Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let them drink wine.

Is there an AA for 3 year olds?

This morning, I was flipping through a grocery home-delivery catalog while the boys were eating breakfast. I got to the Easter candy page, and Benjamin leaned over to say, "For chocolate, I want something big, like this. A fish."

I replied with one of my standard "neither yes nor no" responses, "I bet you do," and turned the page.

Noah, feeling it was his turn to chime in, said, "I want this!"

I was on the page with bottles and bottles and bottles of wine. "You want wine?" I asked him.

"Yes, I want wine," he stated confidently. "I like wine."

Oh dear....

Monday, March 28, 2011


I just think our house looks so much prettier with flowers in front of it!
(Ok, it might look prettier with the lawn mowed, too, but one thing at a time. And now that we know where the tulips are, we need to remember to dig them up when they are done, so we can move them elsewhere for next year.) These are our authentic Dutch tulips, that we brought back with us from Amsterdam 5 years ago.

This year's Snail and Slug War is officially on. The opening salvos were fired (chomped?) last night by the Snails and Slugs, who decided to feast on one of my new primroses!You will pay, little pests! I scattered the Blue Pellets of Death all over the retaining wall planters today. (cue evil laughter)Next up: Harvesting the Slug and Snail Cadavers. Mmmm.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's gardening time!

With the gorgeous weather we've had all week, I've been working on weeding the retaining wall planters. And chopping back the forsythia.

And giving the big, overgrown plants haircuts.
They go from something like this:

to something like this.
but I suspect I may need to dig them out and start over, I think they are so rootbound that they just look tired and yuck.

Today, we decided it was time to head to the nursery to get some plants for the retaining wall. I had to do it all by myself this year like a big girl since my mom isn't here to help out.
We planted some phlox.
Some for the moment sad-looking daisies.

Some of these, which are supposed to cascade, and which are supposed to be frost and snow-resistant.

and a bunch of primroses in various colors

Frédéric also started preparing the vegetable garden plots.
And cleaning up the remains of last year's forgotten harvest.
And planting his tomatoes and pickles.
And we have plenty of these guys around already to help with our garden.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Singing in the Rain

Actually, they don't sing much.

And I think it wasn't even raining at the time.

But boy, do they love their umbrellas!

Who's superstitious? Not us!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Noah is 3!

He is very proud of being a big 3-year-old.

We celebrated his birthday Sunday with some of our friends. Sunday wasn't his birthday, but it was supposed to be, if he hadn't decided to arrive a few days earlier than his scheduled c-section date.

He dithered between green, pink, red, and blue, but finally decided on blue for his dump truck cake (thank you, Frédéric, chef extraordinaire!). (Yes, it's more turquoise than blue, but Wilton claimed it was blue, we went with it.)

He gave a fantastic, heartfelt rendition of Happy Birthday to himself while we sang to him...

We kept the gifts low-key (SO tired of all the toy clutter), but he was thrilled with them all.

Especially his umbrella, which he'd been coveting ever since Benjamin got his for his birthday three months earlier.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Château de Septmonts

Septmonts is a village about 20 km from ours - as the crow flies, or as the Google map indicates. Turns out, the Google map and the GPS are unaware of a closed road somewhere in there which makes the distance about 10 km and 15 minutes longer.

The village is the home of the Château de Septmonts, one time country home of the Bishops of Soissons. It was built between the 13th and 16th centuries.

One of my online friends, from California, and her family were visiting Europe for Spring Break and were kind enough to take a day to come out and visit us, so we decided to take advantage of their trip to see this castle we hadn't been to yet.

We climbed 170 steps to the top of that tallest tower. Even Noah came all the way up and all the way down by himself, with me holding his hand to try and allay the visions of him bouncing all the way down the stone spiral staircase.
It was very high!

After the castle we made a short stop in Longpont to see the Abbey and make a quick tour of the village before our friends had to catch their train back to Paris.

We hope to visit Septmonts again - when the sun cooperates more!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Boys and Baby Dolls

Frédéric, not being an overly macho-type dad, never made much of a fuss when I bought Benjamin a baby doll for his first birthday.

Benjamin used to love to play with his baby doll.

And before Noah came home from the hospital, Benjamin named the baby doll "Noah" and practiced being nice and gentle with it.

Noah, however, is apparently not quite so tender-hearted as his brother, judging by the scene I found this morning.

When I asked him what happened, he told me "Baby got hurt. Needs a band-aid."

Then after he put his tractors and trucks away in the living room as I asked him today, he informed me that he couldn't put the baby away, because "baby doesn't roll."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bringing down the house

Well, the walls. Since a guy contacted us wanting to buy the double doors from our dining room that we had listed for sale on a website, and he wanted the doorframe also, that was the impetus we needed to start taking down the dining room wall. (And "we" of course means "Frédéric".)

We haven't decided yet what to do with the remaining section of wall, at left in the photo. We're leaning towards removing the top half of it (leaving the bottom half for the sofa to be up against so it isn't just in the middle of the entryway), so the question is more to whether to leave it open, or to put some kind of spindles / shelving / something in the top half.

Thinking now about removing the living room wall this summer...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Winter Vacation

Frédéric, his mom and the boys headed up for the mountains last Friday. They stopped overnight in Lyon, where they got to have dinner with our friends, the Hendrixes.

Then it was on to La Clusaz, where both boys got to spend a week taking ski lessons.

Fortunately for Noah and for us, they weren't sticklers for the age limit, which was supposed to be 3, and they let him in - but he's only a week shy of it, anyway. He had an hour's worth of classes every day, and loved every minute!

Benjamin did his "ourson" (bear cub) level class. He had two and a half hours of lessons a day, made great progress, and loved it right up until he had to walk back to the apartment.

Frédéric found a sledding hill for us to play at in the afternoons, so we went there Thursday afternoon.

The boys worked on the snow fort they had started Tuesday and went sledding.

They also showed us their newly acquired skiing skills. Noah demonstrates how to put his hands on his knees while skiing, and Benjamin is very proud of his snowplow and turns.

Noah doesn't even seem to mind falling down.

On Friday, Noah was awarded his "piou-piou" (cheep cheep, as in the sound a little bird makes) medal for the week, and Benjamin got his "ourson" medal.

Two proud (if tired) ski champions!