Life in St. Ismier!

So…I’m horrible at blogging, or at least I’m horrible at keeping up with it. I know it’s been 2 months since my last post, but FINALLY, here are some pictures from our new apartment (disclaimer: Solo photo bombed most of these pictures):

Let’s start with the terrace! There’s not much out there, but I absolutely love being able to read outside and put the laundry out to dry (it’s funny how I used to hate when my dad made us hang out laundry outside when I was younger…now I prefer it). And I know Solo loves laying out there, too.

I just love being able to keep these doors open all day! It will look even lovelier outside once the grass is put it.


Our little camping chairs… When we have the money, we’re going to buy a wooden table and chairs to stick out here for summer barbecues!!


Our neighbors on the other side of the terrace also have a dog, and he likes to bark and get Solo riled up.


And this is our view! Of course it will look much prettier after they install the grass, but it’s already MUCH better than the view from our last apartment (and it’s also much quieter out here too!)

Next, the kitchen:

I love the lights under the cabinets, but they get HOT! I’ve burned myself a couple of times while trying to turn them off.

The messier side of our kitchen, with the bag of recyclables I still need to take out. Also featured is artwork from our 18-month-old niece.

The living room:

I have been longing for a red couch for years! I was unbelievably excited when Matt brought this one home, and it came with an ottoman that we can store all of our DVDs in.

Our entertainment center is currently working as a shelf, until we’re able to afford a TV. And for anyone wondering, I did have my tea and chocolate right after taking these photos.

Solo insisted on being apart of this picture. This is part of our living room/entry way. Fun fact: those two wicker chairs, which we plan on painting this weekend, belonged to Matt’s great-grandmother! We pretty much placed make-shift pillows on them, ha!

Another view of the hallway. I just love Solo’s creepiness here…

The entryway, featuring a hopeful puppy: “Are ya gonna take me out now?!”

The bathroom:

Although it’s hard to tell in these pictures, our bathroom is pretty large. And it’s “American-styled,” meaning the toilet is with the shower. And yes, there are Mickey/Minnie accents in every single room.

I just love that our bathroom airs out after every shower. Our last bathroom had no ventilation, so it smelled like a humid locker room all the time (but more like a ladies locker room as opposed to a football team’s).

This is Solo’s corner. He literally whined at me because he wasn’t in the pictures, so I had to snap this one to satisfy him.

And lastly, our bedroom. I still have some decorative things to put up on the wall above the bed, but I’ll save that for another time:

Our bedroom is very spacious, also, but it was hard to show that with the pictures. Here’s the view from our bedroom door.

The bedroom and some of Matt’s clothes. When we first moved in he had all of his shirts hanging up on that rack and early one morning, just after he left for work, the entire thing fell on top of me in my sleep. Now all of his shirts are in the closet with my clothes…
And before anyone starts freaking out, yes that is a baby crib and changing table. It’s for when I babysit my niece, not for our baby that we didn’t tell you about (there’s no baby on the way!).

Of course Solo had to get into this picture, too. And, while I was uploading these pictures from the bedroom, Matt came home, grabbed a drink, and then proceeded to spill it on the bed while he was sitting next to me. So, it’s back to the flowery comforter…

And here is the view from our bedroom window:

It’s not the best view of the mountains, but I’ll take it! And look at that treeeeee! Those cherry blossom trees are all over our neighborhood.

Yes, that is a ski station!

I’ve already told Matt that one day we will have a nice, large yard and these trees in front of every window!

We still have some things to do around here, like paint our coffee table and our two wicker chairs, and hopefully, now that it is officially spring, the grass will be put in soon!!! I am incredibly excited about that, and about grilling hamburgers and eating on our future patio furniture. My mom sent me some herb seeds so sometime this week I will also be planting those! I have always wanted a little garden, and now I’m finally going to do it!

Can’t wait to start growing these!

So Spring is my favorite season, although in 6 months I will be saying the same thing about Autumn. But it is SO NICE to be able to have the windows and doors open all day, to be able to hear the birds singing and see flowers everywhere, and it is also nice to not have to wear a jacket 24/7! In Florida spring lasts maybe 2 weeks, and then it’s full on summer until Thanksgiving; but here we actually have 3 months of each season!

Later this week, I will post some more springtime photos. And I promise when I say “later this week” I do mean this week and not two months from now =P

Updates, Updates, Updates!

I never posted about New Years Eve, even though I had written up nearly an entire post, but now it just seems too late to post it. HOWEVER, I have some exciting news: WE ARE MOVING! No, not back to the U.S. (not yet, at least). We’re moving to a bigger apartment in a nearby town called Saint Ismier.

We have been really blessed by our current apartment in La Tronche. Matt found it within a week of moving back to France. It was brand new, completely furnished, and in a really nice location. We are in tram or walking distance to everything we need, which was perfect before we had a car. And we live right along the river (plus for Solo) which has a gorgeous view of the mountains (plus for everyone!). Unfortunately, we feel we have outgrown this little studio apartment. While having a dog is a big part of that, I feel that even if it was just the two of us we would still feel the same. It has become a pain having to roll up and pull a cover over our bed every-single-day. It takes “making the bed” to a whole new level. And our new apartment has a small yard so no more having to get dressed and bundled up to take Solo to the park every morning (you can’t just walk out in pajamas here in France…).

So our new place! Here are all the details:

  • It has a kitchen, living/dining area, separate bedroom, hall closet, and an “American style” bathroom (I call it that because the shower and the toilet are together. Usually over here they are separate).
  • THERE IS A DISHWASHER! I hate washing dishes. Matt usually does them because he likes to, but if there are any dirty dishes hanging out in the kitchen I feel like the whole place is a disaster zone. So with a dishwasher I shouldn’t have to worry about that anymore.
  • As I already said, there is a small yard and a nice sized terrace, which is covered.
  • The apartment is completely brand new. They are still doing construction on the outside buildings, and they haven’t put the grass in the yards yet.
  • Although we will no longer live within walking distance of Grenoble/the trams, there are plenty of buses around.
  • There is a grocery store (and a boulangerie) just around the corner, and that’s even better than here because right now I have to walk/ride the tram for 30 minutes to get to the store.
  • We get the keys on February 20th! I know it’s pretty soon; we found out a few weeks ago but I am just now getting around to blogging and telling everyone about it.

And here are some pictures! The ones from the agency aren’t very good quality but you get the idea.

The kitchen! It comes with a stove/oven and a dishwasher (it’s the small “cabinet” on the far left). Matt’s parents are giving us their old refrigerator too, which will go against the wall on the left.

The front of the apartment. There’s the front door and the hallway, the bathroom door is on the far left, and then you can see most of the living/dining space.

Bedroom picture 1: it’s pretty big! About half the size of our current studio apartment.

Bedroom picture 2: the window…pretty self-explanatory.

Bedroom picture 3: featuring my adorable niece!

Bathroom! There is also a lot of space in front of where the toilet is, and I love the brown tiles (it’s one of our favorite colors).

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Another bathroom picture, so you can see the sink area.

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A view of the living area and terrace. I am really excited about that door and the yard, and pretty much everything else here too!

A view of the back of the apartment from the yard. They have not yet put the grass in, probably because it’s winter. I’m hoping it will be there in the spring, though.

View of the left side of our yard. If you can make out that white thing near the bottom left of the picture, that’s about where the yard will end. They are going to install some dividing fences soon.

Sorry for the over exposure, but here is a view of the other side of our yard. If you can make out those baby trees, that’s where the other divider fence will be. So it’s a nice little yard!!

And, lastly, here is a view from our building. Like I said they are still doing construction. Everything is brand new!

I will definitely be posting more pictures and apartment updates within the next few weeks, once we’re settled and all. We are so thankful for all that God has provided us with and we are really excited about moving!

Retreat Weekend in Bourg d’Oisans!!

Matt and I are blessed to be apart of a student ministry here in Grenoble called Remix. It’s similar to Chi Alpha (the student group we were apart of in the U.S.), but quite different at the same time because it’s in France. This past weekend we went on a leadership retreat about an hour away in Bourg d’Oisans where we began planning and discussing upcoming events. The most significant thing for me, however, was the time we took at the end of the retreat to encourage and pray for each other. It was moving and interesting because not everyone knows one another very well, but that didn’t keep us from lifting each other up.

During one of the women’s retreats I went to while I was in Chi Alpha we had a night of encouragement too, but there were around 25 of us total, so you can imagine the tear-fest we had!

While we were in Bourg d’Oisans we also got to PLAY IN THE SNOW! And there was tons of it. I’ve been skiing before but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much snow in my life. We’ve been so excited for Solo to be able to play in the snow, because we were absolutely certain that he would love it. And we were right! He played for hours and hours outside by himself, and the best part was that since he couldn’t dig or play in the bushes, he didn’t get dirty. The snow would stick to him in little balls, though, but he would lick them off of himself!

I was all excited about taking pictures but after the first 60 or so I realized that I had somehow set my picture size to SMALL. Like 640×360 pixels small. I was really upset because I had taken some nice photos, but I took a lot more later to make up for it :)

Here are some of the best pictures from this weekend, both small and large (I only took pictures outside):

This is what it looked like before we played in the snow.

This is what it looked like before we played in the snow.

His bright blue eyes make this picture perfect!

His bright blue eyes make this picture perfect!

Solo leading, like always. He actually wasn't too fond of people riding the sled. When Matt and I went together he ran behind us and barked the whole way.

Solo leading, like always. He actually wasn’t too fond of people riding the sled. When Matt and I went together he ran behind us and barked the whole way.

Bourg d'Oisans


Matt after he made a bunch of snow fall of a tree--onto himself ;)

Matt after he made a bunch of snow fall off a tree–onto himself ;)

Herbal Essences Commercial?

Herbal Essences Commercial?

Snow puppy!

Snow puppy!

This was Solo's stash of firewood...

This was Solo’s stash of firewood…

I love that you can see the curves of the mountains so perfectly!

I love that you can see the curves of the mountains so perfectly!

Beautiful drive home :)

Beautiful drive home :)

July Getaway: St. Sorlin

During the summer, French people take a lot of vacations! Going on 2-4 week family vacations once or twice a summer is a big part of the culture here. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have the time or money to do the same, probably because vacations mean unpaid leave from work. But here you get paid to take five weeks of vacation time a year! That’s rather nice!

One of the vacations we took this summer was to St. Sorlin D’Arves, about an hour and a half away in the Alps. Matt’s parents own a cute little cabin there in the mountains, and they usually go a couple of weeks every summer and during Christmas. This year we also spent Easter weekend there to get one last trip at the ski slopes!

During the summer it is gorgeous (well, it’s gorgeous all the time!). The weather is sunny and cool, there are flowers everywhere, and there are plenty of fun outdoor activities to keep us busy. Solo loved it there especially. One of the best things about having an active, adventurous companion dog is that you can literally bring him anywhere, and we really do! In the three months that we’ve had him he’s been to the mountains (his favorite place), the beach, rivers, on a bike ride in one of those little kiddy trailers, on a ski lift, on hours worth of train, tram, boat and car rides, on lots of big and little hikes…and he’s done a lot of other things too that I’m forgetting. While we were in St. Sorlin we went on a four-hour hike up one of the mountains near the cabin. It was a little chilly and there was still snow in a couple of places which Solo played in (pictures at the end of this post). We stopped for lunch near the top at a lake. Overall it was a wonderful day!

Two other things we did during our week in the mountains was have a family picnic dinner around some nearby lakes during sunset, and we took a ski lift up to the same area one morning where there was a small “festival” in honor of the annual sheep pilgrimage that happens in St. Sorlin. Three shepherds migrate with their herd of around 1500 sheep from their winter pasture by the sea to their summer pasture in the mountains. We left Shepherd Solo back at the cabin, just in case he got any ideas to herd/chase the sheep!

A collage of some of our St. Sorlin experiences!