Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We haven't had much time for the garden this year, but we do have one. Frederic planted tomatoes again, raspberries, grapes, bell peppers, and zucchini. The bell peppers were battered by a hailstorm a couple of months ago and have not changed since, so I guess we won't have any peppers this summer. But the tomatoes are coming right along:

and so are the zucchini:

and we harvested our first one Sunday! Yum!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Disneyland Paris

Thursday this week we went to Disneyland Paris. Benjamin couldn't wait to go on Dumbo again, and really liked the "coffee cups" (aka Tea Cups):

Noah hated the carousel, and didn't get to go on much else -- we took Benjamin on quite a few rides near the same age, but Noah is such a wiggleworm, we didn't want to risk him trying to jump out of a moving Dumbo!

Christine, Alex, and Christine's mom returned to Romania yesterday. Ryan flew back to the US today.

I'm still trying to decide whether I can find the energy this week to paint the dining room so we can get that finished.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Well, not for us... but Christine and Alex were pretty surprised when Ryan showed up at the dinner table Monday night! He flew standby so we weren't entirely sure how that was going to work out. He didn't get on the first flight he tried, Friday, but managed to get on the Saturday flight and arrived on Sunday morning.

Christine, Alex, and Christine's mother Melinda arrived Monday afternoon. Tuesday they visited Paris, and Wednesday morning we took them to see the castle ruins at La Ferté-Milon and walked along the canals.

We're going to have to keep having company so we can get more family pictures.

At 15 1/2 months, Noah is trying to beat his brother in the slow-to-walk category, but he will now walk a few steps with us holding onto his hands, and Frederic says Noah took one step today before losing his balance and falling down. So maybe it won't be too long now.

So he doesn't walk yet, but he zooms around, crawling like a little speed demon, and looks just like a little wind-up toy baby we used to have that wiggled its behind back and forth when it crawled. He also climbs on anything he can, including the couch, the coffee table, the kids' rocking chair upstairs, the bench in the dining room, and us, and this child is the definition of perpetual motion!

He also tries to kick the soccer ball with his foot - not an easy feat when one can't walk yet!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Family, family and more family

We've been making the rounds of Frederic's family since my parents have been here. Last Sunday they came with us to Frederic's cousin's confirmation. Noah managed to get in a short nap so we all enjoyed the day more.

Benjamin also had a great time, as you can see by his little sweaty head.
Here we are with Frederic's cousin Kimberley.
* * * * *

Wednesday we had lunch with Frederic's sister and her family, and then had coffee with Frederic's brother and his family. My dad got to practice his French with French people to his heart's content.

* * * * *

In between visiting, my dad has been unusually helpful around the house. Or unhelpful, depending on what you consider putting large holes into the walls to be.

We removed the fake-brick and the blue wallpaper in the dining room, and ordered the bar to go in the opening. I'll post some after pictures when we've got it looking more finished - hopefully this will go quicker than the 2-year hallway project!

This gives us what they call here an "American kitchen."

Speaking of family, my sister-in-law, nephew, and sister-in-law's mother should be arriving tonight from Romania. And we have a surprise waiting for them! More on that later...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Benjamin is not the only one who has been honing his Playdoh skills.

After many visits to the Longpont Abbey, Frederic finally got to see the inside. It's only open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. I was a little bit sick so I stayed home to rest while the rest of the family toured the abbey.

Look, he is not screaming!

Then on Saturday, Frederic and I went to his niece's first communion. We left the boys with my parents so we got a night out on our own. I wouldn't say it was as much fun as a REAL night out on our own, but at least we didn't have to chase the overtired boys around all night.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Armistice Museum

We are keeping busy, and keeping my parents busy with things around the house, including (but not limited to!) weeding the retaining wall, cleaning out the gutters, mulching the hedge branches Frederic cut off, and of course babysitting. We also try to get out and visit the area in between all of that.

We went to Compiègne on some errands the other day and on our way back stopped in at the Armistice Museum. We saw a train car similar to the one where the 1918 Armistice was signed; the original one was destroyed on Hitler's orders in 1945.

Benjamin is enjoying having his grandparents here. Noah is warming up a little to them. My dad has been practicing his French by reading books to Benjamin.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

Or not. We were nice enough to order sunny weather for the first couple of days my parents were here but now we are back to our normal gray, rainy, cold-for-June weather. At least we haven't had to get the fire going again.

On one of these rainy days, Noah was introduced to the joys of playdoh for the first time.

Big brother Benjamin is already a pro; he can make snakes, sandwiches, cookies, dinosaurs, and other assorted items.

We saw on the forecast that it was not supposed to rain this morning so we jumped at the chance to get out of the house and took my parents over to Longpont, a nearby village with a Cistercian abbey - which I'm quite sure you've already seen pictures of on this blog, but here are a couple more anyway.

The clouds were blowing by so fast overhead that Benjamin thought the abbey was moving and was going to fall on him. He was not pleased to visit "the castle" today.

Noah didn't mind.

Benjamin did like all the fences around people's yards, though, and had to hold on to each one as we passed and peer inside - and then rub his hands together to get the dirt off.

He also liked the chickens we found in someone's yard in the village, but only from a distance.

This afternoon, my mom tried to go work in my yard three different times, and each time she went out, it started raining. We think she might actually be the reason it's raining so much.

And Frederic & my dad went out to the grocery store - we can call that a cultural experience, right? While there, they ran into the previous owner of our house, who told Frederic how sad she was to have left it (they moved to a smaller house not too far away since their kids were grown and gone). I don't think she is nearly as sad as she would be if she saw what we are doing to it!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Visiting Americans

My parents arrived safely on Tuesday morning, and thankfully hadn't heard about the AF 447 tragedy before they got here. I feel like I shouldn't just zip over that event, but I am very disturbed by the catastrophe and would rather keep my blog light and family-happening-oriented, so I'm not going to mention it further. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the families touched by this disaster.

We put my parents promptly to work when they got here:

and I guess they got tired of it quickly, because on Thursday they flew out to Lyon. They claim they are coming back on Monday, though, and Benjamin already told me he's going to get Grandad to push him in the swing.

In other news, Benjamin tore up the dance floor last week at Frederic's cousin's first communion:

And Noah has been sick all week, making him an even more miserable baby than normal. (Whoops, did I type that out loud?)