Saturday, August 30, 2008

How to make a pizza

by Benjamin
"Ready? This is going to be fun!"

First, pour on the sauce.

Pour it on the pizza crust, or as close to it as you can.

Then spread it around. If you have to spread it on the parchment paper, that's ok too. Just make sure there is a lot all over.

Sprinkle on some Swiss cheese.

So it looks like this:

Then add cheddar.

Pause for a photo shoot with Noah, who is obviously intrigued by the pizza-making. Take advantage of this break to eat some of the cheddar cheese.

Now add some mozzerella. Put one cube on, eat one. One cube on the pizza, eat another. Eat another one. Put another on the pizza. Eat a couple more. There, that should do it.

And it's all ready to go in the oven! (Make Dad do this part, the oven is hot!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Going Tomato Hunting

We've actually had enough sunshine this summer for our tomatoes to ripen, unlike last summer. And this is despite having started a bit later than last year, because this year's tomatoes were grown from seeds of last year's tomatoes, rather than from plants from the nursery.

Today Benjamin went out to pick a big red Marmande tomato.

He knows he's only supposed to pick red ones, not green or orange, so he had to find it first. Here it is!

"This tomato's as big as my head!" Well, not quite.

The trophy.

So far Frederic has made green tomato pickles, sun-dried (well, oven-dried, we haven't had THAT much sun!) tomatoes, and we've had lots of tomatoes in other dishes. No fried green tomatoes yet this year, but I'm sure we will have some before tomato season is over. Benjamin prefers his tomatoes raw; he eats the little pear-tomatoes like apples. And those are some hot peppers from the garden also, we haven't tried them yet.

And just so Noah doesn't feel left out, here he is smiling away while Frederic and Benjamin were outside mowing the lawn.

He had his 5-month checkup yesterday - well, 5 1/2 months; we're a little slow with these things (second child syndrome?) and the doctor's office was closed for a week, too. He now weighs 15 lbs and is 25.5" long, and is finally keeping up on a normal growth curve. Normally he would only go back at 9 months now but the doctor wants to see him again next month for a weight check, to be sure he is still gaining normally. It looks like we will have to continue to supplement for the foreseeable future at this point, which is kind of annoying. He gets to start solids in a couple of weeks, though!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Not a lot to report here this week

so I'll share some pictures with you. Benjamin is trying to avoid the camera these days.

He loves to kiss his little brother, and he will come tell me "Mommy go get Noah" if he hears him crying upstairs, or even if he doesn't, but just thinks he should be downstairs with us instead of upstairs napping.

Noah playing with Mortimer the Moose that Amanda sent him.

My thinkers:

The only other news here is that it is COLD and rainy, like a typical August. I'm about ready to fire up the chimney! Frederic says we can't because it's August; I say we can because it's cold!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In this week's news...

Frederic finished mulching the pile of hedge branches and will, I hope, finish trimming the rest of the hedge tomorrow. That's the good news. The bad news is that the more we get done, the more there seems to be to do. I'm not quite sure how that works but I am hoping that by the time we are ready to sell in about 28 years we'll have made some good headway on it all.

Benjamin doesn't know why Noah gets to have all the fun.
And Noah is showing some cannibalistic tendencies.

And they are both as cute as ever.

Noah is fascinated by Benjamin and is a very happy baby these days - a far cry from those first few fussy months! He is almost able to sit up on his own. He turned 5 months old last week - I don't know where the time has gone!

He is gaining weight again but I still have to supplement him and at this point it looks like that may continue for quite some time. We hope to get him in for his 5-month check-up this week (no shots this time), and in less than a month we will get to start him on solids.

Not much longer now before our American family gets to meet him finally. We'll be home in about 3 months for Thanksgiving.

One of Benjamin's favorite things to do now is play with his foam letters & numbers puzzles, and he really enjoys the website (check it out if you have little kids at home!) for learning his letters. He repeats everything he hears - he came out with "extraordinaire" the other day after having heard it on TV. His French Rs make us laugh because he exaggerates them so much. (And of course it took me 8 years of French classes and a few months of living in France to get it down, and here he is at 2 saying it almost effortlessly!)

I do feel like a speech pathologist many days, though, because we work with him on things like "sp" ("spoon" instead of "foon") or "sh" ("shower" instead of "fower"). He is at the "telegraphic speech" phase now and we understand 95% of what he says these days - and the other 5% we wonder if he isn't just pretending to speak English, the way Jordan used to make up words...

He also teases now, telling us he is Noah and Noah is Benjamin. And he knows that "Daddy's at work" and that Daddy works with airplanes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Hedge Massacre continues

It's a never-ending battle between us and the hedge. The hedge usually seems to be winning for a long time, but every now and then we get some good blows in, like this weekend. Frederic's cousin Emmanuel came out for the weekend to help us out and attacked the hedge for us.

Early in the day, Frederic managed to embed the secateurs into the heel of his hand, which earned him a trip to the ER and 3 stitches -- I still think he did it on purpose to get out of working as hard as his cousin.

This part of the hedge hadn't gotten its 3-foot-trim last time around, so it did this time, and at the same time Emmanuel removed some roots that were threatening to cause trouble with our water pipes near the water counter. Frederic mainly mulched the cut branches since he could easily do that with one hand. Those in the foreground didn't make it to the mulcher yet.

On the right side of the gate you can see the part that still needs to be trimmed.

This is the back of our lot - not much left now except a lot of branches to run through the mulcher! I think we will be busy for a while, and we'll need to look for something to attach to the fence so we don't have to see our neighbors' cars go past (that is their driveway behind our yard).
Our firewood was delivered at the end of July. We're ready for winter now!
And in kid news, Noah is checking out the local real estate listings.
Benjamin likes to entertain Noah on Noah's playmat.

We tried to take Benjamin to get a haircut on Friday, but the salon was too busy so Frederic and I made another attempt ourselves... better than last time, but still too short in the front. (The above photo is pre-haircut.) I guess we need more practice, but not til it grows out in about 6 months. Ok, maybe a little less.

Frederic's cousin Nathalie and her 19-month-old daughter Nina, and his aunt and uncle came for lunch today. (And when I say lunch, I mean a French lunch; they arrived around noon and left around 6 pm.) We enjoyed a nice visit with them, and it was cloudy but didn't rain on us so Benjamin and Nina were able to play outside on the swing set for a while.

Emmanuel stayed and joined us for a nutritious dinner of accras de morue, brownies, and cheesecake before Frederic took him to the train station so he could go back to Paris.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

We finally made it to short sleeves

But that only lasted a few days! Still, I have pictures to prove it. I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but Noah is trying to get up on his knees here. He will be 5 months old next week (already?!) and is antsy to get moving! Benjamin never did crawl, he only "scooted," so if Noah crawls this will be another new experience for us!

We're getting fewer and fewer pictures of Benjamin lately and this is why - if he sees us coming near him with a camera, he wants to be as close to the camera as he can! If we're quick about it, we can get one like this:

(Poor kid, he really does have Frederic's nose, doesn't he? And yes, he does need a haircut. But seeing as how I massacred his hair last time I did it, we were thinking of having him go with Frederic to the barbershop next time. Only we haven't decided yet whether we think he will behave while Frederic is getting his hair cut, or whether we need to make it a family outing.)

Our firewood was delivered on one of the hottest days here (88° or so and extremely humid, we are NOT used to that kind of heat) but Frederic's friend was over so he helped Frederic stack it.

And I neglected to mention that this happened to our car last week:

Someone backed into Frederic the other day in town. That is Noah's door, and he was in the car at the time, so we're glad no one was hurt. Frederic was going about 15kmh and the girl was pulling out of her parking space but didn't see him, and it was too late for him to do anything about it. So right now our car is in the shop being assessed by insurance for repairs, and in the meantime they've given us a sardine can also known as a 2-door Fiat Punto Grande. Obviously 2 carseats are NOT going to fit in that car, and insurance refused to give us anything else, so it's a good thing we still have the Neon or Benjamin, Noah and I would be housebound until our car comes back. We're just hoping they will repair it and not decide the repairs are worth more than the car! We LIKE our car!