Tonight after Andrew got home from work, I went running. It had been about a week or so since my last run and I was just craving to go, go, go. While I was running, I got a cramp in my calf - which is not typical for me at all. And I immediately thought to myself that my mom was probably experiencing that same calf cramp at the very same moment back in Indiana. Why would I think that? Ironically, this happens between my mom and I. One time a few months ago when I was having a bad day I ended up breaking into tears for no good reason right in front of the girls. I later talked to my mom and she was telling me basically the same story happening to her that day, and she didn't even know yet that it had happened to me! The examples are numerous - a back ache, a cut on the finger, an eye twitch that won't go away. It's like we have this connection that transcends distance! So despite the fact that my parents are now back in Indiana after a wonderful 3 week visit with us here in France, I still feel comforted like they are here with me - albeit as a calf cramp - but you can't be choosy! To add further to this mystical story, Andrew and his aunt have said they also share a similar connection. But theirs is more related to having full conversations without ever actually speaking to each other. Maybe one of them could comment further on this when they read the blog?
It's weird to have the house so quiet now. For the past 5 weeks we have had family staying with us and I got used to the activity, the extra help and the non-stop action. Today was my first whole day home with the girls ever since school has gotten out and without any grandparents. I felt a little rusty! Aside from a long walk to the fruit and vegetable stand and the meat stand, we didn't do much other than play at home. That was fine with me and the girls - I think a day of decompression was in order. Tomorrow the girls and I will also be home all day. I am thinking a trip to the post office to mail some letters the girls have written (or drawn) is in order, followed by a small picnic in the park and maybe a ride on the carousel. A rainy day is forecasted so we'll just have to roll with it.
Now I thought I might take a moment to summarize some of the adventures with my parents that I haven't previously talked about. I don't plan to go into great detail, but rather just give an idea of how we managed to occupy every single second of our time!
First - a few overlying themes of the trip:
1. My dad has a new love and it's name is meringue.
2. Despite our best arguments, Andrew and I were unable to convince my dad to like Barack Obama and dislike Sarah Palin.
3. We played a lot of euchre and in the end I think it all came out even.
4. My mother repaired a ripped Care Bear which made her a saint in Ella's eyes.
5. My parents ate foie gras - on more than one occasion - and I like to think they enjoyed it!
6. My dad lost 6 pounds while here in France - we walked A LOT!
7. After many trips through the circles here in Caen, my dad now plans to write a letter to the Valparaiso, IN newspaper proclaiming the greatness of round-a-bouts.
8. It isn't just me, my parents agree the fruits and veggies here really are a million times tastier than anything you have ever had prior.
OK, now to the summary of our adventures:
July 10 - On this day my parents and I had lunch at an English Tea and Brunch restaurant called Dolly's. We had a nice lunch. My parents had hamburgers that were about 5 inches in height. The rest of the day was spent doing grocery shopping, house stuff and napping.
July 11 - All of us (sans Andrew) met up with our friends Alain and Carih and their daughter Amelia and newborn Maddie at the park for a picnic. Andrew returned home later that evening after 3 days out of town for work. He managed to fit a trip to Amsterdam into his work trip so don't feel too badly for him...
July 12 - Ella and I took my parents to see Mont-St-Michel. My parents were truly amazed. We walked the perimeter this time, on the sand while the tide was out. Ella found some great rocks and treasures to bring home. My parents were very tired from the tons of steps and we never even made it to the tippy top!
(pictured above: Ella and Grandpa on the surrounding sands of Mont St Michel)
July 13 - We hung out this day - no excursions. Just plain ole home time!
July 14 - Bastille Day in France! Andrew had the day off from work. The group split up. Andrew, my dad and Ella went to Cherborg to see the monster submarine. My mom and I and the twins had a picnic at Willy's Castle and then had a playdate with a friend of thier's from school.
( pictured above: Grandpa and Ella at Cherborg)
(pictured above: Mia and Michel on the play date)
July 15 - Andrew and I had lunch this day at a nearby restaurant. My parents choose to do as the French commonly do, which is to grab a baguette sandwich and walk with it. Later that day, my parents and I visited a store that I had been thinking about visiting. It specializes in frozen food and boy did they have a TASTY selection!
July 16 - Beach day. We went to Hermanville-sur-mer having heard from a friend of mine that it was the best beach in the area. And we all agreed that it was, in fact, the best! It was large, not busy, the weather was great, tons of shells and rocks, pretty scenery. We loved it!
(pictured above: Grandma and Grace)
(pictured above: Ella, Grace and Mia playing in the sand)
July 17 - Fulfilling my dad's ultimate search for the best cafeteria (he loves MCL Cafeteria in Lafayette, IN) and his desire to see the public transportation here in Caen, we took the Twisto (tram) up to the mall and had lunch at the Casino Cafeteria with Andrew.
July 18 - Fairy Castle day! We let the girls dress up in fairy costumes and then we visited a castle where we looked for fairy's all day long. We also had a picnic and took at tour of the chateau - St. Germain de Livet. That evening, we got a babysitter and went to a nearby casino at Luc-sur-Mer. We had a nice dinner at the casino and have no major wins to report.
(pictured above: The girls entering the fairy castle grounds)
July 19 - On this day our friends Alain and Carih hosted my family for the most wonderful lunch. It was very French - just perfect for my parents to experience. We started with delicious foie gras, followed with confit de canard and green beans, then with local cheeses and ended with homemade ice cream and and watermelon.
July 20 - After dropping off the girls at First Babys School, my parents and I went to the train station for a 10am train to Paris. We dropped our bags off at our hotel at the airport and then went straight back into Paris for the day. They hadn't yet seen the Luxembourg Gardens so I took them there. We walked around all day, watched the people, looked at the statues and even paused for a little nap in the grass with the rest of the Parisians. We finished the night with a dinner at an Italian restaurant with some fine spaghetti.
(pictured above: In the orange hat, my dad looks on at a game of Petanque)
(pictured above: my parents having lunch in Luxembourg Gardens)
July 21 - After a 7am wake up call, I took my parents to check in for their flight. Around 9:30am we parted ways! I had a long desired Starbucks coffee and then started back home on the trains.
I talked to my parents this evening and they say they arrived home safely yesterday and they are feeling just great. They got a good nights sleep and were eating cherries that didn't taste nearly as good what they had in France : )