Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Since Benjamin was sick this weekend, and we found out that he'd been exposed to scarlet fever earlier this week, we didn't make it out to church today. But the Easter Bunny found his way to our house.

These are the mythological pictures of the Easter egg hunt. The real story goes more like this - Benjamin peeked out of his window while the Easter bunny (who looks strangely like Frédéric) hid the eggs, so he had a head start on their hiding places. (Not that they were all that well hidden; clearly the Easter Bunny needs to work a little harder next year.) Much to his chagrin, we made him stop when he got to 20 eggs so Noah could find the rest.

(Pssst, Frédéric, Those two laurel bushes still need to be removed!!)

Gala came out to watch, but I think she would have preferred that we let her loose to go find the eggs, too.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Field Trip!

On Tuesday, I accompanied Benjamin's class to visit the Longpont Abbey and the Château François 1er. I'd been to Longpont several times, but not inside the abbey.

When I see the old wash-house, I am pretty thankful for my laundry room, even if it is off of the garage and freezing. I bet it's much less freezing than this would be!

The Longpont Abbey once housed some 400 monks.

The abbey was largely dismantled after the French revolution, and many of the stones taken to build nearby houses. It also suffered some damage during WWI. This is a view from what would have been inside the church before it was destroyed.

The kids had drawing pads along with them - Benjamin made pages and pages of notes and drawings.

This was the furnace room of the abbey. The fireplace was in the center, and the monks would walk around the room to warm up when taking their constitutionals. They only lit fires when water froze, so cold as it was the day we went, there wouldn't have been a fire. (Good thing, since there are 25 K-2nd graders standing in it at the moment.)

After lunch, we visited François 1er's castle in Villers Cotterets. That was a bit of a disappointment, as there weren't many areas of the castle we were allowed into. The state owns it, but doesn't keep it up, so they've just walled off large portions of it. We saw some stairwells, the "jeu de paume" court, and the chapel.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Benjamin, swimming champion!

Benjamin had his second swim meet of the year. For some reason, there were hardly any spectators there as compared with last time; not sure why. Sure made it easier to see and get pictures, though.

First, he warmed up.

Then, he and Noah waited for Benjamin to be called.
Then it was his turn.

He came in second place, out of 4! He's not smiling in the picture, because "I was counting on coming in first," he said.

But a medal makes everything better!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Noah!

Noah took a cake to school Friday to celebrate his birthday there, and then we had some friends over Sunday for lunch to have his party. He chose a red fire truck cake for both parties. Pretty sure he already had that one already another year, but he couldn't be persuaded to branch out, not even with the colors.

This was the "fun" part of preparing Noah's birthday... fortunately our friend was able to come help Frédéric finish putting it together as there is an art to centering the trampoline, and one that we couldn't master between the two of us. (Frédéric says I'm just not strong enough. Hmph.)

The only things Noah specifically asked for were a "tractor with a shovel on the front and the back":

and a "watch like Daddy's." I found that at the market.... bad idea, it turns out, since the battery died about three hours after he put it on the first time. So now we have to find a new battery for it already. So much for saving money by buying it at the market.

The Monnoyeurs got him some cushion covers we can stuff and add to his collection - Noah loves to sleep with pillows, stuffed animals and blankets all over.

He knew he was getting a trampoline, so I'm not sure if that look is surprise or he's just happy. He loves it, and amazingly, the seven kids were all able to take turns pretty well during the party. Can't say as much for Noah and Benjamin now that the other kids are gone, unfortunately.

We told him the trampoline was from us, our neighbors, and my parents. He wanted to know if Grandma & Grandad came over here to buy it for him.

After everyone left, I asked him if he liked all his presents.

He said, "Yes, Mommy... how many months until I am 6?"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

We don't need no stinkin' spelling rules!

Noah longs to be the boss of everything. He's decided to be the boss of spelling, as he learns to read and write...

Noah: Look Mommy, I wrote vache all by myself!
Me: [looking at his paper, and seeing: AFAOCH] Oh... hm. Where's the V?
Noah: I didn't start with a V. I decided to start with an F.
Me: Uh. Why?
Noah: Because then we'd say VVVache.
Me: We don't say vache?
Noah: No. FFFFFvache.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


So, most kids cut their own hair at some point. Right? (This is where I just skim over the part about this being Noah's second time, at least, to do this.) But I think most kids do this around 3, not almost 5, and most kids don't ask their DAD to even it up.

Bad idea, Noah, bad idea.

The thing is, there was no "evening up" to be done, unless we were going to just shave his head. Frédéric had never cut the boys' hair before, but he is not one to shy away from a challenge. And after all, I had said they needed haircuts before they went back to school Monday, so he thought he ought to help out.

Typically I cut their hair every 6-8 weeks (when they get to looking a little too shaggy), and do my best, and then have Peggy fix it up when we come home to the US in November. Frédéric generally serves as "quality control," making sure I didn't miss too many spots.

Well, you know that saying, "those who can't, teach"? In this case, "those who can't, do quality control."

I fixed it up the best I could once I convinced Frédéric to put down the scissors, slowly, and slowly step away from them. Doesn't look too awful in this picture, but that's mainly because his hair is still wet.

You can see the missing locks here better. Noah did a great job of just chopping that front bit all off. And Frédéric was trying to "even it up" to the same level! Eeek!!

I told Noah we could go borrow our friends' clippers and just give him a buzz cut, but he said no. So this is the best we could do til it grows out again. And if anyone asks, I shall gladly tell the truth. "Yes, normally I do cut their hair myself. However, THIS was not my fault." Actually, I may just volunteer that information to any and everyone I pass on the street if Noah is with me, whether they ask or not.

People have told Frédéric all kinds of work he could do in the US, be a mechanic, open a pizzeria or a bakery... but I don't think anyone will ever suggest he open a hair salon.