Thank God for Amazon!

So. After procrastinating waaaaaay to long I’ve finally gotten a pretty good start on Christmas shopping.

As always Amazon came to the rescue.  I’ve knocked out my mom and sister, aunt from our family gift exchange and will probably end up picking up some stuff for my brothers on there.  Ebay was also good to me, as always, looking for an obscure gift for my husband. Some people hate that site, but I LOVE it.

The kids are pretty much done, I am upset because I hesitated in getting O the LeapFrog Leappad and now it is sold out EVERYWHERE and of course our NEX doesn’t have any new toys like that.  Stupid me, I should have just ordered it when I had the chance. Who knew it was going to become the hot new toy this Christmas.  Honestly I don’t know if I’ve ever met a kid who likes toys less.  He says he wants toys for Christmas but couldn’t actually name one toy that he wanted. He has a playroom FULL that NEVER get played with.  I wish we still had friends with kids his age so they could come play with these toys!

I am scaling back on the amount of gifts this year.  I feel this guilt every year that if my kids don’t have a ton of gifts to open on Christmas that the day will be ruined. And I am always going out buying more stuff at the last-minute as ‘fill-in’ items.  And I always buy stuff that I think they will like instead of stuff they actually want. And over the year, it hardly gets played with because my kids like to play with video games and play outside. That’s it.  Books are one of the big gifts this year, both kids asked for more and that is something that I will never refuse them.  M asked for the last Harry Potter and I’m hoping my mother in law gets the whole series for her. She has been tearing through it, finally!

It’s amazing how much better I feel knowing that I have a good chunk of my shopping done with a few keystrokes.  I wish I could do more shopping at malls but I honestly have no time and no energy!

Slowly but surely I think I’ll actually be ready come Christmas Day… How about you? Are you ready or are you getting dragged, kicking and screaming, into the holidays?


Rota… my home away from home.

So our little town of Rota, Spain is pretty small. Maybe 25,000 people WAY more in summertime with all of the tourists that come in from  all over Europe.  From the main gate of our base it’s less than five minutes to drive to the marina where you can park for free in the off season.  From there you can walk to past the lighthouse to an awesome beachfront promenade that spans almost the whole length of the town.

There is also a great rock pier that is great for photo taking opportunities:

Lighthouse from the pier. Marina is on the right, Hotel Duque de Naranja is straight ahead, beach to the left

We also have a wonderful old Moorish castle as well as a beautiful church right near the water.  The castle is called El Castillo de Luna and was built while the Moors inhabited this part of Spain (during this same occupation is when the Moors built the Alhambra)  The castle went through a few different incarnations, including a school, and is now a government building.  Thankfully you can still tour it.

And on the inside is a beautiful courtyard with a sunken fountain:

The walls still have original Moorish artwork from the 13th century *swoon*!!  The artwork was uncovered during renovations and they were able to keep much of it intact and have veeeeeery carefully tried to match the patterns in areas that had been removed.

And one of the doors off of the courtyard…

The church is in the same square as the castle and while pictures of the inside NEVER turn out because you cannot use a flash in there I have taken many many pictures of the lovely doors:


Oh yeah, I also have the cutest kiddos in the WORLD.

The start of the holiday craziness…

The Christmas madness has officially started. 

Friday night we had our tree lighting ceremony on base.  It’s gotten MUCH better from our first year here, when it consisted of lights hung up in a tree shape in front of our PSD building.  We now have a real (fake) tree with lights, decorations and giant fake presents….  The girl scouts were handing out cookies and the boy scouts were giving out hot chocolate.  The high school band was there along with the cheerleaders and dance teams. 

Santa flew in on a helicopter.

That is always a showstopper.

At four years old my son really gets it this year and has gone from being PAINFULLY shy around strangers to actually talking when people talk to him! Yay! So I was AMAZED when he said he wanted to go say ‘hi’ to Santa by the firetruck.  We ended up not getting to talk to him but he did wave and smile.  We had a mini meltdown when the boy scouts ran out of candy canes but good thing the Commissary is 10 feet away! $1 later and all is well again and we had plenty extra to give out to some friends who also missed out on them.

I would post pictures but they were all taken with my phone and are craptastic.  I may update with some stolen FB photos later…

Sunday was breakfast with Santa at the galley.  We were expecting a crazy amount of people so got there about 15 minutes early…. aaaaand there was no one there yet. So we goofed around playing on this AWESOME tree outside that I always make M climb.

climbing on this crazy tree that I don't have a name for

When finally we went inside to get some breakfast.  It was a nice treat, we pretty much never go there to eat but its not bad. Less than $5 for each person, eggs made to order and some additional breakfast stuff to choose from. I was pretty happy with my tortilla con todo which is just an omelette with the works.  While they were trying to sucker me into letting them hit the soft serve ice cream at 10:30 in the morning we decided to do a quick photo with Santa while there was no line.

Yay! A smiling Santa picture!

Then home to finally pull out all of the Christmas stuff. I did it and it was as horrible and time consuming as I thought it was going to be.  The kids had fun helping me put up the decorations, I had a classic Christmas song station playing over the iPod. (Which drove my kids crazy. They were like Bing who?) Everything is cleaned up, empty totes put away and now have the apple cinnamon candles burning and the lights shining. Now I really need to get my butt online and get to ordering some gifts!
Merry Christmas!