Six Years....

Six years...really isn't all that long, is it?

It's only 72 months.

And yet, for me, 6 years seems like a lifetime - a lifetime that happened in the blink of an eye.

Six years ago my life changed forever.  In April 2008, I left everything and everyone I knew and began this crazy adventure in France.

Six years, I started this little blog to update my friends and family about life abroad.

Never could I have imagined that I would still be here six years later - still in France; still writing.

It's amazing the adventures you can live in just six years.

I got married.

I've had two amazing children.

I learned a new language.

We have visited over 17 countries.

I have made some amazing friends.

Life has been full.  Sometimes it's been hard and other times it's been wonderful.

And while I don't know where the next five or six years will take us but I can only hope they will be half as wonderful as the first six have been.

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I guess this is growing up...

Last weekend we attended the preschool's open house.

It was a chance for us to visit the school and talk to the teachers.

This is Nathan's second year at the school, so we're no strangers to the classrooms or the people at the school.

This was the first year, however, that we took Noah.

My last baby will be starting preschool at the end of the year.

And this all hit me rather suddenly.  In my heart he just turned two years old, and I still the "baby" inside.

The thought of him going off to school always seemed so far into the future.

Yet, here we were, entering his future school.

He was apprehensive at first.  The big room, the table and chairs, the stranger trying to talk to him.

We stood back, letting him explore and settle in to his new surroundings.

It didn't take long before he moved into all corners of the room trying out all the different activities.  He warmed up to the teacher and let shared his excitement with her.

And that is all it took for me to see my "baby" transforming.  He will do great in school and he is ready.

And he will have his big brother there to show him the ropes.

Sending them off to school isn't easy, is it?

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Embracing...Spring Break

So much has happened since I posted last week.

I might have mentioned that for the past two weeks we were on Spring Break.  In France, kids go to school for six weeks and then take a break for two.  If you're doing the math, that means we have yet another "Spring Break" at the end of April.

With so many breaks, we don't usually have enough vacation days to stay home with the boys.  Some families send their kids to see their grandparents - which is pretty amazing - but doesn't work for us.

During this time we usually send Nathan to a day-camp of sorts.  They do lots of different activities, take field trips - it isn't bad but it really isn't "vacation".

Which is why we decided we would take the boys away on a long weekend to visit Disneyland Paris.

We go every year, but this was the first time the boys had no idea we were going.

Once we pulled up the driveway to our hotel, and the boys started seeing all of the Disney elements everywhere- they were so excited.

We decided to stay at the Disneyland Hotel {which is right at the gate of the park} so once we checked in we were on our way to start enjoying our vacation.

The boys had a blast.  They're old pro's and were running and giggling the entire time.

Because our hotel was right at the gate we had AM.AZ.ING views inside the park.  Our room even had a small balcony - and thanks to the amazing weather we spent endless time out there.

The best part of it all of course, was spending time as a family.  We had no major breakdowns and we created so many memories.  And while people might think we're a little loopy for taking the boys every year, the smile on their faces when they wake up and throughout the day makes it all worth it!

Have you had your Spring Break yet?  Any plans?

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Sunshine is good for the Soul

Oh my - the weather here has been AM.AZ.ING!  The sun has been shining and I put away the winter coats {although not permanently because that's just tempting fate}!

The thing about sunshine here is that you never know how long it is going to last - so as soon as you see it - you make a mad dash to sit under it until it goes away.

We're kind of like lizards that way.  And while growing up in Arizona I took the sunshine for granted - five years in France have made me change my ways!

We've been taking the boys outside and letting them run off their built up energy and they've enjoyed every second of it.

They've even opened up all of the carousels!

{I'm not sure why every French village/town has their own carousel downtown.  It's almost as symbolic as the churches.  Of course my boys can't pass a carousel without begging to ride one}.

We even took a stroll through Vichy - a neighboring village with an amazing history {from Napoleon to WWII} and even better shopping.

Needless to say that springtime in France is one of those seasons that has to be enjoyed!

Have you seen springtime arrive yet?

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Going Greek

Well, it looks like I have turned into a weekly blogger.  Sadly, that is about all I can handle at the moment.

Life has been crazy busy - but in a good way.  Still trying to find my balance through all of the changes happening lately.  Ironically, this is about the same time last year that I stopped blogging.  I refuse to let it happen again this year.  Not writing made it feel like I had a piece of myself missing - I didn't like that feeling.

The boys are on "Spring Break" for two weeks.  We're on day 3 and Nathan keeps asking when he gets to go back to school.  Le sigh.  We're sending him to a "day camp" of sorts - but I think he is getting bored.  Kid likes to learn I guess.

Yesterday we celebrated Mardi Gras.  All the kids were dressed up in costumes, it was sort of adorable.  The big tradition around here is to eat "Bugnes", which is essentially fried dough covered in sugar.  Don't ever call it a donut in front of a French person - they don't like it.  The boys really loved getting their free bugnes at the bakery by our house - Noah kept asking for "encore" {more}.

I've also had my very first ever sinus infection.  What in the world?  These things are super painful and it makes me feel like my face has been punched {I've never been punched in the face but I imagine this is what it feels like}.

I'm slowly working my way around to all of your beautiful blogs, be patient with me.  I'll get there - maybe late but surely! 

And while the weather has been nice and sunny - it hasn't prevented me from daydreaming about our vacation later this year.  The big "mystery" location - GREECE!  It has always been a dream of mine to visit and I'm so excited that we finally get to go.  The timing worked out perfectly for everyone's schedules.  We'll be spending one week in Athens and one week in Santorini.  I would love to hear if any of you have been!

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Just when I thought I was lost...

Wow, it has been so crazy around here.  February is always the busiest month around here - and by far the most stressful.

There were some touch and go moments there - those moments when I had to take the time and focus on what is really important.  It's times like these that the little ol' blog suffers the most.

I also had a lot of times when I had to remind myself my word of the year:

I wasn't doing any embracing and was actually getting myself stressed out about all of the things that were out of my control.  Amazingly enough, once I let go and decided to embrace the situations for what they were - the pieces started falling into place.

In the time I've been away - besides being super productive at work - we've signed up Noah for pre-school {I'm only in slight denial}, booked two of our vacations for the year {one of which is a lifelong dream of mine} and have been spending a ton of time with the boys.

The weather around here has been amazing - cold but much milder that the weather typically is at this time.

And when the sun is shining, and I look out my window I can be thankful for having the amazing opportunity to live this life.

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When I was pregnant with Noah, I would often daydream about what it would be like to have two boys.

I thought about what an amazing gift I was giving to Nathan - a brother, a lifetime friend, a partner in crime. 

I would smile at the imaginary life they hadn't yet lived and prayed that with only a two year age difference that they would be much closer than my sister and I were.

After Noah was born, reality set in.

Life was not all puppies and rainbows and Nathan seemed more annoyed than anything else.

It seemed that I have spent the last two years just surviving and trying to keep the peace.  It seemed my fantasy of brotherhood was just that - a fantasy.

And then lately life started evolving.  Noah began looking up to his big brother and wanted to imitate everything he did.

Magically the boys started getting a long.  They started getting along and even started playing together.

I thought it was the calm before the storm.  I was so skeptical of this new found friendship.  I was convinced that they were up to something.

Instead their friendship is growing - their bond is starting to develop and at every smile and every laugh my heart melts just a little.

Having a brother must be the best feeling in the world.

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