Adventures in Paris, part deux

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Without a doubt, the worst thing about a trip to Paris is leaving. Saying goodbye to some of her favorite people is something Avienne is starting to get used to. She understands that we live in a large world and far away from family, but it doesn't stop her from asking why Nana has to stay in France or why Tata can't come with us back to Texas. It's always heartbreaking and never seems fair, but we explain as best as we can and try to remind her throughout the visit to make every moment count. 

Adventures in Paris, part 1

Friday, July 22, 2016

The thing about vacationing in Paris is that we spend a large part of our time catching up with friends and family that we don't always have time to completely enjoy some of our favorite parts of the city. We usually stay with family just outside the périphérique and spend a good deal of time in the car going around to see people and getting back to the suburbs for moments in-between. So, this time around, we decided to stay in a hotel right in the middle of Paris instead of outside the city center with family. This way, we were really able to take advantage of our down time by catching up with our people in Paris and being a short metro ride away from the home-base (which turned out to be really convenient at nap time). 

A night in Nîmes

Sunday, July 17, 2016

So, we decided to head back to Paris a little earlier than planned, in case Avienne's stomach bug turned out to be something more. She wasn't feeling so hot when we set out, so after a quick lunch in Nice, we drove a few more hours to spend the night in Nîmes. 

Like many towns in the south of France, Nîmes is an old Roman colony, and we definitely caught an Italian vibe from the little time we spent roaming the streets. Avienne was pretty tired when we arrived in the early evening, so we didn't stray far from our hotel, and only went out for a carousel ride, a quick drink and some dinner. The town is really festive, and although there were probably more people out than usual for the France v. Germany game, the streets were so lively and crowded.

Saint Cézaire in the summer

Saturday, July 9, 2016

We’re in France for a couple of weeks, making our way around to see family in the south and bouncing around Paris for the rest of our time here. We were in Paris for Christmas last year, but it feels like such a different place in the summer than in winter. It’s been a year since were last in the south of France, and as usual, it’s all pretty much awesome in the summer.

For the last few days, we’ve been staying on the Côte d’Azur at Guillaume’s grandparents’ property in the tiny town of Saint Cézaire-sur-Siagne. It’s a picturesque French village, reminiscent of that little town Henri describes in one of Avienne’s favorite books, Henri's Walk to Paris (although, I’ve never actually seen a bus come through this place).

Avienne turns FOUR!

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's the same record in rotation did four years pass by so quickly? But, while I feel the speed of it all, it also kind of feels like we've lived four lifetimes since our wide-eyed baby bird flew into our nest and made her presence known to all.

Avienne is the embodiment of a people-person, affectionately greeting familiar faces with bear hugs and constantly posing questions about the lives of her friends and how she can possibly make more time to see them. She loves so fiercely, so genuinely that the thought of her heart one day breaking makes me want shield her from the world forever. But she is as strong as she is loving and won't shy away from showing her strength if she has been wronged.

Right now, she is enjoying writing letters and adding numbers together using her fingers. Still as curious as ever, she questions everything, which can be such a test of patience for me (and the best reminder to slow things down) when I'm battling traffic in the car or rushing to get out the door in the morning. I love seeing her mind work through ideas and grasp new concepts, almost like a light switch being turned on, so it's always worth slowing down or being a little late.

For her birthday, despite our offers to celebrate at some of her favorite Austin venues, she asked to have something at home. With our vacation starting the same week, there was neither enough time nor energy to plan a big party with all her friends, so we kept it real simple. She woke up to a room full of pink and gold balloons, ate four different types of donuts (just pieces of them!), was treated to a hot cocoa at her favorite coffeeshop and then enjoyed her first movie experience with her best friend. We had lunch and cake at home with Grammy and Popo, afterwards and opened some very pink & Peppa Pig-centric gifts from some of her favorite people. ;) 

We all went to bed with full hearts, smiling faces and sugar-filled bellies in honor of a fabulous four year old who makes our lives so much sweeter. 

Still half asleep, but in need of all the donuts!

Breakfast #2.

Finding Dory with her bestie.

A pink uke! I love how happy she seems about it!

All the musicals! (Sidenote: UEFA + Copa, so soccer is never not on right now.)

Grammy and Popo's gift was such a hit! It's going to be a good summer!

These girls have grown so much - I love seeing them building a friendship and caring so much for each other. 

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!

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