Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We made it!

Well I realized I never posted that we successfully navigated our time without Amy and Charles and they made it back home to us. The last couple of days have been busy with trying to get caught up on laundry, some things around the house that I wasn't able to do on my own, and packing me up to head back home. I can hardly believe it's already time and yet it does seem like it's been forever that I've been here!

I have nothing extraordinary to share about these last few days. We had Raclette one last time for my farewell meal on Monday night and I made chocolate chip cookies one last time for them. This time they were just about perfect. :) Last time I made them they were SO DRY and I had to add tons of shortening and they STILL were dry. This time I started out with a whole cup less of flour and STILL TOO DRY. So bizarre. Apparently French flour is a bit different. But this time it was just a little too dry so I added a bit of shortening and made sure it had enough before cooking them. Then instead of cooking them all up I froze some of the dough in balls for Amy so they can pull them out and cook them fresh sometime in the future. Maybe they will think of me when they eat them. :)

Looks like I'm coming home just in time, Bath & Body Works is breaking out the fall scents and some new ones. Can't wait to smell them. :) The weather here has me definitely in the fall-ish mood! It's been cold and cloudy for the last three days. I did not bring enough long sleeves with me! I will remedy that the end of this month when we come for the retreat.

Well I'm going to try to get a little nap in before it's time to get to the airport. I have an 8:10 AM flight so we're headed to the airport at 6 AM. Au revoir my new French friends, I will miss you! But so AWFULLY glad to be able to see my home people again. "I've had my run, baby I'm done, I gotta go home." :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

today we did...

So this is my attempt at capturing what happens in a somewhat typical day here. For whatever it's worth.

7:11 AM - awakened by a little voice asking if he could get in the bed with me. I mumble something affirmative in response and he happily climbs in beside me and cuddles right up.
7:30 AM - alarm goes off and Thomas pops up asking "What's that?" I tell him it's time to get up and he is glad to hear it.
7:40 AM - wake up Sophie and check to be sure Emma is awake
7:48 AM - begin making coffee
7:52 AM - encourage everyone to come downstairs to eat breakfast as soon as they're dressed
7:55 AM - finish making coffee and sit down at the table
8:02 AM - call up the stairs a little more urgently for everyone to come eat
8:05 AM - everyone finally begins eating breakfast; Emma flips the switch to turn on the outlet the toaster is plugged into and the power to the house goes off again so I run downstairs to flip the button
8:12 AM - tell Sophie to brush her hair and find some shoes before her ride gets here
8:19 AM - remind Sophie she is still barefoot and her hair needs brushing and her ride will be here in one minute
8:22 AM - the gate bell rings and the Daisy goes crazy, I try to shush her and attach her to the leash before opening the door and gate
8:24 AM - call for Claire, it's time to GO
8:27 AM - let Daisy off her chain and breathe a big sigh
8:28 AM - put away breakfast things
8:45 AM - get sidetracked checking email and facebook for the morning and IMing with Joey on how to resell my iPhone
9:15 AM - check to be sure Thomas is appropriately dressed for tennis
9:17 AM - take a shower
9:31 AM - phone rings but nobody leaves a message so I don't pick it up (I can't speak French so odds are I couldn't talk to them anyway)
9:35 AM - gate rings again, Daisy freaks out again, it's Thomas's ride a little early (25 minutes!)
9:37 AM - coax Thomas into putting on tennis shoes instead of crocs
9:39 AM - sneak pair of socks in with Twinkle & Edit in his backpack
9:42 AM - start The Event premiere while washing dishes and straightening the kitchen
10:00 AM - move to living room and fold laundry while still watching
10:23 AM - attempt to straighten the house which looks like a bomb went off, take a comb away from Daisy who is chewing furiously
11:02 AM - Thomas comes home from tennis so my straightening changes from being productive to just neutralizing mess
11:25 AM - Thomas asks me to help him with his puzzle
11:36 AM - we discuss what to have for lunch, Thomas asks to have quiche (not one of the two options I gave), I decide quiche is fine and maybe while I'm at it I'll finish those apple streusel muffins Emma has been asking for
11:45 AM - Thomas asks if he should put the rest of the cheese in the quiche? A quick glance and I assure him it has PLENTY of cheese
11:47 AM - Claire comes home from school
12:05 PM - quiche goes into oven
12:17 PM - muffins go into oven
12:20 PM - I ask Claire to set the table so that it's ready when the girls get home from school
12:30 PM - quiche comes out
12:35 PM - muffins come out
12:45 PM - Emma and Sophie home from school and lunch commences
1:10 PM - I request help with the house and haggle a ten minute clean-up in exchange for watching The Newsies
1:14 PM - I take the basket with my folded clothes down the basement and discover the rug in front of the dehumidifier is completely soaked. I call for Claire to help me investigate the source.
1:18 PM - we establish that it is the dehumidifier although we don't know why and I turn it off and empty the reservoir, Claire takes the rug outside to dry
1:20 PM - I start another load of laundry before emerging from the basement to find the kids have done an excellent job with the cleanup. We extend it by five minutes to make up for the time spent in the basement and get the last little things put away out of the living room, Claire goes back to doing lunch dishes
1:35 PM - swimming lesson things are gathered so that they are ready to go
1:55 PM - we finally start The Newsies
2:45 PM - I can tell it's finally morning in the States because Savanna, Mom and Fezz all IM me within ten minutes
3:15 PM - we pause the movie and get shoes on for swimming lessons and grab some goûter to eat on the way
3:33 PM - set off for swimming lessons!
3:47 PM - get Sophie changed into swimsuit and the rest of us settle in to wait
4:45 PM - Claire and Emma head back to change, Sophie comes out from her lesson
5:03 PM - Thomas is ready to go home
5:25 PM - Thomas REALLY wants to go home now, I feel like I could fall asleep right where I'm at and wonder why since I've been getting somewhere in the vicinity of seven hours of sleep but decide maybe I should try eight hours tonight
5:45 PM - Claire and Emma are done, load up the car to go home
6:10 PM - arrive at home and decide on sandwiches for dinner
6:18 PM - begin getting out food, ask for the table to be set
6:37 PM - Emma volunteers to make smoothies again to go with dinner
6:45 PM - call everyone to the table
6:56 PM - Sophie gasps and says "I just saw a cat walk past!"; she, Claire and Thomas get up to investigate
6:57 PM - there is indeed a cat randomly walking up the stairs in the house; Daisy is not happy with this, we lock her in Claire's room while we deal with the cat
7:00 PM - the cat is friendly (albeit very skinny) but knows we are onto her and she doesn't intend to leave
7:10 PM - finally get cat out of house and get everyone back to dinner table; Thomas tells me he loves me for the 342nd time but it still has the same effect as the first :)
7:15 PM - I ask Emma stay at the table and finish eating and can NOT go out to check on the cat
7:17 PM - insist that Emma WILL NOT leave her seat until she is through with dinner
7:25 PM - someone opens the front door and in darts the cat again
7:26 PM - Daisy panics and I lock her in the kitchen
7:30 PM - cat is once more out of the house and I instruct the older two to begin dishes and the younger two to get ready for bed
7:32 PM - I open my work assignments from Bazaar
7:37 PM - I discover Emma is giving the cat milk from the window
7:45 PM - check on Thomas, is playing in his room so I assist him in finding clothes for tomorrow
7:53 PM - realize Twinkle & Edit are still in Thomas's backpack and we think it's still in the van
7:55 PM - the cat rubs around my ankles while I check the van. I decide maybe she can't figure out how to leave because the gate is closed, so I open and she runs happily out
7:57 PM - Emma is very heartbroken that I let the cat go, I redirect her back to the dishes
8:00 PM - Thomas found his backpack upstairs and I tell him to put his jammies on
8:01 PM - read a book, sing, and pray with Sophie
8:10 PM - find Thomas in jammies like I asked, read a book, sing and pray with him
8:18 PM - go back to work assignments, Emma is still moaning about the cat and asks to call her parents (to ask if she can keep the cat that is already gone)
8:30 PM - I attempt to send Emma to her room for bedtime prep
8:33 PM - Emma wants to know what Claire is typing to her aunt and Claire says she'll show her for €1. Emma happily agrees and pays up only to be disappointed at the non-juiciness of the email.
8:40 PM - I insist Emma must now go up to bed since lights are to be out in five minutes and remind Claire her time is coming too
8:55 PM - Claire heads off to bed
9:01 PM - I work feverishly on Bazaar but I have over 90,000 characters in profile names to read through and my eyes really don't do well
11:02 PM - I begin writing this post interspersed with many checks of facebook and a few emails I remember I was supposed to write
11:45 PM - remember the laundry is still in the washer
11:52 PM - walk past kitchen on my way from moving the laundry to the dryer and realize a few things didn't get put away after dinner
12:02 AM - get ready for bed and my back reminds me how long it's been since I went to see Dr. Ky
12:10 AM - I am tempted for the twentieth time today to buy the iPhone 4 so it is waiting for me when I get home and resist the urge only because I'm too tired to hunt up my credit card
12:13 AM - remember that I was hoping to go to bed earlier tonight...oops; but try to assure myself that tomorrow I can take a nap while the kids are at school
12:15 AM - move undone items from my to do list to tomorrow (i.e. vacuum house, mop kitchen)
12:30 AM - send email to Amy about leaking dehumidifier

And that was pretty much our day. So crazy to think a week from now I will be home in Texas!! I will definitely miss these kiddos but I am also looking forward to being home with "my" kiddos.

Mom is off to Michigan on an all expense paid trip to a special mothers conference and we are so excited for her! It's exactly what I had been praying for, that she would get an opportunity to get away from life for a few days and take some deep breaths. I know it's been amazingly helpful for me!

Well I'd really like to get some sleep now so I'm going to close this. Love to all at home!

Monday, September 20, 2010

  • blog
  • groceries
  • laundry
  • write postcards
Yeah I've begun making myself to do lists even here. What, you're laughing because I wrote blog on it?? Well I should add eat chocolate too. That way I can be SURE to check something off. :) My week is looking decently full of productive time even while the kids are at school. I want to work on leaving the house as clean as possible.

I've been having a great time with the kids, just as I'd hoped and expected they are being very good for me. The point system I put into place right away has definitely been oh so useful. The kids have responded very well to it. School days are challenging because while I have several beautiful hours of quiet down time, when the kids get home it's pretty much nonstop activity doing homework, getting dinner, cleaning up and preparing for the next day. It was so nice to have Saturday and Sunday with quiet times at home to clean things up a bit. The piles of things I didn't know where to put was growing. :) A quick ten minute M&M helped solve that!

Sunday was quite an adventure though as I had not really talked to anyone about how exactly to get to church. We'd driven there a few times but I was the passenger and not the driver so I was afraid I might not remember exactly how to go. Claire was staying with the McAuleys or I was sure she would have got us there. I kind of mapped it on Google and wrote down directions but I felt handicapped without my GPS on my iPhone and not knowing the language so I couldn't just easily dash in some place and ask for directions. I knew there were plenty of people who could help me if I called but I was hoping to not disturb them on Sunday morning. We loaded in the minivan after breakfast and I asked the kids if they knew how to get to church. Emma and Sophie both assured me they felt like they could remember the way so off we went. We only had to turn around once because I misunderstood what Emma was telling me but they got us to church in perfect timing nonetheless! I was so proud of them. When we were looking for a parking spot I realized I was going to have to parallel park for the first since I began driving. Thankfully I'd been analyzing everybody who had done it before me and managed to pull that off pretty well (and took a picture to prove it!). Then we got home again without any incident and I was just beyond impressed.

I've been having fun cooking for us and the kids seem to like it too. I made pot pie on Saturday night and apple crisp for dessert. All of the kids are anxious for me to make more. :) I am going to get more butter at the grocery store today and I can make more. Emma announces to anyone who will listen that I'm a world famous cook (not!) and has been begging me to make more yummy things so now I'm afraid of the act I have set for myself to follow. :D

Last night I think it finally hit me as I was closing the volets and locking up for the night that I was the responsible adult in charge of four precious little lives this week. It was kind of an overwhelming thought and I don't know how it didn't come to me before. Every time someone has mentioned anything about it I just kind of shrugged and smiled and said it wasn't too hard but the full gravity seemed to have finally sunk in. It's such a strange feeling to think I'm solely responsible for making sure these kids eat, get dressed, go to school and their activities...wow!

Well I'd better get on to the rest of my to-dos. :) 9 more days!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paris take three :) and the REAL adventure begins

Tuesday was my last chance to run around Paris and get a few more sights in and boy did I ever!! I planned to go straight to the Eiffel Tower first thing and then added a few other ideas to my list to be completed as I had time or felt like it. I'm very much a laid back wanderer and not so much a "must see EVERYTHING" kind of sightseer. I made my leisurely way to the general area of the Tower and popped in a couple of stores to pick up some snacks and some more souvenirs for family members and friends. I had a good time shopping and picking things out and when I'd felt like I'd done just about all of that I wanted to for the day I went to the Tower.

I happened to come around the back side and was pleased to see that was the smart move. For some reason all the tourists coming in the front all went to the first two entrances and the back two had much smaller lines. Despite the shorter line it still took quite awhile to get on the lift to go up. It seemed like we had gone forever in it but when the operator stopped the car she informed us this was the second floor, to go all the way to the summit we would have to get off this one and go around to another elevator. I was shocked because just the "second floor" had an amazing view! I didn't know how it could get any better than that but went all the way to the top. I have to say the safety wire they have at the top kind of ruins the view and pictures you take of yourself so I think I would have been just as happy to stay at the second floor. I did want to say I'd been to the top though and because I'm only 24 I could still get the "youth" discount. At 25 you begin being charged as an adult which is several euros more expensive. Wow did I time this trip perfectly or what??

After spending a sufficient amount of time taking photos and wandering around admiring the view I made my way down to the second floor and then took the stairs from there. That was fun but ow did my legs feel it the next day! A lot of people had warned me to be careful around the Eiffel Tower because apparently there are lots of pickpockets and most of them referenced the gypsies as being particularly troublesome but I didn't see any at all. As I came out of the Tower to head to the metro I noticed several people looking across the street and wondered what they were watching. I didn't see anything for a minute but as I passed a policeman on a bicycle one of the men who sells souvenirs off a blanket pointed at another guy running through the grass on the other side of the street and began yelling. I don't know what he said but all of a sudden the policeman snapped to attention and off he went on his bike towards the man who was running. Just as he caught up to him two more policeman joined him and a bunch of these souvenir guys all came running and shouting. I just did my best to take a wide circle around them (although they certainly made it difficult as they were right in the middle of the sidewalk) and walked quickly away. For Mommy and Mamma's I just want to point out right now that it was no more violent than when the Walmart security catches a shoplifter at the door of the store (which seems to happen every other time I'm at ours these days!). :D And there were lots of policemen so I never felt in any danger.

After that excitement I decided to find the Champs-Élysées and see if I could find a mobile phone store and get a French SIM so I'd have my own phone while Amy & Charles were gone. It just makes me feel better to be able to make phone calls/texts from my own phone! I was hoping to also get internet so I could use my GPS but no such luck. I tried SFR, Orange and Virgin and all of them said they don't do internet on prepaid SIMs anymore. Oh well. For €15 I got a SIM card from Virgin with €5 credit and since it's only €0.07/minute to call within France I'm sure this should be plenty for ten days. I hope to investigate if I will be able to keep it when I come back at the end of October.

By the time I was through wandering that part of town I felt like I needed to head back to the station because I wouldn't have much more time before my train to Chantilly. However when I got there Amy called and said I could stay an extra hour so I decided to dash over to Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. I did this but realized I wouldn't have time to go inside and see anything so I just took a photo from the bottom of the hill, but was glad to see it nonetheless. My food for the day was a crépe complete (eggs, cheese and ham) and some ice cream for goûter. Yummy yummy!

I made it safely home, we had dinner, and I went downstairs to listen in on Granny's services. As soon as I had got online my friend Jen IM'd me and told me she was so glad I was safe. I was a bit puzzled until I found out there was a bomb threat at the Eiffel Tower and the area around it had been evacuated. This didn't happen until 8 PM local time however and I hadn't even been in Paris since 6 or so, and had left the area the Tower was in around noon. It was kind of spine-tingling to think about but it turned out to be nothing. I did hear though that it was the same evening that the anti-burqa law was passed so I have a feeling the two might be related.

Being able to listen into Granny's service was so very special. I didn't know but they had planned to read my last blog post and due to some technical difficulties I picked up right in the middle of it. It was kind of a shock and I felt bad for not having proofed that post really at all, they was just tearful midnight ramblings that I hastily wrote and posted as I needed to be in bed asleep.

Yesterday Amy asked if I could go to the grocery store and get the things we needed for while they were gone so she could tend to other things. I was more than happy to do it and a bit apprehensive about my first outing alone. Thankfully Cora is not very far away and I knew I could get there no problem but was wondering if I'd be able to figure enough out to find the right things at the store. There were a few things I wasn't sure about and those things I decided to wait until I consulted Amy or one of the kids. It's always difficult to grocery shop for someone else's family because everybody has their own favorite brand of this or that, much less to do it when you have another language/culture coming into play! There aren't as many recognizable brands here as you might imagine. Overall though I'd have to say the trip was a success as I got most of the things on the list and made it home by the time I needed to help make lunch for the kids. I was quite pleased with myself. :) The rest of the day was pretty much a zoo getting the kids to swimming lessons and then home to make dinner and get them in bed. Everyone was very tired and I felt sorry for Amy and Charles who I knew would still be awake for quite awhile packing and arranging things for their trip.

Today was bright and early but much easier than it might have been. Because of the excitement of getting Amy and Charles (and Audrey!) out the door the kids were up in plenty of time to get dressed and take their time with breakfast. We weren't rushed at all and got their shoes and things together and out the door to school. When Daisy and I got back it was so very quiet!! I keep thinking I hear Audrey fussing and have to remind myself she isn't here. :)

About halfway through my morning the mail lady came and what do you know, she had a big package for ME! I was so very excited to open it and when I did I started to cry. Dear, sweet Sarah had packed a whole box of all kinds of very special goodies for me! PJ pants that are super soft and my favorite colors (and actually quite needed as the only pair I brought are absolutely WAY too big for me now!), some beautiful purple jewelry, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, a BIG bag of Peanut M&Ms, gel pens, nail polish and remover pads, an iTunes gift card and so so so much more. What a very special treat to get just as I've become single mommy of four!! I just feel absolutely blessed beyond compare that God would give me such a precious friend who knows me so well!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you dear friend!!!!

Well it's about 11 so I think I'm going to do a few things in preparation for lunch. I'm very much enjoying having the house to myself and playing my music out loud. :) I have a feeling this downtime in the morning is going to be my favorite time of day!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

my Granny

To be honest, after this week I hardly know where to start my blog post. So many conflicted emotions, so much inside and yet words seem incapable of describing it.

On September 9th at 12:05 PM, my dear sweet Granny's long silenced voice was finally restored. She was freed from her earthly body and the Alzheimer's that had slowly imprisoned her in her own body, into the presence of the Savior she loved to sing praises to. I really feel that she is where my deep love for music must have come from because I remember growing up she was always singing or humming. In fact I think I've sort of picked up her funny little habit of humming what seemed to be a random tune she would make up on the spot. In the beginning of this long goodbye I remember how special it was to take her to church and hear her still belting out hymns even though she was already forgetting who I was standing beside her.

I remember sitting in the bathroom one night when I was staying with her a couple of years ago and crying because I missed my Granny and knew she would never be back even then. I weep now knowing that my younger siblings and cousins will never have the precious memories of her that I do. I know I'm so very, very blessed because most people don't even get to know their great-grandparents and I had not only my Granny but also Oma, and Grandaddy & Grandmother Wilson.

There are many fun memories of Granny that stick in my head from when I was small. Granny was the one who stayed with us and help when Mom would have a new baby. She also often brought a special treat when she came to visit, Cookie Crisp Cereal, and I remember her taking us to McDonald's a few times. Her house was like something out of a book, she had beautiful flowers and often a vegetable garden. As a kid I loved playing her old childrens' records and using a slide projector in the bathroom to look at cartoons. There was the amazing treehouse she built (seriously who can say their great-grandmother built a treehouse??) and a big tire swing that we forever battled wasps for, not to mention cool little trails in the woods around her house and the best blackberry cobbler you ever tasted in the summer.

But I think of all the things that impressed me the most about Granny, the one thing that stuck with me the most was her prayer life. If anybody knew how to pray it was Granny. I could hear her praying under her breath a lot throughout the day, and at night when the lights were out I could hear the whispers. She prayed for protection and against spiritual warfare, for colds, and for everything in between. Because of her influence I grew to see the importance of prayer, and I noticed she didn't always just ask for things but almost always included thanksgiving. Her Bible was also very important and well read. I knew when I got up in the mornings she had been up for awhile already with her coffee and Bible on the swing. I'm ashamed to say I'm not nearly as faithful to my Bible as she was to hers.

I know my Granny was only human but so many spiritual lessons in my life I can trace roots back to things I learned from her, and one of the most remarkable things about this is I don't often remember her actually talking about these things--it was just me watching her live them out. Actions speak much louder than words. Because of the Alzheimer's Granny hasn't been the same person I knew as a kid, and I'm so grateful God allowed me as a child to observe those things in her life. Far too often we don't pay attention to spiritual lessons as children but somehow in this case I absorbed those seeds from her and they have sprouted over time. Some much healthier than others but still there nonetheless.

As we've watched her body and mind deteriorate these last few years it's been a very sad and painful process. For probably a year now I've been praying that God would be merciful to her, because to actually die from Alzheimer's is a very ugly picture. Several times she went into the emergency room with seizures and other things and I'd think we were reaching the end and she'd somehow bounce back. When I left to come here to France I had no idea this would finally be the time she wouldn't. This week when Mom told me things weren't looking good my heart sank. I wasn't wishing to be home to see her one last time, I had seen her shortly before I left for here and she wouldn't have known me anyway. Something inside of me just couldn't fathom not being at her funeral. It wasn't about what she would have wanted, I knew I could probably be sure she would be excited for me to be here and wouldn't have wanted me to cut my time short. It was just something that personally for myself I really felt I needed. Unfortunately there is just no way for me to come home in time and I'm trying to remember God knows and has a plan in all of this. He knew long before I did about this trip and knew that Granny would be coming home right in the middle and still led me here. I'm already planning to visit her grave as soon as possible when I come home.

And so I cry tonight as I did on the 9th, but certainly not sad tears for Granny's sake. She is sooo much better in heaven than where she was just a few days ago. I cried when I saw my mom's Facebook status about my Pappaw welcoming her and using his special name "Mrs. Bake". I cry for me and how much I miss them both but I know why God wanted them there with Him. Between the two of them they'll be singing all eternity. I can't wait to get there and listen to them, what a grand duet that must be!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Musée du Louvre

So Sunday after church I got to go to the Louvre!! I must say that navigating the Paris metro is a tad more difficult than London because they didn't have little helpful tube maps laying around everywhere and obviously the language barrier. In addition my handy dandy iPhone was not being of any use to me because I still haven't figured out how to make it work in France. In London I was able to use this awesome little app that I told where I was at and where I wanted to go and it told me exactly which tube to get on and all the connections I needed to make (if any). I may or may not have taken the most direct route from Gare du Nord to the Louvre but I got there and for that I was immensely proud of myself. :)

The Louvre was just as amazing and overwhelming as everyone says it is. My plan was to follow the advice of a new friend here and just see the Egyptian exhibit and then walk to the Champs-Élysées because it was an absolutely magnificent day. I did wander through the Egyptian exhibits and somehow took the wrong door and ended up in the paintings. My priority was not to see the Mona Lisa since I've never been in the fan club but I noticed a sign pointing down a hall for it so I thought well gosh it would be silly of me to be here and so close and NOT see it, so I went to find it. Well just because there was a sign DIDN'T mean I was close to it but I did finally find the room packed with silly tourists snapping photos of the relatively underwhelming Mona Lisa in a room with quite a few MUCH bigger and to me more impressive paintings. Oh well, I can say I was there in the room and I saw it. :P Whatever that is worth...

After that I walked down to the Seine and down a bit thinking I was headed towards Champs-Élysées but I actually went the wrong way and ended up back at the other end of the Louvre. I bought a few souvenirs at a shop close that had some really cute stuff I hadn't seen anywhere else yet and strolled through the tuilleries and enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous weather.

Since I had taken awhile to get where I was and wasn't sure that I would be able to just go back the same way as I was closer to a different metro station I opted to go ahead and try to make my way back to Gare du Nord so I would have plenty of time and not miss the train back to Chantilly. Thankfully it didn't take nearly as long to figure my way back as I was starting to get the hang of it. I had plenty of time so I opted to get a sandwich from one of the restaurants in the station and also got an ice cream. Like a very naughty girl I ate my ice cream first because I didn't want it to melt. :) I also stopped at the vending machine and got a bag of peanut M&Ms, not as big as the one I bought in the States but it was bigger than your normal snack size. Unfortunately I've already eaten about half of it. :P I was able to get all the way home without further incident and was quite pleased with myself for now having successfully navigated the world's second busiest metro system in another language no less. :) Yay me!! I'm really grown up now, yes Mommy?

Fall seems to be upon us today and I know that is hard to imagine for my peoples back in Texas. It was very cool and rainy today and I felt like curling up in bed with some coffee or tea, soft fuzzy socks and a book. It also just smells like fall. Looking at the forecast (I think I finally have the right Aprémont in my weather!) it appears we might be in for more of the same the next few days. No exciting plans this week that I can think of besides school. I do ask that you pray for me as I'm a bit homesick hearing that my Granny is not doing well this week. I really hate not being at home with the family. :(

Since I have no plans I don't know when the next blog post will come unless you want to hear all the juicy details about my day. :) "Oh today I ironed and folded clothes, and made Audrey laugh, and played playdough, helped make dinner, and helped clean up..." It just gets old if I repeat the same things every day. I did put up a few pictures from the Louvre on my Picasa/Facebook so be sure to check that out. Au revoir until next time, whenever that may be!

Friday, September 3, 2010

be still and know

Much to my mom's relief I made it back to the Cross family in France after my ten day vacation in the UK. :) My foot which was so very painful by Sunday got better within about 48 hours of arriving back in France. I don't know if the ibuprofen reducing the swelling made so much difference or just not walking on it so much allowed it to begin to get better but it's been totally fine since. There is still a twinge from time to time and the spot is still sore to the touch but I'm no longer considering looking up a doctor here.

School started back up this week so we've been trying to adjust to the new routine. It's so strange having the house quiet from about 9-4:30! Just about the time we'll be figuring out this new set up though Amy and Charles will leave for Houston and it'll be just me and the kids for ten days. I think though that the changing up in routine is a good thing for me because it doesn't let me get in a rut and I have to constantly pay attention to the task at hand, and yet there is much less chaos than in my life at home so that I'm able to remember what it's like to stop and smell the roses. I really really hope that when I get home I can not go back to crazy, helter-skelter, flying by the seat of my pants like I was before but settle into more of an easygoing pace that gives me time to help those closest to me who need it and also allow for me to not live on the edge of burn-out all the time. The lady who spoke at the GEM conference was amazing and so inspiring. Why do we think we are so important that the world will cease to move if we need to draw away for some time alone with God? I know I'm so guilty of this. It seems so overwhelming at times, all of the needs that are screaming at us. This was what she talked about that helped me so much as I began in my head to try to prioritize things. From Alicia Chole's blog:

rest, part two

2. rest: a framework

I would like to strongly suggest that you consider purchasing a great book that will provide a spiritual, physical, and interpersonal framework for our redefining of rest: Margin, by Dr. Swenson.

Barry and I read this book years ago. Picture a straight line that represents our daily reserve of personal energy. Swenson is a medical doctor whose premise is that God designed us (physically, emotionally, relationally) to live between points A and B and that the space between B to C is on reserve for the unexpected, for crisis. BUT on a daily basis we live from A to C. So when a crisis does arise, it pushes us over into overload.

In other words, God didn't design us to live to the end of our abilities every day. We're supposed to have a buffer. If we live each day to the end of our rope, there's nothing left to hold onto when an unanticipated problem calls for something "more."

How very very true this is!! And I know I've been living in overload for far too long. It's so evident just by the way that for a year or two I couldn't even handle being at church. All I wanted to do was go home and crawl into my PJs and my bed. I couldn't handle being with people. Sometimes I still feel that way when I am getting close to the absolute-overwhelmed-overloaded moments. I remember last year at VBS, CI and CMT needing to find a quiet corner at various points and just breathe. This year was better but VBS was a different level of involvement and CMT I didn't get to help with. I feel like this last month has been so great for being able to clear my head and ground myself a bit more, I felt like I was caught up in a tornado being carried higher and higher and faster and faster. I am keenly aware of how much too easy it will be to get sucked up into the vortex of business once I'm home but I'm bound and determined to give it my best shot at slowing down.

Back on a more practical note, Audrey has really good days and really bad ones. :) Hoping pretty soon she will settle into more of a routine that she is comfortable with and works well for Amy. I do have to say that when I gave her a bath the other day she didn't get NEARLY as upset when I got her out! And I think if I'd been a hair faster she might not have cried at all. :) We ARE making progress I can feel it.

Sunday is the first Sunday of September and every first Sunday of the month means free entry to some museums in Paris so guess where I'm going after church?? I'm hoping to go to the Louvre for sure and maybe I'll just stay there all afternoon. I'm pretty excited about it!

Well as I said we've been trying to get into the school routine so no new pictures this week or exciting happenings, but I think I put up enough pictures from my trip to the UK to last awhile yeah? Spin through them if you haven't seen them all yet. :)