Monday, May 30, 2011

Mother's Day and Memorial Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day in France. I was treated to "Bonne fête, Maman, je t'aime!"s throughout the day from both boys (thanks to careful coaching from Frédéric), a bracelet Benjamin made for me at school:

and at church, a rose, a card full of hearts and a song.

We tried to race out of church afterward to get to the American cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony. We managed more of a slow crawl thanks to all the other people on the road (going where? why? It is not a holiday weekend here!) but once we finally made it out of Paris and onto the highway, we were at last able to drive the speed limit. (Have I mentioned lately how much we loathe Paris??)

We arrived several minutes after the ceremony had already begun. We roasted out there with no shade, though not as much as all the uniformed soldiers! And the Red Cross came around handing out bottles of water.

These guys are members of associations in which they dress up like soldiers from different time periods. They do reenactments and participate in this type of ceremony.

These soldiers fired off the salute.

The flag brigade.

Benjamin, practicing to be a soldier.

Wreaths to honor the dead.

There was a good crowd for a cemetery that is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

They had put an American and a French flag on every grave for Memorial Day.

The American and the French flag fly together.

There are amber waves of grain in France, too.

This little chapel has nothing to do with Memorial Day, but it looks like some place we should go back and take pictures sometime.

Monday, May 23, 2011

School as Behavior Modification Motivation

This strategy is working pretty well for Noah at the moment. There is nothing he wants more than to be "big" and go to school. The 3-year-old preschool class is called "petite section" and he is not happy about that, because "I will not be little, I will be big!" I'm working on convincing him that even the kids in "petite section" are big kids, because they go to school.

Actually, it still works for Benjamin to some extent, too. All it takes is a threat to call his teacher and tell him he can't go back to school, and he tends to settle down.

This probably won't still work through the teenage years, will it?

Lately when we've asked Noah to wait for one of us to go outside with him, he goes inside, gets his little chair, and installs himself on the front patio to wait for us.

He fell in love with our friends' new kitten this past weekend. Seeing him sitting there, immobile for long minutes at a time holding the kitten was *almost* enough to make us overcome our dislike of felines. Not to mention his puppy-dog eyes asking Frédéric if we could take the kitten home with us, and wanting to stay with our friends so he wouldn't have to leave the kitten! Thank goodness for Frédéric's allergies to keep us reasonable!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet Summertime

Last Wednesday, when the temperature hit a high of about 75°F, Frédéric decided it was time to let the boys be ice cubes. He pulled out the pool, but only filled it up enough for them to splash around in.

I was skeptical - our well water is freezing! (Frédéric says, "But it was 62°!") - but his plan worked. Both wore themselves out and went straight to sleep at bedtime!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Becky & Jeff come to visit

Becky came to visit us back in August 2009, and this time came back with Jeff, at the end of their honeymoon.

Saturday afternoon we went out to visit the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, where more than 6000 World War I soldiers are buried, at Seringes-et-Nesle.

On the way, we unwittingly drove on the race course of the Tour de Picardie bicycle race. The only cyclists we saw were having a pre-race picnic, but we saw a lot people (comparatively, given that it's the middle of nowhere) on the side of the road, waiting to see the cyclists go by.

Entrance to the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery.

Over 6000 World War I soldiers are buried here.

Parental mythology moment. (Even better than a Kodak Moment.)

The memorial.

The map room.
Becky and Jeff.

Benjamin being a soldier.

We tried to visit the Château de Nesles near the cemetery, but it is closed to the public until further notice for safety reasons. So we just took a few pictures of the outside.

Thinking we'd have better luck at the Château de Fère en Tardenois, which we have visited before, we headed that way... only to find the door downstairs marked "Danger" and locked up tight. There were other people up on the castle, but it adjoins a hotel and its gardens, so we suspect rather than being closed for "danger" it may have been closed for a private reception. (Our invitations must have been lost in the mail.)

So we took pictures from afar again.

My 3 cute boys!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another year older

Frédéric had a birthday in May. He got a lovely present from a coworker:
(and a very expensive one, at 1.60€ ($2.27) for the can!)

and I made him his favorite strawberry cream cake that we shared with his cousins who came over for lunch the Saturday before his birthday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Boys are still cute

I know, it's been a long time since I updated the blog (and yes, mom, I'm fudging the dates), so I'm sure some of you were wondering if the boys were even still cute enough to post. I hereby confirm that they are.

Even if they do both need haircuts.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Child Labor Law Infractions Continue

They don't get paid, so does it count? At any rate, they still enjoy "working" for now, so we've got them vacuuming the car, sweeping, and washing dishes.

Benjamin prefers to supervise.