Wednesday, September 21, 2011


It has been almost a month since I have blogged (well, here anyway.  But more on that in a minute.).  I just realized I never even finished blogging about our cruise.  Reader's Digest version- last day was at sea, lots of fun.  All in all: great vacation, lots of fun had by all, good food, good times, thumbs up for Carnival, and two thumbs up for vacationing with friends.  Nuff' said.

Now, onto the blogging business.  Technically we still "live" in France.  But Jacob and I are hanging out at my mom's house in SC while Matthew is back and forth to Brazil for weeks at a time.  Since I am not in France, it doesn't make sense to blog under 'Cabes in France'.  I have also officially launched my photography business since being back stateside.  At first I was trying to blog about the cruise here, then on my new business blog, blog about sessions.  My thought was to start a new 'Cabes in OK' blog once we moved to Oklahoma in January.  I quickly realized, keeping up two blogs is never going to happen!  So, I just decided that my new blog will have to work for both.  I will try to do a 'Mine on Monday' post with things going on with my child, my life, etc.  And, I have also been trying to write a letter to Jacob for my 'Thoughtful Thursday' posts (can't seem to get it together enough to make that happen every week).  The rest of the days will be devoted to posting sneak-peaks and session recaps for clients.  If you are on facebook, come check out my business page (Kimberly Cabe Photography), and 'like' me, if you want.  It may or may not make my day to see new fans...

For those of you who have followed all of the Cabe's adventures in France, but decide not to keep following over at the new blog, no hard feelings.  I know a lot of you are here because you also live in France, and I can't promise that our adventures in Oklahoma will be as entertaining.  Although they might...  It has been great meeting so many new friends through this little ol' blog.  It humbles/frightens me to see the reader count for each post.  This blog has gotten me through a lot of tough times in France, because no matter how horrible a situation, I would think "well, at least this will make for a good blog entry!".  I know I have probably shared waaayyyy too much (let's blame most of those posts on the pregnancy hormones), but it was therapeutic to me, and hopefully entertaining for you. I will be back in France for two weeks at the beginning of December to officially close the French chapter of our life.  And I plan on doing one last 'good-bye' post after that trip.  So, see you in December!

If you are interested, this will take you to my latest post:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Cruisin Cabes: Part 5

Day 6: Sicily

By this day, we were pretty tired, and would have loved to just stay on the boat.  But, we didn't know when we would be back in Sicily, so we decided to take advantage of our last day in Italy!  We let Jacob get a good morning nap in, and then set out.  There were only a few things I had read about in Messina.  Not much of a tourist destination, to say the least.  I did want to see the Cathedral in Messina, home to one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world.  Unfortunately, I couldn't remember the name, and thought I had written it down, but hadn't.  We had maps of the town, but were wandering around aimlessly.  We decided to give up and head to the shopping district, because my other goal for Sicily was to find something in the famous Italian leather.  A beautiful handbag perhaps...

We had just started down the street and saw a large crowd gathered.  We decided to see what was going on and were happily surprised to witness the last 5 minutes of the astronomical clock's amazing noon 'performance'.  It was pretty impressive to see all of the moving parts.  And hearing Ave Maria booming from the bell tower to the hushed crowds below gave me goosebumps.  What luck to have made it just in time!

Jacob was more impressed with the two, pretty, Italian girls standing off to the right.
Sorry for the shakey camera work, I was literally running up to the square because I wasn't sure how much longer it would last.

Did I mention how hot it was?  Well, it was H.O.T.  We pressed on, and Matthew, bless his heart, is such a trooper.  He lovingly agreed to walk all the way to the other side of the city to basically go purse shopping.  We were also on the look out for some place to eat, but couldn't find anything!  It was crazy, there were only stores.  We saw a few bars, but they didn't serve food.  We finally gave up on the shopping idea, and turned around and started heading back towards the ship, still hoping to find some lunch!  We finally found a pizza place, and all of the walking was worth it.  It was probably the best pizza I have ever had.  Matthew got this HUGE calzone.  The cook made a big deal to point out to Matthew that the calzone was shaped like a buffalo's head (the restaurant's logo).  Jacob even made friends with a little Italian boy at the next table who came and sat with us and played with Jacob.  He didn't speak a word of English, and I tried to ask him his name, but nothing I did (or gestured) made sense to him.

We had to be back on the ship early, so it could start the long trek back to Barcelona.  That night was the ship's one formal night.  It was quite interesting with a very tired baby.  Jacob had really had it by this point, and was not too keen on sitting through another dinner.  Our sweet waitress kept stopping by and would feed him a few bites or play with him, giving us a chance to actually eat our meal.  During dinner, the cruise director came over the intercom to announce that the captain was steering the ship past the volcanic island of Stromboli (I always thought stromboli was just another delicious Italian dish, who knew!).  Matthew and I took turns going out onto the deck to see the smoke spewing from the top of this active volcano.  Very cool.


Earlier in the week, Freddie and Matthew had a 'guy's night' and ate at the ship's steak house and went to the casino.  Now it was girl's night!  Jen and I met at the adult-only Serenity area after I put Jacob down for bed, and left Matthew reading on our balcony.  Since it was only about 8pm, when most normal adults are eating dinner, we had the entire place to ourselves!  It was so peaceful.  Nothing better than sipping a cocktail, watching the sunset from a hot tub on a cruise ship, and hanging out with a great friend! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Cruisin' Cabes: Part 4

Day 5:  Naples

I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to write this post, because this was my favorite day of the cruise!  Remember I said at the beginning that we went on the cruise with the Page family?  You probably forgot because I haven't mentioned them since!  Between all of the busy sightseeing days, Camp Carnival for the Page kids, and lots of quality couple time for Freddie and Jen, we didn't see them very much during the cruise.  That is one of the reasons, I was really looking forward to the Naples port day.

Jen found a company (owned and operated by an American woman) that offered private boats for tours around the island of Capri.  We opted for the 3 hour cruise, and since this was the first time Jacob would be on a boat and in a life jacket, I was honestly a little nervous that he would be hot and miserable...thus making all of the adults trapped on the boat with him, miserable as well.  Being the awesome parents of three that they are, Freddie and Jen assured us that they could handle anything Jacob threw at them.

We had to take a ferry from the Naples port to the island of Capri.  The plan was to meet our boat captain at 2pm, so we had lots of time in the morning to get a good nap in for Jacob.  Because of some miscommunication, we got on a different ferry than Freddie and Jen.  Matthew had gotten off the boat that morning to go buy our ferry tickets, and only saw one company (the larger, slower, car ferry boats).  After we were already on, Freddie called to say they had found the faster, people-only ferry boat, but unfortunately the one they were waiting in line for had just sold out.  They had to wait for the next one, but because ours was slower, we should all arrive about the same time.  The boat we were on was hot, and smelly, and the rocking was really getting to Matthew and me.  We had planned to eat lunch in Capri, and our empty stomachs were doing somersaults with the boat.  I have never wanted to get off a boat so much in my life!  Thankfully, the ride wasn't too long, and soon we were off and breathing the fresh, beautiful, Capri air.  We found out Freddie and Jen's boat was behind schedule and had time to grab some lunch.  I had to order a margherita pizza, since it was invented in Naples!

Freddie and Jen's ferry was really late getting in, so we ended up meeting the boat captain and getting everything settled while we waited.  Our captain was a young Italian- Pierre Paulo, who was born and raised on the island of Capri.  Freddie and Jen finally arrived and all of the stress of the sea sickness, heat, and late ferries was forgotten as soon as we got on our beautiful, little, wooden, Italian boat, and cruised out of the Capri port.

I can't even begin to describe the color of the water.  It looks pretty amazing in the pictures, but I don't even think the pictures does it justice. It is simply breathtaking.  We cruised around the island and Pierre Paulo told us stories and legends of the different coves, bluffs, and villas dotting the rocky terrain.  He also drove the boat into some of the coves and back into the grottoes.  Each had its own name and story.  They were beautiful.  Pierre Paulo also found a great little cove where we could swim, with no one else around!  Jacob wasn't quite sure about the water, so I stayed on board while Matthew, Freddie, and Jen swam.  Pierre Paulo also gave them goggles so they could swim under this big rock that was in the middle of the cove.  There was also a concrete landing at the bottom of some stairs that led up to a villa.  They decided to climb onto it and jump off.  (Of course Matthew just had to climb out over the rocks so he could jump off something higher.)

Jacob was warming up to the idea of swimming, so we tried again, and he happily splashed and kicked around in the waters of the Mediterranean.  Too bad the poor kid won't remember all of these adventures he has been on. 

All to soon, it was time to get going again so we would have time to make it all the way around the island in time to catch the ferry back to the cruise ship.  I really love my son, but if he had been old enough to stay on the ship at Camp Carnival, this would have been the day for that.  He was such a trooper and after his swim, slept in my lap the rest of the way.  But, if the four of us could have been sans enfants, the cruise around Capri would have been pure heaven. I didn't even get a chance to lounge in the sun on the pillow covered bow of the boat.  Maybe next time I find myself on the island of Capri...

For the ferry ride back, we all were able to get on the fast ferry, that did a lot less rocking, and by the time Carnival pulled up anchor, we were all hanging out poolside after another glorious day of cruisin'.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Cruisin' Cabes: Part 3

Day 4:  Livorno (Pisa)

After a long, tiring day in Rome, we spent a lazy morning on the ship.  We also wanted to make sure Jacob got a good morning nap.  As soon as Jacob woke up, we ate a quick lunch on the Lido deck and headed out.  That day, the ship was docked in Livorno.  From there, the suggested excursions were Pisa (about 30 minutes away) or Florence (about an hour away).  We headed to Pisa!  To get there, we first had to take the port shuttle to the middle of town.  From there, we had to get on the number 1 bus, to the train station.  Then, take a train to Pisa.  And finally, either walk 30 minutes, or take another bus to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

-Port Shuttle- no big deal
-Bus to train station- absolutely PACKED (thank goodness the Pages let us borrow their umbrella stroller for the day, because there is no way we could have gotten on the bus with our big stroller).
-Train to Pisa- we missed the first available train to Pisa by mere minutes, but only had to wait about 5 minutes for the next train.

Hanging out on the ac, drinking a bottle on a train in Italy.  That is how Jacob rolls.

-Now, to get to the tower... It was really hot, and the idea of walking 30 minutes didn't really appeal to us.  But, then again, after feeling like sardines on the last bus we took, the thought of getting on another bus didn't sound great either.  As we were looking at a map trying to weigh our options, we heard some people behind us discussing the price of these 4 person bicycle things.  Hmm, interesting.  I asked one of the guys (thinking he was the owner), but it turned out that he and a friend had rented two to carry their families and all of their luggage from their hotel to the train station.  Now, that they dropped off the wives, kids, and bags, they were looking for some people to help them pedal them back to the rental place (which just happened to be by the tower).  We quickly jumped into the deal, and 5 minutes later, with Jacob strapped in between us on the back seat, we were off!  (well, we were off at the speed of a slowly pedaling bike).  In my mind, I was picturing this gentle ride on a bike path.  I was wrong. We were pedaling down the middle of the road.  Anyone who has ever driven (or ridden) on a road in Italy, knows how insane the Italians are when you put them behind a wheel.  My stomach was in my throat as cars and mopeds wizzed passed us, and the pavement was rushing underneath.  I couldn't believe that I was such a careless mother that I didn't even stop to consider the fact that we were completely unprotected in this contraption if we were to be hit, and the little lap belt would do nothing to keep Jacob from falling under... the thought of all that could happen was just too much!  I know this was probably a little dramatic, but it honestly scared me.  Luckily, there was nothing to fear, we all arrived safe and sound. 

Our bicycles.
And there we were! 

Standing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  First impressions?  It was a lot whiter than I thought from pictures I had seen.  After reading some of the signs, we found out it has been recently cleaned.  We walked around, took some pictures (including the mandatory 'leaning' pictures), browsed the market, and found a little gelateria for an afternoon snack.  Jacob got his first taste of Italian gelato (yogurt flavored).  He was a big fan. 


By then, it was time to head back to the ship.  This time, we opted for a bus back to the train station.  Back on the train, back on the bus to the center of town, and then in line for the port shuttle.  This is where things got a little dicey.  The crowds of people waiting to get on the shuttle were insane.  We were in the front of the line and as we were about to get on, the driver motioned for me to go put the stroller in the compartment under the bus.  This meant I had to get out of line.  Thank goodness Matthew had Jacob, and thank goodness another guy was beside him, and realizing how hard people were shoving, helped Matthew shield Jacob as they moved forward to get onto the bus.  Now, I am not usually one to be very aggressive in a crowd, but I quickly realized that after putting the stroller away, I might not get on the bus.  I had to push far above my comfort level, but there was no way I wasn't getting on that bus with my baby!  Shew!  Not a great moment for the human race, it was horrible to see the way people were acting. 

Back on the ship, the livin' was easy again.  We even had time to hang out at the pool for about an hour before dinner.

The pool was perfect for Jacob because the water was only a few inches deep around the whole edge.  Jacob could crawl around and splash.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Cruisin' Cabes: Part 2

So apparently me blogging 'tomorrow' turned into 'next week'.  Things have just been too hectic to sit down and blog.  But, I have about 30 minutes, so let's see if I can recap a few more of our days at sea.

To review:
Day 1:  Left from Barcelona
Day 2:  (or is that officially Day 1?)  Monaco
Day 3: Rome

Rome in a day...hmmm... we knew this was impossible, but it was either hit it for one day on the cruise or not get to see it at all.  From the minute we found out we were moving to France and started daydreaming trips and vacations in Europe, Rome was at the very top of Matthew's list.  The Coliseum more specifically.  I did a ton of research and planning to maximize our day in Rome.  Matters weren't helped by the fact that the ship docks over an hour from Rome.  That is a huge chunk of time taken out of the day.  Add on the crowds, the July heat, and taking a 7 month with us... our day in Rome was going to be anything but relaxing.  I pre-booked train tickets, and knew that we needed to be in line to get off the ship as soon as we docked at 8am to make sure we got on the port shuttle bus and to the train station in time.

Tuesday morning we woke up early and took advantage of the {free!} room service and had breakfast brought to the room, so we could eat and get ready at the same time.  We were almost ready when Matthew pulled back the curtains to our balcony.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  It was pitch black outside and pouring down rain.  I am talking- torrential downpours.  My heart sank.  What were we going to do?  Walking around Rome in the rain all day with a baby would be miserable!  Just as I am contemplating how we could keep Jacob dry, the sky lit up with lightning, followed by huge booms of thunder.  That sealed the deal.  There was no way I was taking my baby out into lightning.  I was so disappointed.  We started talking about Matthew going by himself, so at least the day wouldn't be a complete loss.  But before we could even make a decision, the rain slowed, the sky began clearing, and we decided to go for it.  At this point, we were already behind "schedule".  By the time we got off the ship, the shuttle buses were packed and with our big all-terrain stroller there was no way we could get on one.  So we started walking.  It was about a three mile walk for us to the train station, and I was really worried that we would miss our train.  Luckily, the train was delayed, and we got there with just minutes to spare.  We found our little train "cabin" and as luck would have it, all the way in Civitavecchia, Italy, we get stuck in a train car with USC Gamecock fans! :)  It was really nice to be with people from "home", and they were actually on the Carnival Magic too (after that day we saw them everywhere we went on the ship!).  We arrived in Rome and the sightseeing marathon began!

Waiting for the train to Rome.

Rome was the day of stairs.  Everywhere we went there were TONS of stairs.  
Stairs + Big Stroller +Long Day of Sightseeing = Exhausted Parents!
Our first stop was Basilica Di San Pietro in VincoliThis church was first built in 432-440 to house the chains that bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem.  According to legend, when Pope Leo compared those chains to the chains of St. Peter's final imprisonment in the Mamertine Prison in Rome, the two chains miraculously fused together.  There is also a Michelangelo sculpture of Moses in the church.  


From there, we walked to the Coliseum.  We had already toured the inside of the Coliseum in Nimes, France, which is in much better condition (although it is smaller).  We just took enough time to walk around a little and take some pictures.  Oh, and by the way, by this time the sun was shining!  Thank goodness we took the risk and didn't waste the whole day sitting on the ship!

Next, it was back to the metro, to grab a train over to the Vatican.  We stopped for lunch at this place Matthew had been told about called Pizzarium.  It is the tiniest place.  You go in to order, pay for your pizza by weight, but there is no place to sit inside and eat.  We got there just before the rush and were able to grab a park bench outside.  This pizza is like nothing I have ever seen, and the dough is made using live yeast that the owner traveled all over Italy collecting from little villages.  It was amazing!  

Re-energized, we headed to the Vatican Museum.  Again, I had pre-bought tickets online for the museum, and when we saw the line that wrapped around the building, I was so glad!  We still had to wait in line to go through security, but we probably saved ourselves an hour of waiting in line by buying the tickets online.  Rick Steves suggests allowing at least 2-3 hours for the museum.  We did the speedy gonzales version, and were in and out in an hour and a half!  Luckily, Jacob slept through most of it.  It was definitely worth the trip to see in person the Sistine Chapel!

It was SO hot!
We have pictures of Jacob sleeping his way through Italy.

After the museum, we had a few other places we wanted to see, but Jacob was getting tired of being in the stroller, and we were pretty tired as well.  We decided to go ahead and head back to the ship.  We were already a little nervous that we wouldn't make it back to the ship in time.  (and they will leave you!)  We were really glad that we made that decision, because by the time we got back to the ship Jacob was really tired.  

Ok, Rome was a big day, so I will blog more later.  Hopefully this time it won't take me a full week to find time again! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Cabes in France...and Spain..and Monaco...and Italy!

The last few weeks have been crazy for the Cabe household.  July started off great with a 7 day Mediterranean cruise.  We drove back to Clermont from Barcelona, and two days later turned around and flew to the US.  Since landing in Atlanta, we have been going non-stop.  This is the first chance I have had to sit down and blog about our amazing week at sea.  So here we go!

Matthew and I always start planning our next vacation before the current vacation is even over.  Last August, while sitting on the beach at Cap d'Agde, we started making plans for summer 2011- our last summer (meaning our last summer vacation) in France.  We had so many places left on our 'to see' list!  How on earth were we going to decide where to go?!  I was about 6 months pregnant at this point, and the thought of spending Matthew's 3 week vacation on a whirlwind driving tour of Europe with a baby did NOT sound appealing!  We started throwing around the idea of a cruise.  I did a lot of research on cruising with a baby, and everyone had very positive things to say about it.  I found a Carnival cruise that left from Barcelona (a 6 hour drive from us), docked at Monaco, Rome, Livorno (Pisa), Naples, and Sicily.  Italy (specifically Rome) was high on our list of places to go, so this all sounded perfect.  Our good friends, The Pages, decided to join us and were set to go!  Jen and I have been talking, planning, and day dreaming about this cruise since we first introduced the idea last fall.  I couldn't believe when it was finally time to get on the ship!

Matthew has a cousin that is living part of the year in Girona, Spain, which is about an hour north of Barcelona. We decided to drive down Saturday morning, spend the night with Jen and Steven, and then drive the last hour Sunday in time to board the ship.  Due to lots of construction and horrible traffic, we arrived much later than we wanted, which meant a much-too-short of a visit.  We still had a great evening grilling and hanging out on their HUGE terrace overlooking the city of Girona.  We had a little bit of time Sunday morning to get a quick walking tour of Girona before getting back in the car.

We found the port in Barcelona really easily.  Matthew dropped Jacob, me, and the bags off at our terminal and went to park the car.  Jacob and I waited, and waited, and waited for Matthew to come back.  He was supposed to be parking in a lot close by, and catching a shuttle bus back.  I kept seeing these blue shuttle buses pull in, unload, and leave, with Matthew nowhere to be seen.  I finally decided to forget about the crazy roaming charges in Spain and called Matthew on his cell.  He hadn't been able to get a bus to stop for him, so he was in the process of running all the way back to the port.  Needless to say, by the time we boarded the ship, Matthew was exhausted.  No worries though!  We were about an hour from setting sail on the Mediterranean!  We met up with Freddie and Jen, and stood on the back of the ship as The Carnival Magic pulled away from the dock! 

Waiting for Matthew at the port.  We made lots of friends with the porters.
Unpacking in the room.

We had a great first dinner, and after rigging a privacy curtain around Jacob's crib (using a sheet and magnet clips I brought from home), Jacob was sacked out.  Matthew and I splurged on a balcony stateroom so that whoever was on nap duty, or for when Jacob went to sleep at night, we wouldn't be stuck in the room trying to be quiet.  The balcony was oh-so worth it!  It was super relaxing to sit out on our balcony, sip on a cocktail, and glide along the water. 

Fun animal towels for Jacob.  Thanks Jose!

(This post is getting kind of long, so stay with me while I recap just the first day, and I promise I will give you a break...until tomorrow (I hope) when I will try to add another post).

The first stop was Monaco.  We had visited Monaco when we were in Nice at Christmas with my family.  After not being too impressed, we decided to stay on the ship (hoping everyone else got off the ship) and enjoy the pools.  Freddie and Matthew did get off for a few hours in the afternoon to play a hand of Black Jack at Casino Royale.  Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly the suave James Bond experience they were hoping for. But, it is one more thing they can check off their bucket list.  Matthew volunteered to cover Jacob's afternoon nap, and I spent a very relaxing 2 hours at the adult-only "Serenity" pool area, alternating reading and napping in a huge round cabana bed.

View of Monte Carlo from our balcony.
Exploring the ship.
 My cabana bed.  Love.
 View from my cabana bed.

Ok, see, that wasn't too long.  Right?  Rome tomorrow!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Separation Anxiety

There seems to be some separation anxiety in the Cabe household.  But apparently I am the one who has it, not Jacob. 

Some of you might know that I am in a cooking group here in Clermont.  I don't think I have ever posted a blog about it, not sure why.  Anyway, it is a small group of international women who all love to cook.  Once a month we meet at someone's house and are introduced to recipes from that woman's country (or husband's country).  We start in the morning and cook together a three course meal, and then eat the food for lunch.  I am the resident American cook, and have shared recipes for pulled pork barbeque, homemade macaroni and cheese, biscuits, fresh corn salad, peach cobbler...  We have another American who is from New Orleans, so she shares a lot of creole cooking.  And her husband is of Cuban descent, so we get some good Cuban food thrown in as well.  I have also learned to cook Indian, Singaporean, Thai, Bolivian, Russian, and French cuisine.  I can honestly say that this cooking group, and the access to so many international women and cuisines, is something I am going to miss the most about living here.

Back to the separation anxiety.  When I hosted l'Atelier Culinaire at my house, it wasn't too hard with Jacob.  He wasn't mobile at that point and was content to either be passed from person to person, play on his Baby Einstein mat, and he also helped me out by taking a really long nap that morning.  Today's group was meeting at a French woman's home.  I had never been there before, so didn't know how newly-crawling-baby-safe it was, and honestly, I just wanted to fully enjoy and participate in the cooking.  Not worry about Jacob. 

I called my good friend Jen and asked her to babysit.  She had tennis, but could start at 10:30.  My next call was to a friend whose daughter is back for the summer after her first year of college.  Daniele agreed to cover from 9-10:30.  No problem.  Right?  Yep.  Until this morning when I started getting all flustered about the whole situation.  What if he starts pitching a fit?  He is normally happy-go-lucky, but when he gets upset, he gets UPSET.  Even Matthew and I have a hard time calming him down if he really gets going.  Would he nap?  He is such a creature of habit, would this change in routine throw him for a loop?  If he didn't nap, would he really be a terror for these two sweet women who are doing me this huge favor?  He is used to being with me everyday, all day.  Would he flip out when I walked out the door and didn't come back?  These and a million other questions/concerns were running through my mind.  As I left my sweet baby in the very capable hands of Daniele, I had to force myself to continue walking to the bus, and not turn around and run back to the apartment. 

About 100 texts later, I was feeling calmer, since apparently Jacob barely noticed I was gone...  I got back home around 2:30pm, and Jacob and Jen were happily playing on the floor.  I know I was super happy to see him, and I was rewarded with smiles and some snuggles.  Based on his 2 hr+ nap this afternoon, I need to find out what Daniele and Jen did to wear him out so much! 

Bottom line.  Mom survived.  And, Mom had an amazing French meal thrown into the deal (that included boeuf bourguignon and tarte tatin, mmmmm!).