May & June Highlights

I haven’t done a highlights post in forever! It feels nice to be back into blogging regularly :)

Here is what I was up to the past two months…

I read 8 books.

Hitchhiker's Guide  Jurassic Park  Persuasion harrypotter whereshewent

      Fables  Seconds  Stealing the Groom

Which is a lot considering I was still coming off my reading slump last month.

Most Popular Posts

Where I’ve Been – It was nice to finally share with everyone our exciting news and explain why I’d been absent for several months.

25 Things: Ever After’s Château de Hautefort – I love that this post from last summer is still so popular, especially since it was on my bucket list for so long & I’d love to revisit it!

What I Watched

I finally got to catch up with my favorite web series! I updated my ‘Literary Vlogs’ sidebar to reflect some of the new YouTube shows I’ve been watching, like Northbound and From Mansfield With Love (adaptations of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, respectively).

Northbound

I relate very much to Catherine Morland…and of course, who doesn’t love Henry Tilney?!

I also caught up on From Mansfield With Love, finally. It’s a harder Jane Austen novel to adapt, but the frequent cameos from the minor characters make it pretty interesting :)

May & June Highlights

  • Traveling – I traveled a lot the past two months. Probably more than a pregnant lady should, but I always had a buddy with me (either family members or Solo) and it was nice to visit friends and family.
  • 2nd Trimester! – After the first trimester’s ups and downs, it’s been like a breath of fresh air being in my second trimester. We also got to see our “little baby french fry” up close and found out it’s a boy! Since then we’ve been preparing our tiny apartment (and ourselves) for his arrival. Every time I see a friend has had her baby I get a tiny bit jealous! For now, labor doesn’t scare me, but I’m sure that’ll change in a few months!

    24 Weeks

    24 weeks as of July 6th!

  • VACATION! – Last week we went on a family reunion cruise. It was wonderful :)
    Key West

    My husband and me in Key West (we also visited Cozumel).

    Carnival

    Carnival Ecstasy

    Cruise

    My mom’s side of the family :)

    Matt and Ian

    My brother would probably kill me if he knew I put this online, but I love this picture so much! We were all pretty exhausted on the drive back from Miami.

    We also got to spend 4th of July at EPCOT so my husband and I got an unexpected Disney fix (thanks to my aunt’s sister who works at the parks).
    Epcot

    Matt

    Isn’t he cute? ;)

May & June Challenges

  • Feeling hungry all the time – This has been the one pitfall to my second trimester. I feel like I’m hungry so often, and most of the time the only foods I want to eat are sweets and junk food =P I’ve always been active and have had a fast metabolism, so it’s hard for me to limit myself but I don’t want to overindulge at the same time.
  • Missing having a job – I wasn’t able to find a job before we moved to Wilmington, and after I hit the 12 weeks mark I figured it would just be best for me to take it easy and pick up my job search early next year. But I miss having a routine and that extra income. If anyone knows of some reliable, non-telemarketing, work-from-home jobs, PLEASE let me know!

Things I’m Looking Forward To in July

  • More traveling – Hey, it’s better to get all this traveling in now than when after the baby arrives!
  • Catching up on reading – I’m trying to put a big dent in my Classics TBR plus I have tons of unread books on my shelves that I’d like to get to sometime this year.
  • Summer activities with friends – We have some game nights and beach days penned down for the summer that my husband and I are both looking forward to (although I’m much more hesitant about the ocean after the 8th North Carolina shark attack this year was reported a few days ago…).

July To Be Read

harrypotter  The Martian Wives and Daughters

My husband and I are continuing through our read along of the Harry Potter series. I started reading The Martian last month and although it’s holding my attention, it does take a while to read. I’m seriously behind on my Classics Club list, so I’m picking up Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters this month.

What was your favorite moment from June?

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August Getaway: La Rochelle

Since Matt’s new job doesn’t start until next month, we’ve had a lot of free time this summer to travel and visit many different things. Besides going to St. Sorlin, another annual summer trip Matt’s family makes is to La Rochelle, a touristic beach city eight hours away on the Atlantic. The last time that either one of us was there was in August 2010, the first time I visited France. This time we went there for Matt’s aunt’s wedding, which was especially nice because Matt’s family from Canada came as well and I was finally able to meet them. Matt’s grandmother owns a little piece of land right on the beach in an adjacent town to La Rochelle called Angoulins. For about two weeks we “roughed it” while French camping, although technically we were camping since we stayed in a tent while everyone else had a camper. This was very luxurious camping: showers, electricity, a kitchen, a covered place to eat and hang out, a washing machine, etc. But after two weeks staying there we were quite ready to come back home to our cozy little apartment. Solo, on the other hand, did not want to leave!

We did enjoy our time there, though. The first time I visited La Rochelle and Angoulins we saw a lot! This time we did more relaxing things, but we still took a day to do my favorite activity there: go on a bike ride around Ile d’Aix! I love bike rides and I really miss having a bike. After Matt starts working again I hope we’ll be able to buy a bike for me, but until then I’ll just keep hinting at wanting one! For those of you who read my last post, remember when I said we bring Solo everywhere? Well this was the day Solo went on his first boat ride and his first bike ride. He’s still a puppy and isn’t supposed to run too much, and he’s a mountain dog, not a beach dog, so he’s also not supposed to be outside in the hot sun all day (and he knows it too, that’s why whenever he’s in the sun he immediately finds the closet spot of shade and plops himself down!). So to make things easier for all of us, we rented one of those little children’s bike trailers and buckled Solo in behind us while we rode around the island. At first I was pretty nervous about it, because Solo clearly did not want to be in there. But after a few trials he finally stayed put and seemed to relax a lot. I already feel that we treat Solo as our own baby, but that day proved it! My brother- and sister-in-law rented a trailer for Timéa and Matt’s cousins from Canada also rented one for their two-year old, making it even funnier that we put Solo in a trailer of his own!

Also during our trip we visited the old city of La Rochelle, which is beautiful and is Matt’s favorite place in France (I still haven’t asked him if he prefers it over Disney World so I can’t say if it’s his favorite place ever!). The main landmark in the city is the old fort that’s surrounded by dozens of street merchants and so many delicious restaurants, one of which served the most delicious duck leg I’ve ever had…just thinking about it makes me hungry! Next time we visit I would really like to spend more time in the old city, because it is simply gorgeous and there are so many shops and things to visit.

The hardest parts about visiting La Rochelle and Angoulins, however, are the eight-hour car rides and the lack of the amazing foods from this side of France. Unsurprisingly they eat a lot of seafood over there, but where we live most meals are made with cheese and potatoes! Mmm! Overall, though, it was a very fun trip and we can’t wait to go camping again…and this time I mean real camping!

Some snapshots from our trip to La Rochelle in August. The “mountains” in the middle of the bottom row are actually extinct volcanoes in Clermont-Ferrand!

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!