When we finally arrived in Lagnieu, we stopped for an apertif at the Grandparents' house, where we met Lara for the first time! Sylvain's cousin, Loredane, has always been amazingly kind to me on our last couple trips to France, so when I found out she was pregnant a couple years ago and that her daughter would be close in age to Sylvia, I was over the MOON! We were planning to stay at Loredane's house while we were there, so it was nice to have the girls meet ahead of time at the Grandparents' for a little play date before we showed up with our bags and ransacked their house!
The girls ran back and forth through his grandparents' garden and let me tell you something: I think this is the place where my soul will rest when I die and go to heaven. Ever since my first visit in 2005, I've dreamed of this backyard garden, patio and upstairs porch at least three times a year. I am absolutely taken away with the beauty and history in that space, but Sylvain has as especially soft spot in his heart for it. He has very fond memories of picking raspberries (on our last visit, his grandmother made everyone wait until we arrived and she let him pick the first one!) and of sneaking "bon bons" from his grandma's candy jar. The house is made of stone and I'm told it was one of the first houses built in the city. All of this is to say that I was once again brought to tears while I watched our kids play there with their cousin. The laughing and the smiles....I felt like such a big part of our family history was being soaked up into their tiny bodies! I could write a book about that space.
|This is the spot I dream about. This picture needs to be framed in my bedroom!|
After the apertif at Mamie and Papi Fasciotto's house, we walked across the street to Uncle Joel's house. He is Sylvain's godfather whom Sylvain adores beyond anything else! He is an artist and his house is full of paintings and sculptures and amazing things to see. His wife, Roxanne, is always the first with a hug and a kiss and a pat on the back to ask, "Are you happy here?" I love them to death.
However, by the time we got there to eat dinner, it was getting really late and the girls were really cranky. We gave the girls dinner before the rest of us, then let them play with Loredane and Renaud's old toys while we ate dinner. Considering how exhausted we already were from traveling all day, the girls held up pretty well, I think! It may have had something to do with Uncle Joel's "new" instruments, which he found in the trash and brought home. His LOUD serenade was just the laugh we all needed to make it through the night!
|Roxanne also played the accordian. Sylvia didn't quite know what to make of it!|
|"Loud music?! There are my kind of people!"|
|Playing with Renaud's farm toys and legos|
|Morning cartoons with the Daddies!|
|Love their new kitchen!|
|Lara, the sweetest!|
|Except they decided to play outside instead. Whatever!|
|Aunt Dorinda came with us (thank goodness!)|
|Dinner on the patio|
|Dorinda, Roxanne, Joanna (another cousin), and Renaud|
|Reading books and singing songs! Loredane is expecting baby #2 in June! Another girl!!|
|The girls were showered with gifts when we arrived! Princess crayons were the clear favorite.|
|Sylvain's Grandpa Bedeau!|
|Sylvain's cousin Maxime, Aunt Patricia, Aunt Odile, Great Aunt Marie-Jeanne|
|Charlotte, Grandpa, Michel, Adrien and Sandy|
|Margot's love affair begins.|
|Uncle Michel took her into the dog pen and he thought she'd be scared, so he laid the dogs down...|
|He didn't know she would want to SNUGGLE THE HECK OUT OF THEM!|
|Those dogs were gentle giants!|
|Brioche for dessert! I had to take a picture.|
|She was scared, but he was SO nice, so she gave it a try!|
|Before long, all the kids were in the dog pen having a dandy time!|
|Margot napped on the pull out couch! It was epic, too. Ahhh.....|
|Pretty table! The tree is decorated with eggs for Easter and there were chocolate treats in the vase for the kids!|
|Girls having fun!|
|Sylvain and his grandma|
|Sylvain's dad and grandpa|
|Loredane and Roxanne|
|Renaud and Joel|
|Nelly, Joanna, Dorinda and Renaud|
|This was about as close to Sylvia as he could get for a while.|
|Cousins. How happy does Sylvain look?!|
|Oh yeah, there were more birthday cakes for these two!|
|"Happy Birthday Sylvia, 4 years"|
|"The Band" made another appearance.|
|Her new favorite person!|
We had our last family meal back at Sylvain's grandparent's house on Monday night, and when we walked into the street to head to our car, in the dark, we had to say our goodbyes. It was heart wrenching. I managed to hold it together long enough to get in the car, but the girls hugged their great grandparents and waved goodbye like we were going to see them again soon and I knew that we weren't. I hate leaving beautiful places and special people. Hate it hate it. We will try our hardest to get back there as soon as we possibly can. Heaven knows I'll probably dream about it a dozen times between now and then!
Next up: our jaunt in Paris and our flight HOME!