Back from the world of vacation....4 weeks, you say? THAT much vacation for someone who is CURRENTLY in the military? Welcome to life in France, my friends.
Before I post about our trip home, which was fabulous, I have to share some pictures from a week I spent on vacation in France. Since it will probably be the only time in my life this little dream of "a vacation after my vacation" will happen I wanted to document it right away.
Like every parent knows, a vacation with young kids which involves transcontinental flights, long and frequent road-trips, and constant (albeit great) extended-family activities is just plain exhausting! And as we drove back to our little corner of France a week ago, after experiencing all of this, I was nearly on the edge of a breakdown.
As Providence would have it, we were able to stay at our friends house in the French-countryside for five days before we could return to our own place (our Parisian renters/dogsitters wanted to have ONE more week of their own five week vacation at our house). Our friends' place is out in the country but still within driving distance to Phil's work---because sadly, he had to go back. READ: he did NOT get to experience "the vacation after the vacation", like I did. He's a saint and he never complains.
Anyway, our friends themselves were visiting the US and while it would have been great to have their huge chateau, with a pool to ourselves, what ended up being even better was sharing the house with the house-sitters who were already there. Turned out, they were a young couple who took a liking to our kids (as in, would play with them and entertain them) and he was chef, who enjoyed cooking every meal for us. Score!
So as I stumbled in the door Monday evening after our 6th roadtrip, (each one was over 9.5 hours) of the month, and smelled chicken cooking on the grill for us and watched the new friend take Lily's hand to pick fresh figs from the tree for dinner, I knew I had won the vacation-dream lottery.
And that's pretty much how it went.
I had five days of total relaxation... surrounded by vineyards and mountains and lavender. we spent hours and hours swimming in the pool, where Lily and I worked on perfecting our handstands.
We ate two deliciously, cooked meals a day, which I had NOTHING to do with.
I took naps with the kids, and read books with the kids and laid on the hammock on the porch.
I didn't wear makeup once, and in fact, I don't know if I washed my hair once (pool baths are totally acceptable right?). I didn't have to worry about the laundry in our suitcases, because the only things we needed to wear were bathing suits and t-shirts. And after happily sharing my kids 24/7 with all their Grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles, I was delighted to get some quality with them myself.
We're back in our place now. And thanks to the five day respite from my normal life, or any kind of life, the mountain of laundry, and suitcases filled with sand, and groceries to put away didn't overwhelm me. I'm thankful for every second of the four week vacation visiting family---but the last couple days for me in Provence were dreamy and vacation-like-to-the-enth (I mean, French)-degree .