Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm so excited...

And I just can't hide it!

As of yesterday, the Mr and I are no longer homeowners. After being on the market for nearly a year (just a few weeks shy), switching realtors after a horrendous experience(damaged our property and tried to blame us), and getting to the days before closing 3 times... The deed has been filed and It's over. I don't own property, I don't pay electric/water bills, I don't do any of that!  I miss North Carolina. I miss the house, but I am so glad that this is over and freed us up to now focus on paying down debts Dave Ramsey style. If you are in the Fayetteville area, I highly recommend Doug Nunnaly. He has been so wonderful and helpful- with never even meeting us face to face! 

Also, I'm adding some other pages to the blog. If you look up top, you can see a page that is devoted to our infertility journey thus far. I plan on adding others about our travels and potentially about sorority stuff. 

Here's to focus and goals in the New Year! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Deep thoughts with Jessica...

As of Today, we have been in Germany for about 5 months.

What I expected when we got here was almost an instant community. I thought that since pretty much everyone was far from family, people would get the homesickness. The fear, the everything. As I've said before, being OCONUS is an amazing opportunity, but also one that is scary as all get out.  I figured that people would be so welcoming, that we would be able to make friends, etc.

To a degree, we experienced that. Our sponsors were gracious and amazing. They introduced us to our city, offered their apartment, phone, car, whatever we needed to get settled. Unfortunately for us, they also ETS'd soon after our arrival. 
 It's been a little more tough, but we've been surprised by every turn by people coming out of the woodwork. We're slowly making our little family here again. I forgot that it took me well over a year at Bragg to forge a community...and that it took 2 to make our family there. 
Here, I've relied more on social networking. It has definitely helped me keep in touch with friends and family. It also came with a downside for me.

Pregnancy/Birth Announcements.

They can be SO hard to read. It feels as though each announcement says to me "What's wrong with you? Person X already has 2 kids and they're just a year older than you.". Even though I know it's completely bonkers, I feel like somewhere out there is a pool of available babies, and that I am continually missing my chance. That these people are taking MY potential babies. 

Like I said, I know this is not the case. It has gotten much better with time and prayer and so much else. This truly has been a year of growth.  More on that later. 

For the more practical update: We have completed our first rounds of testing with Dr.W. C is fine, but it looks as though I have symptoms resembling PCOS(Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), but no official diagnosis for it just yet. Dr. W recommended we start Clomid to help me ovulate earlier and hopefully produce better quality eggs. We were all set to start this month, but found at the baseline ultrasound that I had a 1.25" cyst on the right ovary. Since Clomid stimulates your hormones/ovaries, it is highly recommended to not take it if you have a cyst as it will encourage it to grow larger and potentially do some major damage. 

So the first medicated cycle was a bust. We will try again next month, with hopefully better results.

Now that all that's out-Bologna was amazing! Recap to come hopefully this week. Though, classes have started now as well so it may be a bit.  Here's to being more intentional with the time I have!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Paris, Part 3

In which I recap day 3 and my angry feet. 

We didn't "do" much on Sunday. We were exhausted, my feet were starting to cry, and we didn't want to burn ourselves out. 

So after breakfast, we headed out for two stops: The Pantheon and the Louvre.

The Pantheon was important for me as two beloved authors are buried there (Voltaire and Hugo), and I was not disappointed. the history in that building is insane. This is also where the Curies, Monsieur Braille, and many others are laid to rest. To be surrounded by it is unexplainable. 

From there, we went to the Louvre. Travel tip: have a plan for the Louvre. It is MASSIVE. We were in there for hours and probably only saw like 5% of the art. Our plan of attack was to see the Mona Lisa first and get it out of the way. I know that sounds really calloused, but we had been told it was a let down (it is), and that portion of the museum is CROWDED and I don't do crowds. 

From there, we went and saw the Islamic art exhibit, and then Napoleon's apartments...chock full of lyre chairs, making my Alpha Chi heart oh-so-happy. 

At that point, ye olde dogs were barking and we went back to the hotel to rest before dinner.

Dinner was at Brasserie Julien, recommended by a friend of mine. It was absolutely amazing! Delicious food, great service...I was highly impressed. I got the Onion Soup (no need to say French ;) ), Lamb, and then brioche french toast. Mr. Got poached eggs/chestnuts, whole sea bass, and lime cheesecake (And scolded by the waiter for choosing a non-french dessert). 

After that, we explored. We wanted to say that we had seen the Moulin Rogue, so we popped up in that part of the city to take a picture, and immediately left. Mr was also in a play in college called Picasso at the Lapin Agile, so that was a must find as well. 

Then it was a quick stroll back to the hotel to get ready to leave. We left the next afternoon, after a morning shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Of course, I left Paris with more macarons... *insert dreamy sigh here*. Can't get enough of them!

It was an amazing birthday trip that can not be replicated! I felt so blessed to have that time with Mr and to get to see more of the world. I'm looking forward to our next trip- this weekend (!!) we are headed to Bologna, Italy for Mr. to nerd out over Kappa Sigma history for his birthday!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Paris, Part 2

In which, I valiantly attempt to recount a whirlwind day of sightseeing. 
SO! Day 2: we start out with breakfast at the hotel. I had signed up for their frequent stays club (Only requires your email address) and that got us in for free breakfast for our stay, as well as a coupon for dinner at the hotel restaurant. Of the two, I think breakfast was the better deal. ;) 
After breakfast, we went back up to our room to wait. My mom had booked a tour guide for us as a birthday present, but we were unsure of where/how to meet him. We figured that waiting in the room was the right choice, and were rewarded with a phone call from the concierge shortly thereafter letting us know the guide had arrived!
Scott was great, he was recommended by the guy my mom had originally wanted (Michael Osman), and I think he was perfect for me and the Mr, especially seeing as he's an actor and all!
After a quick brainstorm-we were off! By the end of the day, we had seen: St. Chapelle, the Conciergerie, Notre Dame, Pont des Arts(Lover's lock bridge),  Les Invalides/Napoleon's Tomb, Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel tower. PHEW!
St. Chapelle

Notre Dame

Altar of Notre Dame

Winning Nativity Scene in Notre Dame

Back of Notre Dame

Napoleon's Tomb

View from the Top of the Arc de Triomphe

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower
We crisscrossed Paris easily thanks to the visite passes, and made it in plenty of time for our 5:00 PM Eiffel Tower ride! There was so much history and so many things learned from our trip that to begin to write it all would be to begin the blog post that never enjoy the pictures instead. ;)  My two tips for sight seeing in Paris: Vistie Passes and Musee' Passes. The former lets you get around easily, the latter pays for itself. Many sights and museums participate, and just by going to the Louvre and Notre Dame it pretty much is cost efficient...except with the pass you get to keep going places without spending more money!
After that, it was a quick jaunt back to the hotel for dinner in the hotel restaurant. We were pretty unimpressed by everything but dessert. The service was pretty poor (We deduced it was because we didn't speak French, as we watched those who spoke it around us get excellent service), and the food just felt like it was trying too hard. I did try foie gras, and it wasn't bad! 
After-dinner lemon Madelines
Mr.'s Chestnut flavored dessert (Complete with edible gold...because Paris)

My apple dessert with the best sorbet EVER in the foreground.
After all that, we collapsed in bed and tried to prepare ourselves as much as possible for day 3: The Louvre and the Pantheon. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Paris, part 1

Phew, what a weekend! I hate that it's taking so long to post these, but Mr. also took about 900 pictures.... and I'm not exaggerating.
We left early Friday for Paris. Luckily, we live just uphill from the train station, so we walked down and got on our first train. This one just took us from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt. Then, we had about 10 minutes to hop on our next train- from Frankfurt to Paris (Est). 
We sprang for first class, and I feel it was worth it. We had extra leg room, we had a light meal delivered to our seats, and it was generally quiet. 2nd class was more crowded...think typical coach on an airplane, and no meal. There was an on board restaurant, but the Mister says it wasn't very good.
We arrived in Paris around 1, and had a little issue with figuring out the train system. After walking to Paris (Nord), We eventually figured it out and bought Paris Visite passes, which are definitely worth it! We were able to travel by metro anywhere within Paris as frequently as we wanted for 3 days. It definitely made a difference in our ease of sight seeing that's for sure!
We eventually made it to our hotel, and set our bags down and headed right back out. We wandered around the area our hotel is in, enjoying just seeing sights. I did make sure to stop for a birthday treat- macarons from Fauchon!

After all this, we had a dinner at Cafe Marco Polo, which was just okay. It won major points for convenience... it's right across the street from our hotel (Concorde Opera Paris) I got steak frites- delish! Mr got scallops, which he claims were delicious.

We got crepes for desert, but I forgot to grab a picture. ;) We went to bed early, which was perfect for our insanely busy day two... Coming tomorrow!
Au revoir! 
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