Saturday, August 30, 2014

5 Things I Learned While in France

I'm back!!

And I'm not nearly as excited as the above statement would suggest. France was awesome, as I knew it would be. I wannnaaa go baaaack. Post trip depression is real. I keep thinking, "right now I would be eating lunch on the boat, or right now I would be just waking up". 

I looked forward to that trip for so long, and it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. Isn't that how it always happens? I don't think I have ever heard anyone say, "This vacation is going by so slow!"

Before we left for Paris I was freaking out over what I was going to eat, wear, how I was going to talk with people when I knew no French, and other equally ridiculous things. So, here are five things I learned while in France:

1. You can wear whatever you want and it will be ok! 
I turn into a crazy person when I pack to go anywhere, multiply that craziness by a thousand when it is a big trip. The night before we were to fly out, I still hadn't really packed anything. Instead I was at my computer Googling things like, "What to wear in Paris? Can I wear shorts to the Louvre? Are jeans ok to wear anywhere?" According to the internet, French women do not wear shorts or jeans but instead wear slacks and dresses. They take their fashion seriously and if you wear jeans and flip flops you are definitely an American tourist. WRONG. This may be common sense to most, but in case there is another person out there like me that worries about what to wear to every little thing in life, let me assure you: there are so many people everywhere you go, all wearing different kinds of outfits.  Whatever you wear will be ok. Jeans, shorts, dresses, skirts, sandals, heels, everything works and you will not get rude stares like the internet suggests.

2. French people do not hate Americans.
This is a stereotype I have heard several times. Once again, according to the Internet, French people do not like Americans and are quite rude to them. This is not true. Of all the people we encountered, not one of them was rude. Some were a little more friendly than others of course, but that is true anywhere. One of our tour guides thanked us multiple times for what America had done for the French people during WWII, saying that French people had not forgotten and were very thankful.

3. French cuisine is very eclectic.
Before our trip, I kept asking everyone, "What is French food?" I was worried I was going to starve I guess. As it turns out, I didn't starve! Granted we ate most of our meals onboard our boat and had a selection of several things each meal. However, when we ate at restaurants I didn't have any trouble finding something to eat. My favorite thing we had there was a Croque Monsieur which is like a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. They had pastas, hamburgers, sandwiches, crepes, seafood, all kinds of "normal" things.

4. You can get by with knowing only a little French.
For the most part, many of the French speak atleast a little English. Knowing certain words like: Bonjour, Bonsoir, Au Revoir, S'il Vous Plait, Merci, and maybe un, deux, and trois for ordering things at a bakery, will get you by. However, I am not discouraging anyone from learning French because that would always be better than having to use your hands to describe needing to go to the bathroom or wanting to get a drink.

5. The French take their bakeries seriously.
And it is glorious! Bakeries in France are almost the equivalent to Starbucks in America. They are everywhere. My favorite bakery that I stumbled upon was in Vernon and it had everything. Macaroons, eclairs, meringues, chocolates, creme brulee, and my favorite thing, chocolate croissants. Anytime I was able to, I stopped and got atleast a chocolate croissant. On Sundays you will see very long lines at the bakeries and it is the French lining up to get their bread.

I'm waiting to get a CD in the mail with all of my mom's pictures on it and then I will start my trip recaps! I am so excited to share our trip with you! I'm warning you now, I am combining my pictures and my mom's so it will be picture overload, but what's new? 

Hoping you guys are having great weekends so far!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Meanwhile Back at Mama's

I'm a thief. 
I stole the title for this post from Tim McGraw. 

I love that song, and any song that makes you think back on your childhood home and town. Don't get me started on Miranda Lambert's song The House That Built Me. There really is nothing like venturing back home once you've been out on your own as an adult.  It's comforting to know as soon as you walk through the door you are surrounded with love, laughs, and good food!

Garrett and I traveled home a couple of weeks ago for the first time in I couldn't even tell you when.  We were back and forth between our two family's houses the entire time and it was nice.

5AM airport selfie.

Garrett's family picked us up from the airport and we had lunch at Heff's in Abilene, the first of many delicious places we ate! After spending time with them for a couple of hours, we headed to my parents house. Alyssa, Brandon, and baby Kinley had just gotten there and I was anxious as crazy to see them. I hadn't seen Kinley since she was a week old! We parked in the driveway and I barely said hi to my dad or Uncle. I rushed past them and into the house. As soon as I saw Kinley the tears came like I knew they would. She's just so pretty!

That night we had everyone over to my parents home and dad grilled burgers. He makes a mean burger.

Sunday we had family pictures.

Gill's Fried Chicken for dinner. Favorite.

Monday, Garrett's grandmother's came to visit. It was so good to see them both at the same time! They are the sweetest ladies and so very pretty! We took a trip to the good 'ol Whataburger. (Yes, I have a picture of Whataburger but not of the people there. Oops!)

Garrett, dad, and I drove out to Nolan, TX which is the tiny town that my mom was raised in and that I spent the first 10+ years of my life in. Talk about middle of no where! My Nana lived there, right down the road from my childhood home, and my dad has been busy remodeling the inside of her old house. It looks completely different than what I remember which is a little sad, but he has done such a great job with it.  I spent the majority of my childhood with Nana in her house watching Walker Texas Ranger, learning to crochet, and talking. She was my best friend back then and I have a feeling she still would be if she were here.

My Nana's old house. Not much to look at but so many memories are stored here!

When I was little I walked this road several times a week, if not every day. It was nice to walk it again.

We drove by my parent's first house, and my first childhood home.

I realize this is turning into the longest blog post ever, sorry. I'll make it quick.

We had dinner at Garrett's favorite spot in town, La Cocina.

Kinley looks like a doll.

I loved on sheep out at the Cypert's.

We played Apples to Apples and fate dealt me the perfect card. I'll let you guess which one it is.

And last, but certainly not least...we rescued a sweet kitten.

Short version: He was out in the middle of the highway. Covered in oil and had a broken leg. Scooped him up and took him to Dr. Peek. He peed all over my dress. Didn't know if he would live or not.

 A splint was put on his leg, he was bathed, and is doing great. I fell in love with him. Mom found him a good home. 

Whew! That was a short, but fun, trip. Thanks for hanging in there with the long post, if you made it this far. You are a trooper. 

I leave for France in the morning. I can't believe I am typing that. I haven't packed a single thing yet and plan on using the rest of my day to do so. I am so excited! Please keep your fingers crossed that we make it safely, traveling overseas kind of freaks me out. 

I can't believe that in the next week and a half I will see the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa, and most importantly stand on the beaches of Normandy where our troops came in during World War 2. Definitely going to be a surreal moment.

Ok. Going to stop procrastinating and do some packing!
Au revoir!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Celebrating 4 Years!

A couple of weekends ago, Garrett and I drove to Steamboat Springs to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. I had no idea we were going anywhere but Garrett surprised me with the trip! Trips, even short one nighters, are my favorite, so needless to say I was excited. 

We left Denver Saturday and after about 4 hours we were there. 4 hours seems kind of long but the trip was pretty so it wasn't so bad. That's the good thing about weekend trips in Colorado, usually, if you are headed West into a mountain town, the trip is gorgeous! We pulled into our hotel, checked in, and went to explore. We knew we wanted to do the Alpine Slide and got in line for that. I had done one before in Tennessee when I was younger, but Garrett never had. 

I was brave until we were next in line and then I started to get nervous. "What if I fall off?" "What if my scooter thing goes off the trail?" 

Once it was our turn I decided to just go for it, and even though we said we weren't racing, I pushed my thing that controls the speed all the way and took off. I was winning for about 1 minute and then Garrett passed me and I never saw him again until the end. He won this one.

Afterwards we had gelato. I did something weird and got mint chocolate chip, it was delicious. His is lemon.

We played putt putt and I kicked his butt butt! : ) See what I did there? 
I never win putt putt so I rode on that high for the rest of the night. 

 That evening we had pizza for dinner. One of my favorite things about going somewhere new is trying out the best places to eat there. This pizza place was ranked high and it did not disappoint. 

Sunday morning we woke up and had brunch at Creekside Cafe and Grill. If you are ever in Steamboat I suggest going here. The food was amazing and the view just as great. 

After brunch we headed to the river to float. It was my first time to float a river and I loved it. I have to admit (mainly because Garrett will give me a hard time if I don't) that I may have been a little grumpy when our tubes kept getting caught on the rocks. Also (even though Garrett told me not too) I took my phone with me, in the top of my swimsuit. I had to take pictures! Well, as we were trying to grab onto eachother's tubes, Garrett pulled me into a tree branch and down I went. Completely under water, phone and all. I have to brag on iPhone's, that bad boy still worked!

Floating a river is relaxing (when you aren't having to pull your tube off of rocks) and was so much fun. I was ready to go again as soon as we were done! 

Sunday afternoon we headed back to Denver. It was a short, but fun, trip! Mountain towns are so pretty and the weather is always nice. We especially liked Steamboat because it had that mountain town feel but also had alot to do! We are already wanting to go back.

Our actual anniversary was on July 31st. We said no gifts since we had gone on the little trip, but when I came home from work that evening, there on the table was a beautiful Orchid that looked exactly like the one's that were at our wedding! The sweet note and box of my favorite Voodoo Doughnut doughnuts didn't hurt either! ; )

 I feel so lucky to call you my husband! Thank you so much for not only planning this little getaway, the flowers, and sweet note, but more importantly being just as good to me every single day! You are the best person I know and I'm so thankful you love me back! : )