Driving home last night we caught a spectacular sunset. It was beautiful. As we made our way from the busy streets towards the beach I saw some vibrant colors ahead with a little piece of blue sky. When we were driving next to the ocean I had to stop the car and take it in. Wow! We caught the sunset only minutes after I was singing my heart out to the song “No Need to Argue” by The Cranberries. That would be two days in a row that I heard songs on the radio that I just had to sing. The songs took me back, way back… the other day it was “Kiss Off” by the Violent Femmes. Music can be so powerful.
For the last month I have been procrastinating about joining a gym. Last winter I changed my gym membership at the YMCA for one at the university where I work- my membership fees went down as did my frequency to the gym. After a summer of swimming occasionally the exercise ended. Yesterday I finally returned to a local gym and had a great workout with a friend. It was nothing extreme, but it was great to be back at the gym burning some calories, tightening some muscles and feeling great after my workout.
The kids and I spend a lot of time outside. One of their favorite spots is the park. We are lucky to live so close to many different parks including a few in walking distance. My children are typical siblings – they love each other and play great together usually – but they also fight and drive each other crazy.
Lately I have seen Matteo tormenting Malina to the point that she begins to cry. We tell her that he is a ‘baby’ still and that she should ignore his comments, but she does not. We talk to him as well about his behavior, but he continues to do it. 10 minutes later they will be playing together as if an argument never happened. Their relationship is a bit lit a seesaw, it goes both up and down. By chance I caught them having a great time on a seesaw at the park recently.
Having visited France so many times I have to admit that I have spent the majority of my time in Paris. I have traveled through the country by train seeing many other cities- but have only had overnight stays in three other towns – one of which is Nîmes. This town is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France.
My first trip here was not planned to say the least. At the time I was visiting Paris for the first time alone and ended up taking a side trip here with a friend who was visiting family for the weekend. It was a very sporadic decision to hop on a train to a town that I knew nothing about. To be truthful I had no clue of the geography of France at the time and went on a complete whim not knowing exactly where I was going. I only knew that I had to be back in Paris in two days to meet up with another friend who was visiting me from Germany.
It was a bit of a surprise to see how far Nîmes was from Paris as I glanced at a map on the train (I was on one of those slow regional trains) – but I must tell you I loved this town from my first moments there. My friend showed me around his hometown, and by chance there was a big fête (festival) going on that weekend. People were everywhere, there were floats all around, and it was a very festive atmosphere. Although I would have loved to stay longer I had to return to Paris and left a day later. That train ride back to Paris was the one where I overslept, missed my transfer, and ended up at the border of Germany before I realized exactly where I was. Don’t worry- I made it back to Paris in time to shower and meet my friend at the train station.
Having had a taste of Nîmes I was excited to return a few years later with another friend. Highlights of that trip included visiting the famous Roman amphitheater that is still nearly perfectly intact, relaxing in cafes and restaurants eating excellent French cuisine, and meeting new friends. It would be great to return here again – I can’t say that it will happen – but it would be nice to see this wonderful city again.
The great fête of Nimes!
The Roman amphitheater
I have been to Paris quite a few times – long trips, weekend trips, with my parents, with my husband and kids, and I can never forget that first trip with my tour group which introduced me to this beautiful city. I can’t actually recall how many times I have been here, but I fell in love with Paris that first trip and have enjoyed returning here for 20 years now- oh my I am slowly aging- but having been able to visit here in my younger years I have only learned to appreciate Paris even more as I become older.
I have always enjoyed visiting Paris with others too – showing them around my favorite spots and always finding new places along the way. It has been particularly fun visiting Paris with Max as we both visited here separately in our 20’s and have fun showing each other some of our favorite spots around town. But when we visit here now it is all about the kids so we spend more time in parks than anywhere else. The kids know I love Paris and they too are fans of the city.. I could so see Malina living here one day when she is older. As my blogging year slowly comes to a close I had to go back in my archives one last time to revisit my favorite city.
We had planned on spending Thanksgiving at Knott’s Berry Farm a few weeks ago… and then rain came into the forecast. A few days prior to the holiday the rain prediction disappeared. We do not have much family in the Los Angeles area and usually head down to San Diego to be with friends.
This year we decided to stay at home and spend the day doing something local that the kids would enjoy. It was a great day. My feet were a little sore from the walk in flip flops the day prior, but I survived. We headed home after a successful day at Knott’s Berry Farm – and even better I purchased season passes so we can visit whenever we want in 2014! Yeah!!
The kids went on many rides and when we first arrived we did not have to wait long to ride anything. It was great. I even went on a somewhat “super spinny” ride which I usually avoid – since those rides can make me sick! I had to do it or the kids would not be able to go on the ride. I survived.. as did the kids. Always something fun to ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Now this is a Thanksgiving lunch!
Wandering around the park
It was an afternoon off to spend with the kids. It was a super sunny and warm day for it being the end of November. I drove past the ocean on my way home from work and I knew that I wanted to go back.. and we had the time. After eating lunch with Max we headed to the beach. The goal was to walk from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Hermosa Beach Pier (3.4 miles) – something I used to do on a regular basis when I was in my early 20’s. It was a somewhat ambitious walk to do with the kids, but we do some serious hiking and this was a relaxing walk. They both had tennis shoes on and I wore flip flops- I am not sure why I did not have tennis shoes on… note to self – next time wear tennis shoes for support.
It was a gorgeous day. There were people everywhere as we slowly made our way to the Hermosa Beach Pier. At the base of the pier was a decorated Christmas tree. We also saw our favorite surfer statue and the kids spent a good 5 minutes climbing on him.
At some point I looked over towards the ocean and saw that kids were sliding down a man-made hill of sand on saucers and other items (sledding without snow). I asked two little girls if Malina and Matteo could borrow their saucers to go down the hill. They loved it!
It was a big walk back to the Manhattan Beach Pier and because it was late afternoon we were able to see the sun set. We also saw some Christmas lights out. What we did not see were the trees on the Manhattan Beach Pier that were there only 5 days ago. Thank goodness I took the photos I did over the weekend.
Eventually we made our way home with a few stops along the way. My feet were super sore and the kids fell asleep within minutes of putting their heads to the pillow.