with him, something I’ve often done with my kids to get them into bed. A complicated practice, as many of you well know. And we’re lying there, he and I, and it’s late, and I’m eager to get things locked up so I can get to bed, and he turns to me and says in his Sweet Baby voice, “Sing to me.”  I feel myself smile.  He knows I’m not going to get up and leave when he says that.  So I start singing “Getting to Know You,” one of his favorites. Then he wants another, so I sing “My Favorite Things,” and he sings along. Finally, sensing that I’m about to be done, he calls my attention to the night sky, which we can both see through the sky light above us. “Oh!” he says. “Look how bright that star is!  Right there! Do you see it?”

Do I see it, he wants to know. This is how Mr. Caboose operates.  He maneuvers you right around to whatever happens to be the most urgent, even beautiful, thing on the radar. Then, once he gets you to stop and look, he’s home free. Because you can’t resist the urge to stay right there so you can say, “I do! I see!”  His modus operandi should be required reading for sales people everywhere.  If they get you to look at that star, you’re a goner.


It’s no wonder he falls asleep every night with a big smile on his face. Rest well, Little Caboose.  You’ll need it.  Getting away with murder is full-time work.

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Who Takes A Swipe At A Wall? (Three Guesses)

by Becky on November 8, 2012

in Fun, Travel

Goose Cartoon_5666

I love to imagine the caption. “You touch my sisters, I touch your face!”

Mister Caboose (also known as Goose), my youngest, makes everything colorful. Like this morning, on the way to the panaderia that has the best croissants around (which is why I walk the four blocks), I realize he is humming Riu Riu Chiu. Then I realize he’s taken it up a key.  “That was a key change!” I say, admiring his musicianship.  “What?’ he says, shrugging off the compliment.  “That’s the way the song goes.”

We’re off to hike to an old monastery today, Montserrat. On near vertical surfaces, Goose is in his element.


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