We just had our first trip in a long time due to covid and having a baby. We went to Texas to see my sister get married. We were very nervous for this trip with our baby but also excited.

We traveled with my parents and luckily the plane ride to Texas was about 2 hours. Lucas had his first McDonald’s to keep him busy. He enjoyed it a lot. He was pretty hyper during the flight but happy. It was hard to keep him in his seat. We didn’t bring his carseat on the flight, we had the CARES Harness. I think that was ok but it looked so uncomfortable for him. I made the mistake of trying to make him more comfortable when he was almost asleep and it kept him up the whole flight. At least he had lots of toys, snacks, and things to watch. He did end up falling asleep on the descent.

Our first night in Austin I was so tired, especially since I just got the covid booster 2 days before. My neck was all swollen and my arm hurt like crazy! We went to Rainey Street to eat at the food trucks. It was a pretty cool area. I had a Mexican pizza that was pretty good, Lucas had a quesadilla, and Don found some Halal food. Lucas got lucky and got to see some firefighters at work. He watched them help someone and then he was given 2 stickers by one of them! I wish we could have stayed longer but we were both anxious about putting Lucas to bed in the hotel room. The Hilton Garden Inn had provided us with a pack-n-play. We made the room pitch black, turned up the sound machine, and Lucas slept. He slept all night!

The next day we went to a little coffee place called Wright Bros. Brew and Brew for a small breakfast. It was really cute and a place I could spend some time in. We did a lot of walking but this area of Austin was not so great. Then met with Kelsey and some of the wedding party for lunch at Stella San Jac. It was pretty good. I had the burger and Don had the chicken and waffles. Lucas loved the fries.

Friday afternoon we went to Blissful Hill, the wedding venue. It was outside of Austin. It was nice for Lucas because he could run around outside, but it was super hot! The set up of our cabin that we shared with my parents was a bit weird. Two beds and a futon in the main room and a bed in the kitchen. From the pictures it makes it look like these are all in separate rooms, not great for sleeping with a toddler. Luckily my sister was able to borrow a pack-n-play for Lucas. So there we were—all in one room playing don’t wake baby haha.

The rehearsal went well. The only hiccup was Kelsey forgot her dress at the hotel back in Austin so she was late and unsure if she would get the dress back. Lucas played with his cars in the dirt and got so dirty it was crazy. But he was happy. We later put him to bed and I came back out for a drink. It was nice to hang out.

Finally, the wedding day was here. We were up pretty early. Don and dad got Einstein bagels for everyone. Lucas loved the egg from one of the sandwiches. Around 9:30 I went to go get ready with all the other bridesmaids. The day went fast and slow at the same time. I couldn’t believe my sister was getting married. She looked beautiful. The wedding was great. The steak tacos and elote were amazing, really one of the better wedding dinners I have had. Don took Lucas back to the room around 8 and I stayed. I danced a lot! It was fun to let loose.

On Sunday we returned home. We had more time in the airport which was good and bad. We were not so rushed but near the end Lucas was breaking down. He slept so good for the whole flight though. This time I did not try to make him more comfortable in his seat. I just let it go.

Just because….here’s my speech I gave at Kelsey’s wedding.

As Kelsey’s big sister, I’ve been telling her what to do her whole life—Kelsey, don’t do that, Kelsey don’t tell mom and dad, Kelsey don’t jump out of that swing! If you didn’t know, Kelsey visited the Hospital ER so much they gave my parents a parking spot. Well, my dad was also prone to injury.

I’ve been someone Kelsey comes to for advice. I tried to give her my best advice on dating throughout the years. One bit of advice I’m glad she took was, “Kelsey, you should date that guy from the pool.”

That guy was, of course, Jared. I met Jared while hanging out with Kelsey at her apartment pool before they were dating. I could see the way they looked at each other. I’m so happy Kelsey and Jared are together. He is the perfect addition to the family. I could stand here and give you thousands of stories about Kelsey, but I want to say, kelsey, I’m proud of you, and we are very happy for you. We are excited to see what your and Jared’s future holds.

France last day: heading back to paris

Today we woke up early to pack and get ready to leave. Damien had hooked us up with a shuttle to pick us around noon. The shuttle was going to take us to our connecting train in Lisieux, this avoided us having to get the train in Deauville and would be faster. Even better though when the driver got to us he asked if we wanted him to just take us straight to Paris for the same price! He had to go to Paris anyway so it wouldn’t be out of the way. This was so awesome!

Found this weird candy bar at a rest stop. It was good!

We made it to Paris around 3 pm and got on the train to head out to the airport. It was pouring rain. There was a weird incident on the train where it seemed we were almost mugged. A guy apparently tried to put his hand on Don’s bag and Laura said something to him. He had guys around him that were obviously with him but unfortunately he got caught. After they had some words they left us alone.

We got to the Hilton near the airport and checked in. I was super hungry and had a headache. It was still early and our last night in Paris so we decided to take the train back to the city. This did not seem super fun considering all of the travel we had been doing and I was tired but when in Rome….? Just Don and I went and we found a restaurant called Flams. Basically Flams makes a pizza that has no sauce; it’s like a flatbread with cheese and other toppings. You can pick a package and just keep ordering different pizzas. They are like crackers so two people could easily finish 3 or 4.

We walked across the river to get a view of the Eiffel tower. It was a long walk but fun. We watched some kids skateboarding and we saw a group of people doing some weird juggling.

After finding a good spot to view the Eiffel Tower we got some waters and sat down. When the sun sets the tower does a light show and it was very cool.

On the way back we walked through a museum of modern art and saw people dancing. We took an Uber back to the train station so we could go back out to the airport Hilton. We got back around midnight. Tomorrow we leave Paris around 11 am. It has been a good trip.

Not much happened on our departure day. The breakfast buffet at the Hilton was pretty good. It was so hot in the Paris airport and not a lot of restaurants where we were. One thing to note, you need your passport to make purchases like food! I left my passport with Don and waited in line at a convenient store and couldn’t buy food!! So weird!!

France day 10: Monet’s house

We had to wake up pretty early today because the bus was picking us up at 9. We went to the town of Giverny where the famous artist Claude Monet lived out his last years. Greg had gotten us tickets earlier to see his house and gardens. Everything was very beautiful and it was a nice day.  

When we got to the line somehow Don and I became separated from the rest of the group. We also had group tickets which allowed us to go to a shorter line. We only had a little under 2 hours so we decided to look around a bit then leave to get food. The gardens in front of his house were very beautiful.

We stopped at a cafeteria style restaurant. Don had roasted veal and ratatouille. I had a sausage and fries. It was pretty good! We sat outside and some chickens came over to us. They almost got into a fight under my feet, but they were so cute!!

We decided to go back in and try to go through Monet’s house. We had time to spare and last time we were in there the lines were just so long. We also found where the pond was and everything was very beautiful. The house was cool too. It was crowded though.

We stopped for an ice cream cone on our way out. There were a lot of Porshes in the parking lot because they were all heading to Deauville for the convention.

Next we stopped in the town of Rouen. There was a very beautiful church and many markets.

We mailed our postcards from this town, which was kind of an ordeal but the postal worker was very nice and helpful. We saw where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. There was a church there for her and that was very pretty, with beautiful stained glass.

We made our way back to the hotel where we were supposed to meet up and had a croissant. When we got back to the house we relaxed and took a walk to the beach. It would have been cool to swim but it was too cold. It was warm in the sun though. There were Porsches everywhere because they were having a Porsche convention thing in Deauville. This made Jim very happy because he loves the car. We walked around and looked at the cars a bit, very cool.

We came back and had some sandwiches and salads. Then Don and I went out again to eat at the pizza place we went to a few nights ago. I really was craving pizza.

france day 9: cheese & Cider

This morning we got on the bus around 10 and made our way to a cheese factory in Normandy. We were able to see the process of cheese being made and it was super smelly. All of the cheese was unpasteurized so I did not partake; however, it smelled like death so I didn’t care! The tour was fun.

After the cheese factory we stopped in a small town for a Normandy picnic. A Normandy picnic consists of bread that is buttered, jams, cider, or apple juice in my circumstance. We had also brought some meat to add to the bread but I didn’t risk eating the meat because it was pretty warm even though I thought it was in a cooler? The picnic was nice; it did seem though that it was Damien’s idea and it was infringing on Greg’s schedule. So it felt a bit rushed but we did get to look around the little town a bit. It was very quiet.

After lunch we went to a family owned cidery. We got a tour to see how the cider was made and then we got to try some ciders. I will admit, I had a few sips.

When we got back it was around 4:30 and we went for a walk before dinner. I wanted food, mostly pizza, so bad. Lunch hadn’t been very big and I was hungry! Unfortunately, most places close for the afternoon so it was a struggle to find anything serving food. It started to rain and got colder and I got hungrier and grumpier. We stopped in Trouville for some espresso and we ordered a ham and egg gallette. It was pretty good.

We walked around some more then we met at the El Central for dinner. I had steak and mashed potatoes, a tomato mozzarella salad, and chocolate mousse for dessert. Don had escargot and a crazy seafood plate!

The walk home was fun, with a good view.

France Day 8: Mont Saint Michel

Today we woke up around 7:30 and had breakfast at the house. Then Don and I went to the store to get snacks for the bus. The bus picked us up at 10 am and we had a different driver named Damien. He was very nice and spoke very good English. He also was more of tour guide and told us a lot of information about everywhere we went. He was very good.

We stopped at a rest stop that put all USA rest stops to shame. It was like a palace—there was a restaurant with roasted pork shoulder, amazing looking sandwiches, a very nice gift shop, and of course a Starbucks.

When we got back on the road Damien asked if we wanted a surprise and we all did. So he stopped off a road that had a view of Mont Saint Michel in the far background. In the forefront were pastures with sheep everywhere. It was very beautiful, like a postcard; in fact I’m pretty sure you can get this exact view on a postcard. We took a lot of pictures here and Mont Saint Michel just looked like a castle.

Before coming to France I did not know much about Mont Saint Michel. I had really only seen pictures, and funny enough, one time when we were playing GeoGuessers it dropped us at Mont Saint Michel. Basically Mont Saint Michel is a commune that sits on an island off the mainland of France. The tides around the island are also interesting because it made it accessible but also stranded enemies. The low tides protected the island and it was never conquered. We took some pictures of people walking on the sandvery far from the island during low tide.

When we made it to Mont Saint Michel we had about a 20 minute walk to get there. It was a beautiful walk and we took a lot of pictures. Damien guided us up to the top of Mont Saint Michel and told us a lot of history on the way. It was a very good tour.

Once we made it to the top we walked back down to the town for free time before we had to head back. I think we had almost an hour of free time and of course I was hungry. We found a sandwich shop and got a sandwich. We walked around the town a bit but what we saw of it was so crowded and touristy so we decided to stop at a place with a view and get a drink (wine).

After an hour we all met up for the trek back to the bus. We wanted to take the shuttle back to the parking lot but it was so crowded and we waited 20 minutes and still were not able to get on the shuttle. So we started to walk back. The walk felt long and it actually got hot!

It was a long but fun day. On the way home we stopped and picked up some sandwiches because we would be getting home late. When we got home we all just relaxed, ate, and talked. Around 11 pm I got some news about work from a coworker and it was pretty exciting so I went to see if Julie was still awake to talk about it! She was!

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