Paris in July

Oo la la, I am so excited for Paris in July this year. Last year was my very first foray into this challenge and though I was a bit of a slow starter I had such a good time. And met some wonderful new people, which was the very best part! It is hosted by Thyme for Tea and she has some great suggestions to get the wheels turning… reading a French themed book, watching a French/French themed movie, listening to French music, cooking French food. And while I won’t be traveling to Paris this year (or probably anytime soon, Paris still remains a dream!) this is a way to celebrate all things French online!

I have begun my planning for it, and I feel like I am ready this year. One thing I enjoy about this challenge is that my husband gets involved. He is a bit of a Francophile as well, so it is always fun to plan with him different things to do. He reminded me that at one point in history Detroit was known as the Paris of the midwest, which is something I might explore this year for the challenge.

Last year I also read French themed picture books to Wyatt, which I am going to try to do again this year, although with the libraries being what they are now, I am not sure at our success. So I might have to get creative with ways to include Wyatt.

One thing different this year, there is no Tour de France in July! Billy and I have watched every day, every year, for years now. We are huge fans (he watches all the other races as well so I guess he is an actual cycling fan) and it will be weird without it kicking off in July this year. However, it is slated for August so fingers crossed it still happens. We dream of taking Wyatt to the Tour when he is ten, and setting up in one of the villages to cheer the cyclists on. We still have five years for that to happen so hopefully things are better by then!

If you are interested in learning more, pop over to Thyme for Tea and check out all the info! It is a great time!

Paris in July: The Tour de France

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I had intended to post much earlier, but, better late than never!

My husband and I are huge fans of the Tour de France. He started watching much longer ago than I did; I just started watching in 2014 and get excited for July knowing that July means the Tour! I do not have a team allegiance, but generally I am rooting for Astana or Movistar. This year, I am #teammovistar! I had high hopes for Mikel Landa this tour but an unfortunate fall in Stage 10 put him far behind; I am not sure it is in the cards for him this year, and besides, I think his team was pushing Quintana anyway.

I am a person who makes mini-celebrations of many things, and the first day of the Tour is one of them. The morning of Stage 1, we got up early to get breakfast from a new cafe that opened near us, called Provence, which is French inspired. We picked up quite a few delicious bits to enjoy together as we tuned in, and we were not disappointed!

 Wyatt loved the corn cookie, which seemed like it was a sugar cookie and cornbread combined. It was really good! We also had a raspberry breakfast cake, a scone with lime and spruce tips, and a chive cheescake! It was the proper kick off to the Tour!

 

It really feels like so far, this race has been wide open, without the presence of Chris Froome looming over the race. He is such a skilled and fantastic rider, and I think every year the riders start out knowing he is the man to beat. This year, though, things are different. There were many different theories on who had the best chance to take the yellow jersey and win it all, with the number one being Geraint Thomas. Like I said though, I’m backing Movistar this year. My husband is a big Froome and Team Ineos (formerly Skye) fan though, and found himself without a dog in the fight. Over the weeks so far, he has begun rooting for Julian Alaphilippe, a French rider for Deceuninck- Quick Step who is the present overall leader for the Yellow Jersey. Billy also is a fan of Peter Sagan’s, a sprinter who knows how to find his way through the group in those mad dashes to the finish line!

So far, this race has been pretty solid, with some amazing breakaways that resulted in stage wins, including the recent stage win by Caleb Ewan, who actually had a crash during the race and still managed with the help of his team to win the stage! The smallest guy in the Peloton kicked it up into high gear, after finally finding a team that believed in him. Stage 10 was a bummer for some big contenders, including Mikel Landa, as it was a tough stage with the crosswinds, and many riders lost precious time. And unfortunately, riders have had to leave the race due to injuries, as some of these crashes are bad news. They travel at such high speeds on their bikes, along narrow, winding roads, filled with people on the sidelines cheering them on, not to mention the sheer number of other riders in the peloton. I tell people all the time that don’t watch that cycling the Tour is a dangerous race, one that is very tough on the riders from the sheer amount of racing they do day in and out, 5-6 hours a day, up mountains, racing racing racing. It is definitely not a race for the weak of heart.

Some quick little facts for you:

The race was started in 1903 by a cyclist and reporter, whose newspaper sponsored the race in order to encourage more readership. The paper, L’Auto, was printed on yellow paper, which is why there is a yellow jersey.

The race is 23 days, 21 Stages, and 2,200 miles long, through all sorts of terrain, including the Alps and the Pyrenees.

The Yellow Jersey, or Maillot Jaune, is worn by the leader of the race, determined by the fastest combined times overall, not by who wins the stage, which confused me at first. Being a stage winner is still a huge honor and accomplishment however! As of now, the Yellow Jersey rider is Alaphilippe.

The Green Jersey is worn by the rider who is the leading sprinter. This year that is Peter Sagan so far.

The White Jersey rider is the best young rider. This year’s best young rider so far is Enrich Mas.

The polka dot jersey is the jersey is the jersey worn by the best climber through those mountains, called the King of the Mountain. The current King is Tim Wellens.

  Peloton is the name for the big giant group of riders, the pack. There are usually breakaway groups in front and stragglers, but the peloton is the pack of the majority.

I’ve added a few books to my reading list – there are so many about the Tour!

I really want to read Lanterne Rouge, which is the name given to the last place rider overall. I like that they have their own designation – and it’s a poetic sounding one at that.

For someone who never watches sports on television, ever, I am a huge fan of the Tour! I recommend giving it a try! We have big plans to actually go see a Stage or two of the tour in about five years, when Wyatt is older. I would love to stand along one of those old roads in the French countryside, cheering the riders along.

 

 

Hello July!

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July, you are not my favorite month. I am not a fan of being hot and sticky and sweaty and Michigan summers are hot and sweaty and humid. Our family tends to shy away from the sunlight like vampires, hiding out in the air conditioning during the day, and then emerging in the evening as it cools off. None of us are summer lovers, in this house. But July, you have your own beauty and charm, and this year, I will embrace you more. You are a month of sunshine, and bright colors and flowers. Insects and birds are cheerily going about their business, flowers riot through gardens. There is a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farm markets, bursting with flavor, and more bright colors. That is probably my favorite thing about you July, your vibrancy.

This month is a busy one too. We have so many fun things planned, in our own ways, of course. The fourth of July and family picnics. The lavender festival, the Detroit Kite Festival on Belle Isle. Bastille Day, watching the Tour de France together. Music concerts at the zoo. And three whole date nights for Billy and I, three weeks in a row! A dinner and tiki bar with new friends, a party with old coworkers, and then finally a date night at the zoo actually. I also see many more family dinners – my brother and I are trying to make them as weekly as possible. Iced tea parties with my boy once a week as well. Fresh salads, fresh fruits, simple easy meals. Trips to the library always feel so summery to me too.

As for me, I am going to a mom’s retreat in Texas at the end of the month, just my stepsister and I. I have to admit, I am super nervous. Beyond nervous and anxious. I have never been away from Wyatt more than 8 hours and now I will be gone for three nights. But I am doing it. I am teaching Wyatt to not let fear rule his life, and that begins with me. I have to do things that maybe I am scared to do, to show him that it is ok. I am also excited to go as well. I have always wanted to go to Texas, my whole life, and now I am. There is a chance to see some of my old college friends who moved to Austin as well, which would be a great big bonus. And this is a retreat for moms of kids with special needs like my kiddo, and the event coordinators have so many activities planned if we want to do them – or we can do whatever we want. Two and half days where I can do whatever I choose. So, this is going to be fun. I will get to hang out with my stepsister too, and really get to know her better, as we met when we were older. I am looking forward to that. It is a chance for me to grow, and it is good to push ourselves to that growth. Or that is what I keep telling myself!

I think this month too, I will revisit old children’s classic books, and just books that I loved as a child. I am also doing the Paris in July challenge, so that is on my mind too, all the fun reads and things I can for that. It has also been one year since I decided to start phasing out plastic, with Plastic Free July, and I signed up for a challenge for that as well, to keep me motivated and give me some new ideas. I need a push to get on that again, and the challenge will do well for that!

How about you all? Any big plans for July?