It's finally happened... my sweet little girls play together... for real. This morning was so wonderful. The two of them played together blissfully with baby dolls for over an hour. There was a lot of Blake saying "Emma, can you bring me that?" or "Emma, can you put that over there?" and Emma saying "Yeah!". They had so much fun taking care of their babies, dressing them, packing stuff up for them and taking them on "trips" from room to room. I was able to hang all of their clothes up in their closets, smiling with contentment the whole time. I always wanted a sister to play with and I love seeing (and hearing) my girls be so sweet and having fun with one another. I hope this new development of really playing together continues.
A: Too wonderful to describe! Everyone was so happy for me to get to go on this trip and I really have appreciated all the people taking time to ask me how it was. It's hard to describe how great it was, but trust me living it was awesome. Here are a few more pictures of my fantastic trip to Paris. I can't thank my mom enough for making this trip possible for me. She's the best and we had such a great time together! I'll treasure those memories forever Mom.
This was taken at Angelina's which is famous for their African Hot Chocolate. It's amazing!
Me in front of The Louvre
Notre Dame at night! Mom took me to an early birthday dinner at a restaurant with a view of Notre Dame right outside of the window by our table.
I loved all of the flower shops like this one in Paris!
Galleries Lafayette is a huge department store in Paris. This is the beautiful ceiling (with Christmas decorations already in place).
We went to this cool bar on our last night and we all shared this drink with dry ice in it (very appropriate for the day before Halloween).
Our trip has been just wonderful and we head back home tomorrow. I can hardly wait to hug my sweet babies, but first I still have one more day of enjoying Paris (and one long flight home). On Monday and Tuesday we rented a car (by the way, our rental car was an Audi so the French know how to do rental cars right) and went with Laura and Dan to the Champagne region of France which is just a couple of hours away from Paris. We learned that the region has over 300 villages full of champagne houses. The area is so beautiful and the villages are as cute as can be. Since I adore champagne, this was the part of the trip that I was most looking forward to and I have to say has been the highlight of my trip. It was as good as I hoped it would be, if not better! We went to Reims, the biggest city in the champagne region, first. We had a lovely lunch and went to the Martel champagne house and sampled four yummy champagnes. The prices weren't bad either so I purchased a few to take home. We also saw a beautiful cathedral in Reims where all of the Kings and Queens of France used to be coronated. After Reims, we drove to the sleepy little village of Ludes where we spent the night at this really nice old house that is now a bed and breakfast. They also produce their own champagne, Ployez-Jacquemart. The next day we went to another bigger city, Epernay, where most of the big, well-known champagne houses are based. We saw Moet and Chandon (which produces Dom Perignon) and many, many more. We went to the tour at Mercier and saw the cave where they make the wine and did a tasting. It is so cool that the whole champagne region has miles and miles of caves underneath where all the champagne is made. They use the caves to let the champagne sit and ferment for a few years and then they go in and add the sugars and yeast. Then they let it sit longer before they go in and turn the bottles (either by hand or by machine) to get the yeasts to go to the neck of the bottle. Then they remove that stuff and bottle it all nice and pretty. So to finish off our fun times in Epernay, we went to a really cool champagne bar where we sat and tried six different champagnes each (it was so cool because our table was filled with 24 little champagne glasses that she came around periodically and filled to the top one by one). We sat there for a couple of hours and headed back to Paris. What an awesome little trip! I can't wait to go back some day! Since then I've seen Notre Dame, been to the Louvre, been to Galeries Lafayette, had more amazing food and so much more that I will blog about when I get home. Until then, here are a few pictures from our champagne trip, including the first meal we had there in Reims, pictures from the Jacquemart bed and breakfast place and me holding the bottle of champagne I got from there, a picture of the awesome views of the village and grapevines in the countryside and a couple of pictures from Epernay (that weird sandwich with the egg on top is called a croque madame and it was really good).
Paris has been wonderful so far. Yesterday when we arrived at Laura and Dan's apartment we were greeted by the sweetest couple (Bruce and Lesa, also from Dallas) who were finishing up their visit and just left today. Laura and Dan were at a cooking class so in their absence Bruce and Lesa gave us the tour, prepared lunch for us (complete with the coolest beer called Ruby) and had the bed ready for us to take a much needed nap. Laura and Dan's apartment is so nice and in a beautiful neighborhood. We felt like we had just arrived at an awesome bed and breakfast or something. The windows are super-cool too and have these fabulous automated black-out shades. After lunch and a nap, Laura and Dan returned and we had some champagne and left for dinner. We had a great meal (I even tried escargot for the first time which was really good) and then we went to see the Eiffel Tower. They are celebrating the 120th anniversary of the tower and they had a special multi-colored light show which was beautiful. What a great start to the trip. So today Mom and I must have been plenty tired and jet-lagged because with those black-out shades in our room we managed to sleep in until 1:00 this afternoon (actually they just had their time change last night so technically we would have slept until 2:00 if you didn't gain that hour). Basically we had 14 hours of sleep which I probably haven't done since college. We still had a lovely day of strolling and shopping and another great French meal. Tomorrow we'll be heading to the Champagne region and staying the night. I'm really looking forward to it!
I posted some pictures that I've taken so far. I plan to make sort of a food photo journal of my meals and what I saw while I ate. So I have included pictures of my first lunch at the apartment and Lesa drinking her Ruby beer sitting across from me. There is also a picture of my first glass of champagne and Laura and Dan sitting in the apartment in front of me. The other food pictures are my three courses at the restaurant last night (escargot, gallet filled with crab and shrimp, chocolate mousse and a marscapone cream with orange). Then my Eiffel Tower pictures are next.
Today we celebrated my other sweet baby's birthday. Emma Grace is 2 today! Wow, time flies! Emma had a fun day of school, picking up balloons at Party City (she literally got excited each time the man blew up the next balloon, the girl LOVES balloons), then celebrating at home with Ami (Pappa was out of town), Nana, Grandpa and Ra-Ra and Jason. I think she really enjoyed the evening. I know she enjoyed eating the icing off of her cupcake. Blake and I had lots of fun decorating Emma's cupcakes while she was taking her nap today. She also had a great time opening her gifts, stopping after each one to examine it closely. She got a lot of things that play music, she got some Elmo stuff and some books. So many of her favorite things! Emma is such a big girl now and I guess I won't be able to call her baby Emma much longer. She still loves to cuddle though and I'll take advantage of it as long as possible. She is just so sweet! She's really starting to talk more and she's becoming so physical (quite the little climbing monkey). She loves to play outside and go to school. She's getting so smart and she's starting to really love playing with toys (instead of just getting into everything) like Barbies, legos, puzzles and baby dolls. Another important favorite of Emma's now is her big sister, Blake. She loves Blake so much! When Blake's at school, Emma asks about her all day long. When it's time to pick Blake up at school and we turn onto the street the church is on, she starts getting all excited. It's so cute to watch their relationship get stronger. Blake really loves Emma too. She's the most patient and loving big sister. I'm so proud of how they share and show such kindness to each other. It's fitting that their birthdays are so close together. They really do share a special bond and it's been fun watching them get so excited for each other's birthdays over the past few weeks. What a joyful month!
Below I included pictures from tonight as well as pictures from our super-fun combined birthday party for Blake and Emma at the pumpkin patch in Celina. We invited lots of friends and had such a great time! Blake and Emma wore their Halloween costumes (Hannah Montana and a fairy). Everybody really enjoyed feeding the animals as you can see in the pictures. I also included a couple of pictures from our day at the Texas State Fair with Ami and Pappa. Chris even took off work and we went on a Tuesday when it wasn't too crowded. We had a great time! Emma really enjoyed the auto show (she really did, it was kinda weird how much she loved those cars) and Blake enjoyed taking part in the kids backyard circus performance where she played a butterfly ballerina in the show.
Here's a project I put off for quite a while. Our trip to the Bahamas in May was beyond awesome and I just now made the photo book I've been planning to make for a while. The Atlantis is the best and we went here for our honeymoon 10 years ago so going back with our family was really special.
My baby is 5 today. I can't believe she is such a big girl. I'm just so incredibly proud of the smart, beautiful, fun and kind big kid she is becoming. I truly am just so, so proud of her. I cried a little two times today. First I cried when we were just cuddling on the couch for a little while watching TV during Emma's nap and thinking of how just yesterday she was this tiny little baby I was cuddling and now she's this big girl. Luckily she's still little enough for me to hug on and doesn't mind too much when I want to just grab her hand and hold it for a minute. She's actually more affectionate than she used to be and I think that's because she's already becoming aware of how happy it makes me (and luckily how happy her affection makes the grandparents). The second time I teared up was after we opened a birthday card Blake received in the mail. She was thrilled to find $10 dollars inside and I said, "great you can put it in your spend, save and give jars". It was actually two $5 bills so she excitedly suggested that she take one of the bills to school to put in the little box outside of her classroom for the food pantry at our church and then she could put the other bill in her save jar. I of course was just completely overcome with pride and love. After fighting back tears and giving her the biggest hug I tried explaining to her why I was so proud of her maturity and kindness. I'm not even sure she really knows what that money is used for and I tried to explain it a little, but no matter what, I'm proud of her anyway. We celebrated this special day by having all four grandparents and Aunt Ra-Ra and Jason over for pizza and parfaits (that's fancy for ice cream sundaes as Fancy Nancy would say). We watched old home videos of Blake as she's grown up, which was really fun and cute. We made it right up to the point right before Emma was born and I figured we'll watch the rest on Emma's birthday. Of course there is a lot less video from that point on. Poor Emma won't have 20 minute segments of video of her at 5-months old sitting in a Bumbo chewing on a teething ring. It really is sad to see how much time I had to spend on videotaping Blake and how little I've taped Emma. So anyway I think Blake had a great day. She had fun sharing muffins with her friends at school, getting balloons delivered from Aunt Rachel, getting the main items she wanted on her birthday list and more (most notably she received her American Girl Doll, Kit, that she has asked for for months from Nana and Great-Grandma and Grandpa Davenport). She went to bed tonight after reading her new Fancy Nancy book with Mommy, with Kit by her side, knowing she is so loved and that makes me feel so good (almost as good as I did 5 years ago today with that new little baby in my arms). Thank you to Ami, Pappa, Nana, Grandpa, Ra-Ra and Jason and everybody else who had nice wishes for Blake on her birthday and made this day so special for her.
Blake enjoying her Fancy Nancy parfait with chocolate ice cream, hot fudge and M&Ms.
I think Emma enjoyed the parfaits too.
Blake with Pappa and a borrowed Kit on a recent trip to the American Girl Store and Bistro. Pappa even sat with a doll which was really fun for the girls. What a good sport he is!
This is Blake admiring her make-up that she had done when she was a flower girl in Aunt Ra-Ra's wedding in September. I love how you see in her eyes how she feels transformed. She really felt like a princess that day. She even had her hair done after the make-up too.
I'm a mommy of two beautiful daughters, Blake and Emma, and wife to my high-school sweetheart Chris. I spend my days playing with my little girls, teaching them and watching them in amazement as they grow and change so fast. I have the best family and friends in the world and enjoy spending as much time with them as possible. I love playing games, watching tv and movies, traveling, shopping, relaxing and most of all just hanging out with my sweetie and my best friend Chris.