you have to leave your front gate open because either the lock freezes and you can't open it, or too much ice has accumulated on the ground and it has to stay in either an open or shut position, it's no longer possible to move it.
It is cold! Temps fell to -9°C the other night (that's not quite 16°F for you American-types) and we learned to our dismay that pipes in France, with or without added insulation, are rated to withstand only -7°C (19.5°F) for 72 hours. We weren't the only ones in the village to have frozen washing machine pipes, apparently, although we may have been the only ones with frozen hot water pipes. Perhaps moving the water heater to the garage wasn't as good of an idea as it seemed at the time.
Frederic was able to thaw the pipes after several hours of working on them with a hairdryer, a radiator, and the clothes dryer vent. The plumber saw no reason for our pipes not to withstand this cold if they didn't have a problem last winter, when it got down to -21°C (-6°F) -- but we weren't home last winter and our water was turned off, so we weren't here to find out. Incidentally, that was a great year to be not home, with those temperatures!
On the bright side, we haven't had any more snow lately despite the dire predictions by the weathermen.
Thanks to Aunt Claire and Uncle Curtis for Christmas #5! We may have a record this year for number of Christmases. It works out really nicely, though, because the boys have plenty of time to enjoy each new gift rather than being overwhelmed all at once and some falling by the wayside.
Benjamin loves his book of stickers, and Noah really enjoys his book about animals.
I should probably take down our Christmas tree sometime soon, now that we are a third of the way through January.