Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paris Holds The Key To Your Heart

The day after Christmas we all piled into the car and headed to PARIS! (side note: 8 adults in a minivan is TOO many)

Our first stop was the airport where we picked up Brigette's boyfriend, Austin. Then we checked into our hotel (so nice!) and then drove into the city. Traffic was AWFUL and it took us almost three hours to get to the heart of the city, but we were very excited when the Eiffel Tower suddenly came into view. We eventually found a place to park and made our way to the park around the tower.

After a few pictures and some fun people watching, we decided to get dinner and found a cute cafe a few blocks away.

Hello handsome

Now come on people, what kind of Paris trip would be complete without trying escargot?

Which actually turned out to be pretty darn good. I was worried about slimey-ness and texture, but it wasn't an issue at all. It was kind of weird to have to dig it out of the shell though...

After dinner we went back to the Eiffel Tower and got in line to go up to the top. We waited. And waited. And waited. And people started getting out of line. And then more people left. And finally when we were right near the front of the line because so many people had given up, an official came out and told us that the tower was closed because they had found an abandoned backpack and had declared it a bomb threat. It would probably be a couple of hours before it was clear to send people back up. Boo.

So instead we took a few more pictures and then strolled up the Seine River. It was a beautiful night and the city was gorgeous all lit up.

Our last stop for the night was Notre Dame. Now usually you would go during the day and the stained glass would be all lit up, but we went at night. The halls were shadowy and dark, and it was so hauntingly beautiful and kind of creepy all at the same time. And I loved it.

After we walked around inside we walked around the entire perimeter. If you ever go, make sure you walk around to the back side of the cathedral (I think it's even more beautiful than the front).

Also, the famous "Love Lock" bridge is behind the cathedral. I didn't know it was there, otherwise I would have brought a lock, but I may have slipped a bobby pin in there somewhere just for kicks and giggles. Can you think of a better way to symbolize your eternal love than with a bobby pin?

 Before getting back in the car we stopped for some crepes de citron (crepes with yummy lemon sauce) and then it was back to the hotel. What a beautiful day in Paris!

Pear-eee holds the key to your heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeart!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Seriously, who doesn't?

Christmas was very different this year. I've never had an all-adults Christmas day, but we are all still kind of kids at heart so it was still lots of fun. It was the latest start to a Christmas day I have ever had though, which was a strange but welcome change. Growing up we would wake up at 5:30 or 6 every year, but as a bunch of old people we decided that we just weren't willing to get up that early, so we opted for an 9 am wake up. We took the Bowen traditional picture on the stairs...

And then ran to our presents!

Present opening was divided into two parts, since Mom and Dad Bowen were helping with serving Christmas lunch to the servicemen/women on base at 11. While they were gone we started a sibling game of Risk. In retrospect, not the best idea...the game FINALLY ended at around 6 PM! Oy vey. Fun memories though. Spencer and I really enjoyed coming up with fun gifts for each other, but he took the cake when I opened a package to find a vintage edition of Make-A-Million, a game that Packards have been playing for decades and which is no longer produced. He is such a sweetheart, and I may or may not have teared up a little at his thoughtfulness.

Hand-made glass ornaments for each of us from Brigette

Napping in-between present opening "sessions"

I was a little giddy...

He loved it!


Gifts ended with a large, mysterious package that had made it's way across the ocean. The kids sent Dad Bowen on a scavenger hunt to find this last gift, which of course took him all over the house only to end up back under the tree where he started.

This is one of his favorite paintings, and they actually already have a copy in their home but he has always wanted one for his office. We loved watching his face as he opened it!

We love you!

It was a great Christmas, and although I know it will be a few years away I can't wait for the next time we can all be together for Christmas again!