I’m going to miss these ladies!

Posted in Special Occassions on October 14, 2012 by grandersons

The decision to move to Spain was surprisingly easy.  When Kyle first got into IE Business School we could hardly believe it.  After all, it was a highly competitive program.  So when he received an email early one morning saying he’d been accepted, we were in disbelief and kept saying, “how can we NOT do this?!?!?”  We literally went through all the pros and cons and in the end, the only thing we were sure of was that when we grow old and look back on our life there is no way we would ever look back and wish we hadn’t gone to Spain!

Just because the decision to go was clear, it didn’t mean the move and the thought of being so far away from all our wonderful family and friends was easy.  Fortunately I was able to settle into an instant group of friends with the IE Partners Club.  It was great to have a group of women (sadly no husbands) all experiencing the same thing – living in a foreign country with husbands/partners going through an incredibly intensive academic program.  We turned to each other for friendship along with tips on setting up cell phones, finding apartments, going grocery shopping, and other things we all took for granted at ‘home.’

After an intensive year in Madrid it was hard to say goodbye to this amazing group of women.  We were all scattering across the world, moving back to where we were from or heading off on another new adventure.  Thank you to my fellow partners.  You made Madrid feel like home!

Here we are at our farewell lunch.


And here are four preggo partners – me, Adina, Mandy and Erin.


We love you Carmencita

Posted in Food & Cooking, Huevita with tags , on September 4, 2012 by grandersons

One of the places that truly made us feel at home in Madrid was Carmencita.  Our friends, Josh and Amanda, and Greg moved to an apartment near this little corner bar and we quickly became regulars.  Greg became such a fixture of the place that a burger was named after him when he moved away from Madrid!  We loved this place for many reasons…

Maryanne (Isabel).  At Carmencita you’ll be greeted by one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet.  Her mom is Spanish and Dad is American so she knew just how to make us feel at home away from home.  She and her boyfriend opened Carmencita and work tirelessly to make it the amazing place it is.  We were pleased to find out that while she goes by Maryann, her real name is actually Isabel (pronounces e-sa-bel), which is the name we had already chosen for our soon-to-be-born baby girl!

Brunch.  Other than a few extremely overpriced spots, Spain has not discovered the joy of a large, late breakfast that includes eggs and mimosas, so we were thrilled to have a place where we could get huevos rancheros or french toast after a night out!

Toasts.  I still dream of the tosta con aguacate y champinones (toast with avocado and mushrooms).  We’ve managed to replicate this at home, but it still doesn’t quite compare to the delicious simplicity that Carmencita captured.  This tosta was literally one of the only things I could actually enjoy eating during the first few months of my pregnancy!

Here we are all dressed up to go to Carmencita’s birthday party – we miss you Carmencita!  Besos!


And a view of the 22 week baby bump – this was shortly after we learned we were having a baby girl!

Thanksgiving in Rome

Posted in Holidays, Special Occassions, Travel with tags , on September 4, 2012 by grandersons

What’s Thanksgiving without turkey and mashed potatoes?  In our case, one with a view of the Vatican and a full plate of authentic Italian pasta!

We spent 4 days in Rome with our sister and brother-in-law, Megan and Dasch Houdeshel, and it was certainly something to be thankful for.  While we missed being away from family and would have enjoyed a big piece of pumpkin pie, we had an absolutely amazing time exploring this beautiful ancient city.

We rented a great apartment in the Trasevere neighborhood of Rome, an area less overrun by tourists and full of charm with it’s narrow cobble stone streets and charming bars and restaurants.  We quickly found our favorite corner cafe just a couple of blocks from our apartment and frequented it often (Megan and Dasch got to know the barista quite well!).

Each day was a new adventure as we covered most of the main attractions, walked for miles, and enjoyed some incredible meals along with our fair share of gelato.

A few highlights included:

The Colosseum…

Here we are outside.

And a 20ish week baby bump sighting.

This pic made the Anderson Christmas card!

The Pantheon and a cafe nearby… 

The pantheon was stunning, as you can imagine.  It was particularly amazing to see the rain pour down through the open roof!

We made a few stops (maybe more than a few…) here for coffee – cappuccino, grazie!

Our neighborhood, Trastevere…

A little brother-sister stroll…

 Nightime walks…

Time to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain.

Making the best of some cold, rainy weather and finding our way around…

Dasch and I are both fans of maps – where are we?

When in Rome…  Carry an umbrella!

The Vatican, especially on a gorgeous sunny day…

We split up to explore but met up to enjoy the afternoon sunshine!

So, do we have a lot to be thankful for?  YES.  We are so thankful to have a sister and brother-in-law that we can travel so well with.  We are thankful to have spent a few days in an incredibly romantic, beautiful city.  We are thankful for gelato and the delicious simplicity of pasta and pizza.  We are thankful for the opportunity to travel around Europe so easily and soak up as many experiences as possible.  Ciao e grazie!

Better Late than Never…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2012 by grandersons

Or so I hear…  But at this point I’m going to go with it.  As you’ll see in the posts to come, we’ve had a lot going on over the past several months – moving back to Seattle, a new job, and having a baby to name a few – so posting on The Ultimate Granderson Getaway has not been at the top of the priority list!  But now it’s time to play catch up, so please forgive (and hopefully enjoy) the outdated posts that will be coming your way soon!

Turning 30 in Paris

Posted in Special Occassions, Travel with tags , on April 15, 2012 by grandersons

I realize that many people dread the thought of turning 30, but oddly enough I’ve actually been looking forward to it.  My best friend, Gioia, and I have always said we would “peak at 30” and and it certainly feels as if that’s true, however I’m now going to shift that to “peaking at 40” just so this trend continues!

In honor of my big 3-0, Kyle and I took a trip to Paris and it could not have been more incredible.  We basically walked and ate our way through the city – our favorite way to travel.  And we were lucky to have recommendations from our friends, Mattieu and Chloe, who have lived in Paris and gave us some inside scoop into their amazing city.

We stayed at a fantastic hotel in Monte Marte, an eclectic neighborhood that is home to the Moulin Rouge and where the movie “Amelie” was filmed.  We loved it!

Our friends, Chloe and Mattieu, gave us some wonderful recommendations for our time in Paris.  We particularly enjoyed a new little restaurant Chloe recommended that a couple from Seattle opened near the Palais Royale – Verjus.  The atmosphere was incredible, as if it was built into a little cave, and the food (an assortment of small plates) was perfect.  I know not many people rave about broccoli, but let me tell you… the broccoli was amazing!

Another major highlights was a boat tour on the Seine.  It was a perfectly clear day and after walking the entire city of Paris it was a pleasant change of pace to sit on the boat and soak up the sights.

We loved seeing pad locks on all the bridges – apparently the tradition is for couples to place a lock on one of the bridges on special occasions like their anniversaries or wedding days.

A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a stop my Notre Dame…

The Louvre…

Or the Eiffel Tour…

We were excited for a night out on my actual birthday and couldn’t resist taking a quick photo to capture the growing baby bump!

Speaking of bellies…did I mention the amount of food we ate on this trip?  Croissants, baguettes, crepes, chocolate…  Here’s a picture of me with my chocolate gorilla friend – do you like our matching bellies?!?

And since I’m not drinking alcohol these days, I was quite pleased to discover ‘jus de pomme’ or sparkling cider.  One night we got crepes to go and popped open a bottle at the hotel in place of our usual champagne!

Here are a few more pics of this amazing city…

I cannot imagine a better way to kick of my 30’s!

Adios Retiro

Posted in Life in Madrid with tags on February 9, 2012 by grandersons

Abby insisted that we make one last trip to one of our favorite spots in Madrid – Parque del Retiro.  We were excited that our friends, the Chopras, and their sweet puppy, Salchicha (yes, that’s ‘sausage’ in Spanish) could join us for some pre-international-flight puppy play!



Day Trip to Segovia

Posted in Travel with tags , on February 9, 2012 by grandersons

Around the beginning of October, we started to realize that our time in Madrid was coming to a close and we only had a couple of months to do all the things we had talked about doing since we had arrived.  We didn’t go crazy, knowing that we had absolutely made the most of our time in Spain and felt incredibly satisfied with our experience, but there were still a few things that were easy to do and could top off the most amazing 15 months of our lives.

One of those things was a day trip to Segovia.  We hopped on a train and made our way to this historical town just outside of Madrid on a surprisingly warm and sunny Saturday.

We got a bit of a late start and caught the slow train (that takes about 2 hours instead of the 30 minute high speed) that brought us to Segovia just in time for lunch.  We took advantage of the incredible weather and grabbed a table on the terrace to enjoy our meal.

After lunch it was time for some sight seeing…  Segovia is famous for it’s ancient Roman aqueduct – apparently it’s construction dates back to the beginning of the 2nd century so the fact that it’s still standing and has such a striking presence is pretty remarkable!

We were also impressed by the Segovia Cathedral – especially beautiful with the gorgeous blue sky as a background.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking and exploring.

Hasta luego Segovia!