Now, before you start thinking we're fancy pants and rolling in the dough, just know that we have never taken a vacation in our 3 years of marriage and that we had free lodging/food for the first 10 days, ha!
We have some friends who live in the south of France, who invited us to come stay with them. We took two flights and a train to get to them, (Grace did great flying!) but then we enjoyed the simplicities of being outside of an Arab speaking country.
My goals for vacation were simple:
1.) Hold my husband's hand in public
2.) Kiss my husband in public
3.) Wear short sleeves in public
4.) Eat copious amounts of pork
I'm happy to report that I met all of my goals.
Check, check, check, and CHECK.
I may have had to borrow a short sleeve shirt from my friend because I realize I no longer own one, but other than that, my goals were easily accomplished.
I could easily break down each and every day for you, but I'm not going to do that, because right now, my plate is full and my bed is calling my name, so instead, here are the highlights.
We toured the city of Montpelier, France, with it's beautiful downtown and largest open plaza in all of Europe....
Took our friends' girls on a carousel ride....
Went on alot of walks around their neighborhood (you'd be surprised at the simple things that made us happy- there are so many things we can't do here that you don't think about!)
Took Grace on her first hike...
Tried our best to snap some good family photos...
Went to a French beach. Modesty had no place here and I was pretty uncomfortable. I think I prayed for protection over my husband's eyes, heart, and thoughts the entire time I was there.
Grace wasn't a fan either. She thinks that the only time those things should be out and about is if she's about to get a meal. I agree.
We went to an amazing aquarium...
And I lost all shame when I gave Grace her first of many public diaper changes.
When explosions occur, the casualties must be contained. That's one piece of advice from this Momma to you.
We babysat our friends' girls while they got a quick lunch date in. We set up a kiddie pool and made it into a water play table. The girls played for over 3 hours straight without getting up! Amazing!
We spent one afternoon just walking around, eating crepes, looking at French bookstores...
And had to get creative in how we carted all three girls back to the car. Turns out, a stroller meant for one infant CAN actually whole a 2.5 year old and a 4 year old!
We had late nights filled with Speculoos, Killer Bunnies, English television, and lots of laughter with their family.
Their girls let us love on them, teach them songs, play with them, and we loved being Uncle E, Aunt Brittney, and "BabyGrace" (one word, must not be separated.)
We ate fresh French bread, croissants, had ham sandwiches, pork chops, fresh bacon, and enjoyed the deliciousness of a Magnum Ice Cream bar several times.
The days were wonderful, but as the sun began to set, my stress level began to go up. Grace was sleeping in our room with us, for the first time ever, and she did NOT do well. She became instantly dependent on her pacifier, and would wake up every 20-30 minutes all. night. long. I'm not sure if it was from the lack of an AC, which provides cool air and white noise, or from us being in there with her, but it was very stressful.
I begged Ian to get a job transfer to the South of France and he just laughed.
I totally wasn't kidding.
Our time ended and we headed out for Paris.....