Monday, November 29, 2010


We are especially thankful this year that everyone recovered from their illness in time for us to go to family Thanksgiving in Oklahoma! It was close, but after 24-hours sickness-free, we decided to take our chances.

My dad's parents were ill this year also, so we were disappointed to not get to stop and see them in Tulsa on the way down; but as it turned out, with our family sick also, the timing wouldn't have worked out. My parents did take the boys to see them on the way home, though.

We did our best to teach our boys how to be good southern members of the family.

Note the straw sticking out of his mouth. He was attempting to talk while holding it in his mouth.
And whatever big brother does, little brother has to do, too.
Being from the Yankee part of the family myself, this is the best I can do. Maybe one of the southern members of the family can convince them to drink sweet tea next.

The boys had a great time playing with their cousins.

Benjamin caught his first fish (but then didn't want to get too close to it... a fisherman after my own heart).

Our friend, Danielle, and my grandmother proved that you don't need to speak the same language to play dominoes. Danielle told us she had dreamed of getting to experience Thanksgiving in the US, and we think she found the perfect family to do it with.
After rain Thursday morning, it dried out enough to go for a good walk Friday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finally in St Louis

We made it to St Louis Friday night without any further mishaps (although the construction that slowed us down for what felt like forever on 55-S was not much fun).

Before we left home, the weather looked like this. We figured that meant it was time to escape the gloom and fog and go on vacation.

So we were naturally thrilled to see the Arch looking like this on Saturday.

It did clear up a bit later on, but too late for us to go up to the top.

We visited the Westward Expansion museum underneath, though, and had lunch at Union Station afterwards. And we enjoyed a nice (if short) visit with our friends Mick & Alison.

Unfortunately, more mishaps showed up not long after that, when our friend who is travelling with us fell ill... followed today by Noah and Benjamin. We're hoping everyone will be better in time for our trip to Thanksgiving camp, but we aren't holding our breath...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Destination: St Louis. Or failing that, Pontiac, Illinois.

Yesterday morning, we got up bright and early to head to the airport to fly from Paris to Chicago. At the airport, we went to check out the Airbus 380, parked nearby. It's huge!

We were pleasantly surprised aboard the plane when we were settled in our very-last-row-of-coach seats, and a few minutes before takeoff, the flight attendant invited us to move up to Premium Voyageur (a new class, in between coach and business class). Other than dealing with the perpetual motion machine that we call Noah, and a short but violent bout of turbulence during lunchtime, our flight was fairly pleasant and uneventful. We made it safely to Chicago, with our friend, Danielle, who accompanied us.

My mom came to pick us up in Chicago. Frédéric took the wheel to drive the first leg back, and for the first two hours everything was fine.... then, as we were discussing what time to stop for dinner, the car started losing power. For a while we rolled along, on the rumble-stripped side of the road, at a speedy 45 mph... until that became impossible, and we continued on for a while at 30. We were hoping to make it to an exit where Frédéric could take a look at things, but as I suppose could be expected, there are very few exits in middle-of-nowhere, Illinois. A while later, we were going a measly 15 mph, until the car finally crept to a halt completely.

At that point, my mom got busy with her cell phone, calling the insurance company, the tow truck, the taxi service, and rental car agencies. Our taxi finally showed up after about 45 minutes:

Only my mom had ever been in a limo before, so for the rest of us, it was pretty exciting.

Car broken down? Who cares, we've got a limo!

The tow truck took the van to a dealership a few miles down the road, and the taxi took us to a hotel in the same town.

We walked down the main strip (who does that, in middle-of-nowhere, Illinois? No one but us) to find dinner (Arby's, not roadkill), then came back and crashed:

Much to our dismay, Noah thought he had finished his night at 1:30 am, so needless to say, Frédéric and I are dragging today. Noah and Benjamin, however, are bouncing off the walls.

My dad is on his way to get us now with a rental car, since the van can't be fixed until next week at the earliest. We are hoping to make it to St Louis tonight!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Benjamin and Legos

Benjamin makes up amazing Lego vehicles these days... somehow, though, we're a little concerned about him...

Aww, a little Lego hijacker. How... um... cute. At least the driver has a helmet? Yikes.

One way or another, this is probably our fault. So not to worry, we'll be starting his therapy account fund soon.

In other news... D-5 til our trip home! Packing is in full swing. No more than 4 days in any one place; and this year's tour includes St Louis, Tulsa, Madill, and Branson. We're trying to be good little parents, so we shortened our trip this year so Benjamin would only miss 11 school days instead of a whole month like last year. If anyone has any great ideas for inexpensive souvenirs of the US for 30 kids ages 3-7, or something for the class as a whole (last year we gave them a map of the US), I'm listening!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Every day is backwards day

If you are Noah and trying to avoid sleep by taking off and putting back on your clothes. He never does anything by halves, notice that both his shirt AND his pants are on backwards.

Our resident Van Gogh is going through a Cubist phase. His trash cans are amazingly realistic (bottom right, but I am only telling you that because your trash cans may not have wheels and the same type of lid as ours. If they did, you would recognize it easily).

He went back to school yesterday after 10 days of vacation - silly time for a vacation, because who does anything for the All Saints' Day holiday anyway? Wish they'd move it to the end of November for us.