Joyeaux Noël: Weeks 26 and 27

Post-Christmas catching up! Andy and I spent about 10 days over Christmas and the New Year in France, splitting our time between Avignon and Provence for the first part, then Annecy and Grenoble in the Alps for the second part.

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We are actually working on a separate blog project to write about our travels in more detail, so I’ll save the details of our trip for that. But I will say how lovely it was to be back in France for the holidays. I’d forgotten how nice it was to see bright sunshine and blue skies every day! The bread, the chocolate, the cheese, the wine (not that I had any) are all so much better in France.

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Fruit, bread, pain d’epice gigembre (gingerbread) and pain au chocolate, fresh from the market

We loved returning to Avignon, where we also spent last Christmas, and made our Christmas dinner in our Airbnb there, with wonderful fresh produce from Les Halles. I love  staying in Airbnbs and having fresh yogurt, fruit and bread for breakfast in the flat with coffee each day.

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The yogurt is so much better in France too (I swear it’s under the gingerbread).

We explored tiny Provencal villages and went for a hike on Christmas day. This was the first time I traveled somewhere and didn’t run at all, which was weird – running is one of my favorite ways to explore a new place. But several mornings I got up early and went for long walks anyway, similar to how I would have run before. Just a little slower.

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Christmas day hike in Saint-Remy-de-Provence

After Christmas, we traveled east to the Haute-Savoie region, near the Swiss border. Seeing the snow-covered Alps was amazing. We didn’t ski or go up in the mountains, but stayed in the beautiful small city of Annecy for a few days and enjoyed some local hikes as well as the very impressive Christmas markets.

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From here we did a long lakeside walk around Lac d’Annecy one day, and on another day we did a fantastic hike up in the mountains overlooking Annecy. The fresh cold Alpine air and sense of feeling far away in the mountains was so good for the soul. More than ever, I really feel like I need a good dose of nature outside of the big city on a regular basis.

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On the baby front, I really feel like I popped over Christmas. Suddenly the belly is there and it’s so weird to me to be able to feel this belly sticking out when I sit down, and every time I caught a glimpse in the mirror I was surprised!

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I love shopping in France, but it was tricky to figure out what kinds of tops fit me now. The bump feels hard now, too, and is definitely bigger in the evening than in the morning each day. It’s just the most bizarre thing to me. Sometimes I look down and feel like an old man with a beer belly!

I also had to realize my limitations in that I couldn’t hike as fast as I wanted to and had to recognize that I needed to take breaks and not go all out. We built in lots of rest time on the hikes, and also in our daily travels. I also felt really bad because Andy had to wrangle our suitcases on and off trains and upstairs since I can’t lift heavy things now. I hated feeling un-helpful.

We often popped into cafes or brasseries to relax and read, and at times I was at a loss of what to order. I’m still drinking coffee daily but not more than a cup a day, and this year wine or French Christmas beer was not on the menu for me. Luckily I discovered something called Schweppes Agrum! It was a citrus-y soda, not too sweet, that became my thing on this trip.

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Kindle reading and virgin cocktail sipping

But the most exciting thing was that Andy felt the baby move! After several weeks of placing his hand on my belly and hoping for a well-timed kick, it finally happened! I felt lots of movement every day, especially when I was sitting still or laying down at night, and every time Andy was able to catch one was so exciting.

We spent a lot of time imagining what future travels and holidays with the baby will be like. We chatted about name ideas whilst out hiking, and bought an adorable baby swaddle blanket in Avignon one day.

On New Year’s Eve, we weren’t interested in a big night out, and had an early train to catch on New Year’s Day. Plus, we knew that most bars and restaurants in France tend to close on NYE anyway. So we had a nice late lunch that day, and spent the evening in our Airbnb enjoying snacks and cake, watching the French NYE specials on TV, and reading things like this:

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How times have changed!

At times, it felt bittersweet that this was our last Christmas just us and our last big trip just us. We know that future travels will be slower and more complicated with a baby in tow. But we have had many years of fun travels with just us, and we are ready for a little one to join the team. We can’t wait to share all this with the baby and show him/her everything there is to see in the world.

Weeks 26 and 27 Summary

Baby Size

Eggplant and then Cauliflower

Symptoms

Persistent gross taste in my mouth which I finally realized may be acid reflux, so Tums became my friend, but I can’t tell if they really help that much. More tired in the afternoons and evenings than usual. Luckily back pain has diminished as I’ve focused on my posture more. Oh and I have to go to the bathroom constantly, which is a lot of fun when you’re traveling in new places every day.

Feelings

  • Very relaxed and happy to be in France and be on holiday.
  • Excited and nervous imagining what future travels with baby.
  • Missing family on the holidays.
  • A bit sad to not drink Châteauneuf-du-Pape and eat soft unpasteurized cheeses!

Workouts

Week 26: a yoga class on Tuesday in London before we left, lots of walking every day plus one hike, and I found a great series of prenatal cardio/strength workout videos on YouTube that I did one morning in Avignon.

Week 27: lots of walking every day plus two days of hiking.

Weight Gain

By the time we got back from France I was up 15 pounds total from pre-baby weight. How much of that is cheese??

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