Summer, where art thou?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

It's been six months since we've traveled anywhere (!) and my feet are itchin' again. It dawned on me recently that we don't actually travel as much as it seems. We save up all our vacation days and money for the one or two big trips we do every year and then never really go anywhere in between. While our friends head off on weekend jaunts to the east or spring break holidays to the west, we don't budge from our little Austin bubble. And, after nearly half a year of sticking around, I'm starting to go a little stir-crazy!

What's worse is that Austin has been getting record rain over the past few weeks that I think it's actually morphing into a geographical copy of Portland. It's rainy and humid and a mosquito wonderland around here, and I can't help but long for the crazy-hot dog days of summer. The plus side to all the rain is that our miniature container garden is flourishing, so we should be set with tomatoes and spinach once summer finally shows up. :)

With the new school year starting in August, I think we'll try to take advantage of our proximity to some awesome American destinations and check out a few new places closer to home. We have a long list of cities and destinations we'd love to visit, so now it's just a matter of getting out of our comfort zone and travel habits to make it happen.

But first, we'll be heading back to France in a few weeks, and I've nearly started packing our bags already, I'm so excited! We'll be visiting most of Gui's family in Paris and then head down to the south to visit with his grandparents. We're hoping to sneak in a quick day-trip to Italy while we're there, but nothing's been solidified, yet. Anyone know of any great north-Italian destinations we should try to see? Anyone know how to make summer get here faster?

See you soon, Paris!

See you soon, gelato!

See you soon, famille!

Christmas in Paris

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It's hard to believe we're already 2 weeks into a new year! After two consecutive Christmases spent stateside, we headed to Paris this year for the holiday. It was a short but sweet whirlwind of a trip, and we left with full bellies, hearts and an extra checked luggage. Avienne is at the age where she actually grasps the idea of Christmas, so it was really fun to introduce some of my and Gui's favorite traditions with her this year. 

We had our fill of all the traditional and seasonal French fare, including foie gras, cheese, buche de noel and of course way too much champagne. I really enjoyed not having an agenda for the trip, focusing instead on spending as much time as possible with family and relaxing whenever possible. Avienne played lots of games, baked cakes and indulged in so many goodies, it was hard to convince her to get on the plane back home! 

We were able to catch up with some friends we hadn't seen for a good while, and the weather was so mild for December that we were able to spend a day out at the local Christmas market and a bit of time at the enchanting park where Amelie was filmed (that swan!). Paris is truly magical this time of year, and I know we're all pretty grateful that we get to bask in its magic from time to time. 


Ice skating in Texas!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Avienne's been asking to go ice skating for months now, and I finally got around to taking her with some friends a couple of weeks ago. Whole Foods puts a rink up in their mezzanine area every year, and it was our first time checking it out. I haven't been ice skating since I was a kid and fearless enough to actually enjoy doing it. Even though she was super excited about going, I was a little nervous that she would be scared about falling or actually hurt herself and call it quits (which, sadly, is totally something I would do). But, to my surprise, she braved through a few falls and kept a smile on the entire time. I love that she saw enough joy in the activity to push through her fears, and her attitude was so motivating and inspiring to me. I'm also hoping this means that she inherited her papa's athletic genes because goodness knows I don't have much to offer in that department!


A year of lessons

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A lot can happen in a year, or in our case, six months. It’s hard to know where to begin, so how about the beginning?

When we set out to try living in Paris, we jumped head-first into it. The thing you should know about Gui and me is that we’re not really planners, we’re doers. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember, and Gui’s been a willing participant since we started our adventure together in 2006. There’s nothing I love and crave more than change, which is all good and well when you’re a young spring chicken - or a couple of young chickens - but, keeping up that same lifestyle when there’s a little one in the mix makes for a constant struggle of emotions - stay or go, settle or set-out. 

So, when we made the decision to move to Paris, it was done as it always had been done: on a whim. We gave ourselves two months, which was pushed back to five months and eventually happened seven months later. We only had one thing sorted out when we moved and that was Avienne’s school. We figured everything else would fall into place, and for the most part, it did. Gui started a job two months after he arrived, I was able to set up my business fairly easily, and Avienne was absolutely thriving at and loving her school. The problem? We couldn’t find a decent place to live. 

Some things

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The endless search for shelter and home has me feeling very neither-here-nor-there lately. It's a weird and embarrassing situation to be in a constant limbo - clueless about which direction we're headed and forever waiting-and-seeing. By the grace of a loving and generous family, we've been able to set up camp in an otherwise unused piece of property just outside of the city. It's not really "home," but we're happily making it our home base for now, while we wait for some decisions by summer's end. 

I do miss the buzz and conveniences of being in the city-proper, but I must admit it's been a nice, quiet retreat from the hubbub these past couple of weeks. And it doesn't hurt that there's a relatively massive kitchen that has been tempting me to make use of it. 

While Avienne is on summer break, and as we wait for our real vacation to start next week, I've been indulging in a few "homey" activities. It's been working to relieve some of the sting of still being "homeless" and has been providing a much needed distraction from all the other doubts, concerns and questions I'm currently juggling in my mind. It's so easy to get lost in the negative of our situation, and believe me, I've been losing it. But, I want to look back in a few years and remember how we persevered as a family, and how we made the most of our situation by focusing on the good and enjoying the little things. It's such a special time in Avienne's childhood, that the only thing I want to do is be present to create those special moments with her. 

So, here are some little things I've been enjoying over the past few weeks; the things that have made my heart feel full and my time feel well-spent. 

I have missed cooking. When Gui's co-worker gifted him the most gigantic squash and cucumbers from his home garden, I thought "what the heck am I supposed to cook with those?!" After my calabaza con pollo barely made a dent in one zucchini, I opted to bake some zucchini bread to go along with a cake salé I'd already been planning. It was so fun to be back in the kitchen with my little helper whose weekly baking sessions at school have definitely upped her baking game! Now, I just need to figure out what I'm going to do with that second zucchini.

 We had THE best time at the Jardin d'Acclimation a few weeks back. We spent the day running all around the park, carousel-hopping and mechanical horse-riding. Avienne loves carousels and definitely enjoyed the Dumbo ride (especially with her Papa), but we hands-down had the most laughs on our way out of the park while stopping through the crazy mirror trail. We could not stop cracking up at how funny we all looked in this one mirror. 

Give me good coffee and this beautiful floor and my life is complete. A favorite spot in the middle of the Palais gardens.

Edible gifts from summer holidays, and our favorite summer meal.
I never knew I would love being a mom to a girl so much, but I do. Avienne brings out the girly in me and it makes me so happy to do things like braid her hair and paint her toes. I hope she'll always let me indulge my often overlooked girly side with her. 

Chamonix avec les amis

Friday, July 10, 2015

So, we spent some time in the mountains a few weeks ago. Some of our best friends from Austin were visiting La France and hooked us up with a slightly extravagant chalet tucked away on a hill in the Alps. I'm not much of a mountain (or nature) girl, but it's hard not to feel the magic that radiates from being in a valley full of sunshine surrounded by colossal, snow-capped mountains. Our visit there definitely brought out my inner hippie.

Being the city folk that we are, we opted out of any major physical activities and settled on sightseeing from the lift's drop-off points (and eating all the traditional cheesy, meaty specialties in the area, of course). We explored a bit once we reached a good point on the mountain and couldn't stop watching all the brave paragliders jump off of the mountainside with only an oversized umbrella on their backs. Although I opted out, Guillaume, Avienne and the rest of the group put on their big-boy pants and took an open-air lift across one of the mountains to get a good look at the great Bossons Glacier. The pictures they took were beautiful, but after seeing the flimsy little chair lift, I'm definitely glad I sat that one out. 
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