Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Some Many Posts, So Little Time

AAAGGGHHH! I am having a hard time getting caught up and sharing everything I want to share on my blog! I uploaded all these pictures from our trip, but the montage is going to have to wait. I want to talk all about the Harry Potter book, but I have to read it first (still waiting to get that done, but book club next week will put some extra pressure to get that done . . . and 1 Nephi, of course, the REAL page turner.) Tonight's scrapbook night was successful, and I want to post some of the pages I have scrapped for this calendar AND the darling invites to Leanne's baby shower, but that is not happening either. I feel like I am chasing my tail with chores and "to do's" but the list isn't getting short enough so I can BLOG! LIKE, right now I have to go pack, print a family newsletter for the reunion we're heading to tomorrow morning, and pick up my house.

Oh yeah! This morning when I got in my car I noticed my console was open and had been dug through, the sunglass holders were open, the tissue box was on the floor, and the ashtray was pulled open, so I asked my kids (all mad like), "Who was digging through the car?" Of course, "NOT ME!" was the culprit and I was all bugged, then, as I was putting the DVD cases back in the console it dawned on me that maybe someone had broken into my car last night. BUT, my change was all in there and my cell phone charger was still plugged in, the DVDs were all in their cases, so I figured maybe Tyler was looking for something this morning before work and didn't put anything away (even though I knew deep down that wasn't the case.) So, after Tyler called me back and confirmed that he hadn't been in my car, I figured the perpetrators were probably ripped not to get anything. WELL, tonight Tyler took the kids to the grocery store to get snacks for the trip tomorrow and when I got home from scrapbooking he asked if I had my CD case. AH, SNAP! Those stinkin' hooligans stole my super-stocked CD case full of musical treasures. And I am sure in the rush of the theft they didn't have time to peruse my selection of CDs because I can't imagine any kid (I gotta think it's some rooky kid lookin' for some kick) who would be looking through the case after he's run off, thinking, "SWEET! She's got Rent AND Fiddler on the Roof. No way! Annie AND Phantom AND Les Mis!? Oh, and look, here's the complete selection of Scripture Scouts, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Favorites, AND cheesy Young Woman CDs. Oh, I totally scored because in the back there are some sweet mix CDs (REALLY, bummed about those; Erin, I need more copies!), and country CDs." Here's a quick list of what I can remember was in there and thus STOLEN! But before, if you're wondering, I swear I locked my door when I got home last night, but maybe I didn't somehow. I can't figure how else the alarm didn't go off and there were no signs of forced entry.
Fiddler on the Roof
The Producers
Les Miserables (two CD set)
Phantom of the Opera
West Side Story
The Secret Garden
Sound of Music
Allison Kraus
Faith Hill
Scripture Scouts (BOM, Article of Faith, Old and New Testaments)
Best of EFY
Women at the Well
Sarah McLachlan (3 CDs)
Dixie Chicks (4 CDs)
Martina McBride
Rascal Flatts
Gwen Stefani
Mix CDs (2 rockin' CDs)
Mormon Tab Choir (2 CDs)
Young Women Theme CDs (3 of them)
Various Kid CDs (4, I think)

Now, I know, this list probably isn't everything, and some of you are thinking, "good riddance," but I am so bummed all over again just reviewing everything. And right before a road trip. Maybe tomorrow I can find where someone tossed them on the side of the road. Sigh, this is NOT what I wanted to blog about, but thar ya go.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't Spoil it for Me!

Yay! We're home! The last few days of our trip we haven't had the internet connection, so it's quite a treat to be able to check email freely and to blog again, even if it's really early in the morning when I write this. We made the trip home, and with the time changes, it was a 24 hour endeavor. I could NOT sleep at all the entire time we flew and the hour in between our Paris-Newark flight didn't feel long enough before we got on the Newark-Vegas trip. PLUS, I was so anxious to get home and see my kiddies. The good news, though, is I was ready for bed when the kids were, and got a rock-hard night's sleep. I am hoping I can make it through the day, but haven't gotten too much scheduled in case we have to coordinate naps. I did wake up at 5ish and have been catching up on my trash TV and blogs y'all have written.

SO, my mom ordered my Harry Potter book and I don't know if it's at her house or what, but ALL the book talk online is making me nervous...I am even nervous to watch the news for reports of the online leak things. AND, I know many of you have eaten it up already, so don't spoil it for me. AND, I am trying to catch up on my two weeks of missed reality TV, so don't casually mention who got voted off So You Think You Can Dance or Top Chef or anything else useless and pointless, cuz I know you've been watching!

It is GOOD to be home. I loved, loved, loved our trip to France! It was amazing and relaxing and enjoyable and pretty great. I think, other than the lost luggage thing, which I hate to dwell on, it was pretty close to perfect. Our kids were great to see, and the house was cleaned (which was also great). I think we had THE best nanny, Tyler's cousin Liz came down from Utah and she flew back early this morning. I am sure she'll need a while to recuperate, but she was such a trooper through tantrums, swim lessons, church (two weeks!), etc. She hasn't really complained any of the times we've called and the kids have hardly missed us. We are really thankful for all the work she did. Why is that others seem not to sweat "mother-ing" my kids like I do?

So, of course, it's back to the grind of normal, non-vacationing life. I've already done some laundry and am taking the kids for portraits tomorrow, which means haircuts today for the boys as they are SHAGGY! I also have baby invites to send out this week for Leanne's baby shower. And our ward's scrapbook meeting is this Wednesday night, so that means big shopping for the next three month's projects, which means following up with those who have YET to pay me and find out if they're in or out for the next session. I want to upload all my pics and make a video of Paris, but I am trying to figure what the best program is for that because I have A LOT of pictures. We are leaving for Tyler's family reunion on Thursday morning, sans Tyler, so I am trying to figure out some fun things I can do with the kids and we'll just fart around Utah for a few days. I am planning on being back Sunday night, but don't need to be home until Tuesday night . . . Ah, I love summer vacation. And then we're in August! I can't believe it. School shopping (Fashion show YAY!), Michael's mission leaving (YAY, SNIFF, YAY), Tyler's scout camp, baby showers, Caylee starts school, and Swiss Days!

The kiddies are starting to get up this morning, so I 'd better get moving. Caylee's already bugging me to see our pics and look at Ashley Woo hoo.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Today was all about D-Day. These pics are for you, Mom, since you're one of the history buffs that will probably know a lot of what I am about to gush about. Wow. Does that cover it? WOW! Do you feel it now? I can't believe how amazing everything today has been. Bless Tyler's heart I had our day planned and we were off and kickin' . . . as soon as we quit hitting snooze on the alarm. Only an hour behind my packed schedule, we started with a lovely french continental breakfast that cost us too much, but had fabulous hot chocolate. Then I navigated us to the coastal roads that carried us up through all these French villages to the main sites of the Battle of Normandy. Now, I like history, but I don't know how much of what I'll share shows my ignorance, so bear with me. ALSO, my battery is needing charging, so I'll try and be quick. Apparantly the Battle of Normandy was, like, a two month campaign. Not a few days, like I imagined. I also hadn't worked out what the Germans were doing beyond the June 6th and 7th storming of the beaches. Pretty much they were fighting like heck to maintain their postion across the continent. Anyhow, I can share way more facts and figures later (I LOVE a good museum and books . . . I keep buying books for my souveniers.) We drove past the French and Canadian beaches, which are really level compared to the bluffs where the British and American forces entered. The first stop was Arronmanches, pretty much the British headquarters. So, I learned about the amazing technology about how the armed forces made this innovative, never-been-done-before, super-secret, two-year-project homemade port to help the Allies gain a foothold in France. Why did they have to do that? Well. Germany had these honkin' huge battlement guns pointed up and down the coast and were poised to destroy any challenge to the established ports. And the weather was a factor, and on and on. Uh! So much. Anyhow, they made these two floating ports (one British and one American), the American one ended up destroyed by weather, but they were able to salvage the British one and that's how the Allies ended up with ALL their supplies, like thousands of tons of stuff. Anyhow, so this first stop is of the village of Arronmanches. The port was out to the right and they sunk a bunch of stuff and made floating roads ... really amazing.

They had a great museum in Arronmanches celebrating "Port Winston" (Winston Churchill was a huge force in making these home-made ports a reality.) The museum had a couple videos and some cool relics. I thought this one of Tyler and a big gun was funny.

We then drove up to the American beaches and got out at the American Memorial and Cemetery right above Omaha Beach. And Ohmygosh! Words really can't explain the reverance and Tyler kept saying (as we were walking down this crazy, long, steep, paved path down to the actual beach) "No way they could get through all this stuff." I had read that getting to the beach was only the beginning of the trial for the soldiers because the climb up was so treacherous. Yeah, did y'all know it was marshland and thick brush all along the coast of Omaha and Utah beaches? And so steep? It was crazy. I've got pictures I can post later of how thick the growth was, but here's one of the headstones overlooking the ocean.

It was awesome. And I know that hardly covers it, but my battery is about out and it's dinner time. I think Tyler's snoozing or watching French TV, so I'd better go get him going again. Talk to you soon!

Wow. Do you get it? Wow. Does that convey all the emotions and impact that visiting all the D-Day sites today gave me? Probably not, but as Tyler and I were talking it's all we could really decided might cover it. Wow. First off, I like history, but I am not sure how my knowledge compares to anyone elses, so excuse me, history buffs, if some of this is repetitive and my ignorance shines through. So, pretty much the technology in 1940 that was used to put in action the D-day plans was incredible, never-been-done, super-secret, and desperate. I call that blessed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Just thought I'd drop a quick line to let you know we've officially left Paris and headed to the coastal town of Honfleur. My mother-in-law would LOVE this place. Not that I want to rub it in or anything, but it's right on the coast with sailboats and artsy fartsy shops all over the place. Leaving Paris was an interersting experience this morning, which we are figuring it's just because it's us and we're doomed to have nothing go too smoothly. Let me just let you all know the *only* blessing I can think of in our baggage being so late to Paris was that it was delivered (essentially) to our front door. In the week we were without our two suitcases, Tyler and I acquired some "stuff" and this morning squished it all in the same two suitcases we left Vegas with. Oh my heck! They were so stinkin' heavy. AND I had opted to wear my flip flops; so I a, trying to not complain and whine about all the metro changes and walking and shlepping our bags up and down all these stairs and the whole time I am walking with super quick baby steps or else I end up running over my toesies. Tyler and I had this whole conversation last night about how I am a planner and that has been painfully obvious on this trip, so this morning I did not do my usual study out the metro options before we left and he was the one calling the shots . . . we ended up on a train line that was under construction and having to go out of the station to a bus depot and then back onto a metro. Really, there was no way to know the train line wasn't running the whole way - I am not blaming Tyler, but we were DYING with our 70 lb. suitcases (at least). Through one turnstyle (sp?) Tyler totally biffed it pushing his bags through the security measures. If he wasn't ALSO carrying our two packed backpacks it would have been funny, but since he literally took one for the team I kept telling him it was okay and he shouldn't be embarrassed. It was really the metros fault anyway. Then, getting on the last metro this guy totally tried to pickpocket Tyler. It was this rushed entrance since we have these honking bags and this guy ran into the metro and banged into Tyler and as I was turning around I could see Tyler scuttle and quickly check his pocket. He said the guy tried to get in his velcro-ed pocket. And the guy just sat next to us like it was no big deal. I was bugged. Only I can snoop in those velcro pockets.

So, the drive was beautiful and green and pastoral and SO European looking with these cool villages. We ended up getting a sweet Diesel Kia! Just like the good old days (the first car we ever owned was a Kia Sephia). We were both pretty tired, though, as our sleep is SO jankety since our airport slumber party. When we finally checked into the hotel we power napped and then wandered around. I don't have my camera to download the pictures, but there was an amazing public park that we hung out in for a while and window shopped. There's some cool stores, even one all dedicated to chickens and roosters. Tyler said, "Ah, now there's a store just for your folks, the cock store." I laughed and thought of you, Dad, and Swiss Days and Terry and the cock and I was gonna tell Tyler the story, but he was laughing more at himself than he would at our experience. Oh well. We're gonna go to dinner here shortly and then tomorrow we're headed to some of the Normany sites and I'd like to go back to a town called Roeoun where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake and some of my REALLY OLD bloodline is buried . . . well, his [William the Conquerer's] femur is still there.

I've been checking in lately and it's good to get a taste of home from the blogs. Anxiously looking forward to Stacy's video, loved Nate's pictures, laughed at the pooping bear, and totally studies the Expose pics from Jer. AMONG other entertainments (friends, you are appreciated, too, miss you guys. . . don't have too much fun at FHC without me.) Talk to you soon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ohh La La

Eiffel Tower. As soon as we ate it started to rain, so once we made it back to take the elevator up, it was foggy and overcast, THUS the clouds. These are from Sunday (I think) last week. If you'll notice our clothes, it'll get confusing cuz different days we're in the same outfits. Someone creative could make a "Where's Waldo" type game to find subtle differences in our ensembles to determine which site we saw on which day.

Does anyone have any specific ideas about how we should go about asking/demanding for compensation from Air France. Daniel mentioned an article, any ideas where that came from. I am all about getting my ducks in a row and dropping a major letter to Air France. So far I have:

Dear Air France,


Thanks for not a lot,

the Barlows

Anyhow, enjoy your Mondays :)


Thought I'd add some pics from some of our excusions; this one from Versailles. We're in for the night, I think. We're site-see'd out. This was Friday and there were beaucoup de touristes with us that day. It fait freakin' chaud, too (It was freakin' hot, too.) Livin' in jeans with lots of humidity got to me by the end of the day. I loved the palace and grounds and town's market. I can't help imagining the kings and queens and servants and everything that has happened on those grounds. It's amazing. There are SOOO many more pictures to share when we come back. Tyler's thinking we do crepes and show a slideshow of our trip and eat stinky cheese.

C'est la vie!

I seriously don't know where to start in catching you all up on our week in Paris (so far). I have to be careful when I talk about our adventures that others don't think we've been totally miserable and hating our time here. That hasn't been the case; it has been a fabulous nine days here, and as of Saturday at 11pm, it has been WONDERFUL. I am not real sure how to articulate how surreal a lot of this trip has been for me since I have always romanticed the city and the people and the food and the sites. It's all worked out just as I imagined, only in my mind I was wearing super cute outfits and blending in with the French people. Well, with one pair of clothes (for several days), that part of my dream hasn't really happened, but C'est la vie! (That's life!)

So, the Cliff's Notes version of our trip starts with the rain in Houston. Now, keep in mind, our hindsight has been REALLY great this week, so if some of you start thinking, "Ah, they shoulda . . . ", Yeah, we've thought that too, AFTER we found ourselves in the mess we were in. APPARANTLY, when rain in a mjor connector city, like Houston, fouls up all the air space, they try really hard to keep their international flights on time, so we missed our Houston connection on Continental. Once in Houston, Continental set us up on Air France (WHICH, pretty much is the only airline that runs at Charles de Gaulle airport; what I mean is, even though Continental planes fly into Paris, it's Air France's employees that move your luggage, deplane and fuel the plane, and turn the Contential plane back around to go back to the US.) So, technically we were on the Motherland's Airline, and the flight wasn't too bad. I kept track of the time, though, and a couple times was SHOCKED that we still had so much time left. AND, I did sit my seatback up too fast at "dinner" time and the kid behind me ended up with gravy all over him and his seat. Oops. BUT, there were the movies and games handy for the middle of the night playing and they gave us eye covers to sleep . . . anyway, the flight was very sheeshy fru fru compared to Continental's, BUT IN HINDSIGHT I should not have been too impressed, as it is about the only thing good in Air France's book-by-me.

So, we knew we were going to be waiting for our bags for a day. The guy in Houston told us that they'd be sent on the Saturday flight (since we all missed Friday's) and we'd get them Sunday morning. So, like dutiful passengers without luggage, we filed a claim with Air France, again, the company who serves the other airlines in baggage and customer service claims at the Paris Airport. They assured us on Saturday morning, when we arrived, that once the bags arrived it was usually within 24 hours that they were delivered. We gave them our American cell phone (the only contact number we had, which they assured us would be fine even though I worried aloud that no delivery service would want to make an international call) and address of the apartment building. And we came to the apartment . . . all that I posted in the journal reports I wrote before my computer died. So . . . I'm gonna skip to Monday afternoon.

By the time we'd gotten home on Monday afternoon, my feet were trashed from my flip flops and the weather. It was chilly (highs of 57-60 with rain) and my freshly pedicured feet were cracking (see, Mom, there is a good time to have thick callouses on the backs of your heels, for when you have flip flops to wear for days on end!) and I had bruises on the tops of my feet from trying to walk quickly (Tyler seriously sprint walks) and keep my shoes on. Our clothes, which we'd already washed once [WHICH takes about five hours for one load since it's a washer/dryer combo unit that fits about two pairs of jeans in at a time and takes forever to dry] were ready to be washed again. We'd spent our 100 Euro on the toileteries and a long sleeve shirt for Tyler, but were maxed on that limit and in serious need of some new clothes, IF we weren't going to get our bags. To make matters way worse, our charges and adaptors were in our luggage, so our one contact numbered cell phone was about to die. We, also, called Air France three times that day to wait on hold for at least 20 minutes each time, never talk to anyone, and be cut off. We were sure our number was black balled. So, here's a run down of the week's progress on the whole situation:

Monday afternoon: Finally ended up calling Contentinal. The lady confirmed, even called Houston to double check and personally spoke to the shift manager, that our bags had been sent to Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and gave me an alternative customer service number for Air France. She also said their computers were reporting a "baggage strike" at CDG. Since THAT explained a lot, we called Air France and talked to a lady who told us that there was always an overload of baggage not checked in at Air France, that her computer was telling her, too, about the strike, and, in her opinion, we should go to Air France at the airport, and have them find our bags since they were probably sitting there waiting to be checked in. So we did. Upon the arrival at CDG at 9pm we had 1 hour and 45 minutes to catch our metro back to our apartment before they shut down. The chic that helped us, didn't help us at all, except to give us a claim pass to take to the original claim office the next morning. This happened at 11pm. We missed any chance to make it home, and ended up sleeping in the freezing cold, no carpeted CDG, on the airport deli's benches. To say it sucked and was one of the worst nights ever is an understatement. It would have cost us about 150 dollars to taxi home, and we weren't sure Air France would reimburse that. Plus we wanted to be there bright and early to take on the claim's office.

Tuesday: When we got to the claims office, the lady who helped us was fairly proficient. But, bottom line, after three hours of her calling "storage places" and people "looking" for our bags, they were unable to locate them. She did admit to us, though, that they still had bags from July 1st to deliver (that was nine days previous); there was no strike, however, Air France was re-doing their storage organization; there was a lack of man power; AND we should be approved to spend 100 Euros a day per person (pending approval from customer service WHICH we could not call right then and there since the airport phones are only internal, but our cell phone was dead, so . . . good luck to ya); and don't let the door hit cha on the rear-end. We had offered to look for our bags ourself, which I guess is a security issue. We DID double check our delivery information and they assured us the American cell phone would work fine. We left totally dejected. I was trying so hard not to cry the whole way back to the apartment. Did I mention it cost twenty bucks every time you go or leave the airport? So, 40 dollars later, a sleepless night at the airport, and no bags. We were definitely worse off than before, which was interesting cuz I didn't think it could be much worse. We came home and slept. Hard. And when we awoke, we changed our mindset that we weren't getting our stuff for a while. We called Air France (and they answered, miracle) and the customer service rep confirmed, even praised, our lack of spending to this point. So, Tuesday night (total waste of our Museum passes and site-seeing day) we went shopping and I bought another pair of jeans, some tennis shoes and socks, underwear, and a shirt. Tyler bought two pair of shorts, underwear, and two shirts. We also bought better shampoo and conditioner and an umbrella (it was still raining).

Wednesday: We didn't even bother calling. Nobody called us.

Thursday: We're still doing laundry and rotating between the 2 outfits I have and the 3 of Tyler's. That means lots of laundry every night, getting up throughout the night to restart the 30 minute dryer cycles, etc. Thursday afternoon about 4 pm Tyler decides he's gonna call (we'd also bought an adaptor to use with his cell phone charger that he LUCKILY had put in his carry-on backpack) Air France. When he did, the man told him our bags had been picked up by the delivery service and would be delivered between 8 and 11pm that night. Tyler told him how there was no access to us in our apartment, so the rep suggested we wait outside or leave a note for them on our door, but not to worry because they'd call our cell phone. We were excited, cautiously by this point, but went home to wait instead of going on the Seine cruise we had planned. At 8:30pm I called to double check we weren't waiting in vain, and the man told me "Yup, tonight within the next couple hours." We waited outside for 4 hours. Nothing. No van. No bags. No medication for Tyler (who SERIOUSLY was feeling the effects). No personal hygeine effects for me (Yeah, Air France can't find us, but mother nature knew where to find ME, thank you very much!). No laptop charger. No cute clothes. No razor for Tyler who was sporting a full beard by tonight. IT SUCKED! Shame on us for having one teency ounce of hope.

Friday: Oh we were fired up and mad when we called customer service at 8:30am. They said delivery would be that day for sure; the bags hadn't even been picked up until 9pm last night (WHAT? I know?!); and we could expect delivery that morning or early afternoon. I told them there was no way I was sitting around waiting for them because we'd already missed enough stuff dealing with this crap. The guy suggested we find a hotel and see if we could have our bags delivered there. So, we went to this nice hotel accross the street and they agreed to let us have our bags left there. So, at 10am we call back to Air France and RE-EXPLAIN the whole situation (because we NEVER talk to the same person) and give them the new information with hotel address and phone number. We specifically ask how he will contact the delivery company to update their info, and this guy assures us he'd tel-ex them. We leave for Versailles. About 4pm Tyler calls the hotel to see if they've been delivered. Nope. He calls Air France and this lady tells us our American cell phone and lack of apartment number is probably why we don't have our bags. WHAT!? The hotel information (with French number) hadn't been entered and it was the first time in 6 days we'd been told our cell phone was an issue. In fact, to the contrary, we'd been assured it would be fine. At this point we are shaking our heads and p.o.'d beyond measure. No bags that night either.

Saturday: Oh, the joys of no bags for 1 week. We called again, and got the run-around again, but this time Air France is like, "Oh, I am not sure why the delivery company hasn't delivered it," we'll call them and have them call you. Do you not hear me explaining the issue of nobody EVER calling us? Do you not understand that this is day 7 of being in Paris with no personal effects? Do you not believe me when I say I am angry? Do you really want me to accept your apologies on behalf of Air France. Give me a FREAKING break! Tyler stayed home for most of the day and I went to some museums by myself; when I was headed back I am thinking, "SURELY, we've got our stuff." Nope. Call Air France again . . . THIS time the delivery company miraculously called us back. Apparantly the cell phone number hasn't worked the other times they've tried to call; this time, though, it worked just fine. Delivery is promised before 11pm at our apartment. NOOOO, Tyler explained, take it to the hotel as we're un-reachable at the apartment and were going to be at the Bastille day celebration. Walking home that night, we were both hesitant to hope or expect that they'd be there, but when we walked around the desk of the hotel and there they both were . . . I nearly cried. It was better than Christmas.

SOOO, that's the Long, short version of our baggage drama. On a good note, we've seen lots of cool things that I can't possibly write about. I'll post some pictures here in a bit. Tyler's up and going, so I think we'll get out for our last day in Paris. Tomorrow we're headed to Normandy for a couple days, then Mont St. Michel, and back up thru the Loire (castle) valley. And Mom, I haven't run into any Rambins or Prudhommes. The French people aren't real chatty and personable (they're nice, just private and French-speaking), and my French is embarrassingly slow and English sounding. Oh, yesterday we did go to church, where Elder Anderson of the presidency of the 70 presided, though. It was cool. Love to all you Americans!

PS. I am missing my kids . . . would you all make sure they and Liz, our FANTABULOUS babysitter, are doing well? Give them lots of hugs and kisses from their mom and dad. Thanks.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

back online, old post 7-9-07

No imagination necessaray . . . Thanks to Tyler for "capturing the moment (photo edited for your pleasure!)

July 9, 2007
Paris, France

Just to paint a picture (not to gross anyone out or anything), but I am sitting in our little living room, with French “Lazytown” playing in the background, while Tyler’s getting out of the shower telling me the benefit of dry weave fabric. He’s telling me this as I am sitting on our couch wearing my zip up sweater and black wool socks that I brought to keep me warm on the plane. That’s it. My other clothes are still drying so I can wear them, for day #3. That’s right, fans, we have yet to receive our luggage. I at trying to get over the bad mood that I’ve been in since waking up at 5:30am this morning, but I am not having much luck. I can’t decide if I am more upset about our lack of control in the situation, my hairy legs and pits, my cute clothes going unworn, our electrical adaptors that are keeping us from charging the our cell phone we have since they’re ALSO in our suitcases, along with the umbrella we brought in case it rains . . . which it did all day yesterday. Sigh.

Really, all things considered, we had a pretty good day yesterday. We awoke early, ate some baguette, and took a nap. We did shower with our ghetto fab French soap and shampoo that we bought the day before and then put on the same clothes we had flown in back on. Totally grossed me out, but whatcha gonna do? We opted for the cheap versions of our toiletries because we were so confident our baggage would arrive yesterday. We walked to this market place called Rue Cler, which is supposed to be bustling, but they were closing pretty much everything down by the time we got there. It was quaint, nonetheless, with a bunch of sidewalk cafes that were packed for lunch. Tyler and I bought sandwiches, tartes, and sodas and walked to the Eiffel Tower for lunch on the lawn. It was surreal. There were families and couples spread all over the grassy lawns and tourists taking pictures. It was a little overcast, but really nice weather. Just as we were finishing (we took some pics), the wind picked up and it really cooled off. We were going to ride up the tower right then, but the lines were insane, so we decided to walk past the American church and across the Seine to the Grand Palais and Petite Palais (two buildings built for the World’s Fair). The Petite Palais had free exhibits, so we hit those where we wandered for a bit before heading up to the Champs Elysees so Tyler could look for him a sweatshirt. By this point it’s pretty chilly and obvious we’re going to get rain, so we start looking at the shops for long sleeves for Tyler . . . we ended up (after a couple hours and sitting out some of the heavier rains) finding him a baseball cap to keep his head dry and a t-shirt for me (just in case). We called on our luggage a couple times, and basically were told it was confirmed to be on the plane that arrived yesterday morning (by Continental) and that it wasn’t on the flight it was confirmed on (by Air France). After the shopping, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower, where the crowds were long gone, and we headed up the elevators. Despite the weather and fog, it was amazing to see the breadth of Paris. We went all the way to the top (because, as Tyler explained, it would be lame to report we only went half-way up.) It was cold, but amazing at the same time. I thought it was interesting there were all these signs warning against pickpockets and security guards with machine guns. I am sure those who build and engineered the Eiffel Tower didn’t envision that scene with the monument.

By 8pm we headed home, stopped by a little market for laundry soap, and came home to make pasta with bolognaise sauce with fresh grated swiss cheese on top. It was a fine French meal, if I do say so myself. We called about internet and cable; it’s supposed to be available tonight when the owner of the apartment comes by. And started laundry. Oh man, do I appreciate our washers and dryers back home. In the apartment it’s an all-n-one contraption which takes FOREVER, thus the naked me except the sweater and socks. How sexy am I in France? I think we have finally figured out the dryer, so I am going to shower and we’re headed to the Louvre. We figured a museum day would be better considering the weather will be (at best) about 70 degrees with a good chance of rain. Oh, man, I wish we had our bags! Pray for the best (and quickest) return of our stuff. Tyler’s had a great attitude, but I am feeling a little more despondent about the whole situation.
In a happy moment at the Eiffel Tower! FOR REALS!

Back online, old post 7-7-07

Me and Tyler after we had loaded the plane, waited on the tarmac, and unloaded the plane.
July 7, 2007
Paris, France

Well, we made it, FINALLY! I figured without considering the time changes, we have been traveling for 24 hours consecutively by the time we made it to our apartment . . . which is fabulous. Small is probably an understatement. More than two people would be obscene to try and work in this place. The elevator (our apartment is on the fifth American floor) can barely smush me and Tyler, which he loves. I can tell it will be the gropevator.

So, we finally got out of Las Vegas at 3:45pm, but didn’t arrive into Houston until 8:45pm (with time changes, etc.) and were aching to get any information (we’re still hoping we’d catch our flight, but no dice) and made it to the Continental service desk right before about 50 other people who had also missed their connections. Talk about a small miracle! The agent told us he could quickly book us on a Air France ticket that left at 9:55pm, so we ran (yeah, I know, totally Amazing Race, especially because we were standing in line for a while and everyone around us was all pissy and stuff, but we stayed calm and I think that’s why we got hooked up. HOWEVER! I don’t understand having 4 agents, one totally devoted to first class passengers, when you KNOW you’ve had rain delays and missed cancellations and rebookings, etc. It was ridiculous, but I digress!) So we get to the Air France counter and they are literally ready to close the doors. There’s all these hee hee haa haa (if you say that nasely it make sense) kind of Frenchmen working the counter with heavy accents and we slip the guy our paper and he types in the computer and NOTHING comes up. Of course, we panic because the other Continental dude kept our other boarding passes and was leaving for a pee break. Air France wouldn’t call Continental so we quickly called customer service, where I got a mentally challenged agent, and we finally ended up with our confirmation, and got on the plane where the door practically hit us on the rear end. This nice gal traded Tyler seats so we even got to sit by each other. IT ALL WORKED OUT OKAY . . . except we figured out today that we’ve been calling the wrong number for the apartment to let her know we were delayed. She wasn’t thrilled with us, I don’t think, but it’s better than showing up Sunday at noon, which was our only other option. OH, the only kicker about getting on Air France was out bags weren’t going to have time to be switched, but supposedly they’ll get delivered tomorrow. I am kind of bummed since I wanted to go to church. Tyler and I have one outfit each, finally bought toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and deodorant, and we’ll just walk around France France without clean underpants. Keeping the fingers crossed and a little constant prayer that when our luggage arrives at 7:40am some nice French person will rush it right over to us.

Again, the apartment is darling. I can’t write too much longer, I am really tired as I didn’t sleep too much on the plane. It was hard to resist the all-you-can-watch movies or video games at your own seat. Yeah, Air France was pretty cushy, still crowded, but we were excited for the free headphones and night eye cover thingies . . . oh, and ear plugs, and good meals on board. We wandered around the neighborhood and found a market where we got the aforementioned toiletries and some groceries. I am not feeling so eat out as much as I am move in and hang out. We’ve talked about seeing the Eiffel Tower tonight, but I think I will be sleeping instead.

Our home away from home for the next ten days. Happy to be here!


Oh my people! How I have missed the connection to you and my daily dose of bloggage! There's no way I can go into too much detail tonight, as it's almost 3:00am (we took naps this afternoon . . . our sleep is gonna be so messed up!) and it has been one heck of a week. For those of us in the know, we finally got our luggage last night at 11:00pm. Yeah, so I'll let you think about what it's like to travel thousands of miles from home to a foreign country and have no luggage! I'll post the details tomorrow (which will be while you're sleeping, so maybe worth a 2am blog check, Nate!), but know that we are fine, and enjoying our stuff in Paris. A bientot!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away

So, Tyler and I are sitting in the McCarren Airport at 2:21pm. Yes, I know. Our flight was SUPPOSED to leave at 11:10am. Apparantly Houston (our connecting flight) is having record-breaking rains and so we have been grounded. Of course, this came after we loaded, taxied, and were ready for lift-off. We spent an hour 75 minutes on the tarmac (got through all my People magazine by that point) and another 45 minutes back at the gate before they would let us deplane (at which point I, of course, made conversation with the other passengers while Tyler tried to call the lady in charge of the apartment in Paris to let her know we won't be meeting her when we said we would.) And, really, a shout out to the flight attendants who are the bearer of bad news. We were all getting hungry and worried about missing our flights, etc. and they are frantic that people don't get off the plane unless the absolutely have to. I do have to say, though, that my "Amazing Race" and "Airline" TV watching have come in handy as I have made some phone calls and discussed our options to get to Paris in time (pretty much not gonna happen!) It looks like we'll end up in Houston and make it to Paris Sunday at noon instead of Saturday. I am trying to have a good attitude about it all. And not think about all the other things we could be doing. I mean we are officially on vacation, even if it's hanging out at swanky McCarren airport and eating Chili's-to-go. I'm calling my "inner Jenn" of airport prowess and going to offer to decline overnight/day accomodations in Houston in order to upgrade to first class tickets to Paris. That would be a silver lining on a rainy Houston cloud. **Raspberries**

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


It's 12:11am when I start this post and Notorious Mobsters is showing on the TV in the background. Tyler is lying next to me on the couch because he's too chicken to go in to our bed. Why, you ask, would he be too afraid to get in our own cushy king-sized bed? That would be because it is now the sick bed. About 8pm tonight Mackenzie started to complain of a killer stomach ache. I gave her my usual brush-off with "Stick your bum up in the air," cuz, you know gas rises, so if it is a gas issue wavin' her tush in the air would fix the problem. Well, that didn't cut it and she even turned down a trip to the ice cream store with Tyler. Shortly after Tyler left with Caylee and Brevin, Kenz totally lost it in the toilet. WHICH, I should have been more compassionate, but since I was finishing my video montage I coached her from the couch. Like, "Good job, let it go . . . all done? . . . ope, no? okay let it all come out . . . now get some tissue and wipe up . . . rinse out with some water . . . go brush your teeth" etc. I am having a bit of remorse about that now that she's spent the last three hours wretching in the bathrooms. Poor thing was so tired she was crying more about having to keep getting up more than she was crying about being sick. So, about 10:45pm Tyler was unloading groceries (yes, he grocery shopped tonight so's not to have to fight the crowds tomorrow . . . you know those crazy 4th of July grocery shoppers . . .whatever, he did it and I can cross it off my to-do list), I was putting away laundry in my room (while stepping over Kenzie who is now camped out on the floor in my bathroom) when Tyler called, "Sarah?!" in that oh-crap-I-don't-like-the-sound-of-it-kind-of-way. I walked in to the kitchen and there's Brock with barf smeared across his face. *If you have a sensitive stomach you could skip the following detail * AND, of course, his schalacked bink still in his mouth. EEEEWWWWW! He was totally dazed and confused and I rebuffed his "Hold me" pleas until he was stripped and wiped down in the bathroom. Tyler (another bonus point for him) was stripping Brock's bed. Now, I don't know what the exact protocol is for cleaning up bed sheets, but the thought of just tossing them in the washer creeps me out. It's like washing it all in the puke. Usually I pre-wash the gunk in our utility sink, but tonight I made Tyler go outside and use the garden hose to pre-wash the sheet. It's funny when you have enough kids who have been sick enough times, how little it phases us anymore. Like me not jumping up to stand by Kenzie the first time she was sick (on her subsequent heave-fests I came in to check her out.) We have funny conversations and find joy in the little things. Tonight Tyler commented, after examping all the bed fixings, that Brock "did well" and aimed his ick mostly on his blanket. Of course the report continues with what else "just had a little bit on it here and there . . . " but you know what I mean? I thought it was funny, cuz there's no logic in the stomach bug. Mackenzie said she thought all the throwing up would make her teeth a lot whiter, which threw me for a minute as I thought, "acid wash?" and then realized she meant from brushing her teeth. Tyler, too, automatically plays out all his scenarios of when he's going to get sick and he's prepping for being sick on the plane. How fun would THAT be? AND not to have a whole separate tangent, but does Pepto Bismal work or anything or anyone? We had some tablets that I had Mackenzie take to settle her stomach and within 7.2 minutes they were reappearing in a liquid, vomit version. EVERY time I have taken it for stomach issues, I have a similar response to the stuff. Oh well. I am hoping, considering my illness at girl's camp last week I am immune from it OR I get a full blown version by tomorrow. I am worried about my brother, David, who was with Brock all day today. Sorry, Dude, if your day off turns out not-so-great. And our babysitter who arrives tomorrow. I might see if she can stay a night with my in-laws until it works its way through the kids. UGH, this is bad time. We are notorious for that. Going on a trip? Get sick. Needless to say, I'll be cloroxing the house and making new plans for our 4th holiday. I imagine once I spread the word that we've got a flu bug Jared and Mindie's will be lookin' pret-ty good. At this rate I am figuring everyone's gonna get it from somewhere anyhow, so bring it on. (As far as we can tell, this is still Nate's fault since he was the closest relative to have it last. Thanks, Man!) My SIL, too, to compound the issues, will be having a baby tomorrow (the 5th) and we'll not be spreading that to her. Oh well. Thanks for letting me vent about this for an hour.

Another thing I am notorious for is not being great at thank you cards. My dear, sweet friend Jenn from Texas sent me the most darlingest apron from Anthropologie for my birthday. I have been stalking it in our local store for months, yeah, the exact one she got me, and I didn't even tell her that I was looking at them, or how cute I thought they were, etc. Of course, Jenn being Jenn, (she's very astute and perceptive) she took time out of her busy baby #2 life to send me something via mail (and on time, no less . . . I am also notoriously late with birthday gifts). And do I take a minute to email her or send her a cute note telling her how fabulous the gift was, how touched I was at her thoughtfulness, and how she's an amazing, inspiring woman? Nope. It dawned on me that I hadn't sent anything when she got worried enough that it was lost in the mail to have to ask me if I got her package. So, SORRY JENN! I also owe everyone who came to my party (and the rule-breaking-gift-giving), the youth conference committee kids, my friend Barb (who helped me make some YW invites when I was totally stressed and headed out of town and she just totally made all of them for me), the lady who spoke at our Senior Luncheon, AND all those who gave us wedding presents thank you cards. I am horrible at it. Notorious, actually.

And one more notorious thing . . . lists. I can't help myself. I've got about five going on right now, just for the next three days. They are:

Things to do:
Grocery shop (done tonight)
Fill car with gas for sitter (Fri. morning)
Ms. Ashton's appreciation/Thank You/all-holidays-in-one gifts (Did I mention I notoriously procastinate?)
Nan's baby invites
Buy underwear and good quality bra (cross your fingers on this one!)
Get my kids pictures done (Thursday morning if nobody's sick and I can convince Mackenzie the world will keep spinning if she misses one morning of class!)
Pick up dry cleaning
Presidency Meeting for YW
Buy b-day presents
Call Daniel so he can RE-explain the computer mumbo-jumbo he was telling me today

What to pack:
Too much to list, but I am trying to double up on my options since we'll have laundering opportunities at the apartment we have in Paris.

What to print/type:
Nan's invites/shower games
France planner stuff I've compiled
Babysitter instructions
Letters to my kids for different days so they know we're thinking about them (my amazing sister does something similar to this with mini-gifts for each day. I'm not as ambitious)

What to buy/exchange/return/borrow
Shade shirt
Power adaptors
a home decor item for Ms. Ashton

Oye! Believe it or not, I got lots done today and most of the picking up done tonight, so I am ready to clean tomorrow, er, I mean, today. I am sure I'll have some major thing I need to write about later, so I am going to go fall asleep so one of my darlings can wake me up just as I finally drift off into la la land.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Uber Procrastination

So, I have a MILLION things I should be doing, but believe it or not, this is on my list of to-do's. The final product of Tyler's hard work and it is just as fun to remember my party as it was to be there. Now, I gotta speed clean my house before I can really post. Thanks for watching.

View this montage created at One True Media
Sarah's Birthday Party

Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy Camper

Apparantly I had 24 hours to post upon my arrival home regarding proper blog ettiquette. I have failed. I got home from girls' camp Saturday about 3:30 afternoon, but I couldn't hardly function until Sunday. Seriously, I just zombied. But, then, Sunday afternoon I had to take one for the team and nap with my kids. Yeah, I know, best mom ever! We went and visited Tyler's family and then when we got home, Tyler hopped on the computer and I hopped in bed. Good recovery weekend. I took Tyler's camera with me this week, but I still need to upload the software for that too, WHICH, brings me to the technology update that I am sure you're DYING for. I haven't done squat and the Cox guy said our phone/internet issues were a fluke. EVERY time someone calls and I answer the phone, I get kicked offline. EVERY time. Doesn't sound fluke-y to me. Anyway, I am looking at all the software on my computer I don't need and so, of course, I called Daniel to proposition him for his services. We have a date tonight so he can hook me up.

Camp was great. Really, it was. The pictures will be better so y'all can understand where I go, why I go, etc. The theme this year was "Hearts Knit Together" which, really, with a group of 170 12-18-year-old girls, it was a fabulous thing to focus on. The drama was minimal, the spirit strong, the activities well-organized, and I was able to get to know a lot more of the young women, etc. I learned more about charity and I really hope I am a better person for it. I wasn't hardly involved at all with the planning of camp this year, and my responsibilities consisted of the leader skit and listening to the girls pass off their spiritual challenge. The days went by quickly and I enjoyed every minute of it. MINUS the night (Monday) when I ended up with the flu bug my brother had the weekend before (yeah, Nate, I am blaming you for this one.) It was 18 hours of pure hell as I cleaned my basement regularly and OVER regularly. Pretty much until I got some Immodium I was useless on Tuesday, but after that I was better.

I have tons to do today and the next few days to get ready to leave again. I am worried about Brock as he has been really cling-y and whine-y. I am trying to not panic as my to-do list gets longer and longer. We'll see how much I get done today. Laundry, errands, etc. Oy! Hopefully I will be able to post something interesting and witty soon!

Finally, a shout out to three of my best girlfriends EVER who celebrated their birthdays last week while I was in the wilderness. Amber, Nancee, and Barb, you ladies Rock my world! Thanks for getting me through some of the most shaping times of my life . . . you helped me be who I am today (maybe that is scary and calls for an apology instead :() Love you all! I thought of you Friday and Saturday and wished I could give you a cake to celebrate your big days :)