Friday, November 20, 2009

What are we in for when they are older?

This morning Benjamin was writing his name and Frédéric put a sad face on his paper because he wasn't really trying to do it right. That did not bother Benjamin at all, he just changed his sad face into a happy face. Doctoring his grades and he isn't even 4 years old yet! Next thing you know he'll be forging our signatures...

Then at lunchtime, Noah finished his plate of food, so he just pulled Frédéric's plate over in front of him and started in on it!

* * *

We are enjoying seeing friends and of course, shopping. Between Goodwill, another local thrift store, and my Amazon gift certificates, I have over 40 books to add to my collection already.

The French could definitely stand to learn some lessons from American marketing people - stores in France are not nearly so enticing. But that is probably a good thing for us; much less dangerous for our budget!

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's jet lag time again

After much discussion between Frederic, his boss and human resources, his boss finally approved his vacation dates (at 18 hours before the time we left the house!) so we will be here for just over a month before heading back.

We left our house at 6:30 am Friday and arrived safely in St Louis on Friday night after 9+ hours in the airplane and another 7 in the car from Chicago.

Benjamin in the airport train going to our gate

Noah did much better on the flight than we expected, given that he spends most of his time crying/whining/screaming at us at home. He only slept for about 10 minutes of the flight, but had only a minimum of screaming/crying episodes, for which we, and I'm sure our fellow passengers, were very grateful.

our airplane (4 motors = better than 2!)

We finally got to go to bed about 24 hours after we had gotten up, but then thanks to jet lag, we were all up before 5 am. Ugh. And continuing the tradition of being sick when we travel, Benjamin's cough we thought we had eradicated a week or more ago is back, grr. We hope he will be completely over it in a few days before we start our road trip so we don't have to cancel like the last time we planned the Texas part.

I've already made a trip to the local Goodwill to stock up on books in English, and will probably do that a couple more times before we go home. On this week's agenda: getting over jet lag, shopping, and visiting with friends, and then on Monday we head to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving.

I didn't get a chance to post this one earlier, but here is Noah a few days ago, finishing the last few drops of Daddy's coffee.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quickest Mountain Trip Ever

We went to the mountains last weekend to check on the condo before ski season begins. We left on Thursday and planned to come home on Sunday, giving us Friday and Saturday at the condo to check up on everything, make any necessary repairs, and replenish the stock of cleaning supplies.

The boys did pretty well in the car on the way down; it's a 9-hour drive with stops.

The moon was out when we got to the mountains. At this point we had another hour or so to go, and it got dark very quickly, so we had to do the drive up to the resort in the dark. Actually, it might have been very slightly less nerve-wracking for me that way, since I couldn't see the drop-offs.
We were very pleased to find the condo in great condition, 1000 times better than when we had agencies managing it. The Belgian lady who oversees it now is doing an excellent job. We bought some light bulbs and I sewed the ties back onto the dining chair seat cushions, but otherwise everything looked great. Nothing missing, no furniture broken.

This is on the top of our building.
The weather was great, not too hot, not too cold, and sunny.
We took the boys for a walk on Friday morning before lunch and before heading out to the store. It's great to go up in the off season because the resort is practically empty.

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short because THIS is the reality of how Noah looked most of the time.
He is very much a creature of habit and routine, and did not take kindly to having to sleep in a bed that was not his own. To make that quite clear to us, he proceeded to cry for over 3 hours Thursday night (with a one-hour break while I tried to calm him down enough for him to sleep - didn't work). He finally fell asleep around midnight, only to wake up crying again at 1 am.

After that night, and since we had taken care of everything we needed to, we decided to head home Saturday instead of Sunday to spare ourselves one night of misery.

Of course, Noah "only" cried for about 30 minutes Friday night and slept peacefully the rest of the night... we're hoping he will adjust more easily on our trip home. (This is your fair warning and chance to uninvite us if you don't want to risk losing one or more night's sleep if we will be staying with you-- of course this offer does not extend to my parents. Sorry, Mom and Dad.)

The Alps are beautiful in every season!

One day we are going to have to stop and see if there is a way to get up there and visit this castle in the mountains.

We are on countdown for our trip home now; we leave in 8 days! And we're praying everyone stays healthy this year!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Found in the Forest

When Frederic and his dad went mushroom hunting in the forest a week or two ago, Frederic found this item in the forest. It is made of metal, about 11 cm long, and very rusty. Any ideas on what it is? (This is not a riddle, as we don't know the answer!)

Some people have guessed a hammer, but it seems much too small for that unless it was one of the seven dwarfs' hammers. Others have suggested a railroad spike, but it's much larger at the end than at the top, so I don't think so.

There was a lot of WWI fighting in our forest, and some WWII fighting as well, so our guess is something from one of the wars. Frederic's coworkers think it is a leftover piece of a bomb. We could clean it up so we could see it better, but I'd like to be assured it's not going to blow up in our faces before we attempt that.

What is your guess?