Sunday, May 27, 2007

Party time

Today we attended Frédéric's cousin's daughter's First Communion and of course the obligatory family party afterwards. Benjamin had a rough day of it since he didn't get either of his usual two 2-hour naps, but he got a second wind in time to dance before we left. He also shocked the Creole part of the family by eating some spicy food (it wasn't that hot!) and loving it.

Benjamin and me in the church

Benjamin dancing
Benjamin with his great-aunt Tina and great-uncle Joe who came all the way from Reunion Island! He had of course never met them before. I had met Tina once before but never Joe, and Frédéric had not seen his uncle Joe in 20 years!

We had a good time but Benjamin was more than ready to go to bed when we got home. When I put him in his crib, he started laughing out of sheer happiness to be in his beloved bed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Trip to Disneyland Paris

Our friend Emiley came from Germany to visit us this week with her two kids, and we all went to Disneyland Paris for the day. After almost a week of rain, we got lucky and had pretty good weather the whole day, despite the clouds you see in the pictures. It didn't rain on us, at least.

Frederic and Benjamin on Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Benjamin and Frederic's dad on the Studio Tram Tour

It's a Small World - Paris

Benjamin on It's a Small World

One tired baby

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Lesson in French Culture

After having cancelled our guests for Tuesday because we were both ill, our Thursday company called and cancelled as well because they had the same thing! That wasn't such a bad thing, since that gave us more time to recuperate before yesterday. We are both feeling much better now.

Frédéric's coworkers helped us move in to the house last July, but we hadn't yet found a time to have them over to thank them. So yesterday they came over, accompanied by wives and children, and we had a barbecue.

The thing is, when you have French people over for lunch, you should probably be prepared to offer them dinner as well. We didn't actually keep them here for dinner, but everyone had arrived by 12:30 pm and the last ones went home at 8 pm. And then they didn't all go home, some went to the home of some others for dinner. We were invited too, but since Benjamin was already in bed asleep, we had a good excuse to let our day stop there. Not to mention that since it had rained earlier, but cleared up, we ate outside - consequently we had quite a lot of housework to do to get the house looking decent again since the kids tracked all sorts of mud in the house.

We spent almost the entire 7 1/2 hours at the table. Since it was more of an informal meal, we only had these courses:
- apéritif (veggies & ranch dip, chips & guac)
- plat (BBQ ribs & sausages) + side dishes
- cheeses
- digestif (armagnac, a strong alcohol meant to help you "digest" the meal)
- dessert (lemon cake & tiramisu)
- coffee

We skipped "entrée" (some sort of starter, not the main dish like it means in English) and green salad (would have come before the cheese).

After they left, Frédéric mentioned that one time when we had lunch with some American friends, those friends were having different guests for dinner. He says only Americans can do that, since if we had invited other guests for dinner, they would have arrived around 7 pm and our lunch guests would still be here!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Company Marathon

We started our "company marathon" on Saturday. Since Frederic works odd hours/days, we rarely have weekends free for socializing. He is on vacation in May, so we are trying to fit a good bit of socializing in now.

Saturday we went to his coworker's for lunch, and then Sunday had a couple from church over to our house.

We were supposed to have other company today, an Australian friend that I met online and her French husband and their kids, but unfortunately we seem to have caught a stomach bug from our friends' kids on Saturday, so we had to cancel at the last minute.

We're supposed to have other friends over on Thursday, and Frederic's coworkers who helped us move over on Saturday, so we hope the stomach flu goes away quickly!

Benjamin's first haircut

Benjamin finally had his first haircut yesterday, just shy of 17 months old. He still doesn't have a lot of hair, but what he has was getting shaggy around his neck and ears, so we decided to try and trim it up a little bit. I don't actually have any good "before and after" pictures, because a 17-month-old is not the most cooperative subject at the best of times. Add a haircut into the mix, and he turns into a real wiggleworm.

So here are the "during" pictures for you instead.

Benjamin's first haircut

Benjamin's first haircut

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Dinnertime Fun

Since most of you don't get to see us very often, you're missing out on all the fun moments of our everyday life... like dinnertime! Benjamin will eat almost anything if Frédéric is the one feeding him, but if I'm offering the food, I have to resort to sneakier methods to entice him to eat. I don't think he thinks much of my cooking skills.

Benjamin enjoying dinner

We'd been resisting letting him feed himself since we weren't quite psychologically ready yet for the mess we knew would ensue, but that has now become one of my secret weapons for getting him to eat. Somehow food is much more inviting if he can put it into his mouth himself with a fork, spoon, or his fingers. This is what that looks like.

Benjamin enjoying dinner

None in the hair (yet!) -- I think we're doing pretty good. He also practices drinking from a cup (non-sippy cup) every chance he gets.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

more garden fun

Oh, how we love having a house!! Frederic planted tomatoes this morning! He'll be planting bell peppers soon as well. Hopefully we'll get to enjoy our first home-grown produce this summer!

tomato plants

Frederic and bell pepper plants

And here are some pictures from the flower garden.

yellow flowers

white flowers

purple flowers

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

La Brocante

Today we participated in our village's flea market (la brocante)! We love to go to flea markets but are usually unable to since they almost always take place on Sundays, and if Frederic is not working on a Sunday we are at church.

Fortunately, our village decided to hold theirs today, Labor Day. Frederic still had to work today but his dad was able to help us out.

Benjamin and Papy at the flea market

Benjamin and Papy at the flea market

After paying for our spot (6 €, it was 2 €/meter of space), we made a grand total today of... 20.50 € (about $28). Not bad for ten hours of work, right? Ha! I don't think we're going to calculate that out, 10 hours of work, and three people. I'd say we're way, way below minimum wage.

But we had great weather and it was nice to be outside, so it's okay. We're just sorry we weren't able to get rid of more of our stuff!

Still hard at work

As you can see, Frederic has been working hard at reducing the hedge. He's still got the rest of the front to do, but he's made great progress. The tree might not suffocate now, and maybe, just maybe, we can coax some grass to grow in the yard instead of moss.

I think this picture makes our yard look nicer than it actually is. You can't tell that the front yard is all moss. We might have to do away with that big bush, though; I'm not a fan.