France Day 37: Eight Americans in Paris

Today was a magic day.  We got to spend an entire day together with our friends the Reichs, who drove all the way from Frankfurt to meet us and had arrived post-kid-bedtime for just such an adventure.  Jenna Reich is a talented and respected photographer whose work could be described as both fine art and editorial.  Through her business, Life Aglow, she shoots for her own family as well as clients, sells her work commercially, and mentors other photographers (she's amazing).  You may know her from 10 on 10, or Kids Were Here.  Jenna and I are also teaming up for our first collaborative project this year, called I'm About to Pitch A Fit, which is a collaboration among 42 photographers around the world who are also mothers.  For a year, we're documenting our kids' fits to compile into a book, along with compassionate and funny writing, to sell to raise money for child abuse prevention, specifically going to The Hope Center in Spartanburg, SC.  So if you're not aware of this project, come follow along, share in the realism of parenting with us, and buy the book (coming spring 2016)! But Jenna and I have known each other long before the days of more serious photographic pursuits.  I first met her sitting around a mom & baby circle at the Tucson Birth Center in the spring of 2010, when I had my first baby, and she her second.  Jenna was our wise mama in the circle because she had 2 years' experience on the rest of us!

So here we are, 5 years later, in Paris.  We walked to the Metro, past the bakery I described yesterday, and on to the central part of the city.  As we'd promised the children, today we would ride the Bateaux Mouches!  And that is exactly what we did.

At the end of the afternoon, the heat had really gotten to most of us, and this was really the first day I can mark where for certain, pregnancy was weighing me down.  I thought it might have been the heat, but I wasn't myself after this particular day.  (Writing now, in retrospect, in November 2015, I now know I had become anemic, and this was probably the beginning stages of it.  I'd had no prenatal care up to this point, however, and I was then 15 weeks pregnant.)  So we returned for a late afternoon nap in the still, hot afternoon, and all sweated out a couple hours of fitful sleep, having soaked the curtains and hoping for a favoring wind, though not likely on a city street.

We walked to dinner together, and talked a lot, mostly about ourselves and the future in general.  I remember one piece of the conversation, though.  Toy Story came up (we were fresh off 4 days at Disney).  I said I identified more with Jessie than with Bo Peep.  Geoff and Jenna were convinced I am more of a Bo Peep.  Hmm..OK, well, maybe.  But on the inside, I'm Jessie.  Mostly because she overcomes her fears and never gives up.  But hey, if the world wants to think of me as a Bo Peep, there are worse things than being underestimated.  Meanwhile, Butterscotch and Bittykins were enjoying their dinner, and while I don't remember everything they ate, as it was quite the smorgasbord, but I do remember them loving the fois gras as much as I did!  I enjoyed getting to spend time with Jenna and Chris, and their sweet little children again.  It was a wonderful evening.  We were out quite late.

That night, I posted the following on facebook:

Live from a neighborhood in Paris during the record-breaking heat wave: it's 1:35 a.m. and finally, a cool breeze blows in through our windows. Dinner tonight was excellent, with friends, Jenna Reich and Chris and their children, who drove in from Germany for the weekend. As we walked home at 11 pm-ish, people were out and about, even with babies and small children. City hall decided to keep parks open all night so people have a place to go cool off. Afternoon was quiet, but not now. People were out picnicking in the parks. Midnight and beyond, the city is still awake. No A/C, but windows are open. I hear people talking and dinner plates clanking around, occasionally a baby. A stifling day, a magical, breezy night of good conversation and friends.

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