Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Lesson From My Mother

Ever since we moved into our adorable little house in September, I find myself doing things I never thought I would do. Not necessarily because I don't like doing them, but just because they've always been things that grown-ups do. More specifically, they've always been things that Mom did, and I had never been able to picture myself in her "taking care of things" role. Last Fall I wrote about the surreal experience of baking pies in my very own kitchen and the almost out-of-body feeling I had when I realized that I was doing things just like her. It was quite a moment - proud, strong, wifely and homey all at once. Today I had another experience just as powerful.

Last week when Chud was cleaning out the basement we found tons of clothesline hanging between the rafters that we had never seen before. "Cool," I thought. "A place to hang clothes to dry." Except I never hang clothes to dry and always throw everything in the dryer no matter what (I know, not a very house-wifely thing to do, but hey, I hate doing laundry). So the clothesline sat there and I didn't give it another thought.

Then today, I decided it's been way too long since we've had fresh sheets on our bed and I decided to wash them. As I pulled them out of the washing machine and started to throw them in the dryer, I glanced at that clothesline and a memory hit me from so long ago it nearly knocked me over.

When I was little, every once in a while (because she was a busy woman, too) Mom would take the time to hang our sheets on a line outside to dry. Then, when she tucked us into bed at night, she'd lay her head down on the pillow with us and we'd take a big whiff of that fresh-air-dried goodness together. We'd smile and snuggle and cuddle and she'd say "There's nothing better than sheets hung outside." And she was right. Those were the nights that I'd lay there and drift off to sleep wrapped in fresh air and Mom's love - nothing ever felt better.

So, today I threw the sheets in the dryer just for a few minutes while I worked on the clothesline. I cut it down from the rafters and strung it up between two trees in the backyard. The previous owners also left plenty of clothespins, too, so I clipped a bunch to the hem of my shirt, grabbed the sheets from the dryer and got to work. It took about five minutes total, and now I can stand back and let nature do the rest.

I've always wanted to hang sheets outside, but in my old apartments it just wasn't ever possible. Once again, (because I'm a sap), I stood there hanging sheets and thought about Mom, Grandma, Grandma's Mom and so on, and wondered if all the mothers in my family shared that fresh-air sheet snuggle with their kids. I hope they did, because I plan to pass along the warm fuzzy feeling to my kids, too. Chud thought I was a little bit crazy when I told him what I was doing - poor guy's never slept in air-dried sheets. I hope he appreciates it when he lays his head down tonight!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go call my Mother!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I posted the link to our shutterfly website on Facebook, but I've had lots of people ask for it who must have missed that post. So here it is in the bloggy blog, in case anyone visits here to find it (does that make sense??) -

It was a lot of fun to put together and it was a great way to dump hundreds of pictures on one place for everyone to see. I highly recommend shutterfly to anyone who is trying to accomplish something similar (it would be great for a wedding website, bridey friends!)

Now, in the last hour before my 28th birthday, I'm going to go snuggle in bed with my snoring husband. Ahhhh, life is good!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Saying Goodbye - June 24th

I did a lot of journal writing in France, and here's one entry that I wanted to post as a blog, but alas, the internet was nowhere to be found! I decided I would post it after we were home for a while and after I was able to post about our overall trip. So here ya go...

Sometimes we find ourselves in tears at the most surprising times, at least I do, anyway. And I find that unexpected tears can really tell you something about yourself. We've been visiting my in-laws for over a week now, with a trip to Normandy with my parents thrown in the middle of our visit. We put my family on a plane back to the States on Friday and Chud and I have been shacking up in a cozy cabin in Gien for the last five days, spending as much time with his family as we can. Dinner in the evenings, a badmitton tournament all day Saturday (his sister won 3rd place!), fishing on Father's Day, picking Dorinda up from school - all the little snippets of time that seemed to stretch on and on and on. As an outsider who has to work really hard to undrestand the gist of every conversation, I admit there were times when I was counting down the days until our departure - especially the day I was sick. I've been dreaming of our own time together in the South of France; the romantic respite after two weeks with family.

Tonight, however, I found myself in tears as we drove away from the little white gate in front of our family's house. After we kissed everyone goodbye and I said "Merci pour tous, merci beaucoup!" over and over, we were walking to the car and I caught a glimpse of my Father in Law out of the corner of my eye. He raised his hand in the air toward my husband and said, in a quiet, manly, solemn way, "Au revoir, S--." I thought about that tinge of sorrow in his voice as I climbed in the front seat and before I knew it I was crying! I didn't want to be crying; hadn't I been looking forward to this? Suddenly I realized how heartbreaking it was to watch a father and son say goodbye to each other for the hundredth time, knowing that they'll only get to talk on Sundays and won't see each other again for at least 2 more years. How do they do this? How have they been able to do this for all this time (since my husband was 12 years old!)? I tried to hold back my silly tears in the car so S wouldn't think I was crazy. Finally, I was quiet for too long and he said (that phrase that knocks every tear-holder to their knees)...

"You okay?"

Well, I just let it loose and I sobbed, "I just feel so sorry for your daaaaaaaaaaad...." sniff, sniff, sniff.

"Don't worry, Rach. We've done this lots of times. We're used to it." Long pause....."Why are you crying?"

A very good question.

I had only met this family once before, and I can only understand 1/3 of the things they talk about anyway. Why was I crying? Maybe it's for all of those times my husband had to say goodbye to his "Papa" and because boys don't do enough crying to satisfy me. Someone had to shed some tears for all that heartache, and Lord knows I'm really good at taking on that responsibility. Or maybe it's because we're getting ready to start a family of our own and the thought of separating our future children from my husband is too painful to ponder. Maybe it's because I know, from teaching experience, that kids need their fathers and fathers need their kids. No Dad should ever have to say "Au revoir, S--" the way my Father in Law just said it - filled with years of stolen memories and a heavy heart. That poor guy! We will definately try to see him more often, and next time I won't be counting down the days until the moment we say goodbye.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Adventures in the Land of Love

We began our trip in the bright city of Paris! Here we are at the Notre Dame Cathedral (see us down in the corner?) where we went to an evening service which happened to be in French and Portugese, a special treat for those of us who understand neither language! Our time in Paris was wonderful and we agreed it was a great way to start the trip. Our hotel rooms were small, but clean, and we fell asleep each night to the soothing sounds of motorcycles driving by our windows. We saw all of the big monuments, spent some time in the Louvre, which Mom loved, climbed Montmartre to see Sacre Coeur and the great view of Paris, ate crepes and ice cream, and had an overall fabulous two days before leaving to visit Chud's family in Gien.

We stayed in the Loire Valley for three days with Mom and Jay, during which we visited many great Chateaus and Castles. Renting a car was such a good idea because we were free to go where ever the mood swept us. Fields of bright red poppies flanked us on our way to the regions most beautiful places. Mom and Jay especially enjoyed the French meal we shared with the Fasciottos and I have to say, my heart was about to burst that entire evening. It was so nice to see our families together, enjoying each other's company, everyone being so nice to each other. Mom had mussels for the first time and loved them. They also had their first experience with a multi-coursed meal in which we sat at the table for over two hours!

After our time in Gien with my parents, we took them to Normandy for the last leg of their trip...

Here are Mom and Jay at Omaha Beach, with the memorial sculpture behind them. We stayed in a town called Bayeux, which also happens to have the worlds longest tapestry. We spent the first day getting to Bayeux and making little stops along the way. We had a lovely dinner that first night where Mom had some awesome Mousse au Chocolat (my fav). The next day we went to the WWII museum, Omaha Beach, the US Cemetery (which also had a musuem), a couple sea-side towns, and the old German bunkers. I have to admit, I love history and all, but after a few hours of WWII exhibits I got a little....bored. But Jay and Chud were eating it up, so Mom and I followed them around and took lots of pictures - until they went to the bunkers, at which point Mom and I took a nap in the car. It was delightful and everyone was happy. On our last day we dropped off Mom and Jay in Paris and headed back to Gien for our own week of family visits.

We stayed in a village close to the Fasciottos in a cabin on a little pond. It was absolutely adorable and I was looking forward to some rest after a bustling week of sight-seeing. And rest I got, buddy, after catching a stomach bug and spiking a fever. I didn't get out of bed for a day and a half, but it was nice to know that I didn't have to get out of bed for anything if I didn't want to. Thanks to some good French drugs and a husband who was content to fish all day with his Dad (see above photo), I was back on my feet in no time. We hosted the in-laws for dinner one night at our cabin and ate at their house every other night that week. We went to a music festival, visited some more castles, and enjoyed our short time with family before it was time to leave. On Thursday we headed to Lagnieu, but not before stopping by Bourgoin-Jalieu to visit with Chud's Mom's parents. We spent two nights in Lagnieu with the Fasciotto grandparents, who have a special place in our hearts...

Here is Mami Fasciotto cutting the tart that we ate with our tea after lunch on the last day. She is such a wonderful lady - always bubbly and smiling, a wonderful cook with a great sense of humor. His grandfather is equally endearing. Neither of them speak English, so when his grandfather said something I didn't understand, he decided to say it in Italian instead, hoping I'd get it then! Those exchanges usually ended with lots of pantomiming and laughter.
They live in an old stone house that Chud's great grandfather built with a fabulous garden. No one was allowed to eat the raspberries of the bushes in the garden until Chud and I got a chance to eat them first. His aunts, uncles and cousins had been waiting for weeks to get at those fruits, so when they all showed up for dinner the first night, we picked the raspberry bushes clean together! It was wonderful.
After our goodbyes, Chud and I headed to Arles in the South to enjoy some alone time together in the region of Provence...
Here's Chud at the Roman Amphitheater in Arles. We wandered around the Provencial countryside for four glorious days, soaking up the sun and enjoying our time together. We spent one day at the beach, and if you've ever been to a beach in France, you might now there are many...ahem..."sights" to see. Female sights, to be exact. All over the place. It was fascinating! We spent another day looking at old castles and visiting vineyards. We had a nice, dressy dinner next to the river in Arles, then spent our last day at two museums - the Cezanne/Picasso museum in Aix-en-Provence, then the Lavendar Museum out in the middle of no where. It was a glorious trip!
We finally made our way back to Paris for the last night, then home the next day. No major mishaps or mixups, just lots of memories and good ideas for the next trip.
If you're interested in more pictures, you can see all of them at
If you or anyone you know is interested in hiring a native French-speaker and a darn good babysitter for their family vacation to France, tell them to give us a call! We've been told we make excellent tour guides, so we're thinking about offering our services to well-paying customers!

Baby update: not pregnant - but we should win an award for all the trying!