Tuesday, December 25, 2012

merry christmamericazilian

The Eloi family generously hosted yet another celebratory gathering for us on Christmas Eve. We enjoyed amazing food, playing with and laughing at the chicken pocked kiddos, drinking too much wine, and cherishing our time together.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

a big thanks!

In lieu of this week's regularly scheduled meeting, the not-yet-holiday-traveled homegroupers attended Andy's match on Tuesday night. I would have been perfectly content with a down and dirty win in three, but the Spacer's dudes had something much more anxiety-producing exciting in mind.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Friends and family, I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. It's been far too long since my last update and I'm sure all 4 of you frequent readers have been hungry for a little Hein family life update. Patience is a virtue. After once-a-day blogging for an entire month, I convinced myself I had earned a short - albeit unnecessary (let's be honest, what else do I have to do...?) - break from the blogosphere.

As teased at the end of November, Alejandro convinced me to join him on a quick trip to Barcelona while Andy was away for the French Cup. We braved the rain and "Hotel" Coronado ("hotel" because it cost 12 euro per night per person), and enjoyed an awesome little getaway.

We were sure to act as touristy as possible. We powered through day one by visiting Las Ramblas, the Columbus Monument, the Gothic Quarter, the Arc de Triomf, the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Sagrada Familia cathedral.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

wordless wednesday

on to the next one...

the best way to spread christmas cheer...

We were pleased as punch to host our small group's Christmas celebration. In an attempt to make a somewhat lonely (dramatic, I know) holiday season a bit brighter, I decided to "Christmas the heck" out of our apartment. The festive decorations, wonderful friends, and treats for days made for a perfect evening.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

because one thanksgiving wasn't enough

Every year, in an effort to reach out to the community we are a part of, the "young adults" in our church host a Thanksgiving dinner. Sign up sheets were passed around for the weeks leading up to our belated grubfest, cute little invites made for handing out to friends, colleagues, and classmates, and a few fabulous elder couples in the church worked their butts off to facilitate an incredible night of fellowship.

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 days of thankful: 30

My God. He has a perfectly planned life for me and has trusted me enough, as His kiddo, to live it out for His glory. How flipping sweet is that?

He is my Abba, my Father, my protector, my planner, my biggest fan and my best friend. Thank you, God, for everything you have provided me with.

Tonight was a wonderful reminder of God's love for us. Our church hosted their annual traditional American Thanksgiving celebration dinner tonight. It was incredible to be gathered together, from so many different backgrounds and walks of life, in one room with one common goal: give thanks and be grateful.

on to the next one...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 days of thankful: 29

My incredibly hard-working, motivated, supportive, charming, encouraging, silly, sometimes a little too weird, smiling, super cute, wonderfully talented, and all-things-Kate-loving (okay, maybe not all things) husband, Andy'le.

If you don't believe me, check this out...

Disclaimer: as the above interview was conducted before my time, I will not take responsibility for the obvious lack of media training that went into the preparation for this interview. I disgress...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

30 days of thankful: 28

Family. Our ever-growing, spread out across the country (and world at times), wild and crazy family is one of the biggest blessings in our lives. Their support is unwavering. Their love is undeniable. We consider ourselves so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible people.

We miss them while we're away but are thankful to be able to spend time with them all during our short stint in the states every spring and summer.

on to the next one...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 days of thankful: 27

Friends that might as well be family. Where on earth would we be without you?


on to the next one...

Monday, November 26, 2012

30 days of thankful: 26

Spontaneity (and friends who force you into it - ahem, Alejandro). For those of you who know me well, you know I'm a planner. I'm highly-organized and I'm extremely Type A. It might surprise you, then, that this morning 'Jandro and I metro-ed to the SNCF station and purchased two tickets to Barcelona. We returned home only to research and book a hotel, pack up our things, and head back to the station.

It's adventure time!

on to the next one...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 days of thankful: 25

Food and fellowship. Albeit a bit late, we were able celebrate Thanksgiving with a good ol' family dinner and subsequent football watching this evening. There is much to be thankful for, and on this day we are especially grateful for the essentials that God has provided us with - shelter, fuel for our bodies, and companionship.

Side-stepping ever so slightly from the "traditional" Thanksgiving menu, I spent the day in the kitchen attempting my first home cooked, unassisted holiday spread.

Our menu (top to bottom, left to right): Sweet Potato Casserole, Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry and Apple Stuffing, Sautéed Green Beans, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, Baked Pumpkin Mac & Cheese. I'm pleased to report everything was not only edible but delicious, especially when paired with a few bottles of regional wine (thanks David!).

on to the next one...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 days of thankful: 24

Our apartment. Yes, there are many problems with it. No, the mold issue hasn't been resolved so yes, we are still sleeping in the living room. But we are so thankful to have a roof over our heads and a cute little place to call home.

on to the next one...

Friday, November 23, 2012

30 days of thankful: 23

This guy.

'Jandro, in all his Euro backpacking glory, arrived to Toulouse today! We're looking so forward to a wonderful visit with our Kandejandro tripod counterpart and are happy that he's survived a week + of traipsing around Europe thus far.

on to the next one...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 days of thankful: 22

Slingbox. Though it was a special day of celebrations in the states, today was just another day in Frenchieland. Andy had practice until late this evening and with our amigo Alejandro's visit around the corner, we decided to postpone our Thanksgiving celebration to Sunday.

The one thing that did help it feel like Turkey Day was the fact that we got to enjoy a bit of American football via le super truc also known as the Slingbox. As we were unable to take part in many of our usual Thanksgiving traditions, the fact that we got to watch every gut-wrenching moment of the Texans/Lions game is something to be thankful for indeed.

Thanks to the Texans for reigning victorious in the end.

on to the next one...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 days of thankful: 21

Laughter. It's the cornerstone of any happy and healthy relationship, and I'm so thankful to do so much of it. My family, friends, husband and dog provide endless entertainment and laughs. Merci all of you!

This throwback video, taken during Pat and Leah's wedding reception, is a brief yet unrivaled snapshot of just how entertaining my family is. Though you may not (and that's okay), I laugh out loud and sometimes uncontrollably at this 18 seconds of solid gold videography.

on to the next one...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 days of thankful: 20

Andy's teammates and the club staff. They are entertaining the Hein family and jumping on the bandwagon in celebration of Movember. Their commitment to the cause is honorable and hilarious.

Case in point...

on to the next one...

Monday, November 19, 2012

30 days of thankful: 19

My husband's patience. Due to an unwanted pest in our apartment, I've spent most of my time in France under the weather due to my various allergy-related sicknesses. Last night, we decided to switch up the sleeping arrangement in our apartment and move into a mold-free living room. I'm thankful for Andy's patience with my whining, sniffling, and general feel-yuckiness these past few weeks, but I'm even more thankful he entertained my crazy idea to move the whole bed - platform frame included - instead of just the mattress.

on to the next one...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 days of thankful: 18

Toulouse International Church. One of the first things we researched upon signing in Toulouse was an English-speaking church. Having zero community outside of the volleyball world last season and coming off an incredible church/FCA-related summer in Orange County, we knew we needed to make church shopping a priority. There weren't too many options, which made the decision easier, but we are so thankful that God lead us to TIC.

It's definitely a trek to get out there (it takes about an hour and twenty via four different modes of public transportation) but the people and community we've found is invaluable, making the weekly journey more than worthwhile.

We are looking forward to being in Toulouse for the holidays and getting to experience the special, seasonal activities and goings on at church - a Thanksgiving Outreach Meal for Young Adults, the Annual Children's Christmas Pageant (I wonder if they'll have live animals?), and Christmas service.

on to the next one...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 days of thankful: 17

Pinterest. Before you judge, this post has nothing to do with my moderate addiction to pinning all things DIY, travel destination, and fashion-related. Instead, it has everything to do with all of the amazing recipes I've discovered because of it. Crockpot creations, a variety of vegetarian dishes, and most importantly, desserts to die for.

Tonight's Pinterest-inspired activities include making a beautiful advent "wreath" and baking a batch of black bean brownies while monitoring Live Score on lnv.fr.

on to the next one...

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 days of thankful: 16

Me time. It's never fun when Andy has to travel for away matches but every once in awhile, it's nice to have some time alone. A glass (or three) of wine, a girly movie, toast for dinner, and snuggles with Harry was the perfect way to spend my Friday evening after a day of down and dirty apartment cleaning.

But I do miss the mister. Snag a win and come home soon, Andy'le!

on to the next one...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 days of thankful: 15

Elizabeth Anne. She's one of the brightest lights in my life. How can she not be? She's absolutely gorgeous, perfectly sweet, happy, hilarious and downright perfect. I recorded this little ditty last weekend during our Skype session. I'd be lying if I said I didn't listen to it at least once a day.

While we are so sad to be even farther away from her than usual, we are so happy to encounter her beautiful soul via the interweb each week.

on to the next one...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 days of thankful: 14

Our "home group". I actually don't even know where to begin in terms of thankfulness as it pertains to the young adults "home group" we take part in every Tuesday night. Each week, our group of 10-ish city center-ers gather at a different member's home to eat, worship, pray and discuss our bible study together. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet all of these incredible people - they are an enormous blessing this season. We're looking forward to growing in our friendships, our marriage, and most importantly, our relationship with the big guy. Merci Lord!

on to the next one...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 days of thankful: 13

Heat. I'm realizing just how easy it is to take everyday things for granted - heat being one of them. Our apartment in Toulouse has been without an operating heater since we arrived. At first, in 40+ degree celsius temperatures, we didn't mind and honestly didn't even know it was non-operational. Fast forward two months. The city has been spent most of its recent days under a thick and bone chilling fog. Upon exiting our building this morning, we could see our breath for the first time.

Imagine our delight when a little Frenchie man entered our apartment this afternoon announcing, "C'est electrician", and began installing a new heater in the living room. Victoire!

And in the spirit of fairness, we'd also like to dedicate this post to the beautiful Miss Jennifer Palmquist. We couldn't possibly give a shout-out to little bro Tyler without doing the same for Jenn. We miss you, sister, and can't wait to see you again next summer. Thinking of you on your special day and wishing you the happiest of birthdays!

on to the next one...

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 days of thankful: 12

Seeing how this blog is named "inheinsight," I feel it is my duty to write a blog once every 6 or so months. Kate is strongly "recommending" giving me the chance today, and luckily I'm feeling extra thankful for her in so many ways.

1. I'm thankful for her support. She has willingly traveled to Russia, Switzerland, Italy (Latina and Padova), and France to support my career. Life in Europe wouldn't be worth it without her by my side.
2. I'm thankful for her newly discovered talent in the kitchen. I love food (not as much as Kate) and I'm loving the many recipes she's whipping up for me to eat. Let's just say I don't mind being her guinea pig in this area of life.
3. I'm thankful for her adventurous spirit and love of life.

The actual list is way longer and I don't need to write it all out (another thing I'm thankful for... Kate's weird side).

Thanks 'rio. I'm thankful for you.

on to the next one...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 days of thankful: 11

The Eloi family. We are super blessed to be sharing the season with the Eloi family - Andre, Nana, Santiago and Valentin. Their generosity, willingness to open their home to us, irresistibly adorable kiddos and their genuine kindness is nothing short of admirable.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 days of thankful: 10

All things Tyler Palmquist, including but not limited to... his wrist brace, his singing voice, his band - Animus, his punctuality (joke!), and his general little brother-ness.

We love, miss and are so dearly thankful for all members of the Palmquist family (Jenn, Andy says "even you") but as little bro Tyler turns 18 today, this post is dedicated to him.

Looking forward to another summer of Palmquist family fun - including our personal favorites, band practice and game night - in 2013. And Happy Birthday TRP!

on to the next one...

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 days of thankful: 9

English. With the variety of random household repairs desperately needed in our apartment and the subsequent influx of Frenchie repairmen, I'm really thankful that despite the obvious language barrier, we're able to communicate. Kind of...

on to the next one...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 days of thankful: 8

Teiva (pictured middle below). Our French teacher is literally the sweetest, most patient, and happiest person. As we continue on this journey of understanding and speaking (I use those terms loosely) French, I'm more than happy to have him as our guide. I also just love his response when I ask the repeated question, "But why is it like that?" He nods. Thinks. Smiles... "Because it's French."

C'est la vie.

on to the next one...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 days of thankful: 7

My crockpot. I'll admit, I always not so secretly judged crockpot owners and operators. There was something so "down home" and "Midwest-y" (not the good kind) about crockpot aficionados.

Monsieur Croque and I have had our fair share of culinary adventures in the short time since we fell in love. Lentil Chili, Vegetable Curry - to name a few - and this evening, Sweet Potato Soup. Perhaps I had to reach a certain age before fully appreciating the wonders of a crockpot (combine, set, leave - c'est magique!). Or maybe the severe lack of kitchen space and cooking apparatuses is responsible for my changed heart. Either way, color me crocked.

on to the next one...

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 days of thankful: 6

America. How can you not love the land of the free and the home of the brave? I'm one of those super lame patriotic people who gets choked up during the national anthem at any given sporting event. Although we're thousands of miles away from home and unfortunately not proudly sporting our "I Voted" stickers today, I'm thankful to the right to vote. Regardless of the outcome of today's election, I'm proud to be an American and thankful to hail from such an incredible country.

on to the next one...

30 days of thankful: 5

Movida. I'm moderately obsessed with my Frenchie gym here in Toulouse. They have all sorts of fitness classes (that I don't understand), high-energy (and not bad looking) instructors, and most importantly, treadmills! Most importantly, I say, because with the wintery weather in Toulouse also comes almost unbearable winds, making running outdoors less than desirable. Running is a crucial aspect of training for my next fitness adventure, considering I'm running another half-marathon. In March. In Paris. Ah! The secret's out. Now that I've publicly declared this commitment to the inter-webs, I better actually get my butt in gear. Maybe tomorrow...

on to the next one...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 days of thankful: 4

My husband's career. His gift and passion for volleyball is the blessed reason we get to live in so many different places around the world while enjoying a perpetual state of wanderlust. We've experienced so many wonderfully unique and beautiful cities (and documented them all, ahthankyou) in the time we've travelled together over the past year and a half - Yaroslavl, all over Switzerland, Torino, Avignon, Arles, Latina, Rome, Terracina, Florence, Padova, Verona, Venice, Toulouse, Paris, the list goes on...

I can't imagine doing life - especially this life - with anyone other than my best friend and partner in crime.

on to the next one...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 days of thankful: 3

Harry Winston. He's the best little animal friend anyone could ask for. In so many ways. Plus, he's seriously the cutest. I mean, look at him...

on to the next one...

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 days of thankful: 2

Sunshine. The weather is getting colder and rainier as the winter months approach, so the sunshine has an extra special place in my heart these days. Waking up to this view from out balcony just doesn't really get old. Ever.

on to the next one...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 days of thankful: 1

Technology (specifically Skype and iMessage) - especially while overseas. It's so stinkin' easy to stay in touch with family and friends, even though we're halfway across the world from them.

Going through my mail with my mom in California and catching up with sister bear and company in Wisconsin on Skype, and group texting with my besties in Minnesota does wonders for curbing my homesickness and makes this life abroad much more do-able.

on to the next one...

Monday, October 29, 2012

"paris is always a good idea."

Charles Dickens once said, "What an immense impression Paris made upon me. It is the most extraordinary place in the world!"

I have to agree. A million times.

Until very recently, my impressions of Paris were based heavily on memories of swimming in my own sweat due to the European summer heatwave of 2002, gawking at the ruckus-causing bus drivers "on strike", and missing my high school boyfriend (note, it was much the same mindset described here). 

What a difference a decade makes. I spent most of the train ride from Toulouse to Paris daydreaming about my arrival. I'd immediately transform into my very own version of the chic, glamourous and perfectly Parisian Audrey below (dog and all).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

brit, (volley)ball, and bike rides

This past weekend, our dear friend Brittney trekked down from Poitiers (where she's playing this season) to visit for a few days. Though the weather was less than desirable, we powered through and made the most of our time together.

We lunched avec David "The Mayor" Gerard at Victor Hugo and enjoyed the architecture in the centre. Too many glasses of lunch wine led to a serious afternoon nap sesh. I'm sure Andy was thankful for a giggle and girl talk reprieve as he prepped for the match that evening.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

four score and seven years ago...

...I mean, wait. Four years ago, my very best friend in the entire world got to marry her best friend in the entire world. How rad it that? I've been taking a lengthy, day-dreaming trip down memory lane for the last several minutes, recalling the precious and memory-making weeks leading up to the big day - bachelorette celebrating in Napa, last minute wedding planning at the condo, apple shining and bouquet making in various hotel rooms, dress fitting and most importantly, best friend marrying.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

an open letter to easy jet / speaking english: part 2

Dear EasyJet,

First and foremost, I'd like to thank you for existing. Your affordable fares to many desirable European cities make mini-vacations, holidays and visits with friends possible.

Secondly and even more importantly, thank you for having a direct flight from Geneva to Toulouse.

We look forward to utilizing your services in the not-so-distant future.


Thanks entirely to EasyJet, my girlfriend Claire was able to bop on over to France this past weekend. It was so great to see her smiling face again, speak non-broken English, have lengthy discussions about just how great and larger-than-life God is, show off our hometown, and host at Hotel Hein for the first time this season.

Claire arrived Friday afternoon. After a thrilling trip to Auchan, we forced Andy to pose for the awkward "first game of the season" photo below, whipped up a quick and healthy dinner, girl talked in the bathroom while getting ready, and headed over to Palais des Sports to take in the season opener of Spacer's Toulouse.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

celebrating santiago

On Sunday afternoon, we trekked out to the Eloi family's house to celebrate their son, Santiago, turning four. It was obvious from the moment we walked in the front door that Nana (Andre's wife) and Rachel (Alex's wife) had worked their Brazilian butts off to ensure this Spiderman-themed fete was a success.

It was great to see the players, meet their families, watch all the kiddos jump around in the bounce house, and attempt to communicate with the collective group in French!

Nana is incredibly creative and a very talented treat maker. There were handmade Spiderman centerpieces and decorations, several different varieties of delicious bon-bons, and an impressively constructed Spiderman cake.

Eloi family, thanks for hosting such a wonderful afternoon and including us in the fun!

on to the next one...