Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another unplanned trip home

On May 14th, the world, and more specifically, my family, lost a great man. My Uncle Vance was the heart and soul of our Thanksgiving gatherings, which won't be the same without him. Even though I only ever saw him about three days a year at our family gathering, he affected my life deeply. As a teenager, I had the opportunity to go to the camp he was directing, and those are weeks I'll never forget. He was a hard-working man who loved his family, and loved people. He and my Aunt Aimee had been married for 55 years, and showed us what marriage should look like.

We'll miss his rough, work-hardened hands, his corny jokes, his puzzles, his willingness to organize Thanksgiving plans for us, his prayers, his singing, his hugs, his love for all of us.

Paul tells us not to grieve as those who have no hope. So we grieve, but with the hope that we'll see Uncle Vance again one day.

After some reflection, Benjamin decided to go with me so we could be with family at the service.

The flight attendants on the way there were extra nice to us, and even got us upgraded to business class. It made getting there a lot easier since we could sleep on the flight.

We decided to take advantage of being in the US to see both sets of grandparents. My mom drove us around all over the place - from Oklahoma to Alabama, and back to Texas to fly out.

We got to spend some good time with my family. My grandma continued on in her tradition of playing games with her grandkids and great-grandkids, and teaching us how to be good game-players.

My grandad showed Benjamin some rocks, minerals, and petrified wood, and taught him some things about them, before giving him some to take home.

Jet lag did eventually hit... he was chattering away while I was trying to squeeze in a little bit of work - and all of a sudden, he stopped talking. I looked over to find him out like a light!

Benjamin really enjoyed the farm in Alabama. My aunt let him drive her buggy, which is about as exciting as life can get when you're 10! He drove me around to visit the farm, and showed me the latest addition - the hogs.

After a week, it was time to get back to France, Frédéric, Noah, school, and work. The pilot on the way home let Benjamin sit in the cockpit and try things out after we landed.

We're deeply saddened at the reason for our trip, but we're so glad that we got to spend some extra time with family. Living overseas, you don't take these moments for granted.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dinner table conversation tonight

Noah: When are we going to the Centre Pompidou?
Me (exasperated by Noah's behavior all afternoon): When you are 18; you can do what you want.
Benjamin: Why 18?
Me: Because then you'll be an adult. You can get your own house.
Benjamin: Not 18! I think that is a little too soon!
Me: Oh? When do you think, then?
Benjamin: Between 20 and 25.
Me: You know how old I was when I last lived with my parents?
Benjamin: How old?
Me: 17.
Benjamin, after a short pause: So..... you didn't like your parents?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Frédéric!

Frédéric celebrated his birthday this year with his favorite strawberry cream cake. Mmm!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gymnastics Level

Noah passed his orange gymnastics level this year. Look at those muscles!

Benjamin didn't get to pass his level this time; there's been some difficulty with training this year since the group is a mix of boys at different levels, and the coach has been focusing on those at a lower level first. We hope Benjamin will get to pass his level next year. In the meantime, he came along to cheer on his brother.

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 1st Swim Meet

Benjamin had another swim meet May 1st. He missed 3rd place in backstroke by just seven hundreths of a second! And Frédéric took on his role of official time-keeper-in-training.

Noah just took advantage of being allowed to warm up with the team, and then mess around in the small pool. In the fall, he'll be competing, too.