I wasn't sure how I was going to feel when we arrived back at our apartment in Caen today. The elation and happiness I felt when we arrived in Crested Butte just three weeks back seemed incomparable. But I can tell you that despite some major jet lag and the feeling of needing a 30 minute shower, it actually did feel nice to walk into our apartment. But I didn't feel that happiness until we arrived home - it was lacking all through the drive to get home. Now the difference is that when you arrive into the Gunnison/Crested Butte airport, the airport is small and uncrowded, when you walk out of the airport the first thing you see is blue skies and mountains, and the turbulence you most likely experienced made you euphoric to just be on steady ground. When you arrive into Paris, the airport is hot and crowded and the best view you can expect when you walk out of the airport is a sky (which may be cloudy) and a mountain of buildings. Not exactly the same experience - actually quite opposite. But when we finally arrived back at the apartment, all of us were extremely happy. Even the girls said they were happy to be back in France. They headed straight for the costumes and I headed straight for the shower - which once saddened me but now greets me!
(pictured above: Ella visiting the cockpit on our ORD to CDG flight)
Goodness. I still can't believe we are back in Caen. THANK goodness! In case you are wondering, it is still a LONG ride. But this time was a little easier than the last. Probably because we all knew what to expect and Andrew and I could better prepare the girls for upcoming events.
The only painful thing that really sticks out in my mind from the trip is a major, extra-loud, stressful, ulcer inducing temper tantrum from Mia. On a small shuttle bus at Ohare Airport. Mortified, overwhelmed, helpless, are words that describe me as I held her flailing, screaming body in the shuttle bus seat as we drove from Gate E2 to C18. And I know she was as loud as I remember because Grace actually started crying because Mia was hurting her ears. Oh, and the other passengers on the shuttle bus were not giving me those understanding glances that you hope for - rather they were providing glances of hate and distaste for me who obviously cannot control her own daughter. Ugh, you know? I just sat there, using all my might to get her to stay so she didn't inflict a tornado on the moving bus and it's passengers. What was this all about? Something so small, I don't even remember. Andrew and Ella had the right idea when they decided to walk back to C18 instead of taking the shuttle bus. But they sure missed quite a show...
(pictured above: Mia did eventually pass out - the sweat and red face alone that she produced during her temper tantrum would be enough to knock any kid out)
As you can see from the picture towards the top of the blog, Ella got to visit the cockpit and that was really exciting for her. Also, the girls continue to wow and captivate the flight attendants with their stellar behavior. I guess they don't see the sub-par behavior that Andrew and I notice, but I rather them be talked about as the polite children than the nasty ones.
The rest of our trip in Crested Butte was just awesome. Ella and I had a great mother daughter trip to Montrose, CO. We did our typical school shopping, got our nails done and then went out to dinner. To the left, Ella sports one of her new dresses at our fancy dinner at Camp Robber. Grace and Mia had their vision checked - Grace needs glasses but Mia doesn't. Mia was quite bummed about that! The girls had some play dates with their great friends and Andrew and I got to hang out with our friends, too. Lots of bike riding for Andrew, running for me. Ella had soccer camp for a whole week from 9 - 12 each day. We think she had fun, but most days she didn't want to get up for it and we are not really sure she had any clue as to what she was doing on the field. Regardless, it was a great introduction to soccer.
(Pictured above: The girls with their buddies Otto and Rocko)
(Pictured above: Ella and her friend Amelia with their soccer coach)
My sister and her two sons Jordan (7) and Cooper (4) arrived during our stay. It was great! We went hiking, the kids played together really well, and my sister and I had a chance to just hang out together. The most exciting part of their visit is that they got a formal offer on their house in Chicago so they officially are moving to the Denver area in one month. This is all due to a great career advancement for her husband Tom. So when we get back to Crested Butte, we will have my sister and her family just hours away - probably in the Highlands Ranch area - and that is awesome!
(pictured below: Ella and Grace with their friends at school in CB)
Ultimately, as I sit here and reflect on our trip, I am convinced it was a good idea to go home for a visit. Sure, there are some downsides to going back to Crested Butte, but isn't that the same for anything in life? Our family has decided to make Crested Butte our life-long home (though I have a nagging feeling that we may encounter some brief interruptions along the road) and to tie the girls to their home-based friends and community is essential. Of course that is true for Andrew and I, also, but the girls come first.
Riding on the airplane from Chicago to Paris I was thinking about what most I was looking forward to when we arrive back in Caen. As I was pondering this question, Grace was sitting next to me eating her breakfast and she said, "Mommy, the Cheerios are going in the Cheerios bucket and the yogurt is going in the yogurt bucket." Lately, this is her funny way of describing where the food goes once it passes through her mouth. And of couse, it goes into special buckets in your tummy! And it was then that I decided it was the food I missed most. I know I am a broken record about this, but I seriously can't tell you enough about how much better the produce is here in France - compared to Crested Butte (aka. CB), anyway. When we were in CB certainly the peaches were in full production and tasty as ever. But all the other produce at the store just looked icky. Also, we ate out a lot at our favorite restaurants and I was happy to not have to cook all that much. Now that we are back in Caen, I am looking forward to buying the produce that is fresh and in season, going to the market and buying whatever looks tastiest, and cooking up those tasty treats for the family. Or to put it in Grace's terms, I look forward to replenishing our tummies with produce into all of the appropriate buckets!
(pictured above: A photo taken during our drive through Blue Mesa Reservoir, just 30 minutes outside of CB)
(pictured above: Andrew helping Mia and Grace skate on the synthetic ice at Mt. CB)
(pictured above: Ella and with her friend Ellie after a successful slumber party - plus the twins)
(pictured above: Ella and I infront of the Black Canyon during our girls trip to Montrose, CO)
(pictured above: My sister Kim and nephews Cooper and Jordan at Rainbow Park in CB)