Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some of my clothes are growing out of me...

**Disclaimer: I am not trying to show off or anything. I just think that it is funny that I am wearing these every day because they are the only pair of shorts that I brought!

Phil took this photo of me yesterday. I know that these were a little on the roomy side when we came but now they are falling off of me! I have to really cinch my belt in to keep these puppies up! It is a bit of a pain but also pretty exciting considering that we have been eating whatever we want! I guess all of our walking around has paid off. Just another reason that I am excited to get home and try on some of my prepregnancy clothes! My goal was to fit back in to some of them by the end of the summer. I can't wait to see if I accomplished my goal!

Oh, I should also make it known that my mom and I made daily trips to work out at Curves For Women for much of May and June. I really enjoyed the work out and I think that it really works! I am considering joining Curves when I get back to Bloomington.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Luke - 8 months

Luke turned 8 months a few days ago (Sunday). Here are a few pictures I took today of him. He seems a lot older than when we left for Paris. In the five weeks we have been here, he has started crawling, started actually playing with his toys before putting them in his mouth, started getting teeth (1 so far!), and started standing while holding onto furniture, bags, legs, etc.
What a change!

Paris: Day 34 - the top of the Eiffel Tower

It is so hot today! I don't know the actual temperature but I cannot get cooled off. We have not had that many "hot" days since coming here but the last few have really been stifling. We also realized that after today we really only have 4 more days that we can see Paris. We took the Metro over to Rue Cler to experience a preservation of French culture. It is a street that has open veggie/fruit markets with fresh everything, fromageries, boulangeries, butchers, shops, etc. It really was neat to see but similar to the streets that we are already familiar with.

ready to go to the top - 899 feet to le sommet!

After Rue Cler we walked over to the Eiffel Tower. By this time we were already very warm but decided to brave the lines and attempt to make it up to the top. The lines were not too bad so we hopped in. The security guy at the entrance to the line told us that we had a "beautiful bebe" so that was very nice to hear! The line went fairly quickly to our surprise! After getting our tickets we crammed on the the elevator to the 2nd floor. These are the large elevators that run on a diagonal. We entered the elevator along with many, many other people. We got off at the 2nd floor and then went up a flight of spiral stairs and then got in line for another elevator. This one was smaller and it went to the top.

The view really was amazing and we were up so high! It was fun to find the parts of Paris that we are familiar with. The city looked like a toy model from all the way up there. Then when you are done you wait in line to go back down to the 2nd story and get off and wait in another line to go all the way back down!

After all of this we were pretty tired and I was so hot! Luke really needed to eat and cool off as well. We found a park near the tower and found a cool grassy area under a tree. I fed Luke and he got to crawl a little around in the grass! What a cutie!

luckily, a (somewhat) short line!

the elevator to the 2nd level

waiting for the elevator

899' above Paris!

Sacre Coeur at Montmartre

along the Seine River

Paris - Arc de Triomphe on the left side

Eiffel Tower's peak

Luke viewing the sights

view from the park beside the Eiffel Tower

Luke cooling off after a hot visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower

Phil and I were both kind of bummed that we were not able to climb the stairs to the top! I think it might have been a little crazy of us in this heat! Maybe next time!

Luke enjoyed himself. Even though it was hot he was babbling happily in line and talking. I am glad that he was rewarded with a little "grass" time after all of that waiting!

play time! also known as dead-leaf eating time!

After cooling off at the park and playing in the grass in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, we were ready to find something to eat! We headed back to Rue Cler to find the boulangeries that we had seen earlier. We got some drinks and cookies at a grocery, and then we found a boulangerie that had plenty of mouth-watering treats! We got a fougasse and a quiche, and we also got a slice of cheese cake. The cheese cake was fluffy and not very sweet. It was more like a cake than a cheese! It was wonderful! It was a lot better than American cheesecake that is so rich you can barely eat it. We took our finds back to Champs du Mars, the mall-like park between the Eiffel Tower and the military school, and found a bench in the shade to sit and eat them. They were excellent! We headed back to the metro, and unfortunately had to throw the last few bites away because we were full!

fresh butter at the fromagerie

quiche at the boulangerie

Philip & his jambon (ham) fougasse (flat baked bread)

Allison & her champignon (mushroom) quiche

What an eventful and exhausting day! Luke is in bed (hopefully for the night) and Phil is studying for his finals. He is organizing his notes and making outlines. It is funny for me to watch because he took his class notes by hand and on notebook paper! I know this is not that strange or odd but at home he has all of his notes/outlines and everything really on the computer. He can cut and paste from documents and notes and put together packets to use during the final. It is a lot more work to write it all by hand!

This could be the last of our Paris adventures. Tomorrow is Thursday already and Phil really has to study. We still have some Metro tickets that we will hopefully use. Tune in for surprise adventures yet to come!

playing at the park by the Eiffel Tower

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Paris: Day 33 - evening boat tour on the Seine River

Alicia left early this morning. She left our apartment around 8:00am in order to catch her 11:45am flight. I have received word that she arrived home safely! That is a great relief!

Tonight was our boat tour of the sights on the Seine River. It was pretty much my most favorite thing that we have done here! I love boat rides. It was nice to feel the breeze on a hot night! Luke liked it too! It was his first boat ride ever. He liked holding on to the rail and looking over the edge!

We saw a lot of the sights. We saw (and went under) many bridges, Notre Dame Cathedral, Musee d'Orsay, Louvre, National Assembly, and the Eiffel Tower. We have seen all of these things many times before but not at night all lit up. It was all very fun and free (paid for by the school.)

It was so fun to see the Eiffel Tower all sparkly! Apparently every hour for 10 minutes it is glittery! I loved it! We had a great time and then it was so nice out still that we walked home. Enjoy the pictures!

Our Boat!

Luke and I waiting in line

Notre Dame Cathedral

Luke and Daddy!

The Plages

Luke + I + Eiffel Tower

Glittery Eiffel Tower

Monday, July 28, 2008

Paris: Day 32 - more shopping!

More shopping today! Alicia and I went shopping on Rue de Rivioli this morning. We went into all kinds of places. We even went to a Starbucks and had coffee drinks just like at home! Luke went with us and he was such a good boy. We gave him an empty Starbucks Coffee cup and he hugged it through three stores!

too hot for shopping!

despite the heat, deals were found
hot baby!

this kid loves having his clothes off!

In the afternoon we all went to the Monoprix to get a few grocery type items for her to take home to share. After that we walked over to the souvenir area of Notre Dame. Phil has had his eye on a Tour de France shirt had been looking for the best price. Luckily we think that we found the best price! No deals even though the race is over though. Sad. We ate at The Quasimodo Cafe by Notre Dame! Phil had a mushroom omelet, I had steak and fries, and Alicia had a hamburger and fries. It was very tasty!

It was unbearably hot outside today. Right now it is raining and it feels so wonderful! We have the windows open to get a breeze going and it feels so good. Hopefully the rain cools off this horrible heat!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Paris: Day 31 - flea market & Tour de France

Flea market day! Alicia and I headed off to a flea market this morning around 9 am. It wasn't exactly what we were expecting but there was plenty of shopping and that made us very happy. After shopping we sat down at an outdoor table at a cafe and ordered French Onion Soup. Yummy! It was very very good.

After lunch we walked home and then Alicia walked over to the Pompidou Center (modern art gallery in our neighborhood) and I hung out with Phil while waiting for Luke to wake up for his lunch. He has had kind of a runny nose so we wanted to keep his life a bit more low key since we have been so busy. Phil stayed home with him most of the day and studied.

After Luke ate lunch Alicia and I headed off to catch the Metro to go to the Musee d'Orsay. We figured out which stop we needed to get off at to get to the Orsay. We got on the Metro fine and when it came time for our stop the Metro kept going and made some announcement about security. Luckily Alicia knows some French so we could figure that out. We got off at the next stop and the streets were packed. They were so packed that the stairs leading from the Metro to the street were filled. We pushed through and realized that we were in the midst of the Tour de France! How cool! Except we had to push through the crowds in order to find a path to the museum. We were limited on time too because Luke was at home with Phil.

It was really neat to be in the midst of the excitement! Groups were clustered together along the street according to nationality. Flags were hung over the barriers representing all different places and people were cheering. We felt like we were part of something special! It was neat to see people showing pride for their own countries. Sometimes I think the USA is lacking a little in that area. It made me feel pride for my own country and it felt good to see the US flag hanging in honor!

So we finally figured out a way to get to the museum (all the streets were blocked off for the race) and got through security! What an ordeal and we hadn't even seen the museum yet. We headed to the Impressionists right away so that Alicia could see them. I, of course, showed her how to turn off the flash on our cameras so that we could take pictures inside the museum and then I proceeded to take a picture in the gallery with the flash on! Whoops! I was so embarrassed! The guy that worked there started speaking to me in English very loudly about buying a copy instead in the gift shop and I sheepishly skedaddled my way into the next gallery. Later, a lady must have sat her purse down on the escalator because when she tried to get off her bag got jammed in the escalator and made a very loud noise and shut down! We thought that someone had passed out and all we could see was the lady trying to pull on her bag with all her might! Craziness. Needless to say we took the stairs!

Musee d'Orsay on the Seine River

Allison & the Degas dancer

Van Gogh's bedroom

Leaving the Orsay Museum was less stressful. We were able to find our way to the nearest Metro station. I randomly bought a Metro ticket from some tourist that told me that she was leaving the country. I got a deal and luckily it worked! We caught the correct Metro going the right way and got off at the right stop! I am feeling pretty good about the Metro now! It was still pretty crazy though because the race was was still going on. We made it home.

In the evening Philip and I went out to dinner and Alicia watched Luke at our apartment. We ate at a nice restaurant by the Place des Vosges which is in our neighborhood! It was nice to get away just the two of us and it was nice of Alicia to volunteer to watch Luke. At first we were feeling pretty confident and we ordered in French and ordered off of the French menu. So we thought that we knew what we were ordering...and at least it looked pretty. Phil ended up with a beef taretare dish which apparently is raw beef ground up! Ha! He ate all of it and i tasted it! It was actually pretty good! I cannot remember what I ordered which is probably a good thing since I think that it was raw as well. It looked like very thinly sliced beef with some green leaves and mushrooms on it! Hopefully we feel ok later!

the only thing cooked on this table is the french fries!

We were only gone about two hours but it was enough time for Luke to realize that we were gone. Poor buddy was crying so hard when we walked in the door! I could tell that he was glad to see us and it took him a while to calm down. I ended up giving him some baby Tylenol and that seemed to start the calming down process. He ended up falling asleep in my arms and Phil was tickling his chin and he was laughing in his sleep! We felt better then and Phil laid with him on the bed for a little bit and then we put him in his bed. He is sleeping soundly now.

Tomorrow is Alicia's last day and we are only here for one more week! It is nice to be thinking about going home. We have loved our time here but, like I have said many times since coming here, there is no place like home!

See you soon!
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