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Summer

Things have been moving quickly in these parts.  I feel like ever since we’ve gotten back to the states we’ve been running non-stop.  We got back in June.  Since then we’ve been to Florida visiting family, Utah for a wedding, Illinois visiting family, then are moving into Chicago this weekend where The Husband and I are both working, and are going to California next weekend.  Between all of that visiting we found time to job hunt enough for me to currently have two jobs.  We’ve been blessed in more ways than I can count since returning to the States, but incredibly busy at the same time.

Currently we’re sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of our apartment until we get to move all our furniture that we haven’t seen in 2 years (!!!!!!) in this weekend.  We have no internet.  We have no light in our bedroom.  We have nothing to cook with.  We’re so busy that neither one of us gets home till 9 at night.  And we’re incredibly happy.  I miss Paris with all of my heart, but it was time for that chapter to end and this one to begin.  We’re just hoping this domestic chapter is a short one and that we start another international adventure again soon…  In the mean time, enjoy my sporadic blogging of pictures of Paris that make me swoon.  Once we get internet I’ll post some pictures of our new home, Chicago.

Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris

The Husband and I are total and complete tourists and love viewing our city by boat…  I mean, what’s not to love?  You get to see all the sights and don’t have to move an inch, plus you get a great breeze during the summer!  I’m sold!

 Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris

Not gonna lie… Even though I have that weird arm growing out of my head in that last picture, its still on the new cover I just had made for my Kindle. Paris me manques!

I’ve been overwhelmed lately, as has everyone it seems.  Sometimes life just gets the best of us and things like journaling (thats what this blog is for me) get put by the wayside.  But, in my absence I was successfully able to do another full read-through of my thesis, edit the whole thing (again), make some final changes, and turn that baby in once and for all!  I now only have my defense left before I emerge a true Master!  We also had two birthdays last week in our tiny studio, as well as me reading my first book for fun since starting grad school one year ago.  I may have spent all weekend in bed reading after turning in my thesis and successfully finished 2.5 books.  So kill me.  It was amazing.

Anyways, a few weeks ago we had the awesome opportunity to go to our second Nuit Blanche here in Paris.  This is always one of my favorite nights of the year and I spend way too much time reading the huge city guide that the Mairie puts out so I can try to catch everything I want to see.  Alas, rather than seeing all the approximately 150 exhibits I wanted to see, The Husband, me, and our recently married friends the Baguettes hung out at Pizza Hut for most of the night.  Mr. Baguette was hungry, and just had to choose the sit down pizza joint.  Good company and great conversation made the non-artsy part of the evening my favorite.  We did see three things though, and three is better than none!  I count this as a win!

The Husband and I started off our evening with a picnic on the Seine and a walk around the quartier before meeting up with the Baguettes.

Nuit Blanche
Nuit Blanche
Nuit Blanche
Nuit Blanche

Stay tuned for the actual artsy part of the evening!

Before our friends The Loggers left Paris for good (this time around…) they treated us to a jaunt up the Tour Montparnasse.  Now, I had successfully avoided going up this monstrosity until that fateful night simply because I had already been up the Eiffel Tower and The Arc de Triomphe numerous times, but I have to say it was pretty cool.  If you’ve got a thing for looking over cities and have already visited the Tour Eiffel and the Arc de Triomphe, the Tour Montparnasse should be your next stop.  It’s basically the second Eiffel Tower of the city.

Did you know that there are regulations within Paris city limits about how tall a building can be?  Well, the Tour Montparnasse is one of the only ones that has been completed and stands above these regulations, giving it one of the most interesting views over the Eiffel Tower that you can get.  That being said, my favorite way to view the city from up high is still from the Arc de Triomphe, but the Tour Montparnasse wasn’t too shabby!

Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse

The Husband and I took a night off a few weekends ago to spend some time together.  Sometimes an outdoor picnic to enjoy the last bits of summer is just what the doctor ordered, and just what our relationship needs to take away some of the stress that is constantly trying to sneak its way in.  One of my favorite things to do is to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle — no matter how cliché it is, my soul is happiest when lying back on our Moroccan print blanket, drinking some apple juice, and chatting while staring at something incredibly beautiful.  Nights like this remind me of how lucky we are when everything else seems to be going wrong.

Champ de Mars
Champ de Mars
Champ de Mars

We split up our Chicago portion of the trip into two two day blocks (we bookended the trip to Florida with Chicago since it was cheaper to fly in and out of the city than Miami), so our visit felt even shorter than our time in Florida!

We jammed everything possible that we could into our four days — we started off with deep dish pizza at Lous, went to a Cubs game, spent some quality time at Costco and Target, a trip to Little Caesars, family photos, dinner with some of our closest friends from when we lived in the city, multiple doctors visits, and a visit to the Shedd Aquarium, where I volunteered with my father as a teenager.  And don’t forget getting to meet my brothers first child for the first time.

America, it was great.  Someday we’ll be back.  Until then we’ll have to make do with all the delicious foods we brought back to remind us of home!

 Elijah 2013
Chicago 2013
Chicago 2013


Chicago 2013
Chicago 2013
Chicago 2013
Cubs 2013
Katherine and Elijah 2013
Cubs 2013
Cubs 2013
Elijah 2013
Grandpa and Elijah 2013
Cubs 2013

The Husband and I officially picked up our lives and moved to France (again) on September 1st, 2012, with the plan of staying here in Paris until May 2014.  Since I was giving up my full time job (The Husband was only working part time at that point and was able to keep his job after moving thanks to a pretty awesome boss) and we were both going back to school full time, we knew that money would be tight for the next year and a half, and we were fine with that.  The only thing that made us sad was the prospect of being away from our families for a complete 18 months.  Luckily we have great resources like Skype and Facetime to help us keep in touch, but something about talking to a computer just isn’t the same as being there in person, especially when it comes to niece and nephews.

Unexpectedly, The Husband’s little sister (he has two older and one younger) decided to serve a mission for our church, meaning that she would also be moving out of the country for 18 months, but unlike us wouldn’t be able to call, text, and e-mail whenever she wanted.  Lucky for her, she’s going to Japan and is super excited, but unlucky for her, she is leaving in October, meaning that we wouldn’t have seen her in person for approximately 3 years by the time she gets back, and who knows where we’re going to be then.

Although The Husband was overjoyed for Little Sister, he got really sad for a while because of the prospect of not seeing her for so long, prompting us to call The In-Laws and bargain with them.  Hence, the surprise was born.  We offered up what money we could afford, with them paying the difference, to fly us to Chicago, where my family lives.  From there, The Parental Units flew us down to Florida, where The In-Laws, Little Sister, Old(er) Sister, and Old(est) sister (along with her husband and kiddos) live, with our trip ending back in Chicago.  All of this in 10 days.  Four flights, 30+ hours in a plane, and 10 days in America to see off Little Sister, both of our families, and meet the first grandchild on my side of the family.  While exhausting, it was totally worth it!

We didn’t really expect it to work, but planned out a surprise for everyone on The Husband’s side — the In-Laws invited all the sisters (avec famille) over for a movie and then left part way through, saying that they needed to go pick up some ice cream at their favorite speciality shop about an hour away (a surprisingly common occurrence).  The got us at the airport, we cried and hugged and were generally happy, and then we walked in to the house without saying anything and hung out in the kitchen until everyone noticed.  There were an abnormal amount of tears and squeals, lots of hugs, and even one sister stating later that she thought she had fallen and hit her head and was hallucinating us.

It was a successful trip — most of the time (only 4 short days) spent snuggling on the couch (we actually did have a pretty epic tickle fight in bed), with a short get-a-way to the beach one morning to take in Florida.  Let me tell you, after a long summer of working non-stop on my thesis, a day at the beach was exactly what I needed.

 Deerfield Beach
Andrew and Carter 2013
Andrew 2013

Carter 2013

Amanda 2013

Deerfield Beach
Carter 2013

Carter 2013

Carter 2013

Deerfield Beach
Toes on Deerfield Beach
Florida 2013

Deerfield Beach
Surprised Dodger
Angry Blanca

The dogs may have played part in the surprise as well — we came home from the store one day to see they had been outfitted with (cruelty-free) eyebrows and were surprised/angry to see us!

These photos are pretty self explanatory today, so this little talking section is going to have absolutely nothing to do with them.  So, if you don’t want to read about my every day life here in Paris, feel free to skip on and only look at the pictures.  I wouldn’t blame you — life in Paris is much more exciting when you don’t think about the mundane everyday things that we have to do here in addition to in the states.

Without a doubt, the scariest thing to hear someone who is doing work on your apartment say is “Qu’est-ce qu’on fait?” (What are we doing?).  No joke, there are plumbers in our bathroom right now and they’ve said that at least 15 times…

About two months ago our lovely upstairs neighbors (two floors up, mind you) left their shower on all day while they were at work (HOW DO YOU DO THAT?), causing their bathroom, the bathroom in the apartment above ours, and our bathroom to flood.  So we had two holes in our ceiling as well as some water damage, meaning the insurance had to come in and fix all of that.  Two months later we finally got the call saying that someone was coming to fix it.  Well, not someone exactly, but a plumber, then a wall repair man, then a painter, then the plumber again (since its France, our building is incredibly old, meaning that we have a HUGE water heater hanging above our toilet that needed to be taken down since both of the holes just happened to be underneath it).  They told us the whole process would take four days, meaning four days without hot water.  In October.

So, the plumber came yesterday, took down the heater (after we had showered, luckily), and then the painter came in, took one look, said he could patch and fix the holes that afternoon, meaning the plumber could come put up the heater again that night.  Bam, no showers without hot water.  I was soooo exited.

Only one problem: the plumber didn’t think the painter could be done that quickly, so he refused to come back before tonight.  Meaning that I took THE COLDEST SHOWER known to man kind this morning (well, lets be honest, it was more of a wash down the hair and really quickly wet my hands and rub them on my body as quickly as possible type thing.  Aka a sponge bath….) and felt disgustingly dirty all day because it was too cold to submerge my body and truly lather up with that sweet substance known as soap.

Que the men in our bathroom: the plumbers “friends” who help him out sometimes, since the plumber didn’t want to stop by our place at 8 at night.  They have no idea what they’re doing.  It took them 45 minutes to figure out how to pick up the water heater so they would have it in the correct position to mount it, haha.  And, without fail, every 5 minutes they swear really loud, rest the heater on the sink, and ask one another “what are we doing?”.  The Husband is so nervous about all of this that he expelled himself to the doorway, the only spot in our apartment where you can’t see the bathroom.

So, what have we learned from this experience?  First of all, the painter is always right, trust him when he says he’ll be done by a certain time,  Secondly, never trust a plumbers “friends”.  Theres a reason why he refers to them as friends, not colleagues.  All in the name of hot water for my shower tomorrow morning….

 England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013

London was…. magical.  This was The Husband’s first time in England, so I wish we had had more time to spend in London than just one day — we were lucky to have the time that we did have, though.

After waking up early, frantically trying to drive our car on the wrong side of the road (for us), going around what felt like a million roundabouts, and finally making it into the city, we felt like we deserved a treat.  So, of course, we bought ourselves a vegetable pastie and went and took photos at Platform 9 3/4.  I have to say, I’m pretty sure that was the best way to reward ourselves!  We even got suckered in to buying the professional photo that they took of us… What can I say, slap Harry Potter on anything and I’ll buy it!

We started off the day in London by trying to fit as much sightseeing in as possible.  We were at Kings Cross and decided (read: I decided because I love walking and am convinced that we should all walk cities whenever possible) to take the tube to London Bridge and then walk over to Hyde Park from there.  The Husband had a meeting set up at 1 in the park, so we had to book it, impressively making it that far in an hour (though not everyone enjoyed the walk as much as I did….).  The Husband and I had been kind of dumb when we were packing and had forgotten my camera battery charger in Paris (we accidentally grabbed the charger for our other Nikon), and of course as soon as we hit the road my camera was magically on its last bar of battery.  So, while picture taking was severely limited, I guess it was kind of a good thing — had I had full reign of the camera, we definitely wouldn’t have made it to The Husband’s meeting in time!

 England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013
England 2013


England 2013

The Husband and I discovered something horrible while we were in England.  Taco Bell exists outside of America.  It exists, and it is magnificent.  And we may or may not have drove an hour from our hotel to get Taco Bell and stuff ourselves with American goodness.  I’m not going to lie to you, this was probably the greatest decision we made all summer — The Husband was basically crying because it tasted so much like home.

So, without further explanation, heres some photos that are in no way creative or beautiful, but definitely chronicle one of the best parts about England.  Oh yeah, and theres like three other photos in there, just for funsies!  Tune in later for LONDON!!!!

 England 2013
England 2013


England 2013


England 2013


England 2013
England 2013


England 2013


England 2013