Looking Forward To

Bowling with the youth on Saturday night.

Not having to travel till Christmas.

Leading worship on Sunday.

Eating pasta with vodka sauce tonight for dinner.

Getting Willow groomed (professionally) for the first time since she was like 5 months old.

Opening some aged French wine sometime in the next 5 years.

Getting back into a normal routine, hopefully including working out and eating healthy.

My next girls wine night in November.

Completing my first song since college.

The OSU v. Michigan Game.

Thanksgiving at my place with my family.

The weekend before Thanksgiving when I can justify putting up the christmas tree.

My first Elf, Love Actually, Little Women, and White Christmas viewing of the season.

Fitting back into a size 10.

Meeting my new niece.

Meeting my new nephew.

Our garage sale in November.

Drinking a pumpkin spice latte for the first time this season.


Christmas lights at the Opryland hotel.

Eating chili when it's chilly.

This weekend.


France -Days 1 and 2

Day 1
We were picked up at the airport by Nate and Doug where we then drove about 2 hours to Interbauen, Switzerland to meet up with Sarah, Joanna and Ayla. Along the way we stopped at a reststop. Similar to the states, aside from the face that there was a little food vendor selling some of the best espresso I'd  tasted to date...standard.

The Michael men at the train station in Lauterbruen, Switzerland.

The car ride was remarkable. We all chatted and laughed as we bobbed and weaved through the snow covered mountains of the Swiss Alps. In reality, the alps aren't as big as the rockies, but for some reason they are way more breathtaking. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. Every zig and zag brought us to a new view that would leave us all mouth agape. 

Once we met up with the rest of the group there were hugs, passings of the baby, high pitched reunions and grins ear to ear. It was so great being all together again.

Ayla immediately became fascinated with Josh and about every 10 seconds or so would say "Hi Josh!"

We ate lunch at one of the quietest restaurants i've ever been to. About 15 people in the restaurant other than us and anything above a hushed speaking tone would have drawn attention. Yummy food though!
It's never too early in the day for a toast in Europe.

After lunch we took a tram up to frozen-in-time Gimmelwald.

Barak Obama was there.
They love them some Mr. President Obama there in Switzerland.
Again, surrounded by mountains that astounded all of us, except Ayla who was mesmerized by a cat she found. "Ha Kitty Cat?" (where's Kitty Cat?)was her favorite cute phrase for that trip.

Topping off Gimmelwald with some delicious coffee (aka espresso) and dessert at a little restaurant. We were told by our server that we made it to Gimmelwald just in time, as we were there on the last day before they closed for the season!

we headed back down to Interbauen and then on to Wangen where our hotel was located. To get to Wangen is only accessible by train so I got to ride on one of those for the first time ever.  Ayla took a little nap on me during the ride up. It was so sweet.
i'm looking a little haggard here due to restless sleep on a plane the night before and no shower that day. Gross!

Wangen - another town nestled at the top of the swiss alps. A carless city only accessible by train.  Paved with red brick and embracing every sterotype of a quaint little village one could imagine. Our hotel/spa had one of the most relaxing and interactive adult-only pools ever. With "Silence Please" signs posted all over the pool room walls, a bed of massaging bubbles, multiple jets, a lazy-river, glass walls overlooking the alps and a nude zone Sauna/Steam room, it was apparent that this was a place of rejuvination and relaxation.

Dinner that night consisted of delicious cheese and breads washed down with some Cotes-du-Rhone and beaujolais villages and lots of laughter. Perfect.

Day 2
Hit up the pool one more time before leaving Wangen. Got yelled at for not being nude in the nude zone. Took a the train back down to Lauterbruen were our cars were. Saw some of God's glory on the way back down in the form of cloud cover.

Upon reaching the car the boys went to work getting all our luggage packed and secured in a very classy and inconspicuous way.
Duck tape!

We jammed 6 large adults, one toddler, and all our luggage into a 6 person car and headed to Interlochen for some sight seeing. I was crammed into the back of the tiny vehicle and let's just say my tummy wasn't quite used to the nutella, cheese, and chocolate cereal with whole milk at breakfast (they take milk seriously in Switzerland! It must be the docile cows.)  I was ready to get out by the time we made it to our destination. In Interlochen we found a restaurant as quickly as possible (due to my urging) so we could get out of the car.  and we ate a delicious lunch and spend our first shopping money of the trip on a cute hippy dress and a blouse.

After Interlochen we drove to Geneva to spend our last evening with Doug and Sarah. Upon arrival after a semi-stressful trip to a nearby grocery where Doug may or may not have gotten into an argument with a rude French man over some lettuce and where the phrase "Au revior to YOU!" may or may not have been said, we  enjoyed another mixed simple dinner in the hotel room of cheese, bread, salami, tomatoes with mozzarella and balsamic. Mixed emotions of sad goodbyes from Doug and Sarah filled with the excitement of the remainder of our trip filled the room that evening. I felt really blessed to be there. I am so fortunate to have such a great, generous, funny and fun in-law family. 

That's all for now! Hopefully later this week, or next week I will have day 3, 4 and 5 wrapped up in a pretty bow for you, like this one. :)


Awkward Moment

A perfect savory lunch of boeuf bourguignon (with bites of Josh's croque madame) resting nicely in my stomach, I pushed my way through the crowded French cafe, niece Ayla and her giant stroller in tow. Bumping into chairs and struggling to get the stroller down a small set of stairs, I began to feel like I had a blinking red sign on that said “American” in-spite of my mumbled "Pardons" and an occasional apologetic “désolés” as I squeezed my way out to the street.  

Upon reaching freedom outside l sighed and started to feel so silly about trying to fit in. I wanted so badly to not be a stereotypical loud, fat and rude American tourist. I even went as far as to make my husband carry our giant camera, wore many layers like the French, and tried as often as possible to avoid conversations with people so I didn’t reveal my very poor/almost non-existent French speaking skills.

Ayla’s chatter about kitty-cat’s and josh floated up from the stroller as we made our way to a nearby bench to wait for our group. A woman sitting on one of the benches looked at Ayla and then looked right at me waved and said “Bonjour!” Three thoughts flashed into my head.
  1. Why is she talking to me? As Josh and I quickly found out, in France, you don’t say “hi” or smile at random people on the street unless you know them. Don’t nod your head, half smile, wave, or heaven forbid say “hi”. If you do, they think you are crazy and you WILL be ignored. (This happened to me more than once…it was hard for me to make eye contact with some and then walk right past them and not say a single word in the deafening silence.)
  2. She must be talking to me because she thinks Ayla is cute and wants to comment on “la petite blonde avec de beaux yeux bleus.”
  3. She said “Bonjour” to me! She obviously thinks I’m French! My life goals are accomplished!!!!!!

Filled with excitement I smiled a big broad, probably-goofy-because-of-my-excitement-smile and said “Bonjour!” back.

Then, it happened. A man’s voice behind me said “Bonjour…blah blah something in French blah blah.” He walked past me and lovingly embraced and double cheek kissed the friendly French woman who I thought was talking to me.


A Part of History

I feel like I've been a part of history. While we were in Chambery France on our way to the Market Saturday morning we were stopped by a giant demonstration of several thousand French people marching the streets in protest. As we squeezed our way through the crowds to make it to the market in time to pick up our cheese and meats for that afternoon's lunch Joanna said something along the lines of "The french love to protest. They hold demonstrations all the time, but this one is a really big one!"

At the time we weren't exactly sure what the protest was for. There were banners and signs everywhere and people shouting over bullhorns (in French), but the commotion was just enough and our brains were just tired enough to not really care to investigate. I snapped a pictures though.

Later we discovered that they were chanting "60 years is long enough!" Turns out this angry mob of French people were protesting the proposed bill to change the retirement age from 60 to 62.  A few weeks later said bill passed and there have been massive strikes from the working class and many more protests. Some reaching the point where police are involved using gas to calm the crowds. Pretty crazy!

Read more about the protests by clicking here.


Good News/Bad News

Good News
I got a card reader and have successfully unloaded all my pictures from france onto the computer! 

Bad News
I don't have time to post any of them tonight so you are going to have to wait on France pictures/stories.

To satisfy your curiosity: Yes french people are small. Yes Josh and I were the biggest people most places we went in heigh and otherwise. We got used to it...here is a fun little video about big people in a small french world. Enjoy!


A Simple Pleasure

A thing of beauty.
 I love this magazine. 
I especially love this magazine as the holidays approach. 
The mail makes me happy on days like these.
Thanks mother-in-law Sarah for the subscription!


A 9.5

Score this weekend on a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being nothing went right and it was the worst weekend ever and 10 being everything went as planned and it was awesome.

We started off leaving Nashville a quickly as we could on Friday afternoon to make it for the rehearsal for Stephanie and Mike's wedding that evening. Unfortunately for us, the earliest Josh and I could leave work was noon and we had to pick up my sister at work on the way out of town, and my due to a miscommunication my friend Susan who was meeting up with us in Nashville to ride to columbus had the wrong meeting address. (Airport Central Pkwy vs. Airpark Central Pkwy Amazing was two little letters can do to change an afternoon) Finally hitting the road by 12:45 to make it to the 7:00 pm rehearsal 6 hours away we felt rush but OK...and then we realized we were on CST and they were on EST making us an hour later than we thought...sigh.

After realizing there was nothing we could do about this unfortunate timing issue we really did enjoy our ride to columbus. 5.5 people and one fluffy cockapoo puppy squeezed into our Altima to make the trek. We passed the time chatting and playing word games. Arriving in Columbus just in time for the rehearsal dinner at Claddaghs'. Dinner was delicious and the company was even better. Spending time with my name buddy, Katy Wheat is always tons of fun. Not to mention, I got to get to know her beau, Roger, a little bit that evening as well. 

That night back at my parents house we up late making snacks and finalizing decorations for the baby shower the next day. Coming home is always such a warm and welcoming environment, even when I'm put to work popping popcorn for gooey scrumptious carmel corn, I enjoy being older and bustling about the kitchen with my mom and sister at my side. 

The next day flew by as we made final prep for the baby shower and nearly 45 women came to celebrate the new life that is coming a mere 1.5 months. The love and support that poured onto Cynthia was overwhelming. She is so lucky to have so many people who care about her and want to bless her and the new bundle of joy. 

I had to leave the shower a bit early to make sure I made it to my wedding day festivities on time. I spent the remainder of the day doing all I could to make sure Stephanie was calm and a nerve free as possible. Sipping sweet bubbly champagne and watching as woman after woman was transformed TLC-makeover-style by the artist who came in and painted our faces. I've never had my makeup done professionally and let me just say I thought she was AWESOME! The end result made everyone look really great and had a seamless style to it.

Stephanie looked so beautiful. She quite possibly, might be one of the prettiest brides i've ever seen. Here's the proof

The rest of the evening went by without a hitch...except for the one that was intended (haha). There were a plethora of delicious martinis (blueberry, chocolate, apple, dry), there were stuffed mushrooms, and hummus. There was dancing. There was laughing. There were sweet sentimental toasts. There were comical toasts. There were hugs and smiles. There was time for lovers to hold hands and snuggle cheek to cheek on the dance floor. There were jokes about high school. There were lots of people watching the OSU game. There were lots of people disappointed by the OSU game. There was an actual OSU alumni 10 piece band (that surprised the groom).

There were sore feet changing into flip flops. There were many glasses of cabernet drunk. There was a men's lounge boasting a pool table, card table and 60 inch flat screens. There were many times when I was searching for my husband due to said "men's lounge." There were farwells, congratulations, and kisses on cheeks goodbye. and there was love. so much love.
congrats stephanie and mike!

Topping the weekend off with sleeping in, a great sermon at the Vineyard Columbus with Rich Nathan, Chinese food with my crazy loud and funny family (SUCH a change from dining in France, I might add...) and a very late start to our 6 hour travel back home where all of us crashed into our respective beds for deep deep slumber. 

So...if I were to score this weekend on a scale of 1 - 10, with1 being nothing went right and it was the worst weekend ever and 10 being everything went as planned and it was awesome, I give it a 9.5.
.25 points taken off due to the fact that it couldn't start sooner and .25 points taken off due to the fact that it ended too soon. 



This weekend Josh and I have made the trek to my beloved home town of Columbus, OH - or more affectionately called "C-bus" or "buckeye country".

My older sis is having her first baby shower and my friend Stephanie is getting married! The weekend has already been a flurry of activities and we've only been here 13 hours (with about 6.5 of those sleeping.) Right now it's 9:45 the scent of wassail is wafting through the house, the boys have already vacated the premise to go eat burgers, grunt and do other man things while about 40 women descent on the house and I'm seriously considering eating a (read: my second) chicken salad croissant before 10 am.

Later I get to be all dolled up and stand up next to one of my best friends from high school as she says "I do" to the man in her life and then we will boogie down till my 4-inch-heel-tortured-feet can't stand it any more. And it will be bliss. 

I'm hoping to get back into more of my consistent blogging routine next week and definitely post France pictures and let you all know about our lovely travels before the beautiful details drift out of my mind forever lost to the sands of time...ok...that was a bit dramatic...life's been busy. Give me a break.



In a Word

Backpacks and suitcases lay strewn about our room while the mountain of dirty laundry is already being washed and dried. We are home.

We got back to our apartment around 8:15 last night (2:15 am France time) after being up since 5:30 am. Exhausted, hungry and quite honestly a little smelly. Our California King bed never looked so beautiful. 

In a word, our trip was amazing. 

In more than a word our trip was exciting, relaxing, beautiful, funny, passionate, expensive, fun, delicious, new, confusing, emotional, important, rejuvenating, wonderful, sweet, crazy, wild, yummy, filling, food for the soul, food for a friendship, the trip of a lifetime and everything I could have ever asked for. Again, i just find myself bursting at the seems with thankfulness.

I think I will take the next few posts to tell about some of the highlights our trip a few days at a time, but for now that will have to wait till I can get the proper card reader to pull the images off the camera we used while we we were over there. Images are a must for the France posts. :)