Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm not sure there's a lot going on here that's very interesting to post about... we seem to be pretty busy all the time, but doing what? I'm not quite sure.

Frederic has requested normal hours at work. Since before we got married, he's been working crazy hours. He starts at a different time each day - he can start anywhere from 5 am to 10 pm in the same week. That means he's very tired all the time, and that makes it harder for him to take care of the boys when he's home and I need to work. Also, he only knows his schedule a month or so ahead of time so we can't plan things too much in advance. We're hoping his request will be accepted and he can have a normal schedule. If they accept, it's likely that he would start at 7 am, which would mean he'd be home by 3 or 4 pm at the latest every day. He would still work 5 days on, 3 days off.

We're working on getting Noah on a good sleep schedule. So far naps are pretty much a no-go but he is going to bed around 7-7:30 pm every night and sleeping til sometime between 3 and 5 am when he wakes up to eat. We've also introduced his "lovey" ("dou-dou" in French; we do try to avoid saying that in the US for obvious reasons, but that's what we call it) to him - and after the first kid, we got smart. He has 2 of these little donkeys so we can wash one without major trauma:

Benjamin is starting to recognize some of the letters of the alphabet - "Dat B- Benjamin!" or "Dat D- Dog!" but for some reason, W is his favorite. He has a foam puzzles with the letters, and he likes to turn the M upside down and make it a W also.

He hasn't gotten to play outside much this week since it's been gray and rainy. Typical weather in northern France... we're hoping that our summer isn't already over! So instead, he plays soccer inside. I think he's almost ready for the French national team!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rule #2 of Slave Labor: Vary the Tasks

This helps keep your child interested and he forgets he's being exploited. On today's list were mowing the lawn and watering the tomatoes.

See, he likes it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rule #1 of Slave Labor: Start Them Young

Wouldn't it be nice if he still wanted to wrestle me for the vacuum when he's a teenager? I know, I know, I'm not holding my breath. We LOVE the upright vacuum cleaner, though - they don't sell those here. Well, technically they do sell those here - only they are actually dustbusters on a stick. A friend in Germany found one for us that someone was giving away, and Benjamin likes it as much as I do!

And today he's planting tomatoes outside. Frederic is helping him, though.

I sent a note to Harding's alumni association about Noah's birth - and look what they sent us! Cute, huh?

And it is so much fun to have had one almost totally bald baby, and to have one curly-haired baby! This is the part where I confess that I never brush Noah's hair because it smooths down the curls too much if I do.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Disneyland Paris

Thanks to Nestle, we took advantage of 15 euro tickets to Disneyland Paris again this year. That's a 75% discount that we felt we couldn't pass up. So we invited Frederic's coworker and his family to go with us, and spent the day at Disneyland Tuesday.

Benjamin had a hard time at first understanding the principle of rides. On the first two rides he went on, Aladdin's flying carpets and the Cars, he cried because he didn't want to go on the ride... and then cried some more because he didn't want to get off!

After some explaining, he started to understand that we had to get off one ride to go on another. So after each one, he said, "Another? Another?"

Here he is on the teacups with our friend's son.

On the carousel.
This is how Noah spent most of the day.

Afternoon cookie break.

Benjamin was not quite as scared of Dumbo as last year.

Frederic got to try the new ride, "Tower of Terror", and since our friends were there we were able to do a couple of roller coasters together while they watched Benjamin and Noah.

We had a good day, but were all very tired by the end of the day. I carried Benjamin into the house to put him to bed when we finally got home, and he barely woke up as I put him in his pajamas.

Jordan - we thought of you while we were in the teacups, but we promise we won't take you to Disneyland when you come visit us, ok?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Looks like summertime!

It's not, because it's not *that* hot out yet, but we got a pool for Benjamin the other day and he finally decided to try it out today. Like with the swing set, he was pretty hesitant at first.

So Frederic tried to show him how much fun it was.

And tried to entice him in with his rubber ducks.

And finally, after being splashed a bit, Benjamin decided to try it.

And as you might expect - Frederic had a hard time convincing him to get out again when it was dinner time!

He still loves to hold Noah - he held him for a good 15 minutes or more last night while watching Finding Nemo.

And little curly-haired Noah is sleeping more, fussing less, and smiling a lot these days. Frederic might beg to differ about the fussing, but I think he has just forgotten how bad it was a few weeks ago. It really is much better now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It has been sunny all week!

So we have been outside as much as possible, enjoying it.

We had a swing set breakthrough two days ago! Benjamin had not wanted to go on the swingset since we got it set up a couple of weeks ago. He stuck to the slide, and that was it. But two days ago when we were outside, I was sitting on the swing and trying to catch him as he tried to sneak past me, and if I caught him, I pulled him up on my lap to swing with me. He wiggled and tried to get down, but then would pretend to try and sneak past again, and say "Catch me!", laughing like a little 2-year-old maniac.

So then I told him I'd only catch him if he'd promise not to wiggle while I was holding him on the swing, and then I told him I'd only catch him if he'd hold onto the ropes. So he did, and after swinging together a few times, I got off the swing, and convinced him to try on his own.

He was doubtful at first. "I am swinging, but this is NOT fun!"

But he came around. "Well, ok, that wasn't so bad after all!"

And today he tried the chair-type swing and didn't try to jump off through the space between the seat and the footrest.
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I found the playmat for Noah that I had forgotten about until I saw the "before" pictures of my office. Like a good big brother, Benjamin shows him how to use it.

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Noah is 2 months old today! He is much happier now than he was a few short weeks ago. He smiles a lot more and fusses a lot less, for which we are very grateful!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Back in my office

And no longer back to the door and the window! We originally thought that putting my desk against this wall would block out too much light and close in the room, but after spending almost 2 years with my back to the door and the window, we decided to give it a try, and I like it much better!

Frederic even moved the radiator to the opposite wall so my desk would fit here. I did not know when I married him just how many hidden talents he had! I knew he could cook and clean, but being a home remodeler is an added bonus.

This is my office as it was when we moved in (and that reminds me, I need to get that play mat out for Noah):
And this is my office now! It still needs some finishing touches (curtains, pictures on the walls, one wall needs some fixing up, that would be the white spot over the filing cabinet, a light fixture, and we are going to have to find a solution for the SCARY PINK DOOR!!), but it's close enough to completed for me to be able to work in it now.

We think it looks much bigger and more open now (of course, moving most of my clutter out also helped in that department... now if we could only find another spot for it. The bonfire? Maybe.).

See that white spot on the ceiling? It's a smoke detector. We are one of the few homes in France to have one. For some reason they don't have laws about that, but with a wood stove that heats our house much of the year, we decided not to wait for legislation about it to install ours.

What?! You think the scary pink door adds character?! Hmmmm, we'll have to think on that one. I'm not sure I can work if it's staring at me like that.