18 week baby bump (January 9, 2018)
        January 14, 2018     8h56     0 Comments

Here's a photo of my baby bump at 18 weeks on January 9, 2018.

15 week baby bump (December 19, 2017)
        January 14, 2018     8h56     0 Comments

Here's a photo of my baby bump at 18 weeks on January 9, 2018.

Pregnancy hormones and symptoms
        January 14, 2018     8h52     0 Comments

Before I got pregnant, I had heard about all of the symptoms: morning sickness (which is more "all day sickness" for certain women!), hot flashes, fatigue, food aversions. But here's one thing that no one told me: these pregnancy hormones have turned me into a morning person (gasp!)

For almost 36 years of my life, I've been a night owl. Throughout high school and college and, well, up until I got pregnant, I'd sleep in late in the morning whenever I could. I could get up early when I had to, whether it was for a 7:17am start in high school, an 8 or 8:30am college class, or teaching an early class, but I have to admit, it wasn't very easy.

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's disease) when I was 29, and I attributed some of my night owl tendencies to the fact that hypothyroidism causes fatigue. In fact, that's how I discovered it: when Damien was away visiting a friend in Paris in June 2011, I slept 14 hours one night (and could've slept more!) and then did the same thing the following night. Fourteen hours was excessive, even for me who loves sleeping in, and I went to the doctor.

After getting pregnant, my body decided that there would be no more sleeping in. From one day to the next, I became a morning person ... against my will. I imagine that it's due to the different hormones coursing through my body, possibly to get me ready to take care of a newborn, but it's so frustrating that my body will no longer let me sleep past 8:30am at the latest - mainly because it means that at 8 or 9pm, my brain stops functioning, and I'm in bed asleep by 10pm.

The difficulties of choosing a bilingual baby name
        January 07, 2018     9h57     0 Comments

We don't know yet if we're having a boy or a girl, so we've been having fun trying to find both boy and girl names that we both like. Conversations often go like this:

Me: What about Julien?
DD: No.
Me: What about Christopher?
DD: Christophe isn't bad.
Me: Not Christophe, Christopher!
DD: Then nope.

DD is a big fan of Magic: The Gathering, so he enjoys teasing me with names of Planeswalkers and other Magic: The Gathering creatures.

DD: If it's a boy, we should name him Jace. Or Gideon.
Me: Both of those names sound terrible in French!
DD: Ok, how about Elspeth if it's a girl?
Me: No, we are not naming our child after a Magic card!

DD and I are facing two major difficulties. The first is that we're both teachers, which means that we've had many students over the years, and quite a lot of them have ruined certain names. I don't want to name my future child after a student who made everyone in class miserable!

The other major obstacle is that we want to choose a name that works in both French and English. This limits the names we can choose from quite a bit. A simple name like John becaomes Jean in French, which would be too easily confused with Jeanne in English. Fanny is a popular girl's name in France, but it is cause for mockery in English.

So far, we've got a couple of names that meet all of the above criteria, but we're keeping them to ourselves for now, as they might continue to evolve over the next 5.5 months!

Another expat blogger's views about the difficulties of choosing a bilingual baby name.

Oh hello there
        January 07, 2018     9h39     0 Comments

How is it possible that I didn't blog once in 2017?! Is anyone out there still checking my blog?

Here's a quick summary of the past two years:
- we got engaged in February 2016
- we went to the US in the summer of 2016 and bought all of our wedding stuff (wedding dress, wedding shoes, wedding suit, wedding rings)
- we got married on October 29, 2016, in Abrest, France, in front of 22 family and friends. First at the mairie (town hall), then at the local church. Our priest was hilarious! We celebrated with a dinner at the Chateau de Bost. After the wedding, quite a few family and friends came to Lyon for a few days.
- we celebrated with family in the US in August 2017.
- we went on a honeymoon/one-year anniversary trip to Rome over the Toussaint holidays in Oct/Nov 2017.

Since we got married, not much has changed, and maybe that's why I never took the time to update my blog?

But I think I'll be updating more now that we're expecting a baby in June 2018! So check back in here in a few days to find out more about the joys and difficulties of being pregnant abroad!

In other big news ...
        May 06, 2016     22h58     0 Comments

Damien and I officially got engaged on Feb 15! We're planning on having a small wedding in France in October and then a bigger party in the US in the summer of 2017.

Making changes, one habit at a time
        May 05, 2016     23h59     0 Comments

Hello! Is anyone still reading my blog? I haven't updated in a long time, but I'm going to try to provide shorter updates more often.

Back in January, I had hoped to start writing letters to friends and family. Well, long story short, I didn't.

I did however decide to give up added sugar. I no longer put sugar in my morning tea, and only rarely add it to my morning coffee (depends on the strength!). I still eat baked goods, but I've reduced my sugar intake by quite a bit. Now when I add jam to my plain yogurt, I have to make sure not to add too much, as I find it can quickly become too sweet!

The next habit to change is my addiction to Facebook ...

Time zone difficulties
        January 07, 2016     22h43     0 Comments

This Christmas break, I opted to take an extra week off and spend 3 weeks in the US. To be honest, not much happens at work the week after the holidays: teachers are finishing up their corrections and the administrative staff is getting back into the groove of things. We don't have any final exams to organize, so things are pretty calm. I told my colleagues that I'd be available by email this week, so if there is anything to deal with, they don't feel like I've abandoned them.

One of the biggest obstacles of email, however, is the 6-hour time difference. When I wake up in the morning, around 9am or 10am most days, it's already 3pm or 4pm in France - the workday is almost over! So I wake up and check my phone and BOOM, I've got 16 emails to deal with before my morning cup of coffee.

I realize that this is not the biggest problem in the world (#FirstWorldProblems anyone?), but it is difficult sometimes to stay on top of things AND spend time with my family and friends.

A New Year's Resolution
        January 06, 2016     23h38     0 Comments

One of my new year's resolutions this year is to write a handwritten letter, once a month, to one of my faraway friends. I love the experience of checking the mail and getting something from one of my friends or family. To me, it's 100x better than getting an email (probably because I get between 50 and 100 emails per day in my current job!). That joy of opening your mailbox and finding a handwritten note, card or letter ... that's the surprise that I want to put out there in the world. I think the world is filled with too much awfulness, and I'd like to do my small part to change that by putting more love out into the world. I'm still in the US for another couple of days, so I probably won't get around to writing the letter until I'm back in France. I don't know who I'm going to write to yet, but I know that I'll pick a deserving recipient

NFL bad-lip reading (video)
        January 05, 2016     23h53     0 Comments

Like most people, I enjoy watching videos on the Internet. When I have to work early in the morning, I often arrive early and eat breakfast at my desk. To get my day started right, I'll open up Youtube and watch clips, like Jimmy Fallon or SNL.

I recently rediscovered the fabulous "NFL Bad-Lip Reading" videos, and they're hilarious. I showed them to my sister and my bff Melissa on two separate occasions, and both times I laughed so hard I cried.

So here you go! Enjoy!

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