A Babymoon in Paris

Since Jackson and I were moving home from Germany in February, we realized all of the places we wanted to see while living in Europe were going to have to go on the backburner for a while. Granted, getting a baby in return is totally worth the trade, but we were bummed that we didn’t get to see as many places as anticipated.

We decided that we could at least explore one fun city and then head back to Texas directly from there, and it was an easy decision that the city would be Paris. I’ve been before but Jackson hadn’t and we were excited to explore a new city together. And babymoons are a thing now, so why not call this ours?

Babymoon in Paris

We took a 4 hour train from Frankfurt to Paris. You should know that our luggage broke a few days before, so everywhere that we are lugging our 50 pound bags, Jackson is dragging the suitcase that has a broken wheel. It was a disaster, but we managed to make it to the train station in Frankfurt with help from some friends. Getting from the train station in Paris to our Airbnb was a different story. We had two 50 pound bags, my camera backpack and a backpacking backpack that weighed 25 pounds. Also, it’s worth noting that we only encountered ONE escalator in the Paris subways, so poor Jackson is carrying these bags up and down SO many flights of stairs and saying all KINDS of stuff under his breath. Meanwhile, I was doing everything I could not to let him see me laughing because I had no desire to encounter the wrath of a sweaty and tired and hungry Jackson, who is saying words I have never heard come out of his mouth.

We finally made it to the Airbnb and it was the cutest little studio apartment. I’m such an Airbnb fan. It’s so much cheaper than hotels and you get a kitchen and more space and we’ve just always had great experiences.

 

Paris Babymoon

We got our bags to the Airbnb and then decided to head into the city. We jumped on a subway and got off right in the heart of the city, grabbed a Nutella crepe and hot chocolate and roamed around for the rest of the evening. Paris is great because so many of the “have to see” sights are all so close to each other. We knew that traveling in Europe in February was going to be cold but that first was so SO cold and rainy. The number of hot chocolates that we consumed was ridiculous. Also, naturally we took ALL the selfies. 

 

 

That night, we grabbed a crepe for dinner, bought some oreos and milk and headed back to the apartment at 8 pm. Non-pregnant me would have never been down for such an early night (and SUCH an American snack) in a city like Paris, but pregnant me couldn’t think of a better way to spend the evening.

The next day we did a hop-on-hop-off tour bus, which was surprisingly great. I’m not usually a fan of these, I like to see the city the “local” way, but nothing sounded better to pregnant me than seeing sights without having to walk on my achy feet. Because of the rain, there was hardly anyone else that wanted to be on a half-uncovered 2 story bus so we had the entire thing to ourselves.  My feet were so happy with me.

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We spent the last two days leisurely seeing the city, taking lots of breaks at cool coffee shops and creperies. We took so many breaks and Jackson was so patient through all of our coffee shop stops. The ridiculous amount of yummy pastries we consumed at each one definitely aided in his patience, I think.

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We also went to Louvre to see Mona, and got to use our German residence permits to get in free and save 12 euro. We were pretty proud of that.


Babymoon in Paris

We definitely didn’t go as hard as we would have in the past, but it was perfect. We went to bed before 10 every night and woke up without alarms. We ate tons of pastries and drank a lot of hot chocolate. We roamed around smaller, lesser known areas of the city and got addressed in French enough times that we felt pretty good about ourselves and our ability to be mistaken for Europeans. Maybe all that time in Germany paid off. 

It was a sweet time for us to explore one last European city before we are a family of 3! We also made our first purchase for sweet baby bailey at a cute little baby store and that made things feel so real. Overall, it was the perfect end to a crazy and sweet season.

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Getting Married Is An Accomplishment In My Book

I’m not usually one to post a response to an article that I don’t see eye to eye with. I typically just tell Jackson all about it and then let it go. I’m not posting this so much to disagree with the author of the original article, but more to create a little perspective.

 

I recently read an article circulating called, “Getting Married Isn’t An Accomplishment”. If you didn’t read it, here’s a basic summary of the article: the author of the article has noticed that engagements and weddings and marriages are often celebrated by friends and family in a more exuberant way than things like graduating college, getting a job offer, getting a Master’s degree or getting a promotion at work. She goes on to write about how this feeling was only solidified when she got engaged, herself, and saw how much more celebrated her engagement was than other big accomplishments in her life. She writes, “You don’t have to have a brain, drive or special skill set to get married. You just have to have a willing partner. However, getting into X school, graduating with Y degree, and landing Z job does require actual hard work”.

While I can completely understand the author’s point, there are a few things that I want to discuss.

First of all, I absolutely agree with her that we can all do better. We can do better to celebrate the hard work that other women put into education, jobs and life. Getting any level of degree takes hard work and it should be celebrated and recognized. Getting a promotion takes perseverance and hard work and lots of hours, and we should celebrate and acknowledge when other women attain such an accomplishment.

However (you just knew there was a “however” coming didn’t you) I don’t agree with the author in thinking that we should recognize and celebrate all of those things while considering getting married a lesser accomplishment. I guess I don’t know why we have to choose what an accomplishment is for another woman, and how it ranks on the “accomplishment scale”. Getting married to someone takes an awful lot of work. It’s just a different kind of work. It takes sacrificing and selflessness and compromise and forgiveness. It takes hours and hours of talking through disagreements and working through unmet expectations. It takes making hard decisions and figuring out how to wake up and choose someone every single day.

Another thing I think we should consider is this: maybe our friends and family celebrate marriage more than other accomplishments simply because they can relate to the joy of marriage over other things that may have never experienced. Marriage has had an impact on most people in their lives at some point. Either our own marriage, or the marriage of someone close to us has changed many of our lives. Not everyone knows what it’s like to spend hours and hours studying and reading and writing. Not every woman has had to work the long hours it often takes to get a promotion. I know that this article was meant to empower and encourage women to think “beyond marriage” but I don’t think it was very forgiving. Maybe we struggle to celebrate other women’s accomplishments because we just don’t always understand or relate to the work that was put into to attaining them. I’m not saying that’s how it should be, I’m only suggesting that it could be a factor.

When I celebrate a friend’s marriage, I’m celebrating the life-long covenant that they’re stepping into. A life-long commitment of joy and of staying up until 2 am working through a disagreement and having a best friend to journey through life with. I’m celebrating the reflection of Christ and the church through our messy marriages. I’m not intending to say to my friends and family “I’m celebrating your marriage because it’s the only accomplishment in your life worth celebrating”. I’m intending to say, “I’m celebrating your marriage because I know the joy and life that my marriage has brought to me and I’m so excited for you to experience that”. 

All that to say this: we should absolutely do a better job of celebrating alongside other women as they accomplish all kinds of things, other than marriage. When you see your friend has gotten a promotion, send her a card! When you see your friend graduating from law school, send that chick a present. When another friend gets her doctorate throw a dang party. Call your friends and tell them your proud and excited for their future and for their accomplishments. Ask them about how school or work is going. Invest in their dreams.

I guess my point is, that I don’t think that we have to choose. I don’t think it’s even fair to deem what is an accomplishment for other woman. I don’t think we have to focus so much  on celebrating marriage less, but I’m down to be a part of celebrating other accomplishments more.

Don’t judge a book by its cover or a couple by their Instagram

This weekend Jackson and I got our engagement pictures taken, and we couldn’t be happier with them. They embody everything an engaged couple is supposed to be. You know, just a couple of high school sweet-hearts, blissfully staring into each other’s eyes and perfectly in love. Because that’s how engaged couples are supposed to be, ESPECIALLY if both people love Jesus. Couples who love Jesus never fight, right? RIGHT? Maybe you’re engaged, and you’re like “Blissful. Joyful. Eye Staring. Perfectly in love. Yeah that’s us all the time, you nailed it”. Maybe you never argue or say things you don’t mean or selfishly demand change out of the other person. If that’s you, then please, share your secrets with me,  would ya? But until then, I’ll keep writing this blog about just how imperfect Jackson and I’s relationship is.

In fact, you should know that a mere three hours before this picture was taken, the joyful and blissfully in love high school sweet-hearts you see here were mid argument. We were right in the middle of a typical everything-you-do-is-wrong-because-it’s-not-how-I-want-you-to-do-it kind of argument. The kind where both of you really have no right to be as flustered as you are, but for some reason (mostly sin) you feel the need to hammer your point that you’re actually aware isn’t even really valid. Maybe I’m crazy and we’re the only engaged couple who spend more of our time disagreeing and working through those disagreements than we spend being blissful and carefree and googly eyed over each other. Maybe we’re crazy. Or maybe we’re not.

So why am I writing this blog airing out all of our dirty laundry? Well for two reasons I think. One, for all you singles out there who watch engagement videos and see wedding pictures and are waiting for your blissfully in love days, free of the frustration and anger and stubbornness. You should be aware of the reality ahead of you. If only you knew the amount of bad pictures it took to get the one that is actually posted on Instagram. Make a decision to see Instagram and Facebook and twitter posts for what they (sometimes) are…a beautiful moment between two sinners where Jesus meant more than their own agendas. You’re getting a glimpse into the life of two people who are trying to love each other well despite their own baggage and sin and pain. REJOICE in that with them. Pray for them.  And recognize that their entire relationship most likely does not, in fact, resemble the picture you’re seeing of them….and that’s ok. To the couples: Maybe we’re crazy and more sinful than most people and no one else is with me and Jackson on this one. But, if I’m not crazy and you’re reading this because you understand, let’s chat for a minute. First of all, be encouraged, because you’re clearly not alone. I bet our average pictures taken to actually posted ratio is somewhere around 20:1. We (I) sometimes take 20 pictures because it’s funny, and we (I) sometimes take 20 pictures because we’re (I’m) trying to get the one that makes us look happy and in love and all of the things everyone expects us to be. I’m going to go ahead and say that the majority of us in relationships are just as guilty as singles at looking at other couple’s posts, and longing to be people we aren’t. WE HAVE TO STOP THE MADNESS PEOPLE. No one’s relationship as flawless as their Instagram makes it seem, and you know what? THAT’S OK. Because us being imperfect makes Jesus more important and necessary. Our failings and our weaknesses in our relationships point to Jesus. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Here’s the thing, relationships are hard. Really really hard. There is no one who is as aware of my sin as Jackson. And not only is he aware of my sin, he is directly affected by it. When I am insecure or impatient or unsatisfied, it’s Jackson who bears the brunt of all of those things. And that sucks. So why do the whole relationship thing if it’s so hard? Because my relationship with Jackson has lead me to a drastically deeper appreciation of my Savior. Jackson knows more about my sin than anyone because he is most affected by it. I hurt him. He hurts me. When I’m angry he bears the brunt of my anger.  When I’m insecure, it’s Jackson that sees it. And yet, he still chooses me. He still chooses to be with me. He chooses to love me through my insecurities and he chooses to forgive my unforgiving insults. Despite how unloving and unappreciative I can be, he still chooses me to be his wife (in 7 months and 15 days, praise God). And if it blows my mind that Jackson chooses me, how much more bizarre is it that GOD chooses me? Ephesians 1:4-6 says, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us inthe Beloved.” PEOPLE DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS. The God of the Universe chooses us to be his children, despite all of our junk and sin and issues. Not only is Christ aware of my exposed sin, he knows my INTERNAL sin. He knows my thoughts and my feelings and my attitude, and yet for some reason he still desires me to be his. For some reason, he chose to save me from death and grant me adoption through Jesus., and that’s crazy.   So let’s all just stop assuming things about each other and instead, rejoice. Rejoice in our short-coming. Rejoice in our victories. Rejoice in the picture that shows two sinners having a good date night. Rejoice in the likelihood of those same sinners working through an argument 20 minutes later. Rejoice in the struggle, because when we choose to rejoice, the struggle becomes pretty.

 

-Ya girl