Friday, December 13, 2013


This girl was full of smiles and squeals this morning after she woke up from a nice 2.5 hour nap!  Lately when she gets excited, she squeals and starts to move and kick a lot, sometimes causing her whole little body to fall forward! Of course, I didn’t catch the best moments on video because she usually starts fading or becomes distracted by the time I decide to get the camera out, but take it from me, she’s pretty darn cute!

PS: TGTAOTMDUWGHFC! Figure that one out, Dad! Smile

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nora: 2 Months


Weight/Length: We won’t know until we go back to the doctor at 3 months. However, Luke tried weighing her last week and figured about 10.5 lbs. Judging from the way her clothes are fitting, she’s definitely grown length wise as well. It also seems like she’s thinned out a bit this month, which I read often happens with breastfed babies around this age.

Medical Issues: She has the occasional tummy problems, but she’s a big, strong healthy girl! Praying we make it through this yucky cold and flu season without any illnesses.

She was supposed to receive the first round of vaccinations at her 2-month appointment; however, the Doctor didn’t want to give her the vaccines right before we leave to go to the states just in case she has any sort reaction to them. So we’re delaying a bit, and she’ll receive them at her 3 month visit instead.

P1015195So big so fast!

Sleep: Nora is sleeping really well and seems to have learned the difference between night and day pretty easily! Recently, she’s been starting the night with a nice 6-7 hour stretch, going down between 10 – 11 and waking to eat between 4 and 5. (Updated: The last two nights she’s gone down between 9-10 and woken between 2-3.) After she eats, she typically goes right back to sleep, although there was one night last week where we had to go in a time or two to help her get back to sleep. Her napping is still all over the place, and she’s still taking more than 3 naps a day since she really can’t be awake (and happy) for much more than 45 minutes to an hour at a time. Some days getting her to sleep and stay a sleep for more than just a few minutes is a battle; those are long, tiring days. A lot of days, though, she’ll take at least one long nap, lasting about 3 hours, with a bunch of other little short naps lasting about 30 minutes – 1 hour. I’m looking forward to when her napping (hopefully) becomes a little more predictable. Since we’re just about to travel across the world and really mess with her timing, I’m thankful that we don’t already have some nice schedule to royally mess up. Hopefully, she’s still young and adaptable enough that the 7 hour time change when we go home (and then when we return again to Spain) won’t be too, too painful on any of us.

Clothes: I think it’s time to retire all the newborn clothing. Sad smile Luke will still try to put her in one occasionally to get one last use, but they’re really too small and short and make her look extra chunky. 3 month sizes are roomier, comfier looking and definitely fitting her the best.

P1015210I love her crazy hair!

Diet: She’s still 100% breastfed, and everything’s going really well. She’s down to between 6 and 8 feedings per day and eats for 20 or so minutes at a time. When she was first born, I was feeding her at least 12 times a day (sometimes more), and each feeding probably lasted at least 40 minutes. What a change! This along with no more pain/latch issues has definitely made breastfeeding much easier than when we were just getting started, and I’m definitely glad we stuck with it through the difficult beginning.

On a more frustrating note, this past weekend she has started refusing to take a bottle when she just took one the weekend before without any issues. We’ve tried everything we can think of, and she just cries and spits it out. We’re not giving up, though. (Get ready, Luke! We have to try again tonight! ) (Updated: No such luck. Looks like Mama won’t be going to the Christmas dinner on Wednesday night.)


Baby Gear Love: She fell in love with the swing this month. She’s taken a few long naps in it when I haven’t been able to get her to sleep anywhere else. (You have to get her in it before she’s too tired, though. Otherwise, she won’t stand for it.) It’s also really helpful in the evenings because she’ll happily sit there for a bit while I get dinner started.

Although I thought she hated the stroller, just this past weekend we went out with it at least three times, and she seemed to enjoy it! She even fell asleep on her own all three times! I think we still returned to the apartment with one of us carrying her and the other pushing the stroller, but we were out for several hours at a time, so that’s understandable. This definitely makes me feel more confident about getting out for walks when it’s just the two of us.

Milestones: Real smiles and coos and even a few loud squeals. She’s best at smiling with a full tummy and after she’s had a nice nap! During tummy time, she can hold her head at 90 degrees for long periods of time and turn from side to side. She’s started to discover her hands and is working on getting them in her mouth. Not quite a thumb sucker, but we’ll see.

P1015206I nearly caught a smile (and a cute little dimple!)

Likes: Mirrors, bouncing on the exercise ball, being lifted high in the air by Dad, swaying, dancing or movement of any kind, getting her arms out of her swaddle, being serenaded by Dad and his guitar, sucking on her hand, warm baths, her play mat and swing, looking all around our apartment and just taking it all in (especially whatever’s up in the left hand corner of the any room.)

Dislikes: Getting too tired, being left alone when she’s tired, bottles, pacifiers, having her nose cleaned out with the NoseFrida, getting out of the bath, being over stimulated.

Nicknames: The Niña, Neeny, Teeny, Teeny-Neeny, Nori, Chicky, Norita, Mama’s Baby and Mama’s Girl. We rarely call her Nora.

Mama’s Thoughts: What a difference a month makes! I can’t believe how big she is and how much she’s changed in just one short month! I think the difference between months 1 and 2 are more obvious and greater than between her very first days and month 1. All of a sudden, she’s huge, and of course, she just keeps getting more and more beautiful! No bias here. Winking smile

We still have our challenges and some days are more difficult than others, but we’re starting to (hopefully) find our groove! Although it’s a little bit sad to think about how quickly the time passes and how much she’s grown and changed in just 2 months, I’m mostly just excited to see how she continues to develop! She’s turned our entire world upside down in the best way possible, and we love her so much – more and more each day. I have a feeling that, though everything else may change, that won’t, and we’re going to continue enjoying her even more as she grows (until she hits her “tweens” at least Winking smile)!

And for comparison purposes:


Christmas in Madrid

We ventured out last Friday evening to walk around the center of Madrid and see all the Christmas lights and markets that have overtaken the city. With the chilly weather, stands selling roasted chestnuts and tons of Christmas lights brightening the night, it definitely was a nice way to kick off the holiday season! But oh my goodness, the amount of people in Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor was ridiculous! I vaguely remember the crowds from when we did the same type of little outing last year, but we weren’t trying to navigate it all with a stroller. (We probably made several stops for wine last year as well. Winking smile) What a difference that makes! Nora was great, though, and stayed all warm in cozy in her stroller until we pushed her to the limits, and she was ready to get out of that seat.

It’s nice to see the city all decorated for the Christmas season (and we even knocked a few Christmas gifts off our list!), but we can’t wait to get home and experience all the festivities with our family! Less than one week!



PC065176Marshmallow Matthews

PC065179The tree in Sol


PC065181Soooo many people!



PC065188Too bad Nora’s not quite old enough for the carousel!

PC065190Back at home and glad to be out of that puffy suit!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Big Smiles!

Yesterday I was all worried that Nora wasn’t making enough eye contact with us or easily smiling in response to our smiles yet as some silly book suggested she should be doing already. The girl proved me wrong this morning! She was all smiles!

”Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” – Proverbs 12:25

That little smile sure cheered me up and made my whole day! Can’t wait for her to do it again for her daddy!

PS: I love to see how her eyes change when I make those silly noises! She’s probably going to get sick of me real quick. Winking smile 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Little Red Mirror

Before Nora was here, I came across a cute little mirror framed in red buttons that I thought would be a cute little accessory in the nursery (and add a little girly touch if we happened to have a girl!) It was only $10, so I bought it not knowing what we’d do with it and had my mom and dad bring it all the way across the ocean with them.

Once the mirror was here, I originally planned to hang it on a little rack we have just by the doorway where we hang her towels and a few decorative items, but then I had the grand idea to hang it just above the changing table where she can look into it during diaper changes.


Best idea I’ve ever had! I thought it would be a while before she would really notice it, but she immediately started staring at it and loves it! She looks in it the whole time, and it completely changed the way that diaper changes go!

2013-11-08 09.52.03

And sometimes we stay well beyond the diaper change, just talkin’ to that pretty baby in the mirror!

Note: These pictures are from the beginning of November. I tried to post about this from my phone several weeks ago, but the Blogger Ap kept freezing on me.

Big, Strong Girl!

Nora can only stay awake about 45 minutes before needing to go back to sleep, but what a fun 45 minutes we just had! (Well, really like 15 minutes once you subtract eating and a diaper change.) I can’t believe how big she is getting already! On Tuesday this week somebody asked me how many months she had, and then was shocked when I said just 7 weeks! So big and strong, so smart and beautiful!

Ignore the whiny voice in the background. I was so excited for her!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Whether it’s swaying, two-stepping across the living room, walking laps around our apartment, bouncing on the exercise ball or acting as a 10 lb. weight while Daddy does shoulder presses, Nora likes to move! I caught a little sample of this on video a couple of days ago just as we were heading out for a walk. I wish I’d had my phone camera handy sooner because it sure was funny!

PS: The last two days (after a huge epiphany with help from my sister, Meg!) when I’ve been paying better attention to her sleepy signals and trying to catch her before she’s overtired, the movement necessary to get her to sleep or stop crying is significantly less. However, the girl still likes to move!

PPS: I love those big, dark eyes!

PPPS: She eventually fell asleep, and we got out for a nice walk to the park!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Nora: 1 Month


Weight: 4.6 kg/10 lbs 2 oz

Length: 54.5 cm/21.5 in

Medical Issues: We’ve been blessed with a healthy girl! The jaundice from birth is no longer an issue. At her 1 month appointment, they did routine sonograms of her head, abdomen and hips, and all was normal. She screamed the entire 30 minutes that the sonograms took. Apparently that is normal too. Smile


Sleep: She makes us work for it! Except for maybe once or twice in the swing, the girl doesn’t fall asleep on her own. She likes to be bounced and swayed and ssshhh’ddd until she’s out (and then some.) Since we don’t really have a schedule yet, we usually put her down for the night whenever we’re ready for bed, and she typically wakes up every 3-4 hours, which really isn’t too bad. For instance, last night I fed her and she pretty easily fell asleep at midnight (though she slept on her daddy’s chest for the first hour). Then she woke at 4 and ate for 15 minutes before going straight back to sleep. She woke again at 7:20 and ate again before going down for a morning nap, which is how I’m able to type this post. Smile She still needs a lot of sleep during the day, and when she doesn’t get it, we have a rough evening with lots of fussing. “They” say if a baby doesn’t get enough sleep, they get overtired and have a hard time falling asleep. This is most definitely true for her, so I’ve been trying to pay better attention to her signals and catch her before she has a chance to get overtired. When I pick her up and she’s tired, she immediately turns her head and lays it on my shoulder and her sweet little arms are on me almost like a hug. It’s the sweetest, most perfect sleep signal in the world.

Clothes: We’re still squeezing her into the newborn sizes to get one more use out of them, but she wears lots of 0-3 months as well, especially in “outfits” since the majority of newborn sizes I have are all gender neutral pajamas.

Diet: 100% Mama milk. I was so worried about breastfeeding, but she came out knowing exactly what to do. Though we definitely had some pain issues to work through in the beginning, those have all subsided, and we’re starting to find our rhythm. I think I am making plenty (maybe more than enough) milk, and she’s pretty efficient about it, so most feedings aren’t more than about 20 minutes. And I’m so glad I don’t have to wash a bunch of bottles. Ain’t no one got time for that.


Baby Gear Love: The only gear I’m loving right now is the Boba. It’s so easy to get on, and she seems to love it. Once we start walking, she immediately falls asleep. If she’s in the right mood, Nora loves her play mat. I swear she’s already beginning to knowingly bat and grab at the little toys that hang down.

Now I won’t call it baby gear hate because that’s a little strong, but I definitely have some baby gear disappointment in our stroller (Bugaboo Cameleon), which is a shame considering how much it costs, rave reviews, etc. It’s not very easily handled with one hand. For instance, if the brake is all the way on, I have to use two hands to get it off, which just isn’t very easy when you have a baby in your hands half the time. Also, while the bassinet is easy to get on the base, getting it off can be difficult. There’s also a handle on the bassinet that comes on and off. I find it almost impossible to get it off, and it usually makes me extremely frustrated. As a caveat, I should say that just in general messing with the stroller is difficult, so that could be the root of some of my frustration. Though we’re keeping it in the storage room downstairs, I still have to get it in and out of the storage room and down about 4-6 stairs all with her in my arms or in the bassinet. The storage room door is old and hard to open, especially one handed, so it’s not the easiest process. You have to really want to go out.

Milestones: Although you have to work pretty hard for it, we’ve gotten a couple real smiles and coos. She can also hold her head up high and turn her head from side to side during tummy time. She’s been a champ at head/neck control since she was born.


Likes: She LOVES the mirror that I hung by the changing table. It’s completely changed how our diaper changes go! She stares at it the entire time, and sometimes we stay well beyond a diaper change just talkin’ to that pretty baby! She also likes dancing while mama sings, being held, when her daddy burps her, the picture above our couch (I think it’s the contrast between the white wall and the picture that really captures her) and eating. She loves to eat.

Dislikes: Getting out of the bathtub. She seems to like baths until it’s time to get out, and then despite our best efforts to keep her warm, happy and pampered, she screams until she’s all dressed again. She also hates falling asleep anywhere but in someone’s arms. I’ve spent lots of minutes pulled over in a park or on the corner of some busy Madrid street with an empty stroller while I try to calm her and help her get to sleep before continuing on our way. Although it’s not always convenient for being out and about or getting anything else done, I try to remind myself that she won’t always want to be held, and I won’t always be able to calm and comfort her the way I can now. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Mama’s Thoughts: What a crazy, challenging, beautiful month! Sometimes it seems like it’s been way longer than a month and others, it seems like yesterday. Sometimes I can’t wait to get past these difficult first months, and I’m wishing for change and for some sort of schedule/order to be back in our lives. Then the next minute, I’m in tears as I sit rocking her to sleep because time moves too fast, and I don’t want her to change or grow up. We’ll have one successful outing where I feel like I did everything “right",” and I feel like I’m ready to take on the world. But the next time I end up carrying home a screaming baby with an empty stroller as people stare me down the whole way home, and I never want to leave the house again. Every experience, every day, hour, even minute, is different.

Overall, she’s a really good, pleasant baby. We’ve had a few rough days and evenings, but I think those are avoidable if I pay good attention to her cues and signals instead of what some book or doctor or other mommy says she “should” be doing.

I’ve never craved home like I have been in this past month. I just want to share her with everyone, and though I love holding her, it’d be nice to have a little bit of a break occasionally. I’m so glad Nonnie and Poppy got to meet her, albeit for just a few short days as it turns out, and I can’t wait to take her home in exactly one month from today to meet Grandma and Grandpa Matthews and all her aunts, uncles and cousins that are anxiously awaiting our arrival. Everyone is going to meet us at the airport with balloons and signs since they couldn’t be at the hospital, right? Winking smile) . Seriously, though, it’s been really difficult at times being over here by ourselves, but I’m really proud of us for doing so well on our own. Luke always reminds me that most things worth doing in life aren’t easy, and this beautiful article reminds me of that as well:

“…just because it isn’t EASY and PAINLESS – it isn’t necessarily wrong.  Sometimes hard is okay, sometimes, often, it’s even good.  Hard is how we grow.”

PS: These next pictures crack me up because it looks like she and the bear are positioned exactly the same, like they’re in the middle of a little choreographed dance, and it all happened by chance. Smile




Friday, November 8, 2013

Baby’s First Bath

After witnessing her disgust for baths while we were still at the hospital (she screamed like crazy and turned beet red!), we were pleasantly surprised when Nora seemed to enjoy her first bath at home. And so far, she continues to tolerate them pretty well, at least until the point where we have to take her out of the water. Despite wrapping her in a nice, warm towel and giving her lots of cozy cuddles, she screams like crazy until we have her dressed again.

Right now, she gets just two baths a week, usually on Saturday/Sunday and Wednesday. The Dad is a pro at getting the water temperature just right and giving a nice, good and quick bath. I decided to try a quick bath on my own this week while Luke ran to pick up dinner and found out the hard way that it’s much easier with four hands instead of just two!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bundled Baby

The mornings are already quite chilly in Madrid, dropping to the upper 30's - low 40's overnight. After Dr. Google assured me it was safe to take a baby out in those temperatures as long as they were dressed appropriately, I bundled up the babe, and we headed out on a walk. She was so nice and cozy, she snoozed the whole time!

Monday, October 14, 2013

40 Weeks

And we have our baby GIRL in our arms!


Nora Belén Matthews surprised us 6 days before her due date on October 9, 2013 at 10:22 pm. Shocking us all, she weighed in at a whopping 3.8 kilograms (8 lbs 6 oz) and measured 48 cms long (19 inches).


I found myself sitting on the couch sipping coffee with frozen peas in my bra while daddy and baby are sleeping in the bedroom and figured it was the perfect time for little Nora to make her blog debut. We’re headed back to the hospital this morning for her first check up, so I’ve got to start getting ready for that adventure. I’ll be sure to write more about her welcome to this great big world later. For now, it’s enough to say that we are home, happy, healthy and so very much in love.


PS: Nora says, “Are you really going to make me do these silly monthly photos with a sticker on my shirt?” Yes, my baby. I am.

Friday, October 4, 2013

38 Weeks


How far along? 38 weeks

Due date? October 15, 2013

Weight gain? Maybe another pound this week, but it’s hard to say. Just like before I was pregnant, the scale fluctuates so much.

Exercise? Swimming, Body by Trimester videos, walking and a few online prenatal strength workouts that I’ve found online.

Maternity clothes? Running out of options!

Stretch marks? Not that I’ve seen, but I’m sure they’ll show up eventually. Can’t imagine that there aren’t with the way this tummy has stretched.

Sleep? Definitely getting worse as it’s hard to get or stay comfortable. I’m up about every 2 hours (good practice, I know!), and unfortunately, I’ve been having problems falling back to sleep. Usually a book does the trick, though.

Miss anything? Ready for a glass of wine and to move freely.

Movement? All the time. However, it seems we have a stubborn little baby because when we were hooked up to the fetal monitor on Tuesday, s/he went straight to sleep. They had me eat some candy to get the little one going again, so that they could see the variations in heart rate that they were looking for.

Food cravings? Nope.

Anything make you queasy or sick? Nope.

Other symptoms? Seriously, nothing really. In general, I’m getting more and more uncomfortable, have difficulty bending over, etc., but that’s all more than normal at this point. I’ve had little to no swelling, indigestion, etc. I think I’ve felt a few contractions, but nothing regular or super intense at this point. At our last doctor’s appointment, she said that I was already making some progress. So it could be any day now or it could still be 3 weeks away as they don’t induce until 10 days after the due date (unless medically necessary.)

Have you started to show yet? Of course.

Gender prediction? 50/50.

Happy or moody? In awe. A few times this week, it will just hit me all of sudden how soon it is that we’ll have a real live baby with us. It’s not like I forget that I’m pregnant; that’s impossible at this point. But sometimes it still just doesn’t feel real, and then something will make the reality of it all hit me in the face.

Looking forward to? Our next weekly appointment on Monday, welcoming our baby, and getting Nonnie and Poppy here safely to meet their 4th grandbaby (and help us figure out what we’re doing!)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Galicia, the Northwest of Spain

August in Madrid is priceless. If you’re lucky like we’ve been, it’s nearly an entire uninterrupted month of, somewhat mandated, vacation as companies, cities and services alike shut down, and people escape the hot city for the cooler (or at least wetter) coasts. This year, Luke and I kicked off our awesome August with a much anticipated, yet completely unplanned, road trip to Galicia.

We rented a car on Wednesday, August 7, packed up that night, and hit the road on Thursday. We had a vague idea of places we’d like to see/stop, but we didn’t book hotels or anything in advance in order to give ourselves the most flexibility possible.

On Day 1, we left Madrid and made brief stops in Avila, Salamanca and Zamora before settling for the night in Ribadelago near Lago de Sanabria.  Our first day on the road, and we were already thankful that we didn’t book hotels in advance.  Although we thought we’d make it a bit further the first day, we got curious when we saw the exit sign for Lago de Sanabria  and decided to make it our first overnight stop of the trip. We easily found a cozy, cabin-like little “hostel” and celebrated our four-year anniversary with a dinner at a Sidreria (where they serve Luke’s favorite Spanish cider) in the tiny lakeside village of Ribadelago.

P8074094We’ve visited Avila before, so a brief photo op at the 4 points was all we needed.

P8074099A brief rest in the grass. We obviously had a full agenda. Smile

P8074101Pretty church in Salamanca.

P8074110Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor.

P8074120The cathedral in Salamanca.

P8074127The cathedral in Zamora.


P8084153Fancy anniversary dinner spot.

P8084154Picking apples in Ribadelago.

P8084155Lago de Sanabria

P8084157Couple’s pic before hitting the road.

Day 2, we drove from Ribadelago to Ourense, where we stopped for a good, cheap Italian lunch and walked around for a bit. We contemplated checking out the natural hot springs that Ourense has to offer but ultimately decided that they didn’t sound that great during the heat of the day. (On a side note, it was much hotter here and in all of Galicia than we had expected. It wasn’t until the end of our trip, when we were a little further East and very near Asturias, that we found the cool, misty weather we’d been hoping for. ) After leaving Ourense, we made a quick detour through the medieval town of Ribadavia. Though it was quite sleepy and empty while we were here (right during the siesta hours), it had a nice medieval charm and curiosity that Luke really enjoyed. From there we ventured to Pontevedra, where we stopped for the night. I think that this ended up being Luke’s favorite city that we stopped in (though he’ll have to confirm; I can’t remember for sure.) It was buzzing with people and alive with activity yet felt very friendly and local at the same time. We found a nice room in time to have a quick rest and shower before dinner. After dinner, we walked around, enjoyed the breezy cool evening and made a few stops for fro-yo and drinks.

P8084163Medieval church.

P8084164Sir Luke.

P8084168Medieval castle.

P8084169Anybody home?

P8084172Quiet plaza in Ribadavia.


P8094185Lively plaza in Pontevedra.

P8094188Cathedral in Pontevedra.

P8094194Cute plaza where we had dinner.

P8094201 Luke’s homey.

On day 3, we boarded a boat and spent the day on Isla de Ons. Our original plan was to go to Isla Cies, but all the boats were full by the time we called to reserve tickets. However, Isla de Ons didn’t disappoint, and I imagine the two islands are very similar. We checked out several different beaches where Luke met an octopus “hunter” and I gawked pretended not to stare at the nudists. Despite the blazing heat, the water was frigid, but believe it or not, we both braved the cold temps and went all the way in. Had I not been pregnant and afraid of getting too hot, I probably would have never gone in that water. I swear my toes froze! After a day at the beach, we made the short drive to Santiago de Compostela for the night.

P8094206Pulling away from the shore, en route to Isla de Ons.

P8094209Tiny, old Spanish man.

P8094214Bag full of octopus.

P8094215The Octopus hunter.

P8094223It was a hike to get to the beach but well worth it.

P8094225A couple of nudies.

P8094230Such clear, cold water.

P8094245Luke indulging in our newest Candy Crush addiction on the boat back from Isla de Ons.

Unfortunately, our camera was dead by the time we reached Santiago, and although I was positive that I packed the charger, I couldn’t find it anywhere. (Until we made it home, of course, and I pulled it right out of a pocket of my suitcase…we’d had it all along.) Luckily, we were able to take a few pictures with the iPad, so all was not lost. In Santiago, we sampled lots of Galician seafood, watched all the pilgrims arrive as they finished their journey from the Camino de Santiago and went to Mass at the famous Cathedral.

imageSaint James

image_2Santiago’s Cathedral

image (2)Weary pilgrims resting in front of the Cathedral after finally having reached the end of the Camino de Santiago.

image_1Plaque that marks the true end of the Camino de Santiago. Every pilgrim touches it at the end of his/her journey.

After soaking in some of Santiago, we headed East along the Northern coast of Spain, made a quick stop in Lugo for a walk along the ancient wall that encircles the city and then stayed the night near the water in the little town of Ribadeo. Ribadeo is the only stop where I got a bit nervous that we might not find a room and would be counting sheep in the rental car for the night. We checked a hotel or two with no vacancies, and then found one with one room remaining. Instead of taking it right there, we dilly dallied around with making the decision and by the time we went back, the room was gone! We drove around and around the city before finally finding a couple more options to check. Luke ran into the hotels while I waited in our illegally parked rental car, needing to go to the bathroom worse than I ever have in my entire life. Finally, after what seemed like hours due to my extreme need for the restroom, he returned with hotel keys in hand!

image_1 (2)The ancient city wall in Lugo.

image_2 (2)A cool old bridge we passed on the drive from Santiago to Ribadeo.

image_3Couple’s pic on the bridge.

The next day was, by far, my favorite of the trip and maybe Luke’s too. Most importantly, we finally found the cool, misty, overcast weather that I’d been craving! Then we set off in the direction of Oviedo, which is actually in Asturias instead of Galicia.  However, when we stopped for gas, we made a spur of the minute decision to detour to a beach that Luke had heard of, Playa de las Catedrales (Beach of the Cathedrals).  Not only did the gas station attendant assure us that the beach was nearby and point us in the right direction, she also told us where to go to lunch after our beach visit. I’m so glad we listened! Although the beach was crowded with people, we arrived at the perfect time (low tide) and were able to explore all the natural arches and caves. It was beautiful, and then the lunch was, by far, the best meal of our trip. We detoured to a tiny fishing village called Rinlo, where we set outside for a fabulous lobster soup. The soup was absolutely perfect in the chilly weather, and we enjoyed every bite and moment in the litte fishing village.

image (5)Some of the natural arches.

image (7)

image_1 (6)

image_2 (5)

image_2 (6)

image_1 (7)Percebes in their natural environment.

image (6)Luke taking a closer look.

image_1 (5)A closer look. Who knew we’d be eating these for lunch just a short while later?

image_1 (4)The wonderful restaurant where we ate lunch. We made it just before the lunch crowd and snagged one of the last outdoor tables.

image (4)Scallops to start.

image_2 (3)They brought us a plate of percebes when our stew order took longer than expected. Look familiar?

image (3)Tomato, rice and lobster stew. Warmed us right up on this chilly day. So messy but oh so good.

Stuffed with lobster, we took off once again in the direction of Oviedo. Although Luke was the best “pregnant” husband for almost all of our trip, joining me for sparkling water with lemon instead of cerveza, when we made it to Oviedo, home of his favorite Asturian cider, he had to partake in the cider. We found a hotel, did a quick little hotel room workout to get moving after all our lobster and driving, showered, changed and headed out in search of cider, which wasn’t hard to find. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any great pictures of the waiters pouring the cider since we didn’t want to carry the iPad with us, but they were experts in Oviedo. However, they had a hard time keeping Luke’s glass full. Smile

image_1 (3)Picture in Oviedo before heading out in search of cider.

The next morning, we had a quick breakfast and did a bit more walking through a big, green park and around the old center of Oviedo before starting back to Madrid. Our trip was everything we’d hoped for, and we enjoyed every minute of our relaxing start to August!

With our time in Galicia, I think we’ve now seen just about every area of Spain that we wanted to. Of course, there are many more incredible sites and places to check out, but it’s good to know we’ve checked off just about every spot on our Spanish checklist just in time to welcome Baby Matthews!

Next up, a recap of the Matthews’ family trip to Europe!(Hopefully to be finished before Baby M makes his/her appearance!)