Sorry for the delay since my last blog! My sister was here and I was not about to waste a single moment of the day or night sitting in front of the computer. She just left yesterday afternoon and I have heard back that it was a VERY long day for her, but she got home just fine. And with possible strep throat as a going away present and a husband who is fresh out of back surgery. Sorry, Kim!!!
It was really awesome having Kim here. She was both a great diversion to the every day and also a touch of normal that was needed in the every day. The girls couldn't wait to show her everything. Their teachers knew their aunt was coming and even the teachers were excited to see the girls excited. I myself had a friend that I could just talk to about anything and everything (I probably talked her ear off!) that you typically don't expect an audience of 4 and 5 year olds to give two Care Bears about.
We visited that lovely Chateau de Balleroy and had lunch on the Drome river. We went to the American Military Cemetary in Colleville-sur-Mer. We received a personal tour of Bayeux from a friend who grew up there. We visited the many parks and gardens around Caen. We managed to throw a last minute dinner party together on Sunday with relatively few groceries (stores are closed on Sundays). I must say it was quite a success! Our parents should be happy that Kim has her RHI background from Purdue and we both have our 4-H creativity in check at all times. And finally we ended her trip by taking the train to Paris and spending a day and night touring the city by foot and Metro.
Paris was a great idea. We found a hotel on hotels.com that turned out to be just perfect. It was called the Hotel Mayfair. It had a great location by the Tuileries Metro and was across from the Jardin Tulleries. My favorite part about the hotel was how quiet it was all day and night. I think the kids missing had something to do with the quiet. And it was clean and the room (#68) that we had was spacious. Great find at the last minute!
Kim and I were a little rusty at first (or maybe just me) with reading big city maps and train schedules but before we knew it we were zooming around Paris. We managed to see quite a bit in just 6 hours. The Jardin des Tuileries, the Eiffel Tower, a boat tour up and down the Seine River, the Place de la Concorde, the Grand Palais and just a glimpse of the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. Despite our comfy shoes, which we patted ourselves on the back for a few times that day, we still were quite tired after all the walking. We took a nice long nap around 5pm and then got ready to go out to dinner. Our concierge recommended Pinxo, a nearby restaurant in walking distance. The dinner was really tasty as well as very numerical. Numerical, you ask? How can a dinner be numerical? Well, I will let you find out on your next trip to Paris! I don't want to spoil it.
The next morning Kim and I got up and had breakfast at the hotel. Unfortunately, she also woke up with the makings of a sore throat which she quite possibly contracted from two other shorter residents at our apartment. It seems she was able to evade the stomach flu but not sickness altogether! After breakfast, Kim got a taxi to the airport and I took a short walk around Paris before my train-ride back to Caen. I walked up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe and then began my Metro rides back to the Saint Lazar train station.
I highly recommend the train ride as opposed to driving from Caen-Paris and back. The train ride is just 2 hours, very comfortable (not sure about 2nd class as I took 1st) and provides a great opportunity to get in a nice nap or a couple of chapters read in your favorite book you haven't had the time pick up the last few weeks or years. Personally, I played Scrabble on my iPhone. Addicting!
Well, now my big sis is gone. Bittersweet, really. It was great to have her company but awful to see her go! She'll be back in July with her sons Cooper (almost 4) and Jordan (6) and time will pass by quickly with a visit from my parents and Andrew's mom in June/July.
Today is Thursday and is also another public holiday here in France which means no school. Grace and Ella have coughs, sore throats and ear aches so we are pretty homebound for the foreseeable future. For some miraculous reason, they don't seem to be waning in energy as the messes, fights and rate at which toys are being used has not slowed down!
Tonight, Andrew leaves for Chicago, then Indianapolis and then Belgium and some other country. He doesn't return until next Friday! Honestly, I am bummed. I went from tons of company with my sister to no company with Andrew leaving. And though our little adventures are fun as a family, they become much more difficult when it is just me and I start to lose daily creativity and momentum. And I miss adult interaction and the help around the house. And the girls miss their daddy as well and their old house so they get sad. Oh well, this time shall pass and Andrew will be back before we know it. So, I am going to buck up and just get on with it already!
Tomorrow there is also no school. With Andrew gone, if the girls are feeling better, I may take them to a nearby chateau that has pretty gardens for our daily fieldtrip. Or maybe the beach. Stay tuned!
Pictured above: Kim and I in front of the Eiffel Tower, Kim sitting in front of the many fountains in the Jardin des Tuileries, Bayeux, the amuse-bouch presented at the "numerical" restaurant Pinxo.