So, though I had PLENTY to talk about while in France, I didn't have any TIME to get on here and post it, for crying out loud.
The flight went really well. Traveling with JUST Ryan was a pleasure because it was like we were a little team. He listened well and kept up with me, for the most part (he fell asleep for two hours during our layover in Munich as our flight was delayed an HOUR, making it a four-hour layover). He was ecstatic to see Pepe and cousin Raphael, but did have a LITTLE bit of hesitation with his French, but it was gone within a couple of hours of being back in France.
The plan was for Ryan and me to get there a day early so that Ryan could spend some uninterrupted time alone with his grandparents. Who knows how long it'll be before we get back over there, especially since I plan to have another child sometime within the next year *crosses fingers* so I wanted Ryan to really soak them up (and vice versa). So, we would spend the whole Saturday with Pepe and Meme to ourselves and see Papa and the girls the next day at lunch.
Well, during the drive from the Geneva airport to Pepe's house, all of the familiar landmarks reminded me too much of my family. I was overcome with this sudden URGENT need to hold them. My resolve was GONE. So, as soon as we got to the house, I called Sam and told him to load up the girls and get himself there. He laughed at me and said "I told you so" (which he had), but I think he wanted to see us just as bad so he didn't give me too hard of a time.
The good thing about it was that Ryan and Pepe left to go running around, visiting the grove of trees Pepe planted up on a little piece of land they own nearby, etc. and I got to take a shower and a nap. I was awakened by Sam sticking his hand through the window and tickling my cheek. Within seconds, I was bombarded by love and affection from two of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen. Skype had done them NO justice over the months. They shone and glowed and sparkled and they smelled and felt HEAVENLY as I squeezed them so hard I was sure their heads would pop off.
I got over my jet lag surprisingly quickly. Maybe because I didn't sleep a wink on the flight over. *shrug* All I know is come Sunday afternoon, when we loaded up to go back to Lyon (and the apartment), I was ready to get 'er done. If you've kept up at all, you know that Lyon (and the apartment) represents a certain amount of failure and loss. I had vowed time and again never to return. But in the best interest of Sam and the kids, I stepped up and did what I had to do. And when I got there, when I walked through the door, I didn't collapse onto the floor in anguish and trauma. Thankfully. It might have had something to do with the fact that all of our furniture, etc. had been packed up a couple of weeks before. So, all the dust collectors of my bad memories weren't there to remind me.
That, and, when I left Lyon (and the apartment) it was winter. Cold, gray, DEAD and barren. But when I got there on that Sunday, the sun was shining brightly. The people were out in droves (as always happens on sunny weekends when you live near "the parc"). There were enough leaves on the trees of the property on the other side of the river that we couldn't see the guy's yard (in winter, not only can you see the yard, but you can see all of his dogs' running trails criss crossing the hillside). Things like that.
Maybe it also had something to do with the fact that I had purpose. I was there for a reason (again) and had my sleeves rolled up, ready to get to it. During the day, I played with the kids (or let them play with one another) as I got the apartment ready to go. We had to have the place organized, emptied and cleaned by Thursday because we were having it inspected Friday morning (and we were going back to the Hotel Reine Astrid--the same hotel in which we stayed in the beginning before we had our furniture). So, that's what I did. The movers left a lot of things they said they couldn't pack, so I sorted through it, gave most of it to Flavia (sorry, sweetie... and Thank You), put aside what I REALLY wanted to keep (because DUDE, where the HELL was I gonna put it) and threw the rest away. I cleaned the oven. I cleaned the bathrooms. I supervised as a dude cleaned the windows (cuz dude, we lived on the 11th floor, there was no damn way I was gonna be anywhere NEAR those windows). I cleaned the kitchen. I swept and mopped floors. All while trying to corral two children (Lolo went to the creche during the day) who had no toys (but did still have Ryan's big cardboard pirate ship I built him for his birthday party).
I didn't leave the apartment. Well, barely. Sunday night, we were invited to go down to the neighbors' house for dinner because it would be THEIR last time in the apartment, too. They finally separated and both moved on to new significant others. N got an important position in the north of France and was moving the next day. So, Ryan got to see A. I was surprised and pleased to see that all of his French came back (and with a vengeance) within a span of a few hours. By the time we left their place, we were drunk on gin (had to give away my booze), full in our bellies (she made a pretty good pot roast), laughing and crying our goodbyes and our see-you-soons and for some reason, it felt like someone had put band-aids on several pretty deep scratches. Weird. N had changed SO much after getting out of her bad marriage. She seemed more... plugged in. She used to seem so cloudy and far away and stressed and gone. But she was so alive that night. So there. When she saw me, she squeezed me hard (and dudes, the French, in general, are NOT huggers) and told me that life hadn't been the same without me there and that I had been sorely missed. That, and her new dude, was really funny and dorky and sweet. He reminded me a lot of Sam. He actually broke the bottle of wine as he tried to open it. And then as we were all leaving, he got his untied shoelace caught in the apartment's front door. Sam laughed at him, but all that is stuff Sam could have done.
We let Ryan go to the park with A for one last bruhaha. He didn't get home until like 11pm, but I know it was good for him to say a proper goodbye to his old sidekick. They're supposed to come visit us next year. Probably next summer. I'm looking forward to it.
I also left the apartment to go out to dinner with Flavia (I think that was Tuesday night). When she got to the apartment, I thought I would break down to pieces from her beauty. Her mama-ness. She looked so good. Partly because you could see she had been physically transformed into someone who makes people and partly because my eyes were so hungry to see her smiling face again. And she did smile. And cry. She cried MY tears. We hugged long and hard. Hugged out four months of separation and anguish. I truly feel like she is a soul sister and I didn't realize just HOW big a spiritual ache I had for her until we were hugging there at the front door.
We went back to our old stomping grounds--to the cinema--but not to watch a boring old movie in a dark room. We went there to drink BEER. OUR beer. Grimbergen. And after one, she was TIPSY (took me two, lol). We caught up, cried a lot, laughed a lot and... it felt like I hadn't gone anywhere. Like the old days. After our beers, we went next door to our favorite little resto and had our favorite little salads and our favorite little cafe gourmands served to us by our favorite little black (and H-O-T) server. It was AWESOME. More band-aids to my wounds. And Neosporin, too.
We got on the bus home and just like the old days, of course, we got involved into a conversation that was interrupted by my bus stop. We kissed cheeks, said I Love Yous and See You Thursday and Goodnight.
The experience was so healing and rejuvenizing (and, well, intoxicating... literally) that I went back to the apartment and spent a little time catching up with Sam... ahem... if you know what I mean.
The next day (probably Wednesday?) we carried the trusty old freezer down the stairs (okay, to be clear, SAM carried the freezer down the 11 flights), loaded it up and carted it off to Flavia's (along with the FOUR BAGS of lotions, medication and baby stuff the movers wouldn't let me keep and that I just couldn't throw away). I got to... *drum roll* ... meet my god son, William. And he was, IS, GORGEOUS. Even if he DOES look like a mini-Gilles, lol. He was so tiny and soft and smelly and warm and wiggly. I got to hold him. Yeah, I'll admit it. I fell in love. And I suddenly and very urgently missed Aaron. But again, holding Will in my arms, kissing his little head was like a BIG FAT BANDAGE to the hole in my heart. And seeing Flavia, her look of love for her little love nugget, her proud-mama stance... all band-aids. All worth it.
Thursday, with the pirate boat saluted, broken down and carried off to the recycling center; the apartment wiped, washed, swept and mopped; the car loaded with what was left of our lives in suitcases and plastic bags... we headed to our hotel. As I said, we had stayed there when we got to Lyon, so staying there again was like closing the story on our two years with a second bookend.
We had told Flavia and Gilles (and Flavia's mom and Baby Will) to come over and enjoy our air conditioning and maybe a pizza, but since we still had so much food left to eat, I made pasta with two different sauces. We finished off most of our appetizer-type food, plus some of our appetizer booze. We had chilled canned litchis for dessert.
I got to meet Flavia's mom!!! That was a major honor for me.
Then... yes... then... Flavia and I went out. I'll wait until your applause dies. It was like a reunion tour!!!! We left the hotel and walking down the sidewalk, I felt like we had just been released from a long-term prison sentence. LOL! I don't mean that our families are prisons. I mean that it felt like we were single. Not in the way that we were on the prowl, but that we didn't feel like we had anyone to whom we were accountable. We didn't have to call home to check in. We didn't have to be home by a certain time. It was like all the people around us understood that this was exactly what we needed and had earned--me, through getting over my loss and getting the homestead going and Flavia, through having gone through a not-so-comfortable pregnancy in a lonely, godforsaken shithole of a country, lol. We caught a bus to the metro, but missed our stop and ended up walking farther than if we had just walked from the beginning. That's what happens when we get together and stop talking (and have finished off the appetizer booze, lol).
We started out at our "American" bar called the Cosmopolitan where I proceeded to test every single one of the 13 or so shooters they have on the menu. I paid for 10 or so and the cute little British bartender gave me a few for free. Then, I drank two pints of Carlsberg (for which I don't think he charged me). We closed the bar down. The bartender dude told us that if we wanted "to carry on our evening" that there was an Irish bar around the corner. So, after a lengthy discussion with a couple of French dudes about cooking and eating local, we stumbled our way to Flanigan's.
Ahhhh, Flanigan's. A blur in my mind. Here's what I remember: A pint of Guiness, a pint of Grimbergen blanche (actually, I don't remember that... Flavia told me about it later), a dude who looked like a young, badly-permed Sean Penn who made me laugh so hard I wondered the next morning if I had gotten into a fight, two dudes who were trying to get me away from Flavia--though we never figured out why, because as soon as I got over there, they just sat there and stared at me... Flavia came over and saved me from them... I remember they had a wide but steep carpeted staircase to get to the bathroom and that I almost fell. And.... that's all I got. I don't remember why we left or the trip to the next place, but I do remember sort of suddenly "waking up" in our favorite little gay bar next to the Hotel de Ville. Suddenly, I'm standing there, banging on the bar, screaming along to someone else's karaoke song and laughing my ass off. And then, Flavia and I closed THAT bar down, we SOMEHOW got to another place. It's a restaurant called the "Gratinee". I don't remember much about it other than, I think it was also a gay resto. It was so packed when we got there that the only place we could sit was at the bar. I was so hungry I didn't care if they made me sit on a plastic milk carton box. I pulled up to the bar and the cook asked me what I wanted, but I don't remember having read a menu (or even having been CAPABLE of reading ANYTHING at that point). So, I said, "I want something that goes 'moo.'" He nodded and asked me how I wanted it cooked. I said, "I said, 'MOOOOO.'" A few minutes later, I was chomping down on one of the most perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked, most tender piece of meat I have EVER tasted. I am surprised that my tongue could even TASTE anything since apparently I had had another pint or so at the gay bar, but I can tell you, my tongue must have been the ONLY thing that was awake that night! The next thing I remember is that I wanted to walk home, but Flavia campaigned hard for us to take a taxi. I remember saying that I should try to throw up before the taxi got there, but either my body didn't want to give up my delicious steak or I wasn't as bad off as I thought I was. Either way, I couldn't upchuck. However, because the cab driver saw me trying when he pulled up, he made me hold a puke bag all the way home. And, I think we got into such an interesting conversation with the cabbie that he passed my hotel. I remember seeing it fly by my window and hearing Flavia saying, "Um, sir, that was her hotel." And I remember him turning around in the middle of the road right in front of my apartment building and Flavia and I telling him "Yeah, she just moved out of there today." LOL!
I don't remember how I said goodnight to Flavia, which to me is sad. I wish our goodbye would have been more remarkable. I wish I could remember holding her and crying and thanking her for one of the most awesome nights of my life, but I don't remember doing that. I do remember trying to walk into the hotel without seeming too drunk, but it was a Thursday night and it was like 4am, so I'm sure the front desk dude was ready for it. He happened to see me wondering around looking for my elevator. I told him which room I was in and he directed me to where I needed to go. I said, "And I am NOT AT ALL completely drunk off my ass," in French. He said, "I didn't see anything," and gave me a wink.
The next morning, I stirred from a haze to notice that most of my left hand was purple and that my leg hurt. Then I remembered falling down and having had a crowd of people suddenly come to my aid. I knew it had something to do with trying to cross the shallow lazy river that leads to the fountain at the Hotel de Ville but that's all. I actually smiled at my bruises because it was like a tatoo of all the fun I had had. I know that sounds juvenile and ridiculous, but I can't help it. I had a freakin' blast that night.
I spent the REST of the day only waking up long enough to tell the kids to play quietly. I was very VERY thankful for the nice big hotel suite and for Lily and Ryan playing so well together. AND for the fact that Lolo was at daycare. I felt like I had DIED and it took ALL DAY for me to recover enough to pack up our stuff to leave for Haute Savoie, but it was SO worth it.
That night I went through all our stuff and tried to organize what else we could use right then, what to give away, what would be left and what I'd try to fit into the suitcase, but it was almost impossible to do because we wouldn't be leaving to go HOME until Tuesday. So, I just loaded things up. Well, SAM loaded things up, into the minivan. Our plan was to go to Haute Savoie, spend the night, get up early the next day, leave the kids with Sam's sister, drive back to Lyon, pick up Flavia and Gilles, go to lunch and leave our car there with them to keep. And that's what we did.
On the way there, as Sam and I were passing this fortress-looking thing on the side of the road near Neyrolles, we decided to FINALLY freakin' stop there and see what the heck it was. We pulled down a long, bumpy gravel road at the end of which was a chick sitting next to a campfire in front of a tent. Oooookaaaaaay. We tried not to look like we were going back into the brush to screw. We pointed to the lake and talked loudly like tourists. I hadn't brought my camera, so we didn't have that prop as part of our act. I still don't know what the damn building is. Maybe an old ruined monastery? But I was happy to finally go see it up close instead of driving by it. I was happy to see my husband act like a spontaneous boyfriend again. I REALLY miss that. I think it was the absence of the children that made him act like that.
We stopped by Flavia and Gilles' apartment to pick them and Will up and then headed to ROUGE TENDENCE!!!!! It's one of our favorite restaurants. It's called a "wok" restaurant but it's set up like a Mongolian grill where you fill a bowl with stuff you want wok-ked and take it up to the "wokman," have him cook it, add meat, sauce and either rice or noodles. *slurp* It was AWESOME... BUT, because their air conditioning went out, it was H-O-T.
We had thought about going to a park and hanging out while we waited for time to roll around to take the train back to Haute Savoie, but it was just too damn hot and we had nearly run out of time, anyway. So, we went to the little Irish bar in the train station for a beer. The same little Irish bar my friend Sarah and I went to on our first trip to Lyon before I had ever even met Sam. The same place Sam and I went to say our very first in-love goodbye when I had to head back to the north of France after the first week we had ever spent together. Where he and I had countless beers before heading back north again before we moved in together. The place where my sister and I went for a quick breakfast while she was here. It was the perfect place to say goodbye to my Flavia. Another band-aid and another bookend. I was sad. Very sad. Not only because I knew it would be a long time before I saw my soul sister again, but also because I felt like I was leaving her in a den of lions. She's surrounded by people who, though they mean well, sort of sabotage her. I love her and I miss her like CRAZY already and it was all I could do as I stepped onto the train, not to cry like a baby. And then, as our train meandered through the countryside, I dug through my purse for something and found this little card. It was a MEMBERSHIP card!!! For the restaurant we went to that night we went out!!!! I had totally forgotten about it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was incoherent when I got the thing!!! LOL! What a great little souvenir of our party night together.
We got to the train station at St. Julien and loaded up into Sam's dad's car. The plan was that they were going to drop me off at Sam's parents' house and then go down to his sister's house to get the kids since we wouldn't all fit in the car together.
Let me just start by saying that I VERY much appreciate Sam's sister. She has come through for us several times. One time, she even came to Lyon and stayed in our apartment and took care of the girls during the day when other options had fallen through. And here she was again, taking our kids for the whole day with very little notice. She had told us that she had planned to take them up the mountain for a picnic. I thought that was awesome.
On the way back from the station, Sam's sister calls him and tells him not to worry. She and the kids are at Sam's parents' house already, so all we need to do is stop by her house and get the stuff we left there.
EXCEPT for the fact that one of the things she left there was the car seats. Meaning that she didn't use car seats. She ran all over the countryside with my 2.5 year old in the car without a fucking car seat.
I'll give you a second to process that...
I. was. livid. I could barely breathe. We stopped by her house, got the seats and all our stuff and end the end, we couldn't find one of Lily's lovies. Lily REALLY depends on her lovies for, well, pretty much everything and now we were really worried that within a day and a half away from the time we'd be leaving for the States, Lily's main lovey was missing. I'd have to deal with that later. All I could think about was how she had put them in a car without car seats. I mean, who under the age of 88 would put a child into a car without the seats when the seats are readily available?
I was careful not to make eye contact with her when we got to the house. I didn't want to blow a fuse about the car seats and make her feel like I wasn't grateful. Because I WAS grateful. But I was still... soooo.... FURIOUS.
Of course, Sam's dad was pretty nonchalant about it. People have been riding in cars for ages without car seats, etc. Blah blah blah. Sure. Okay. But I don't buy that argument. I don't think I should have to list the reasons. I'll mention one: It's ILLEGAL to cart your kids around in a car without a car seat. French drivers drive like shit and do so SUPER fast, there's another one. Okay, enough. UGH!
The next day, we went to Sam's OTHER sister's house. That was cool. Pretty uneventful. The kids played well, we all ate well, we laughed, I visited my sister-in-law's awesome garden and got all jealous of her success. It was a good visit.
We went back to Sam's parents' house to hang out with our oldest nephew and his girlfriend. Mat has actually visited us here and seems to be the family member closest to us in terms of philosophy, etc. So, it was nice to have that happy ending before it was time to leave.
I did the suitcases and had everything ready pretty early on in the evening. Sam's older sister was coming early in the morning to get us and because she's kind of a busybody, she didn't really believe that we needed to be at the airport as early as we wanted to be. I get the impression she thinks we're a bit of a burden. On Sam's parents, on her, etc. Sam was really stressed about us having things done on time so that she wouldn't get there and have to wait for us.
Look, I don't like visiting there. There you go. I've said it. We go there to visit them so they can spend time with their grandkids (and their son). NOT because it's easy. NOT because it's fun. We do it because we know they are not getting any younger and because Sam's mother is not getting any healthier (she has MS). I don't like going there. I make the most of it. And as much as I feel appropriate, I try to help out with meals and whatnot (I've always assumed, by the way he seems to enjoy it, that Sam's dad really prefers to cook for us... revels in it, in spite of how Sam's sister seems to perceive it, *shrug*). AND, we stay with them, not because of a money thing but because we're there to see THEM.
But, by the time we left, I felt extremely uncomfortable. That's not unusual, really. I very often feel uncomfortable there. But now, I'm not only uncomfortable, but resolved. And stubborn. And grown up enough and at the end of my patience enough that I'm going to put my foot down.
So, the morning we left, as I rode to the airport with Sam's dad (Sam rode with his sister), I decided to prepare him. I thanked him for letting us stay with him.
"Of course. It's normal," he paused. "It's a little tight quarters, but..." He let that drop.
"Yeah, well, next time we come, we're going to get a hotel or rent out the gite (a house nearby that is for rent for vacationers)."
"Why wouldn't you just stay with F (Sam's older sister)?"
"Because we need to be in a place where we can make our normal noises and not feel like we're putting anyone out. We wouldn't feel comfortable at her house."
He didn't say anything, but I got the feeling he wasn't happy. Sadly, I'm okay with that. I'm tired of being polite. I'm tired of pretending. I'm not going to make nice any more for their benefit when they don't seem to really want us there. We'll go to a gite and enjoy our vacation. We'll make a dish and take it to their house so as to contribute and not make them feel burdened with our presence. IF, that is, we visit at all over the next couple of years. Sam had already told his parents that it would be at least a fiscal year before we visited again. So, when we were on our way to the airport, Sam's dad asks me if we're going to visit for Christmas. Really? I appreciate the sentiment, I think, but the answer is no. I haven't spent Christmas with my family in over two years.
Anyway, so, the flight went just fine. We were separated for both flights. On the long flight, I sat next to Lolo who was ADORABLE the whole time (okay, with the exception of about half an hour of crankiness). Lily and Ryan sat together next to the window and Sam sat across the aisle from them, all three near the back of the plane. The only thing that was bad was the German chick behind me obviously thought you had to bang and mash on the movie screen to get whatever program she wanted--a screen which is also the back side of my head rest. In an attempt to send her a hint that we were both using the same seat, different sides, I rocked back a little hard to remind her. Well, she happened to have put her glass of water onto the seat back holder and it apparently sloshed on her. She tapped me and said, "Um, can you not bounce, because it spilled my water." I said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I guess it was in annoyed response to you banging on the back of my head. So, I won't bounce if you'll stop pressing so hard on the screen." She looked shocked. But she didn't stop. And every once in awhile, I shifted--maybe a little too violently--in my seat, to let her know that her pressing had been felt. I know it's immature. I should have risen above it. But I couldn't be bothered. That's what a mere ten days in France does to me.
When we got to Charlotte, we LITERALLY had to wait over an hour in line with three exhausted kids so that we could get to the passport officer. *sigh* That's all I have to say about that.
All of our luggage made it just fine. We drove to our favorite hotel and as soon as we got there, put on our swim suits and went to the pool for a quick dip. It was exactly what we needed to wash away the sleep deprivation of the flight. After a shower and a nasty dinner of free hotdogs and chicken tenders (the hotel does a nightly snack thingy), we turned off the lights and conked out.
The next morning, though I usually go to Rach's house and do donuts and coffee, the kids were cranky (all FOUR of them) and I was sort of anxious to get home to my other babies (the baby vegetables hopefully growing in the garden by that time.
The drive was a breeze and I almost cried as we pulled into Rustburg. We got home and went straight to the garden. My friend Al and her family had been watering our stuff while we were gone and the place looked great (with the exception of my herbs which apparently did NOT like having been relocated off of the deck. Most of it burned to a crisp.
I won't go into details about all the growth because I took pictures right away, but I CAN tell you that it was a tearful morning the next day when I watched as Sam and the kids helped in the garden. We watered everything, trellised the cukes and tomatoes and strawed the potatoes. AWESOME.
I also won't go into Sam's reaction of finding a tick on the back of Lolo's ear later that night. *cringe* Needless to say, the next day, we all went into town and bought boots for Papa and the girls!
Sam had a good three days off and then the weekend before he had to start his new job. It was awesome. We did a little running around, did a lot of gardening and just generally got settled back in.
Sam's first week at work was pretty uneventful. He was happily surprised to be reminded of the American work ethic... that QUALITY is more important than deadlines and budgets. That SAFETY and COMPANY-WIDE EFFICIENCY is more important than personal gain and ego. I loved seeing him rediscover this. And to see him breathe a heavy sigh of relief as if he had been holding his breath for two years.
He's even already made some friends. One of his buddies from work actually came over and worked on our road for us (because he has a tractor) and absolutely REFUSED to take any money for it!!! Cool, huh? I love Virginia.
Then, that next weekend, I drove to Charlotte to do my Zumba Gold certificate/license. I went on Friday and got a hotel so that I wouldn't have to make the three hour drive and then dance for ten hours. BUT, it sorta backfired on me when in the middle of the night a huge fist fight happened outside my hotel room, complete with booming profanity and cliches such as "I'm a put you in a box!" and "My man g'on f*** you up!" and the old classic "You ain't NOTHIN', man!"
In spite of the disturbance, I got some sleep and a good breakfast and headed down to the Zumba training.
It....was....AWESOME to say the least. Most of the people there were already Zumba instructors, certified to teach Basic 1 and 2 and were going for their "Gold" certification. But there was a handfull of us who had never been certified. And even one woman who had only been to ONE Zumba class before coming. lol.
I had been warned that it would be physical and the warning proved true. We danced all morning, then sat and listened to lecture, then danced some more, then sat and had more lecture and discussion, then danced some more. And danced some more. Our instructor had GREAT ideas on how to market onesself and stuff like that. She stuck around for over an hour after the gig to answer all kinds of questions. It really was awesome. I'd like to go on and on about it but I don't know how interested you are.
I WILL say that one idea she gave us was to talk to local karate studios or gyms, have a class, charge by the person and give the studio/gym a cut of your revenue as rent. I think I'M going to actually use it to help in fundraising in the PTA. Like to have a PTA Zumba night each week, charge a nominal fee and have all the money go to the PTA. It's only an hour a week of my time and it's doing something I LOVE. AND it's community-building. AND it's PHYSICAL.
I have SO MANY cool ideas for the PTA. And AL has been the major co-brainstormer in this effort. She has actually even sort of taken off on her own. Found great fundraising ideas and put them together so I can present them at our first PTA meeting. If every parent in Rustburg got involved like she is, we'd be unstoppable as a school and a community. I know, I know, I'm a dreamer and whatnot. But I can't seem to help it.
My sister, mom, step-dad and two nieces came into town the evening of my Zumba certifcation while I was in Charlotte. So, they were all here when I got home! We had a great week catching up. When I got here, they told me how great I looked. *sigh* Awesome. What I had expected to hear in France, but didn't, I DIDN'T expect to hear here (especially since I gained like five or so while in France), I got to hear!!!
We laughed, we played, we cooked, we ate, we drank (my parents and I even tested out my "Pass Out" game with a bottle of Parrot Bay Coconut Rum), we went to the movies, we went out to a restaurant, we ate PESTO and SQUASH from my GARDEN *victory dance* and LOVED it! It was a great four days!!! They're gone and I miss them horribly. My kids bawled when they left and I bawled about that.
I'm sad that the summer's nearly over, BUT, I AM very excited about the future. I have my kids here all together. I finally have my permit to build my guest room downstairs. I have the PTA to look forward to. Lily might go to Pre-K and that'll mean I have only Lolo during the day--it'll be nice to form a strong bond with her and have increased mobility. I'll have my Zumba license, so maybe I can make some bux and have fun doing it. I have a lot of exciting things to look forward to over the next couple of years!!!
Okay, I know it took me two weeks (again) to write this post and that I left a bunch of good stuff out, but I'm tired of writing and you're tired of reading and the only reason you guys come in here any more is to see pix, anyway, lol, so I'm gonna hit the road.
I'll make a concerted effort not to take so damn long next time. *grin* But I make no promises.
In the park in France:
At Pepe's house:
Playground near Pepe's house:
Clowning around at the hotel in Lyon:
Goofing off in Cointrin (Geneva airport) before the flight home:
Hanging around the homestead:
On the boat...
On the deck of the OTHER boat...
Boots and booties:
Dream Garden Fare:
Playing with PaPa Dave:
Cruising the driveway in dresses:
Tooling around in the bookstore/educational toy store:
Goofing off after seafood lunch: