Moments with Nana

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gui's mom is on a plane back to France, and we're already counting down the days until we get to see her again. While she was here, we really took advantage of the beautiful Austin sunshine and spent most of our days outside basking in early-spring weather. Here are a few pictures from this past week with Avienne's grand-mère.

: :  SWINGS! We didn't make it to our favorite swings in town, but a swing is a swing and Avienne does not discriminate (what kid does?).  She truly enjoys flying in the air, and I think Nana verily enjoyed giving her little petite-fille a few hearty pushes.  : :

 : :  We took a trip to the botanical gardens and strolled through leafy paths to find the flowers that had already bloomed.  There weren't many, but the ones we did find were prize enough.  : :

 : :  Gui and I finally bought a small BBQ grill and picked the most perfect day to invite friends over for a backyard 'que.  It's snowed something like 4 times this winter in Paris, so I know Gui's mom really appreciated the sunshine and extra time spent outside.  Avienne did, too - so much that she forgot about napping all day until 5 pm when she passed out during an evening stroll.  : :

: :  Nana introduced Avienne to the fine art of people/dog-watching from the window, and Avienne loved it so much, she claimed a permanent spot on the window bench with a wet kiss.  : :

 : :  A cold front blew through two days ago, but there was just enough warmth from the sun each day to merit a lay-around on the front lawn before we had to say à bientôt to our visitor.  In five short weeks, we'll get to do it all over again...that is, if snow has melted in Paris by then.: :


Monday, March 25, 2013

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2013."

Douze :: Showing off her swinging skills to her visiting grandmère.

To say that Avienne has enjoyed having her Nana around would be an understatement.  It's been really sweet to see the two connect in a totally different way than they did the first time Nana came to visit - when Avienne was still so small at three months old.  As all babies do with their grandparents, Avienne really lights up when she's with her Nana, and we've really seen her silly and playful personality come out this week.  

We weren't able to cram everything in that we wanted to do while Gui's mom was here, but we've spent her entire visit together, and I think that was really what she hoped for.  I know Avienne will miss seeing her Nana after waking in the morning, but we're so looking forward to seeing her in Paris just a bit over a month from now.  And in the meantime, thank goodness for Skype!

Linking up with Jodi's 52 Project.

Family of four

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

While hanging out with friends and their perfect three-month old baby last weekend, someone snapped a picture that gave us an idea of what might someday become our future.

If you had asked me ten years ago how many kids I wanted to have, I'd have said none.  If you had asked me the same question two years ago, I'd have said one. Noticing a pattern here? While we don't have concrete plans for having a second child, yet, the subject has been up for discussion more and more these days as we're slowly figuring out this whole parenting gig with our soon-to-be toddler.

Both Gui and I are  pretty set on having two kids - no more, no less.  And, as for when, we also agree that sooner is better than later.  It's no secret that pregnancy was not my favorite, and I'd honestly like to get that part over with as soon as possible.  Besides that, the idea of having little ones less than three years apart is starting to make more and more sense to me.  I never quite understood why it was so appealing to other parents before, but I'm beginning to understand it now. Two kids that can play together starting from a young age; that can bond and get one another; that can usually enjoy some of the same places and hangouts.  Plus, for us, not having to remember for the second kid what we would have already forgotten from the first kid; not having to dust off old baby gear or buy all new stuff; and, for me, not having to wean only to pick up nursing again a year (or more) later.

I love being Avienne's mom more than I ever thought I could love motherhood, and the thought of adding one more to our bubbling little family fills me with some mixed emotions. I feel like a jerk saying it (and I hope I don't put my foot in my mouth later for doing so), but Avienne has really been a "textbook" baby.  That's not to say that becoming parents has been easy for either of us, but barring a few new-parent errors (like not introducing a bottle sooner), we could not have asked for a better-behaved baby.  

And, lest you take this as an announcement for something (, let me reiterate that we haven't made any concrete plans as of yet. For now, I'm just soaking up every moment with my baby girl, knowing that one day I might have to explain to her why it's all her fault that she ended up with a younger brother or sister.  


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nana has been here for a visit since her [very late] flight arrived early Friday morning.  There was a very sweet reunion at the airport, and since then, she and Avienne have spent nearly every waking moment together.  

Gui's mom met Avienne when she was already three months old, and not more than five months later, she's already back to get her grand-baby fix.  Living far away from France has not been easy for Guillaume or his family, I know, and it simply never becomes any easier.  Being so far away from people we love when a little one in involved is cruelly painful, even more than I had imagined it could be.  We have talked about moving back to France sometime in the future, and it frightens me to think of raising a child so far away from my own family and friends.  I know it's no replacement for the real deal, but thank goodness for technology that helps us at least get our fix of face-time with loved ones when we can't physically be together.

We don't have any big plans for the next couple of weeks while Nana visits, but we're excited to include her in our little daily routines and make sure she gets an overdose of Avienne.  She really came at a good time, as eight months old is proving to be a really fun age - so much chatter, so many smiles and lots of firsts for our sweet girl.  And, as Paris has been knee-deep in snow these past few weeks, I'm hoping all the Texas sunshine and heat will surely have Gui's mom feeling like she's really on holiday.  


Sunday, March 17, 2013

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2013."

Onze :: Enjoying a good read while we enjoy a good meal.

It's a funny thing about being a first-time parent - it's a lot of trial and error, but once you've figured your kid out, things seem to just become second nature. Lately, I feel like we're all on the same page when it comes to going out to eat or hanging out with friends. Gui and I know what times are good for our little firecracker and when we should steer clear of public venues lest other patrons report hearing-loss after Avienne showcases one of her trademark "sleepy screams." If she happens to become unhappy while we're out, we go through our bag of tricks like a well-played symphony, starting with a chorus of toys, ending with more tried-and-true distractions as the situation deems necessary. Last week, we were pretty lucky and spent some really easy-going evenings enjoying dinner out with our rather well-behaved little girl, and I'm really hoping it's a sign of things to come. [Fingers tightly crossed.]

Linking up with Jodi's 52 Project.


Monday, March 11, 2013

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week in 2013." 

Dix :: I could stare at this face forever.

I love Avienne so. And when she turns to me and smiles between biting her toes and gazing outside, I know she feels the same about me.  I hope we never stop having those simple moments we share everyday that really epitomize the special bond that only we have as mother and daughter.  I truly adore everything about this little girl, and I thank my lucky stars everyday that she is mine.  And that I am hers.

Linking up with Jodi's 52 Project.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

We aren't usually up and out the door before 9 a.m. on a Saturday - especially a drizzly, grey one like today, but we made plans to take advantage of a rare administrative convenience and apply for Avienne's passport during Passport Day, so we were off by 8:45.  I have to say, even though getting up early on weekends is not really my bag, once I'm up and at 'em, it's hard to get me back down.  I think Gui's the same way, so we decided to make a full day of doing nothing into a full day of doing nothing outside the house.  We stopped in for a quick nap in between (for Avienne, of course!), but we otherwise had a really happy day browsing around random shops, stopping into our favorite coffee spots for a couple of coffee breaks, and leisurely lunching in our old neighborhood.  We think Avienne enjoyed the day, too because she didn't fuss even once while we were jumping around from place to place. Waking up early on weekends just might be our new thing.  

I'll let you know how that works out.

Favorites: Places in Paris to cure a sweet tooth

Friday, March 8, 2013

There's no shortage of sweet shops in Paris.  If you've got a hankering for sugar, you could probably find what you need to cure your sweet tooth down at the corner boulangerie.  My favorite places to go, though are those cozy, little hideouts on some of Paris' busiest rues where you can step in and grab a slice of something sweet and take a pause from the street hustle.

I could probably start an entire blog dedicated to Paris' best sweet spots, but I'd rather just tell you where in the city we like to go when we need our sugar fix.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be able to make the trip to every single place on this list because ever since I've left France, I've had a craving at least once for something from all of them.

1.  L'Oisive Thé : I can guarantee this will be one of our first stops after we touch down in Paris.  Not only to see Aimee (the awesome owner who I'm lucky enough to call a friend) and browse her luscious yarn collection, but for a perfect cup of tea and a slice of the tarte du jour.  Or maybe the gateau du jour because it's been too long since I had myself a piece of chocolate heaven.  Gui will likely take a chocolat chaud in place of tea because the milk-and-cocoa-powder we find 'round these parts just doesn't compare to the velvety hot chocolate Aimee serves up.  There's so much I love about this place that I would stay all day if I could - aside from tea, scones, cookies, cakes and tarts, they also do a mean brunch (something that's rather hard to come by in Paris).

2.  Pom' Cannelle : When it comes to the famous glacier Berthillon, the only place to head to is l'Ile Saint Louis. But, rather than stand in line with all the other tourists and locals-playing-tourists, we go straight to this place, our favorite café on the island.  Here, we can indulge in the popular, seasonally-flavored ice cream, or nurse that sweet tooth with something else.  I'm usually a gourmande and get a couple of scoops (especially if mirabelle is in season) plus a café leigeois.  Gui isn't much more conservative than I am and generally orders the most delicious-looking thing on the menu (like this salted-butter caramel french toast with a scoop of ice cream). When it comes to sweets, he always wins.

3.  Le Loir dans la Théière - This place. It's perfectly situated on the always-bumpin' rue des Rosiers in the Marais, which means it's nearly always busy. If you come as a couple, though, the wait is usually minimal, and after you've seen the assortment of tarts, you'll soon find that it's worth it, too. Don't expect to be cordially welcomed, though because you won't find any chatty waiters in this busy hipster hangout. And, although they won't rush you out, they're pretty mindful of tables who've overstayed their welcome during the peak lunch rush. Despite it all, their mile-high meringue pie is pretty much out of this world, as are every other tarte I've ever tried from their eclectic dessert table. We always walk in, have a gander of what's available and then promptly order. They're open on Sunday (a rarity in Paris, although common for the Marais), but I think we'll try to stop in at an off-time during the week so we can be sure to nab a spot with our babe. I'm feeling full just thinking about the tart(s) and tea I'll have in my belly after leaving this place.

4.  La Durée & Pierre Hermé - Macarons.  I have a love-hate relationship with these things.  Being American, I feel it's my duty to pay homage to the quintessential French dessert by grabbing a box from one of these  spots, but honestly, they aren't my favorite.  I like macarons as much as the next person, I think, but more as a souvenir than as a dessert.  If I have a choice, I'll opt for a Pierre Hermé creation, but there's something to be said for the ambiance at La Durée - so elegant and extravagant; so French.  The great thing, too, is that we're bound to walk past one of these shops en route to someplace else, so there's no harm in stopping in for a quick macaron fix before carrying on with day.  Right?

5.  GromPozzetto - Yeah, I know Berthillon is the ice cream king in Paris, but there are just some things that, in my heart, Italy will always be better at doing than France, and ice cream is one of those things.  It's likely we will stop at both Grom and Pozzetto for a cornetto, and I am definitely not sad about that.  They're both so different, but so perfectly delicious that I honestly hope we'll be able to go back more than once.  You just can't beat the eccentric seasonal varieties on offer at both spots.

[Sidenote:  These are all old photos from previous visits to these places, so menus and such may have changed. If possible, check out their websites for more info, or wait until I come back with an update!]


Sunday, March 3, 2013

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week in 2013"

Neuf :: Long lashes and a pretty profile of a very curious little girl.

I pulled my camera out a lot this week, which made it a bit difficult to choose the week's portrait.  I stuck with this one because I don't often get a good profile shot, and I really liked the sunlight on her face.  Also, that stare she's giving a bird or a squirrel or a moving shadow is a pretty common one these days.

Whenever we're out and about, Avienne is sometimes complimented on her long eyelashes or big blue eyes.  I feel like they're kind of her trademark.  She usually loves for people to come up and talk to her - strangers and friends alike, but lately, instead of giving a smile, she'll sometimes just stare. And stare. And stare until the person she's staring at becomes uncomfortable and politely walks away.  Whenever it's a stranger I always give the disclaimer that she's doing it to everyone (she really is) and then toss in a joke about what she might be thinking at that moment.  What I would give to know!

Linking up with Jodi's 52 project.
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