An oldie but a goodie

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Zilker Park Trail of Lights is back on this year after having been cancelled for the past three years for lack of funding.  I was so excited that we'd be here this year to see them and was impatiently waiting for the cold weather to return before we went.  Last night was to be one of the coldest in a while, so we bundled  up our babe and headed out to the park as soon as Gui got home from work.  Thank goodness they have convenient shuttles nowadays to transport folks to and from the park because I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have gone if we had to drive in the horrendous rush-hour traffic to get there - not to mention, dealing with a crazy parking situation.  This was Avienne's second time on a bus, and she was totally enjoying the ride sans carseat (meanwhile, I'm freaking out at every bump we encounter).

As soon as we arrived [safely] at the park, we hopped off the shuttle, grabbed a hot dog for Gui, a corn dog for me and a hot cocoa for each of us and spent a few minutes gazing up from below the Zilker tree before walking the 1.25-mile trail through a sea of Christmas lights.  I think it's been about 10 years since I last strolled through the Trail of Lights, but so little about it has changed since then that I felt like I had visited just last year.

It's too bad night falls right around the time that Avienne is ready for bed because it meant that she had to miss out on seeing over half of the light installations (and that I had to carry her for half a mile).  Still, though, Gui and I really enjoyed getting a healthy dose of Christmas spirit, and I'm happy to have made a new, lasting memory with my two favorite people.  I know I've said it before, but I so love reliving these old traditions for the first time with Gui and Avienne.

Sidenote: Between holding a corn dog, hot cocoa and a baby, we didn't have many opportunities to capture the moment on camera. Plus, it's hard to take pictures of Christmas lights at night, and these just don't do the Trail justice.  

So...this is Santa?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Normally, I'd be all over this spring-like weather we've been having here lately, but it's December, y'all!  I want to wear sweaters and boots and woolen scarves.  I want to shut off my A/C and have a good excuse to burn some wood in the fireplace.  I want to drink hot cocoa and snuggle up on the couch in my warmest pajamas while watching some of my Christmastime favorites.  But, alas, this is Texas and well, we get what we get when December rolls around.  We'll be lucky to have temperatures cold enough to put away the flip-flops on Christmas day (I won't hold my breath), but of course, I'm still looking forward to spending a cozy Christmas in Texas since it means I'll be at home with family.  

One good thing about this weather is that we've been able to spend some time outside, hanging out, taking walks, eating ice cream.  The other weekend, we walked over to Rita's Italian Ice and ran into Santa, who was apparently also trying to cool off (or might have just been the shop-owner trying to bring in some business).  After we ordered our frozen treats (and Santa found his misplaced hat) we handed Avienne over to the white-haired old man and waited for her reaction.  And waited.  Until we realized she was totally unfazed by the red coat and long beard, and was just letting us snap a few shots of her lackluster first impression.  

I'm pretty sure she's clicking her tongue and rolling her eyes at us in a couple of these photos.  

( She's totally trying to force a smile. Thanks for indulging us, A.)

Picture day

Monday, December 10, 2012

I love photos and I take lots of 'em.  My iPhone or camera are always in-hand, ready to document a giggly face or a sweet moment that I want to look back on and remember.  (If you're interested in seeing some of my daily random snapshots, feel free to follow me along on instagram if you aren't already - I'm TexasSarah.) But, the problem with being our family's self-appointed photographer is that there's hardly a picture of all three of us to look back on. Recognizing that this was happening a little too often, our über-talented friend, Melynda offered to take a few photos of our little family last week.  The weather was great, but it was a little late in the day and Avienne was in her usual contemplative, nap-deprived mood, so smiles were a little hard to come by.  Smiles or not, I was so blown away with how beautiful the photos came out and how so very "us" they are.

Here are just a few of my favorites.



I can't wait to do this again in a few months! (Hint, hint, Melynda...)


Friday, December 7, 2012

So, I'm now officially the only non-French citizen in our family.  And, although Gui is also the only non-American citizen in our family, I still feel like I'm totally missing out on something good here.  Technically, I could have applied for French nationality as of April (it simply requires being married to a French citizen for at least 4 years and living in France for at least 3 years), but we figured we'd wait until Avienne was here and we could do everything together.  Well, our French consulate is in Houston, and we just haven't been motivated to  make the 3-hour drive with an infant to submit my application.

Thankfully, though, the consulate allows French babies born outside of France to apply for their citizenship by mail, so we didn't delay having Avienne added to our livret de famille.  I was kind of hoping they'd send our nouvelle mademoiselle a French flag or a beret (or a baguette!) or something, but they just scribbled her information into our book, stamped it and sent it back.  It seems so underwhelming for such a momentous occasion.

We do still need to get the ball rolling with my citizenship, and since Gui's passport is up for renewal and Avienne will need a passport, too, we'll probably be spending some quality time in Houston at the beginning of next year.  As for Gui and his potential American citizenship, it's a bit more complicated and requires at least three years of residence in the US...we're working on it.

our little mademoiselle

Keeping me happy

Monday, December 3, 2012

A lot has been on my mind these past few days after getting some sad and horrible news over the weekend.  It's the kind of stuff that keeps you up at night for hours, digging up memories and praying for the future.  The stuff that keeps you rocking your baby long after she's fallen asleep.  That makes you feel really, really grateful for the life you have, the people you know and love you've felt.  And even though my heart is aching and my eyes are stinging, there are still many little things keeping me happy.

[bedside flowers, walks with these two, pretty packages, toe nibbling]

On blogging

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I may or may not have stayed up until 2:30 this morning, reading through my old blog archives and pondering the life of my blog.  I'm pretty sure I haven't (voluntarily) stayed up that late since well before my third trimester, but I got hooked on reading back through all the posts from the time I spent in California to just before our move to Texas via Paris.  I'm really grateful for all the posts I managed to write (I hardly even posted pictures back boring!), even if it was just to explain why I hadn't had time to blog.  It's hard to remember all the little (and big) details of the past 5, nearly 6 years, and I have a feeling the next 5 are going to be even more muddled now that I'm a mama.

I write a regular journal to Avienne in a book that documents her milestones as a baby, but for me, there hasn't been anything quite like blogging that's let me just narrate what's on my mind.  And, I don't know how I would have gotten through those first grey days in Paris without having an outlet to vent my frustrations and homesickness, not to mention all the amazing people I've met by simply having a blog.

I guess my hope for the future of this blog is just to keep on keepin' on.  As much as I enjoy documenting our (often mundane) daily goings-on, I really love having an archive of my thoughts to flip back through when I need a reminder of just how far we've come.  And, since a move back to Paris is pretty certain for some time in the next few years, I want to be able to look back on these first moments of becoming a mother and recall how special they've been.

And now for a few obligatory baby photos...

The goose is getting fat

Monday, November 26, 2012


It's official.  Christmastime has arrived chez nous.  This past weekend, we picked out our very first Christmas tree ever.  We had so much fun running around the tree lot, looking for the THE perfect specimen to bring home to stay.  Of course, being the slightly type-A gal that I am, before going, I researched a bit on what kind of tree would be best in our house, and we decided to look for a Fraser Fir.  Apparently, they stay fresher longer and have that Christmas-tree smell I'm so incredibly fond of this time of year.

We looked around a bit, and as we were inspecting one - checking for any brown leaves or bald spots - a perfectly plump, bright green tree fell to the ground just next to us.  Gui picked it up to put it back in place, but once we realized how perfect it was, we decided the fallen tree was the one and we took it home with us.

Last night, we stayed up a little late adorning our lovely sapin with the very few decorations we actually have on hand (we're first-timers, here!), but we'll probably finish it off this week as we gather the rest of our Christmas decorations, including our stockings.  I feel like such a kid everytime I catch a glimpse of our lovely tree twinkling in the corner of our living room - it's a nice reminder that Christmas is really coming.

These two

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm thankful for so many things in my life - too many to count. But, this year especially, I'm most thankful for these two beautiful people who bring me such happiness and fill my life with so much love. I'm so lucky I get to share my life with them and especially happy to be spending our first Thanksgiving together as a family of three. Wishing everyone a splendid Thanksgiving, wherever you are today! 

Raw laughter

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Avienne laughs at the most random things.  Sometimes, I don't think she even realizes she's laughing - she just does it almost as a reflex.  It's so funny to watch her crack up over a sneeze or the sound of someone singing.  The only problem is, we can't ever figure out how to make her laugh again using the same tactics.  The day after we shot this video, paper-tearing was old news to her and she didn't even crack a smile when we tried our hardest for an encore.  

It's going to be hard to keep up with this girl.

These days, chez nous

Thursday, November 15, 2012


There's been a lot of cozy-ish stuff going on around here these days.  We've hung a few little Christmas lights in the living room, and I'm hoping that all the baking, knitting and cinnamon candle burning I've been doing lately will somehow will Christmas  to get here faster.  

After shelling half of the pecans we picked on Saturday, I had the urge to bake some chocolate chip and pecan cookies late last night, which we all know is never a good idea.  Somehow they managed to turn out ok, but I've decided that pecans just don't belong in a chocolate chip cookie.  I guess I'll have to find another use for the rest of our pickings (pecan brittle, anyone?).  

Oh, and I've already busted out the Christmas music.  I know I'm not the only one...
TEXAS SARAH. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.