Friday, October 31, 2008

Waiting... 39 weeks!


As the calendar draws near to my official American due date (39 weeks today), each day possesses a sense of mystery. Is today the day? Should we go on a road trip or stay close to home in case something happens? How far does one have to walk and how much castor oil must one drink to go into labor? I find myself experiencing a plethera of emotions, feeling completely ready to hold Kayden in my arms to absolutely terrified about finally meeting my daughter. These thoughts vary hourly, making the day a rollarcoaster ride of extremes. It has been entertaining telling people I am due in a week, because everyone has a piece of advice about when they think I should have the baby, what their grandma always says, or a personal experience. Kayden will come when she is fully cooked... the doctor swears it will be before Christmas!

I saw the doctor on Monday and he guessed that Kayden would greet the world in the next week to week and a half. Wow, deep breath, I can do this!

SO, with that in mind, Shane and I have been trying to spend as much quality time together in our quiet home and its surroundings. It has been a terrific week and I must say that I have the best husband in the world. Not only is he super supportive, adorable and handsome, he puts up with mood swings, decorating projects, my obsession with baby clothes and helps when I just can't seem to get on my shoes :) Its a blast being married to your best friend!






We took a day trip over the border to Belgium to explore an old town called Tournai. As with most European towns, it had some amazing churches to discover. To get into the fall spirit, we also attempted to carve pumpkins while watching Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin. The pumpkins turned out way better than last years (which were supported by tooth picks and falling apart before a candle could even be lit!). Shane made a scary Elivs and mine was a silly bat. We were so excitied to light them for our neighbors, but no one shared the same enthusiasm, as Halloween is not celebrated in France.



In the last week or so, we have found a new hobby of looking for antique/ European furniture at second hand stores across Europe called "Troc". They have some amazing items for excellent prices. Shane is like a kid in a candy store, getting more and more giddy as we weave through the rows of dressers, armoires and unidentifiable objects. I think almost every car ride we have taken in the last week or so has landed us at a new Troc. That said, we have are still searching for our perfect European pieces. They will be found... we do have 3 years!


The wait continues... Our doctor is out of town lecturing in Lebanon until Saturday and I really want to watch the Giants play the Cowboys on Sunday, so, maybe Kayden, could you come on Monday??? (If it were only that easy!)

We will keep you posted!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pictures from our getaway!


Cathedral in Reims: The first king of France was coronated here.



Table on which WWII surrender treaty was signed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower's office was next door



Troyes


The crazy crooked buildings in Troyes


Troyes. I'm hungry, get in my belly!


Our amazing room!


The walls of the houses are angled...they might fall over soon.


Random vineyard we found while driving around


Champagne tasting


The champagne factory sign


Cross in the vineyards
..


The apple farm!!! YEAH!


Loaded down with our purchases


Loving the beautiful apple orchards


The vineyard across the street from the champagne man's house


The champagne man, his son and Shane in the basement cellar

View on our drive of the Champagne Valley: Epiernay below.

Babymoon- 1st Anniversary


This past weekend, Shane planned a surprise destination getaway to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. To make things more interesting, it also doubled as our "babymoon". With my only request being- not too far away from my doctor!, he schemed up an incredible trip. Where did we go, I know the suspense is killing you????!!!!!

Shane chose for us to go to the Champagne region for a few reasons. One, it was another place we could check off in our attempt to conquer all areas of France. Two, it was within my 1-3 hour radius of my doctor. Three, the area was in full autumn vibrancy... Since we both love the fall, I border on obsession, it was perfect! Plus, four, who doesn't like to try a sip of champagne straight from the vineyards!

We drove down to Reims and took in the sites of the quaint little town. It is known for its INCREDIBLE cathedral, dating back to the 1100's. Since the 400's, there has actually been a church on the cathedral site. To continue our quest to become more cultured, we went to the museum where the surrender treaty was signed by the Germans in WWII. Very interesting.

Our next destination was a town called Troyes. Many of the buildings looked like they were fresh from the pages of a Shakespeare play and contained a ton of character, leaning to the side and crooked. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was unbelievable. It looked like a place straight from a fairytale, with a secret little garden and wooden beams. Loved it! The town is known for a special kind of sausage they produce, andouillettes. Shane attempted to try some on his pizza and then was generous to share some with me. Conclusion- DISGUSTING!! It tasted like the pig sty and had the consistency of mush. Ick ick ick. Needless to say, it was not a French delicacy we will crave!

Saturday we had our favorite breakfast of french pastries and coffee and then set out to see the country side. We drove through itty bitty towns, each boasting multiple champagne producers. The day was incredibly beautiful, crisp and fresh with the smell of fall. Our windows were rolled down in the car and we found it to be the perfect oppurtunity to sing along to Christmas carols. Wonderful! We were able to see one champagne factory and taste some of the various types sold. Neither of us are huge fans of champagne, but it was fun to see the champagne making process and to experience the final product.

Sunday, we sadly had to leave our little bed and breakfast and hit the road to the cider producing part of the region. With another perfect sunshine filled day ahead of us, we stumbled upon a Fete de Pomme (Apple Festival). AWESOME!! We were the only English speaking people there and all the locals were out with their stalls selling tasty products of the region. Of course we loaded up at the festival on some French goodies- no sausage though! The apples were delicious and fresh, picked right from the orchards surrounding the festival.

The highlight of the trip was visiting another champagne producer at his home. A fellow officer at Shane's work had recommended we visit the vineyard where he gets his champagne from and arranged an appointment for us. Little did we know what kind of adventure was to be had! We pull up to this little house in the tiny town with vineyards all across the street. A little old man comes out and welcomes us in. Turns out, this is the man we had the appointment with and his son was on his way to translate. We were actually able to communicate with our French and sign language while the little old wife kept telling us to MANGEZ - EAT!!!! The champagne had been produced by this family for over 5 generations and was a smaller producer, with only about 30000 bottles a year. So we sat around in this little French man's living room, sipping champagne and just chatting about its production and life in general. It was surreal. Then he took us into his basement where 1/3 of his champagne is stored and explained to us the process, with the help of his son translating of course! They even walked us up into the vineyards, cut off a bunch of grapes and had us eat some. We left feeling so blessed for our glimpse into small town French life and also weighed down with a few bottles of champagne.

The weekend was incredible. There were so many once in a life time memories made. Most of all, it made me so thankful for my amazing husband who put so much time and effort into creating the perfect weekend. Being married to Shane just gets better and better! He has set the standard high for anniversaries to come.... video