Friday, July 27, 2007

The joy of utensils

Benjamin usually eats every meal with his hands. This morning, Frederic decided to be brave and allowed him a spoon. When we'd tried to let him use one in the past, Benjamin didn't seem to understand that there was a relationship between the spoon staying right side up and the food making it into his mouth rather than spilling all over him or the floor. He did better today, although I'm not sure how many hours breakfast lasted.

Benjamin eating cereal

I think he thinks the spoon is bigger than it really is. The bigger the target, the harder to miss, right?
Benjamin and the spoon

This is the reason Benjamin has been sleeping in his Pack-n-Play for a week. I heard thumping noises upstairs last Friday after I put him to bed, and went up to find this:

Poor dead crib

The slats have come completely out of the top and bottom rails of the drop-side of the crib. We are highly unimpressed, since the crib has only been used for 19 months and Benjamin was not mobile for the first few of those. We were given the run-around for a while - as is the custom in France - between the manufacturer and the store where we bought the crib, despite our receipt and warranty papers stating that the crib is guaranteed for 4 years. But finally someone gave in and we should hopefully have a replacement soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our bathroom now has a door!

It doesn't lend quite the privacy I'd imagined, for some reason...
bathroom door

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Almost feels like summertime

Now that it's nearing the end of July. Frederic's brother and sister-in-law and their 3 daughters came over for lunch (and dinner) yesterday. We barbecued in our nifty brick barbecue grill on the patio, and enjoyed the weather.

We now have some great blackmail pictures of Benjamin playing with his cousins' My Little Ponies. (That's "Mes Petits Poneys" in French.)

Frederic is sawing pieces of drywall as I type - so progress IS being made on the renovations! Benjamin was getting ready to help with them the other day:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No progress to speak of on the house

So instead you get a garden update. These were our tomato plants the day they were planted back in early May:
These are our tomato plants today!

One pepper plant has survived and another is fighting for its life. Won't be long before we're enjoying our home-grown produce!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Bastille Day!

Today is Bastille Day, which is more or less comparable to the 4th of July for Americans.

However, we are not having a picnic, watching the parade or doing whatever other activities we should be engaging in today as good French citizens. Instead, Frederic has gone to the hardware store, which is open today, to get the drywall and doors. His friend is helping him bring them back so to thank him we are having that family over for dinner tonight (barbecue, if the weather holds).

Yesterday we saw family friends the Gillilands in Paris. We forgot how ridiculous driving in Paris is, though -- it took us an hour to go the 50 or so miles from our house to the edge of Paris, and another hour to go the next FOUR miles to the Luxembourg Gardens! But we finally made it, had a nice visit, and Benjamin enjoyed watching the sailboats in the - uh, what do you call a fountain-less fountain?

Other random Benjamin picture:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Demolition: Complete!

All the walls are down. Frederic just has to prep them a little more before putting up the new walls & doors. There's no telling how long it will take to put walls back UP since we aren't totally sure when he can buy the drywall & doors yet, but hopefully it won't take tooooo much longer.

I've made notes on the picture so in the meantime you can imagine what it will look like.

no more walls

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Caution: Disaster Area

I don't think my house has ever been this big of a mess! Demolition has begun....

This was the hallway originally; our goal is to remove the long, narrow hallway. To do so, we are going to open up the living room (right side of the hallway) and change up the guest room/bathroom setup as well:

long, narrow hallway

This was the hallway yesterday and then today:

hallway yesterday   hallway today

Seen from inside the guest room (the wall the ladder is up against is the living room wall, which will be removed hopefully before the end of the summer, but we're going to get the bedroom/bathroom walls back up first!):
view from inside the guest room

Saturday, July 7, 2007

It's summer time

And summer time means lots of projects, right? Well, it does this year in our house, anyway.

Here is Project #1: Window screens! Window screens are exceedingly rare in Europe, possibly because of the necessity of reaching through the window to close the shutters. But some lovely inventive company started making screens that roll up, sort of like blinds, so we bought some for the house. And as a wonderful extra bonus, we found them at the grocery store (similar to a Super Wal-Mart) for HALF the price they were selling at at the hardware store! So Frederic installed one this morning, and has 4 more to do. No more pesky flies or mosquitos buzzing around us!

window screen!

Project #2 is Phase One of our remodeling. We are adding a closet in the guest room, and changing the entrances to the guest room & bathroom. Then we'll probably put down laminate flooring, and we haven't decided yet what color or wallpaper to put on the walls.

Guest Room before

Guest Room, wallpaper coming off!

Benjamin's artwork - we're going to stifle his creativity before we put up wallpaper we like!

In other news...
It's been rainy around here for the past couple of weeks. Not much fun but we get some great rainbows out of it.
 Frederic got a "welcome packet" since he's now working in the new terminal at the airport, and since he already has a plethora of AF caps, he gave the new one to Benjamin.
Benjamin got in a fight with his bed yesterday, and I think the bed won.